The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has assured that the ministry is doing everything necessary to see to it that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) does not spread into Nigerian prisons.
He also explained the reason for the disruption at the Kaduna State Prison on Tuesday, assuring that it was effectively managed and that it would not repeat itself in the system.
The noted that while making efforts to keep people in detention safe from the disease, government was also being careful not to resort to a measure that might put the larger society in danger, specifically speaking about the suggestion being made that the custodial centres be decongested.
”The congested custodial facilities are in some of our urban centres – not all urban centres though – they are in areas where you have a huge population of people and understandably those who have the cause to be detained are more than the facilities we have, particularly the awaiting-trial persons.
“I can assure you that all efforts, all actions required to ensure that there’s no occurrence or spread of COVID-19 in any of those custodial centres, are being made.
“I spoke about Kaduna yesterday (Tuesday); there was a mild disturbance in Kaduna yesterday (Tuesday) and it was put under control. It happened because the inmates in the condemned section were anxious to know the outcome of our efforts to decongest some of the centres and they became agitated.
“It was put down without any casualty and I want to believe that, having been handled, information has gone round the commands to appraise the inmates of the efforts we are making, to see that the approval given by the president is effected very soon.
“I must add that what we are trying to do cannot be done by us as the Federal Government alone. More than 80% of the inmates in the awaiting trial group are from the states; they are state offenders.
“We are, therefore, working with the state governments, along with our own system, to break down the profile basis of incarceration in terms of detention and several other factors to ensure that if at all people will be released, they will be released without jeopardising the security of the nation. We are, therefore, careful and sensitive on the steps we take, even with the threats of COVID-19.
“I must add this because it is important, the NJC has been of tremendous help. By the middle of last week, NJC issued a directive to all courts in Nigeria to suspend trials that could lead to any detention in the custodial service.
“I must equally commend the directive from the IGP to all police formations in the country to release offenders or suspects detained on minor offences and that will go a long way in ensuring social distancing and reduction of detainees in those centres so as to ensure that occurrence of COVID-19 infection and the spread will be reduced, if not eliminated.”
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, while addressing some questions raised by journalists, said the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) had directed all cable television service providers to leave all local channels as free service to their subscribers, even when subscriptions had yet to be renewed during this period. He said this was meant to make the public adequately informed.
He also said he had been informed, after consultations with coordinators of bankers services, that all banks had been permitted to open for services across the country while the restrictions last.
On the operations of construction companies, he said the Minister of Works and Housing had approved the suspension of all ongoing construction works across the country till April 20th, explaining that the suspension was meant to allow for social distancing.
We’re Not Taking Mandate Of Rivers People For Granted, Wike Insists
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has reiterated commitment of his administration to work tirelessly in advancing the state and improve the quality of living of Rivers people.
Speaking to journalists during an unscheduled inspection of four ongoing flyover projects in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor local government areas of the state, Wike said more democratic dividends are in the offing for the people of the state.
The governor explained that his administration will continue to honour the social contract reached with Rivers’ people since 2015 to provide them good governance and quality infrastructure.
“For us, we owe them that duty to make sure that the mandate they’ve given to us will not be taken for granted. That is why all the members of our team are working, trying to make sure that we satisfy the yearnings of our people.”
The governor asserted that with commitment and passion, there is nothing any sincere government cannot accomplish in terms of providing basic infrastructure that can bring about the necessary transformation of the life of the people.
“It is very easy. The funds are there. When people ask us where do we get funds, we laugh. it is a matter of management, being prudent with the little you have. It is not as if we have a lot of money. The little we have, we have to manage it in a way that we can say, this is what we did with funds available to us.”
The governor frowned at the operations of illegal parks and other illegal trading activities around the ongoing flyover projects.
According to him, such despicable activities do not speak well of the state that is investing huge resources to enhance the status of the state capital and improve commerce.
“We have taken a decision that we are going to barricade off, and stop operations of all the unnecessary motor parks that are springing up. We want to make sure that people know that they cannot just wake up in the morning and decide to take government space and use as your private park.”
Speaking further, Wike stated that henceforth, any business place within whose precinct refuses are found, will be sealed up in the state. The decision, he said, is informed by the carefree attitude displayed by members of the public towards issues of sanitation.
According to him, if owners of business premises do not litter their premises and discourage others, the state will be cleaner.
Wike said, his administration has the political will to implement the new order because, in the long run, it will result in a change of behaviour and increase the attention members of the public pay to issues of sanitation.
“Those at Aba Road axis of the Rumuola area will be the first victims. Thereafter, others will follow, so that people will know that government is very serious.
“So, all those who litter refuse, and operate motor parks will have themselves to blame. This is not the time people will tell you that the economy is hard. If the economy is hard, does it mean that you’ll sell your goods and litter the places with the refuse.
“Why do you have to litter the area, thinking that government will come and clean them up for you. No, nobody will do that any longer.”
The flyover projects inspected by the governor included the Rumuola, GRA Junction, Orochiri/Wurukwo and Oru-Abali flyovers.
Jonathan’s Appointment As ISCP-Africa Chair Excites PDP
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, congratulated former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, on his appointment as chairman of the International Summit Council for Peace, ISCP-Africa.
On Jonathan’s appointment as ISCP-Africa, an association of incumbent and former heads of state and their deputies, established in 2019 by the Universal Peace Federation UPF, an organization in general consultative status with the United Nations (UN), the party said in a congratulatory message, “is in recognition of his leadership qualities as a democrat as well as his resounding success in peacekeeping efforts across the world.”
The statement by the spokesman of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, read, “Our party is assured that former President Jonathan, will deploy his wealth of experience strengthened by the democratic tenets and principles of our great party, in his new mandate of providing direction for the essentials of peace, security, and development in Africa.
“The party also congratulates President Jonathan on his appointment as the Chancellor of Cavendish University, Uganda (CUU).
“The PDP is elated that former President Jonathan is so honoured to hold the position previously held by late President Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia as well as late President Benjamin Mkapa of the Republic of Tanzania, because of his commitment to education and human capital development, in line with the ideals of the PDP.
“Our party congratulate Dr. Jonathan and urged him to use the positions to further the advancement of peace and development in Africa and the world at large.”
PVC: 14,130 Persons Register Online In Rivers
Over 14,130 persons have registered online ahead of the physical registration of voters by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The figures were contained in a document released by INEC in Rivers State, yesterday.
The INEC in the state reiterated that the physical registration of voters will commence on July 26, 2021.
The commission said the physical exercise will involve capturing of finger prints and photographs of those who had started the process online, while those who were yet to begin the process will also be registered.
Statistics released by the commission indicated that a total of 752,011 persons have been registered online across the 36 states of the federation as last Monday, with Osun State taking the lead with 232,808 registrants.
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