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Wike Is A Good Product -Nsirim

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The Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim has said that those saying the state was not safe were trying to cause capital flight for businesses to relocate from the state, arguing that Governor Nyesm Wike, as a good product, was doing fantastically better than his peers in the country.
Nsirim stated this during an interview with the members of Editorial Board of The Tide in Port Harcourt, last Friday, shortly after addressing staff of the corporation and those of the Rivers State Printing Press in continuation of his familiarisation tour of parastatals under his ministry.
He said cases of insecurity, experienced in the state were not different from what go on in Lagos, Kaduna, Abuja, Sokoto, Zamfara, and other cities in the country, saying that such unguarded criticisms were part of the negative perception being sold out to the public.
He further said that it was in the light of such negative narrative that his ministry initiated ‘Our State, Our Responsibility’ campaign to change such negative views, and called on the media to assist in promoting the state government’s policies and programmes.
“You see, that is the negative perception that has been sold out there, and that is why those of us in the media need to join hands with the government to change that negative narrative. And that is why we are involved in the ‘Our State, Our Responsibility’ campaign.
“The truth of the matter is that the de-marketing that is ongoing is a deliberate strategy by those who understand the potentials of our state to deny us our God-given rights. They know that if Rivers State is de-marketed, there will be capital flight.
“Businesses will move away from here, so, we don’t become that industrial hub that we are supposed to be. So, the insecurity that people talk about in Rivers State is not different from what happens in Lagos, it is not different from what happens in Kaduna, from what happens in Kano, Abuja and other major city centres of this country.
“But those who understand the political economy of news have leveraged on it to ensure that they spread deliberate falsehood all the time about our state. You and I live and do business here. There are people who call and ask: how are you managing in Port Harcourt? They ask those questions, and make it look like there are bullets flying all over.
“That is why all of us need to join hands to change that negative narrative. Of course, there is a political economy to it that people are pursuing, and they have involved a section of the media to do that to the state, which we all need to stand up and correct.”
While noting that his appointment was a call to greater service, the commissioner used the forum to list some of his plans as commissioner, including building partnerships with media stakeholders.
“We are going to build a strategic plan, and also build a strategic partnership with major stakeholders who have something to do with the media in the propagation of government policies and programmes,” Nsirim stated.
Speaking with The Tide, General Manager of the RSNC, Mr. Vincent Ake, re-echoed the charge given by the commissioner, and called on staff of the corporation to be ready for more work.
“The commissioner has come, and he has charged us to work harder. He has said we should roll up our sleeves, and do the much we can to ensure that the newspaper is sustained. And everybody should be ready to work because there is no food for a lazy man.
“Everybody should be innovative in whichever area you are. I am open to innovation. All we need is let the ideas come in, and we will implement them,” Ake stated, and assured staff that the management would organise training and retraining programmes to sharpen their skills and competences for greater productivity.
He explained that the welfare initiatives of the present dispensation were part of a deliberate policy to motivate staff to put in their best to fast-track the capacity and ability of the corporation to break even and step into an era of profitability.
Ake, therefore, thanked the commissioner for coming, just as he reminded him that The Tide was his home, and he should be free to visit anytime.
See pp. 16, 17.

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FG, South-West Govs Agree On Amotekun

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The Federal Government and Governors of the South West States yesterday agreed that necessary legal instruments will be put in place by each of the States to give legal backing to the initiative and address all issues concerning the regulation of the security structure on the establishment of the regional security outfit, Amotekun.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo met with the South West Governors and the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami as well as the Inspector General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu at the Presidential Villa, Abuja after the expanded National Economic Council, NEC, meeting.
Recall that the AGF had declared the regional security initiative of the South West Governors aimed at curbing security challenges in the zone as illegal.
President Muhammadu Buhari recently announced that his administration was coming up with Community Policing policy to fight the insecurity in the polity.
Meanwhile, for the second time in about a week, the Federal Government, through the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has declared the Southwest Security outfit, Operation Amotekun, as an illegal entity not known to the constitution of Nigeria and which can never be allowed to stand.
Malami, made the declaration in Abuja in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Dr Umar Gwandu and made available to newsmen yesterday.
Malami maintained that no amount of sentiments would make the Federal Government abandon the path of rule of law and trade of illegality in the administration of Nigeria.
The minister, who maintained that the Nigerian constitution makes no room for a regional army, pointed out that the government was not at war with any of the states of the federation.
Malami said: “No amount of effort to hide the truth will work. People could be carried away by sentimental or emotional inclinations, but the truth remains apparently palpable. The bottom line is that the current Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria does not accommodate the formation of regional security architecture.
“This is a fact which is undisputable and undeniable. Mr Falana was prevaricating and circumlocuting using evasive techniques when he was asked by the media to justify the presence of lacuna within the law which could establish or protect the concept of regionalism in any operation in the country.

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Coronavirus, Lassa Fever: States On Red Alert, Govs Confirm …Insist On Review Of N614bn Bailout Deductions Payment Process

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The governors of the 36 states of the federation on the platform of Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) have said that they are on red alert over the Lassa Fever epidemic and coronavirus that reportedly claimed 17 lives in the city of Wuhan, China since the virus was detected.
So far, over 500 people have reportedly been infected by the virus in China’s Wuhan City, leading authorities to suspend planes and trains in and out of the city of 11million people, as well as buses, subways and ferries.
The Nigeria Centre for Diseases Control (NCDC), last Wednesday, confirmed that a total of 82 cases of Lassa fever, including 14 deaths have been recorded.
Briefing reporters at the end of its first meeting of the year, Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said that the governors are working hand and hand with the Federal Ministry of Health and other agencies to intensify efforts to ensure the diseases are contained.
He said that, to this end, the governors have agreed to carry out immediate actions on the implementation of the Seattle Declaration, including the Constitution of a multisectoral Primary Health Care Under One Roof (PHCUOR) implementation committee, quarterly review of PHC performance in State Executive Council meetings, review of states‘ performance on the Abuja commitment and organisation of advocacy meetings with traditional and religious leaders.
Fayemi said: “The forum received an update from the NGF Secretariat on health priorities for the year 2020, including the implementation of the Seattle Commitment signed by the forum at a two-day High-Level Roundtable on Primary Health Care and Human Capital Development convened in November, 2019 (by Aliko Dangote and the Bill and Melinda Gates).
“On the Lassa Fever, we recorded cases in one or two states, Ondo in the South-West and Kano in the North.
“I believe all our states are taking precautionary measures to address this in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
“We are working to ensure that this does not spread any further than they have at the moment.”
The NGF chairman speaking on other matters mentioned that, in regard to bailout deductions, even though states were meeting their obligation of paying back, they feel the monthly deductions ought to be lower than N162million.
Fayemi said: “On reconciliation for budget support facilities, that is something that has been handled. We have come up with our own recommendations of special fund generally not just budget support facilities.
“On budget support facilities specifically, states are already honouring their obligations. They are already paying back what is owed to the Federal Government.
“The question of the amount is something that we will continue to review. It is our view that we should be paying a lot less what we are paying but that is something that has not been addressed yet. But that has not stopped us from honouring the obligation to the Federal Government that lend the resources to us at the time that they did.”
The forum chairman also pledged the governors’ resolve to work with the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to achieve broadband penetration and digital economy targets in Nigeria.
He said the commitment followed a presentation to the forum by a delegation led by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, to familiarise the governors on the new National Digital Economic Policy.
“The minister briefed the forum on the new national digital economy strategy, and solicited the support of states on the development of business regulations around the right of way and multiple taxations, around skills and innovations, infrastructure and indigenous content promotion.”
On the specific demands of the minister on waiver on the right of way, Adeyemi said: “The main demand with the minister is that we maintain the fee agreed in the year 2013 at the National Economy Council which is N145 per linear meter in the state.
“The context within which the issue of waiver came up is what has been offered in Kaduna State, for example, where the state government has waived the right of way fee and that is not compulsory or the decision of the forum even in demand from the minister, that should be a condition for broadband penetration or fibre optic laying in our states. It is just that where we think it might be viable, and then states will look at the possibility of doing this in our states; but the key demand which we are all interested in pursuing is to ensure that we do not increase the right of way fee beyond what has been generally agreed by governors and NEC.”
However, the 36 state governors under the aegis of Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), yesterday, agreed that there should be a review in the payment process of the N614billion that was advanced to thirty five states as budget support facility.
The governors, who converged on Abuja, last Wednesday night, for the meeting at its Secretariat in Maitama, Abuja, discussed among others, issues of deductions for Budget Support Facility loan granted them by the Federal Government as top of the agenda.
The meeting which was the first in the year 2020 was ahead of yesterday’s National Economic Council (NEC) at the Presidential Villa.
Responding to a question on reconciliation for budget support facilities after the meeting of the governors ahead of the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting, Chairman of NGF and Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi said, “that is something that has been handled. We have come up with our own recommendations of special fund generally not just budget support facilities.

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Xenophobia: S’Africa Boils Again As Violence Erupts In Diepsloot

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Another round of xenophobic attacks loom as anti-foreigner shut-down has been triggered in Diepsloot, Johannesburg North, South Africa, the Nigeria Union South Africa (NUSA) has said.
According to NUSA President, Adetola Olubajo, violence directed at foreign nationals, including Nigerians started in Diepsloot area of Johannesburg, last Wednesday evening.
A message circulated by residents of the area on Wednesday called for a total shutdown beginning from 4am, yesterday, and directed each extension to organise itself to main roads.
The ‘no movement’ message had a further directive that all things will remain at a standstill until the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, addressed residents of the area.
The residents, in the message, demanded that the law enforcement agencies must come down to Diepsloot and close everything which was illegal and remove all undocumented foreign nationals in Diepsloot.
“When we fight, we fight together with our kids,” the message read.
Olubajo added that the angry residents of the area began burning tyres and chanting songs, saying that foreigners living in the area must leave immediately.
He, however, said normalcy was restored temporarily in the area following the intervention of the South African police, adding that violence erupted again in the morning.
“The community members want undocumented foreigners to leave the area. They accused foreign nationals of criminal activities and killing of a senior police officer,” he said.
“Our public relations team has issued a security alert to Nigerians to stay away from the area until the area is safe for foreign nationals. Though there is a heavy police presence in the area, the local residents are not backing down in their demand. The area is still very tensed and not safe for foreign nationals. We call on our nationals to exercise caution and avoid the affected areas.”
While saying that there was no death recorded in the area, Olubajo commended the South African police for their intervention, even as he said more intervention was needed to avoid casualties.
“For now, there is no record of death. We commend the intervention of the members of South Africa Police, yesterday evening, but more still needs to be done to avoid casualties,” Olubajo further said.

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