The National Assembly (NASS), Rivers State Caucus, yesterday, wondered why the Federal Government allegedly maintained a long time of silence over the attack on the family house of a Supreme Court Justice, Mary Odili.
It also accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of hiring political thugs who masterminded the dastardly act.
Further, the lawmakers called on the International community to hold the APC and her supporters responsible should any harm befall Justice Odili or any member of her family.
It would be recalled that Justice Mary Odili, who is wife of former Rivers State Governor, Dr Peter Odili, was among the Supreme Court Justices who delivered the verdict that invalidated the victory of the Bayelsa State erstwhile governor-elect, David Lyon.
Upon the affirmation of this controversial judgment, there has been uneasy calm in most political circles of the ruling party and, particularly the affected state.
In a statement endorsed by Senator George Thompson Sekibo and Hon. Kingsley Ogundu Chinda, the caucus described the attack as an audacious act of primitivism and grave threat to democracy.
It added, “the placard-carrying thugs invaded the privacy of the Odilis and erected barricades against their residence for no other reason than that Justice Mary Odili participated in the Bayelsa governorship appeal as one among a five-man panel who heard the appeal and reached a unanimous decision against the APC.
“This latest wanton shamelessness constitutes a new dimension in the continuing assault against the Judiciary and, once again, underlines Nigeria’s inexorable degeneration and descent into rapid lawlessness.
“We recall that in 2015 Rivers State was the victim of unfavourable judicial decisions where, in literally one fell swoop, 15 out its 16 members of the National Assembly were sacked. Painful as the decisions were, there was no recourse to self-help or threat of violence against any of the Justices who sat on the appeals.
“We would like to point out that Justice Mary Odili, who has been inexplicably and unfairly targeted since the Bayelsa governorship decision, was a member of other panels of the Supreme Court which gave judgment in favour of at least three APC governors who are in office today.”
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COVID-19: Ignore Facemask, Risk Arrest, Prosecution, RSG Tells Residents
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.
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