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PANDEF Decries Worsening Infrastructure In N’Delta

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The Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), the mouthpiece of the people of South-South region has bemoaned the poor condition of critical infrastructure in the Niger region, particularly roads, calling on the Federal Government and relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), to give immediate and urgent attention to transportation in the region.
The group, in a communiqué by the National Chairman, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (rtd), after a national leadership retreat in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, highlighted the East–West Road, from Benin to Calabar, Calabar–Itu–Ikot Ekpene–Aba Road, Ogoja–Ikom–Calabar Road, and Port Harcourt to Aba section of Enugu-Port Harcourt Road.
PANDEF encouraged governors of the region and all political office holders, elected and appointed, “to give greater attention to issues like job creation, rural women and youth development, healthcare and education, to check the growing rate of youth delinquency.”
National officers, elders, state chairs, secretaries, state women and youth leaders of PANDEF attended the retreat with the theme, “Re-engineering for the Future Together.”
The regional body restated its position on restructuring and appealed to the Federal Government “to as a matter of urgency begin a constructive dialogue process on the restructuring of the country.”
It welcomed the order of President Muhammadu Buhari for “a forensic audit of the NDDC accounts from 2001 to 2019,” but demanded “names of beneficiaries of contracts of the commission over the period under review should be made public.
“In addition, we insist that for NDDC to function effectively there must be adequate funding and less political interference,” it added.
“PANDEF further urges Mr. President to extend the order of forensic audit to other national interventionist organizations like the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF).
“PANDEF also used the opportunity of the retreat to interact with critical stakeholders and key NGOs working in the region, including the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Senator Ita Enang,” the communiqué stated.
The group also restated its commitment to engage with all critical stakeholders of the region in its work, irrespective of political inclination, for the betterment of the region.
It commended the Federal Government for the peaceful resolution of the contentious issue concerning the license/operation of OML 25 located in Belema, Offoinama and Ngeje communities in Kula Kingdom of Akuku-Toru Local Government Area, Rivers State.
However, it implored government “to deploy same approach to other host communities in the Niger Delta where there are disputes over Oil Marginal License/operation.”
PANDEF applauded the people of Kula Kingdom “for their steadfastness and resilience, and for remaining peaceful throughout the period of the dispute.”
It similarly commended the Nigerian military for its professional conduct in handling the matter, as well as “Belemaoil for proving beyond reasonable doubt that oil and gas producing companies can do better in developing the human and infrastructural development in the oil and gas bearing host communities.”
The South-South group pleaded with international and indigenous oil companies (IOCs) operating the region to respect and honour Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) entered with host communities in the interest of peace in the region or possibly adopt the Belemaoil model of developing host communities.
It resolved to continue to work with other regional bodies in the country in the efforts “to enthrone an egalitarian nation that would be run on the fundamental principles of equity, fairness and justice.”
PANDEF extolled two non-governmental organizations operating in the Niger Delta region, Academic Associates Peace Works/Niger Delta Dialogue and Stakeholder Democracy Network for facilitating the retreat and further committed the group to steadfast pursuit of shared interests along with promoting understanding and peaceful co-existence amongst the various ethnic nationalities of the region.
The National Leader of PANDEF and former Federal Commissioner for Information, Chief Edwin Clark sent goodwill message to participants, which enriched the deliberations.

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Police Parade Four Suspected Kidnappers, Rescue Female Victim In Cross River

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The Cross River State Police Command has paraded four suspected kidnappers and rescued one Cecilia Onega, 38 years, from kidnappers’ den.
Parading the suspects at the State Police Headquarters, Diamond Hill in Calabar, Cross River State on Monday, the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Irene Ugbo said the breakthrough was recorded by the Command.
She said that the victim, one Cecilia Onyago ‘F’ 38 years was rescued without a ransom paid.
“We are working to make sure that kidnapping is no more in the State.
We urge Cross Riverians to provide us with information which would enable us work harder and pick these hoodlums wherever they may be,” she stressed.
The police spokesperson said that on July 10th 2020, in Akamkpa Local Government Area of Cross River State, a husband and wife were going about their normal businesses when armed kidnappers came in and kidnapped the woman.
“The Police got a distress call from the people

and we swung into action. In a bid to know the location where the woman was taken to, we got one suspect which led us to the arrest of other gang members.
“Right now, the suspects are in our custody, a lot of items have been recovered including two vehicles, Toyota Camry with registration number NEM 828 AY and Jetta car no LSD 879 AV and several local guns,” she quipped.
DSP Ugbo said that the suspects are with the Police and they have given the Police useful information and “as soon as investigations are completed the suspects will be charged to court.
“We are very happy about the success recorded because Cross River State is noted for being a place people come and relax and Police is working tirelessly to make sure the hoodlums are brought to book
“Every evening, we have a team of Police officers at different locations doing stop and search; it is a regular exercise which the outgoing Police Commissioner put in place.
“We urged all Cross Riverians to corporate with us, give us useful.
Friday Nwagbara, Calabar.
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COVID-19: Hand Washing Cheapest Way Of Fighting Diseases – Health Commissioner

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The Cross River State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Betta Edu, has said that the cheapest way fighting various diseases was through effective hand washing.
Edu staate this in Calabar while receiving over 200 handwashing stations donated by United Purpose, a non-governmental organisation, for the Primary Healthcare Development Agency in the State.
The commissioner, who said she was grateful that the state had partners who were always ready to support it in the area of health, stressed that when sanitation fails, healthcare suffers.
“Although the state had not recorded massive number of the ravaging COVID-19 infections and deaths residents are advised to have a high index of suspicion.
“We encourage everyone to effectively use the available resources in the health facilities in the state and have a high index of suspicion.
“I call on the health workers in the state to bring the Infection Control Protocol (ICP), they have been taught to bear.
“We will be signing the Clinical Governance Agreement today to ensure that when our clients go to our facilities they are protected and the care giver is also protected,” she said.
The commissioner encouraged residents of the state to build their immunity because it was a way of protecting themselves and their loved ones.
She added that anyone who felt any symptoms of COVID-19 should go to the state’s testing centre. Dr. Janet Ekpenyong, Director General, Cross River Primary Healthcare Development Agency (CRSPHCDA), lauded  United Purpose and other partners for assisting the state.
Ekpenyong said it was not the job of the government alone to fight the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic in the state but the job of everyone.
Mr. Nanpet Chuktu, the Programme Manager of United Purpose, said his organisation partnered the state because it wanted to help in pushing back the virus from the state.
“We the United Purpose, through the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, are making a donation of 10 hand washing stations per Local Government Area (LGA).
“These hand washing stations are for emergency and would be delivered to the state’s Primary Healthcare Agencies.
“We are looking at about 250 of them and each of the primary healthcare facilities would get at least one,” he noted.
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COVID-19: Ignore Facemask, Risk Arrest, Prosecution, RSG Tells Residents

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The Rivers State Government has expressed worries over the high level of non-compliance of health protocols with respect to the Covid-19 pandemic, warning that henceforth any resident caught without wearing facemask will be arrested and prosecuted.

The State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim handed down the warning while speaking on a live Radio programme in Port Harcourt on Saturday and monitored by the Tide.

Nsirim who is Chairman of the State Inter-ministerial Committee on Enlightenment for Covid-19 recalled the unhappiness of Governor Nyesom Wike during last Wednesday’s State broadcast with the attitude of many residents who flaunt extant directives on the wearing of facemask and other health protocols.

“The Governor in that broadcast also expressed concern that a lot of people in the State are not obeying the protocols. Social distancing, wearing of facemask and he spoke specifically in what is happening in some churches. Government will introduce policies, the onus is on the populace to obey those policies.

 

“Not just obeying it, the Covid-19 pandemic that we are talking about has defied medical solution for now. So to flatten the curve, everyone living and doing business in Rivers State has to take responsibility.

“If I take responsibility and everyone around me takes responsibility to observe the relevant protocol, we are sure to flatten the curve. But if people live righteously and just do as if nothing is happening because there are places where people are just living in denial.

“Some people still believe that there is nothing like Coronavirus. Two weeks ago, my committee rounded off street to street campaign in all the 23 local government areas of the State. They still met people who are in this denial. That is the challenge.

“The Governor is desirous that Rivers State remains safe. That is why he is initiating policies to ensure that strategically the state is somehow isolated from the national spread,” the Commissioner said.

Nsirim further said, “If you go around the State, since the executive order on facemask was introduced. You will notice that less than

30 per cent of the populace are really obeying that executive order. What we are seeing in the State is that people just put the mask around their chin.

“You go to some churches we see people open their mouth and things will be spewing out in the enclosed environment on the chin. The Governor is saying that to give this wearing of facemask the kind of weight that it deserves to save our people, a special taskforce be put in place.

“That is the only sure way because a lot of people are still living in denial. He said the governor’s broadcast is very clear, arrest and prosecute. Henceforth we will arrest and prosecute people not wearing facemask in public places,” he stated.

The Rivers State Government spokesman said arrangements have been concluded to monitor churches that fail to observe the guidelines of not more than 70 persons per church service, wearing of facemask, provision of water for hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers, while weddings and burial ceremonies should not exceed 50 persons.

 

Dennis Naku

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