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Wike Tasks Palliative Committee To Focus On Less Privileged

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has charged the committee in charge of the distribution of palliatives to reach out to all the less privileged, irrespective of political party affiliations.
Governor Wike gave the charger last Monday while inaugurating the committee to distribute foodstuffs to Rivers people as palliative to cushion the hardship caused by strategies to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Governor Wike said: “The distribution of these foodstuffs has nothing to do with party membership. It should get to all less privileged people.
“That is why we have clerics, security personnel and other people in the Committee. There should be no application of sentiments in sharing”.
According to the Governor, the sharing train of the committee will reach out to all the 23 local government areas of the state but stressed that Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor local government areas with the highest concentration of residents of the state would take the lead.
So far, the Committee which is chaired by the State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ambassador Desmond Akawor, has covered parts of Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor local government areas.
Also last week, the state Governor announced the settings aside of N2billion to empower farmers and fishermen in the state to produce food for residents during the period of the lockdown.
In a press conference on Monday, Gov Wike said the committee will purchase all agricultural products produced in the state for distribution to the less privileged.
He said that the step was to ensure that non complains of hunger within this period.
“Ours is to ensure that no agricultural product like yam, plantain, palm oil and fish leaves out state during this period.
“While the farmers and fishermen will make their profits, the less privileged will have enough food supply for their families.”
The 33- member Committee is headed by the Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo while the Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Fred Kpakol serves as the Secretary.
The Brick House landlord, last week declared Carveton Helicopters Persona Non Grata and directed council chairmen to close all offices of the company in the state.
This followed the illegal entry of the company’s helicopter , it’s crew and passengers into the state in contravention of the Executive Order by the governor, closing all land, sea and air borders of the state as a measure to check the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in Rivers State.
Gov Wike stated that the state Government appreciated the need to to protect business interests and operations in the state and would do whatever that was required to ensure that no business was unduly affected by the measures put in place to combat the coronavirus.
He said: “However, we shall not welcome businesses or companies that value their business activities or profit more than or in clear disregard of the lives and health of our people.
“By it’s actions Carveton Helicopters have already shown that Rivers lives do not matter to it, it is an enemy of Rivers people and is hereby declared Persona Non Grata in Rivers State”.
According to the Governor, the insensitive and provocative actions of Calverton Helicopters took place in the midst of credible intelligence report about plans by enemies of the state to traffic carriers of the dreaded Coronavirus into the state.
The governor said COVID-19 in the state was a matter of life and death, and that the government would not succumb to any blackmail from any person, institution or quarters in its determination to protect the citizens and the state from the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus.
So far, Port Harcourt Chief Magistrate Court No 11 Presided over by Chief Magistrate D.D Ihua- Maduenyi Esq has ordered the remand of 10 passengers who flew into the Airforce Base Port Harcourt on board the Twin- Ottar Carveton Helicopters on 7/4/2020 in contravention of paragraph 8 of the Executive Order RVSG01/ 2020.
The Rivers State Chief Executive, vowed that he was ready to set aside his immunity to testify against those who violate the state’s border closure regulations aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus.
Gov Wike, in the week under review, appealed to Christians and Muslims to continue to shun public worship of anything above 50 persons per hall to check the spread of the coronavirus in the state.

 

By: Chris Oluoh

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PDP Caucus Demands Prosecution Of  NCC Officials

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caucus in the House of Representatives has called on the appropriate authorities to arrest and prosecute officials of the National Communications Commission (NCC) for claiming that electronic transmission of results by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is not possible in the country.
The Tide reports that NCC officials led by Executive Director, Ubale Maska, who represented the Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umaru Garba Danbatta, while testifying before the House, on the adoption of electronic transmission of results from the units, claimed that the 2018 Technical Report of the NCC showed that only about “50 percent of the polling units had 3G while 49 percent had 2G network and below.”
But the PDP Caucus Leader, Hon. Kingsley Chinda, in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja, said the NCC officials lied to Nigerians while on oath and as such, must be prosecuted for allegedly misleading Nigerians.
Chinda said the NCC officials “cleverly sought to rely on 2018 data in 2021, when they knew or ought to know that internet penetration has advanced substantially in Nigeria since 2018.
“Indeed a perusal of NCC Website even today shows that the Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020-2025 (P .33) says that by September 2019, the ‘Spread of 3G/LTE’ had reached 74.2 percent in Nigeria,” the PDP caucus added.
“We call on the prosecuting authorities to immediately arrest the officials of the NCC, under Prof. Danbatta and all those who procured Ubale Maska and other officials to lie under oath to be investigated and where found culpable, be brought to justice by standing criminal trial, he said,”.

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Onochie Makes Case For True Federalism

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An elder statesman, Dr Nnamdi Onochie, has again told the Federal Government to come up with a blueprint on true federalism, to address worrisome fault lines keeping Nigeria divided.
Speaking with newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday, Onochie lamented that Nigeria would continue to wallow in problems until political leaders mustered courage to address endemic problems holding the country down.
Former colonial masters, Britain amalgamated Nigeria in 1914, to give birth to Africa’s largest nation but 107 years down the line, the country has been engulfed in various problems, making the country not to realise its potential to the fullest.
According to Onochie, the way out is for the government to implement true federalism as an article of faith to ensure equity, fair play, justice and equality of all ethnic nationalities in the country.
“Unless the path of equality of all states, as they stand today, is guaranteed without contestation, Nigeria will continue to contend with divisive tendencies and the centre will never hold to build a united indivisible nation.
He reiterated that recurring problems in the country had highlighted the inevitability of genuine federalism to be implemented by government, to make Nigeria truly great to achieve the set goals of its founding fathers.
“I have earlier suggested that government should convene a Peace and Reconciliation Conference of all shades and creeds of Nigeria by October 2021, to map out the path of stable devolution of all functions in the Exclusive List of the 1999 Constitution.
“The sooner these recommendations are implemented the better for the corporate entity of Nigeria, because no one is excited with current developments threatening the existence of Nigeria from day to day.’’
Onochie, who was a former Nigerian envoy to Algeria and the Philippines, argued that true federalism would address some endemic problems tearing Nigeria apart, including banditry and restiveness in some parts of the country.
He criticised what he described as parochial tendencies displayed in the National Assembly on the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill and the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, saying that displaying partisanship in critical issues would never promote unity and national integration.
The political stalwart reiterated that he stood for one Nigeria and that he would continue to campaign for Nigeria not to disintegrate as he gets set to offer himself to serve in the highest political office in the upcoming general elections.
On the directive by the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) to media houses not to report kidnappings, killings, maiming and other nefarious activities of terrorists, bandits and insurgents freely and openly, Onochie described the directive as draconian and totally at variance with global democratic tenets.
“Nothing should be done to tamper with the freedom of speech as spelt in the constitution to deny Nigerians their freedom of free speech, expression, association and other rights as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution (as Amended).’’
He described press freedom as the bedrock of democracy, saying that Nigeria should copy values that promote development and sustain nation building “to make the nation respected in the comity of nations.’’
“Nigerians and the international community must be made to be fully aware of the gains of a free press, rather than allowing the NBC to gag the civil space and disallow media houses from performing their duties as the fourth estate of the realm.”
Onochie, a polyglot, who was a former Commissioner for Special Duties in Delta has been campaigning for Nigerian unity and for separatists in parts of the country to drop their agitations and say farewell to disintegration.

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INEC Registers 752,011 Voters In Three Weeks

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that 752,011 eligible Nigerians have completed the online pre-registration as fresh voters in the last three weeks since the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) commenced online on June 28, 2021.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Festus Okoye, said in Abuja, that in the last 21 days as at 7am on Monday, 19 July 2021, INEC recorded an average of 35,810 registrants per day.
According to him, out of this figure, 562,254 (74.7per cent) are youths between the ages of 18 and 34; and that in terms of gender, 493,128 were male while 369,188 were female.
He said that detailed distribution of registrants by states/FCT, age, occupation and disability has been uploaded on the commission’s website and social media platforms.
“The commission wishes to reiterate its earlier decision that because of the declaration of Tuesday, 20 and Wednesday, 21 July 2021 as public holidays by the federal government, the commencement of physical registration is now rescheduled to Monday, 26 July 2021.
“Online pre-registrants who booked for appointment to complete their registration physically between Monday 19 and Friday, 23 July 2021, will be notified within the next few days of the new dates for their appointments. They may also visit the portal (https://cvr.inecnigeria.org) to choose a new available date and time, if they so desire,” Okoye said.

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