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COVID-19: Senate Suspends Public Hearings

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The Senate yesterday announced the suspension of all public hearings with effect from March 24, over the COVID-19 pandemic.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who made the announcement shortly after a closed door session that lasted for over one hour, also said the Senate suspended admission of visitors into the Gallery.
The Senate also passed five bills for first reading during plenary.
The bills are, Federal College of Education Shagari Establishment Bill 2020 sponsored by Sen. Ibrahim Danbaba (PDP Sokoto- South ), Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority Act Amendment Bill 2020 by Sen. Akpan Bassey (PDP -Akwa Ibom North -East).
Others are, Federal College of Complementary and Alternative Medicine of Nigeria Establishment Bill by Sen.Ibrahim Oloriebe (APC Kwara- Central) among others.
It also received the report of the Committee on Power on addressing Nigerian’s Power Problems.
The report, which was laid by the Chairman of the Committee, Dr Gabriel Suswam (PDP-Benue North-East) would be considered by the Senate March 24.

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Bayelsa 2019 Guber Primaries: Again, Diri Floors Alaibe, As Supreme Court Dismisses Appeal

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the appeal filed by former managing Director of the NDDC and governorship aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2019 Bayelsa State Governorship primaries, Chief Ndutimi Alaibe, challenging the emergence of Governor Duoye Diri as the party’s standard bearer.

A panel constituted of Five Justices of the apex court headed by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour stroke-out the appeal.

Alaibe’s  counsel, Chief Ifedayo Adedipe, withdrew the appeal after the panel members pointed his attention to the fact that the issues raised in the appeal were not about the primary election but about an internal affair of the party.

Alaibe, who had lost the suit at both the Federal High Court in Owerri and the Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal, had in the suit challenged the participation of two delegates who voted in the primary that produced Diri as the party’s Governorship flag bearer.

Meanwhile in the preliminary inquiry preceding the hearing on Tuesday, the Justice Rhodes-Vivour panel informed Adedipe that his case could not be categorised as a pre-election case that a court could entertain but about an internal affair of the party which the court lacks jurisdiction to hear, this The Tide learnt made Adedipe to withdrew the suit and was struck out by the court.

By Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa.

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Bayelsa Assembly Committee on Environment To Curb Unlawful Sand Dredging Activities.

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With various complaints and pettitions by communities impacted by the activities of illegal sand dredging and mining in the Bayelsa State, the state House of Assembly has organised a public hearing on a bill to regulate the operations of sand dredging to ensure that the environment is not adversely impacted on.

The bill tagged ” Regulation of Sand Dealing and Dredging Operations Bill 2019″  according to the House Committee on Environment is aimed at gathering inputs from experts, technocrats and the public in order to formulate a people-friendly bill that will serve the best interest of Bayelsans.

The House Committee Chairman on Environment and member representing Nembe Constituency one, Hon. Ebi  Ben Ololo noted that the public hearing became necessary on the need to remediate the environment and tackle the challenges posed by sand dredging operations in the state.

” The importance of this bill cannot be overemphasized because it can save lives. You are aware a number of times so many communities and their representatives have sent pettitions to this House, specifically the  Chairman House Committee on Environment as per the environmental degradation that has taken place as regards the illegal sand dealing and dredging activities in various communities all around the state”, he said.

“With those number of complains and pettitions we thought it wise to put up a bill to take care of those issues. Most important thing is that we all know that public hearing is a mechanism by which parliamentary Committees obtain information, deal with the information obtained and also exchange views with experts and the public so as to fine-tune whatever bill there is for the public hearing to come up with a top class bill that will be people- friendly and also save lives of the people in Bayelsa”, he added.

” Lots of suggestions, contributions, opinions and interactions have been made as regards this very important bill, like we have assured the representatives of the various groups that we will go back in our committee, look at those very important areas where they have suggested and also fine tune the bill. So that in no distant time we will come up with a very formidable bill that will stand the test of time. That the people will benefit from”, Ololo reassured.

He lauded participants for their insightful contributions and opinions during the public hearing, promising that the Committee would do justice to come up with a bill that would meet the expectations of Bayelsans.

In her contribution, House Chief Whip and member representing Yenagoa Constituency 2, Hon. Ebiowu Koku Obiyai lamented the deliberate connivance between communities and the sand dealers, warning that if nothing is done to regulate the activities of sand dredgers Bayelsa communities will be eroded away.

The House Whip also expressed concerns on the activities of companies carrying out dredging business near bridges and sued a delibrate efforts by all in order to save the bridges from collapse.

By Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa.

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COVID-19: Dep Speaker Empowers PPE Producers, Underprivileged In Ahoada East LGA …Ready To Partner UNICEF

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The Deputy Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Edison Ehie, has stated that his office has contributed to ensuring that the impact of the hardship warranted by effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is lessoned in Ahoada East Local Government Area (LGA).
Ehie, who was speaking to the RCCE Media Team, stated that the measures taken to achieve this came in two-fold: providing necessary finance to producers of Personal Preventive Equipment (PPE) in the area to enable them mass produce, and buying same off them to give to people in the grassroots.
The other measure, he said, was the provision of financial Palliatives to the tune of #5,000 each to identified underprivileged in the LGA. This include the elderly, pregnant women, widows and widowers, and generally the vulnerable.
According to Ehie, towards this end, about #5 million has been expended so far in the first phase, while preparation is being made for the next phase to commence.
The Deputy Speaker explained that his decision to empower people who already have the expertise to produce the PPEs was necessitated by the need to provide the finance for them to mass produce their products, and to provide the products to those who need them.
“So, we give you (them) the  finance to produce hand sanitizers, face masks, etc., then we buy them from you (them) to make sure you (they) profit, then we supply (the products) to the people at the grassroots”, he said.
He also stated his preparedness to partner with UNICEF in any way required to ensure the safety of lives of Rivers people.
Ehie revealed that in addition to what is being done, his office is also preparing for the challenges of post COVID-19 among the people of his constituency.
“We’ve started brainstorming on how we can also support the people as regards the post COVID-19 era. That is going to be another very challenging period for our people because when the pandemic gradually phases out, that’s when the reality of hardship will come on.
“We’re trying to put our heads together to see how we can intervene again at that stage”, he said.
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