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Coronavirus Scourge: Wike Announces Partial Lockdown In Rivers …Orders Closure Of Public Parks, Night Clubs, Cinemas , Bans Public Burials, Weddings …Sets Up Boundary Surveillance Posts, LG Monitoring Teams …Urges Religious Leaders To Support RSG To Succeed

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In furtherance of the commitment of the Rivers State Government to protect residents of the state, Governor Nyesom Wike, yesterday, announced that beginning, today, all public parks, night clubs and cinemas will remain closed till further notice.
In a state broadcast, yesterday, Wike directed religious groups to temporarily stop all forms of open worship.
He said: “with effect from the same date (Tuesday, March 24, 2020), all public parks, night clubs and cinemas in the State are to remain closed till further notice.
“Similarly, after due consultations with religious leaders, it was agreed that all religious organisations are to temporarily stop all forms of open worship. Public burial and wedding ceremonies are also banned within this period.
“In view of the fact that the disease spreads fast through body contact, social distance has become imperative if we are to contain the spread.
“May I, therefore, call on all religious leaders, traditional rulers and opinion leaders in the state to assist government to implement these decisions by ensuring that persons under their care do not fall foul of this directive”.
Wike directed Local Government Council chairmen to ensure that public burials and weddings do not take place in their respective areas.
He said: “May I emphasise that local government chairmen are to be held responsible if public burials and weddings take place in their local government areas.
“Government will set up monitoring teams for the 23 local government areas to ensure compliance. Defaulters will be seen as enemies of the state and will be made to face appropriate sanctions.
“My Dear Good People of Rivers State, the essence of governance is to protect lives and we cannot be indifferent when this COVID-19 continues to claim lives world-wide.
“We urge everyone to remain calm and maintain social distance. We shall continue to review the situation and adjust accordingly.
“Like I said in my broadcast last Friday, these decisions may seem painful for all of us but there is no price that is too much to pay for us to stay alive”.
The Rivers State governor stated with effect from Tuesday, March 24, 2020, surveillance posts will be set up across the state.
“The Rivers State Government having reviewed current developments across the country is desirous to further strengthen prevention measures across the state to keep our citizens safe.
“To this end, with effect from tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, Surveillance posts are to be set up at the following borders of the state: Emohua for motorists coming from Bayelsa and Delta states; Omerelu for motorists coming from Owerri; Okehi for motorists coming from Imo State through Etche; Akwuzie in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area for motorists coming from Imo State; Oyigbo Toll Gate for motorists coming from Aba and Opoku in Khana Local Government Area for motorists coming from Akwa Ibom State.
“Marine entry points: Port Harcourt and Onne Ports, Nembe, Bille, Bonny and NLNG Jetties are also going to be under surveillance. Each of the Surveillance Posts shall be manned by trained health and security personnel who will ensure that motorists and seafarers are tested before they are allowed to enter the state.
“All motorists and seafarers are please enjoined to cooperate with the Surveillance teams as they have been empowered to legitimately enforce this directive,” Wike said.
The governor added: “I use this medium to call on citizens to minimise family visits. Rather, everyone should maintain contacts through the use of telephones”.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has appealed to religious leaders in the state to cooperate with his administration to enforce precautionary measures to stop the spread of Coronavirus.
Speaking during a meeting with religious leaders at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday, Wike urged the religious leaders to work with the state government to fight the ailment.
He said “This is a trying period. The state government owes the society a responsibility to protect lives and property.
“This is an interface to inform you of the measures that the state government is taking.”
He urged the churches and Muslims to ensure social distancing of about 50 persons who worship at a particular time.
The governor advised all religious groups to spread out their worship time to admit fewer people per time.
Wike informed the religious leaders that his administration has set up surveillance teams to test all people coming into the state.
He said, “Health issue is vey. Nobody should trivialize health issues.”
The governor said that only government directive will apply in the state at this time.
He said that markets are yet to be shut down due to the current economic situation.
Responding, Anglican Bishop of Evo Diocese, Rt. Rev. Innocent Ordu said that clerics have been directed to restrict attendance of church services to check the spread of Coronavirus.
The Regional pastor of Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Belemina Obunge said that the church has already taken measures to restrict the numbers of worshippers in the churches.
A Catholic Priest, Mognr Pius Kii informed the governor that the church is already working to stop huge numbers in any church service.
Apostle Zilly Aggrey, said steps should be taken on the issue of lock down of cities.
Also speaking, Imam Idris of Rumuolumeni Mosque assured the Rivers State governor that Muslims in the state will comply with the directive of the state government.

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Trans-Kalabari Road: Banigo, Stakeholders Condemn Abduction Of Expatriate

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Kalabari traditional rulers and stakeholders have condemned the recent abduction of an expatriate staff of Lubric Construction Company working on the Trans-Kalabari Road.
Speaking at a meeting at the Government House in Port Harcourt, last Friday, Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo said she was deeply pained by the unfortunate incident carried out by unknown miscreants.
According to the deputy governor, who said that the State Chief Executive Officer, Nyesom Wike, was desirous to bring more development projects to Kalabari Kingdom, regretted that this act was capable of discouraging him.
“I want to reiterate that our governor is very desirous to do more developmental projects in our communities, there are many more things he has in the card to do for us, and if we allow this ugly thing to surface, that attitude will discourage him”, the deputy governor noted.
Banigo, who said that perpetrators of the heinous crime did not drop from the sky, insisted that they were community people, and must be fished out and dealt with decisively, while calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the abductee.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority, Chief Ferdinand Alabraba, expressed regrets that a project as important as the Trans-Kalabari Road would be tampered with by persons who do not mean well for the Kalabari people.
“If their intention is to run down the good works of our dear governor, over a project which the Kalabari people have been yearning for over the years, then, I am sure God Almighty will not allow them to get away with this dastardly act of kidnapping one expatriate”, Alabraba stressed.
Alabraba further said, “It is important that we talk to ourselves and ensure that everything possible is done to ensure immediate release of the victim, and ensure that measures are put in place to forestall this type of thing in the future”.
Presenting a seven-point communique, Amanyanabo of Minama, King Iboroma Talbot Pokubo, who represented the Amanyanabo of Abonnema, King Disreal Gbobo Bobmanuel, demanded for the immediate and unconditional release of the expatriate, and reassured Governor Wike of their unwavering support for the governor.

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Buhari Approves Incorporation Of NNPC, Appoints Board Members

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President Muhammadu Buhari, has directed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited be incorporated.
He also approved the appointment of the Board and Management of the NNPC Limited with Senator Ifeanyi Ararume as chairman.
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Mele Kyari, was appointed chief executive officer.
This was contained in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, saying that the president acted in accordance with the Petroleum Industry Act 2021.
The statement read, “President Muhammadu Buhari, in his capacity as Minister of Petroleum Resources, has directed the incorporation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited.
“This is in consonance with Section 53(1) of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, which requires the Minister of Petroleum Resources to cause for the incorporation of the NNPC Limited within six months of commencement of the Act in consultation with the Minister of Finance on the nominal shares of the company.
“The Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr Mele Kolo Kyari, has, therefore, been directed to take necessary steps to ensure that the incorporation of the NNPC Limited is consistent with the provisions of the PIA 2021.
“Also, by the power vested in him under Section 59(2) of the PIA 2021, President Buhari has approved the appointment of the Board and Management of the NNPC Limited, with effect from the date of incorporation of the company.
“Chairman of the board is Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, while Mele Kolo Kyari and Umar I. Ajiya are chief executive officer, and chief financial officer, respectively.
“Other board members are; Dr Tajudeen Umar (North-East); Mrs Lami O. Ahmed (North-Central); Mallam Mohammed Lawal (North-West); Senator Margaret Chuba Okadigbo (South-East), Barrister Constance Harry Marshal (South-South); and Chief Pius Akinyelure (South-West).”

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Reject Buhari’s Fresh Loan Request, SERAP Tells NASS

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan; and Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila; to reject the fresh request by President Muhammadu Buhari, to borrow $4billion and €710million.
SERAP said if such request must be granted, the Federal Government should publish details of spending of all loans obtained since May 29, 2015.
The group also expressed fear that if the fresh request is granted, it may take Nigeria’s to over N35trillion.
Buhari recently sought the approval of the National Assembly to borrow $4,054,476,863 and €710million, on the grounds of “emerging needs.”
The request was contained in a letter dated August 24, 2021.
In an open letter dated September 18, 2021, and signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation expressed “concerns about the growing debt crisis, the lack of transparency and accountability in the spending of loans that have been obtained, and the perceived unwillingness or inability of the National Assembly to vigorously exercise its constitutional duties to check the apparently indiscriminate borrowing by the government.”
SERAP said, “The National Assembly should not allow the government to accumulate unsustainable levels of debt, and use the country’s scarce resources for staggering and crippling debt service payments rather than for improved access of poor and vulnerable Nigerians to basic public services and human rights.
“The country’s public debt has mushroomed with no end in sight. The growing national debt is clearly not sustainable. There has been no serious attempt by the government to cut the cost of governance. The leadership of the National Assembly ought to stand up for Nigerians by asserting the body’s constitutional powers to ensure limits on national debt and deficits.
“Should the National Assembly and its leadership fail to rein in government borrowing, and to ensure transparency and accountability in the spending of public loans, SERAP would consider appropriate legal action to compel the National Assembly to discharge its constitutional duties.
“SERAP notes that if approved, the country’s debts will exceed N35trillion. The government is also reportedly pushing the maturity of currently-secured loans to between 10 and 30 years. N11.679trillion is reportedly committed into debt servicing, while only N8.31trillion was expended on capital/development expenditure between 2015 and 2020.
“Ensuring transparency and accountability in the spending of loans by the government and cutting the cost of governance would address the onerous debt servicing, and improve the ability of the government to meet the country’s international obligations to use maximum available resources to ensure the enjoyment of basic economic and social rights, such as quality healthcare and education”, SERAP added.

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