A Niger Delta based socio political organisation, Patriotic Forum of Niger Delta (PAFOND) has appealed to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, not to run in the forthcoming Akwa-Ibom State North West Senatorial District rerun election.
The Appeal Court sitting in Calabar, Cross Rivers State has ordered for a rerun election in the Akwa-Ibom North West Senatorial District.
The court says, the independent national electorial commission (INEC) must conduct the election within 90 days
However, the forum in a communiqué made available to newsmen in Port Harcourt at the end of its national executive council meeting said, the senator was more useful to the people of the Niger Delta region as a minister.
According to the group, Senator Akpabio, is the only one that has the magic wand to turn around the fortunes of the Niger Delta for the good of the people.
The communiqué jointly signed by Owo Udo, the National Chairman and Daniel Wilson, the National Secretary called on the people of the region to give their full supports to the minister.
“PAFOND appeal to National Assembly members from south-south zone and Niger Delta leaders to drop personal interest and give the minister of Niger Delta Affairs Ministry, Senator Godswill Akpabio maximum supports for steps taken to reposition NDDC for development of Niger Delta region.
“The region has remained backward despite the trillions sunk into the commission”, he said.
PHALGA Shuts Over 18 Markets
Following the confirmation of the index case of Coronavirus in the state by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and the concurrence of the proactive government of Governor Nyesom Wike, of the positive case, last Thursday, the administration of Mayor Victor Ihunwo of Port Harcourt City Local Government Area, has keyed into the subsisting policies of the state government to prevent the spread of the virus in the state.
Consequently, the Mayor of Port Harcourt City, Hon Victor Ihunwo has swung into action by enforcing the directives of the governor on the closure of more than 18 markets within the jurisdiction of the council administration.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Mayor of PHALGA, Bob Abayomi, quoted Hon Victor Ihunwo as saying that, “It is regrettable that this disease has unusually found its way into our dear state.
“In line with the new directives of the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, that all markets in the state should remain closed effective Saturday, March 28, 2020, Mayor of Port Harcourt City, Hon Victor Ihunwo, has announced the closure of all markets in Port Harcourt City with effect from the aforementioned date.
“The following markets in Port Harcourt City must remain closed from Saturday, 28th March, 2020, till further notice.
“The markets include Rumuwoji Ultra Morden Market, Nkpolu Oroworukwo Market, Ogubum-Nu-Abali Fruits &Vegetables Garden Market, New Market, Garri Market, Creek Road Market, Trans Amadi Maami Market, all community-based markets, Goat Market, and all markets in abattoirs.
“All staff of Port Harcourt City Council from Grade Levels 1-10 are to stay at home from Friday, 27th March, 2020, till further notice.
“The Mayor of Port Harcourt City, Hon Victor Ihunwo, will lead a high-powered task force of the council to move around and ensure that this directive is carried out effectively.
“Any trader that violates this directive will have his goods confiscated and that trader will be summarily dealt with.
“The mayor reiterates that the earlier ban on public activities subsist, all public burials, weddings, child dedications, religious crusades remain prohibited while activities of night clubs, public parks, cinemas, lounges, and public drinking bars of over 10 persons without proper social distancing remain banned till further notice.
“Hon Victor Ihunwo appeals that residents of the city should continue to maintain proper personal hygiene and observe proper social distancing.
Coronavirus: Anger In Delta Market As Prices Of Foodstuff Soar
Following the announcement by the Delta State Governmental that there is going to be a total lockdown in the state starting from tomorrow as part of measures to contain the spread of coronavirus, Deltans have lamented the high rate of foodstuff in the markets.
In a bid to ensure that they stock their houses with foodstuff, many Deltans who have stormed the markets to buy food were taken by surprise as the prices of goods have skyrocketed.
The prices of garri, one of the staple food in the state were increased with about three hundred per cent. Garri which used to sell for N500 was increased to N1500 and N1800 respectively.
At Effurun market in Uvwie Local Government Area, the hike in prices of garri did not go down well with the youths in the area, who mobilized to the market to ensure that the price was brought down to N800. Those who flount the order had their produce taken away from them and were sold to the public by the youths at the price of N800. This development forced those who could not sell at the agreed price to lock their stores and go home for fear of the youths who were bent on enforcing the agreed prices.
Some of the market women who spoke to newsmen said they bought the produce at high prices adding that they had no choice than to sell at a high rate.
One of the garri sellers who spoke under strict anonymity said, “We bought this garri at a very high price because those that sold to us told us that government is closing the borders on Wednesday. So we have no option than to sell at a very high price too because that is how we bought. But with what the youths are doing now we are selling at a loss.”
Some who supported the actions of the youths said it was wrong for the women to increase the prices of garri stressing that government has not increased prices of petroleum products so there was no need to increase the prices of foodstuff just because of lockdown.
Mrs Ofuoma Andrew who came to the market to buy foodstuff said, “We were all taken by surprise this morning when we came to the market. The prices of foodstuff just tripled. We don’t see any reason why they should increase things like this. It is not faring at all.
Please government should do something about this if not we will die of hunger during the coming lockdown.”
Meanwhile, the closure of the popular Igbudu market by warri South Council Chairman, Dr Michael Tidi ahead of Governor Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa’s shutdown order which will begin tomorrow, has generated misgiving among residents of the area.
It was learnt that Pessu, Okere,Ugbuwangue and main markets were operational in the heat of the panic of Coronavirus, without social distancing”.
In a chat with newsmen, the Council boss said,”The closure of the market is not to punish anybody” stressing that,”It is for their own good.
“People should not give it unnecessary interpretation. By midnight today, nobody will even come out. The issue of people trying to insinuate that it has anything to do with Ethno-political differences is totally out of place.
World Bank, EU Distribute Computers To MDAs In C’River
The World Bank and European Union (EU) have donated computer sets to critical Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in Cross River.
The state Commissioner for International Development Cooperation (MIDC),Dr Asibong Inyang who distributed the computers, said they were to aid the MDAs in combating the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“This is under the auspices of the European Union funded/World Bank supervised State and Local Governance Reform (CR-SLOGOR) Project under its State Integrated Financial Information Management Systems (SIFMIS).
“It is to enhance efficacy and accountability in public financial management in Cross River State,’’ Iyang said.
According to her, the distribution of four set of computers each to the State Ministry of Health and Internal Revenue Service (CRIRS) is due to the critical nature of their activities, especially in this critical period.
The commissioner further reiterated the state government’s commitment toward courses that would improve and engender development in the state.
Responding, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Betta Edu, described the gesture as timely.
She added that the equipment would help in video conferencing, monitoring and evaluation, as well as other virtual communication among the ministries, staff and partners at this period of global health crisis.
She thanked the state government for the proactive approach towards containment and prevention of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Edu urged residents of the state to comply with the precautionary measures put in place by the government.
Also speaking, Chairman of Cross River State Internal Revenue Service (CRIRS), Mr. Akpanke Ogar, thanked the EU/World Bank for their intervention in ensuring that the state revenue agency carries out its activities in line with international best practice.
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