The Rivers State Police Command has vowed to prosecute the police officer who allegedly raped a 35-year-old widow for not wearing a face mask in Tai Local Government Area of Rivers state.
The spokesperson of the command, SP Nnamdi Omoni, stated this while speaking to journalists in his office in Port Harcourt, last Wednesday, saying that the officer would be charged to court if found culpable of the crime.
According to Omoni, “The matter is receiving adequate attention.
“The lady has just made her statement and efforts are on to unveil the identities of the officers alleged to have been involved in the act, for necessary action.
“We appeal for calm, to allow the law to take its full course.”
According to him, investigation in the matter is ongoing and receiving serious attention of the command.
It would be recalled that last Tuesday, a 35-year-old widow, who pleaded anonymity, was allegedly raped and assaulted by a police officer identified as Inspector Peter Ebah, serving at the Saakpenwaa Police Division in Tai Local Government Area of Rivers State.
An SOS message from the woman to her contacts had alerted the public about her predicament.
It was gathered that some of the contacts had made frantic efforts to enlist the swift response of authorities of the command.
The widow, while narrating her ordeal to journalists at the command headquarters in Port Harcourt, said that the accused police officer forcefully abducted and raped her after she was arrested for not wearing a nose mask on her way to Port Harcourt from Bori.
She disclosed that the said inspector, who detained her in the police vehicle for several hours despite pleadings from her co-passengers, tricked her that they were taking her to the Tai Police Station.
She further explained the officer suddenly diverted to a guest house, adding that the first guest house did not attend to him but the second hotel did.
The mother of two said, “When I was returning from Bori to Port Harcourt, I met some police officers at a checkpoint. They arrested me for not wearing a nose mask. They kept me there with them.
“Thereafter, they carried me from one place to the other, claiming they wanted to take me to the police station but never took me to any police station.
“After some time, they took me to a guest house where one of them raped me till dawn.
“The incident happened in the company of three other officers in the vehicle, and l was arrested while coming back from Bori to Eleme at 5pm, yesterday (Tuesday) but was detained till 10 pm before I was tricked to the guest house”, she added.
Meanwhile, some human rights organizations have given two days ultimatum to the Rivers State Police Command to produce the police officer to face the wrath of the law.
Speaking in Port Harcourt in response to questions on the matter, former national spokesman, Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, Henry Ekine, expressed optimism that the Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mukan, would use this case to show his zero-tolerance to human rights abuses by his officers.
On his part, Chairman, Rivers State Civil Society Organizations, Enefaa Georgewill, said the incident should not be swept under the carpet like previous alleged offenses committed by police officers in the state.
Similarly, a human rights advocate, Prince Wiro, called on the police to immediately begin a thorough investigation into the incident, and described the action of the policeman as embarrassing and shocking.
He insisted that all the officers involved in the illegal operation must be brought to book.
Ogoni Youths Give FG 14 Days To Fix East-West Road
No fewer than 400 youths under the aegis of Ogoni Youth Federation (OYF), yesterday, staged a peaceful protest at the Eleme axis of the East-West Road, giving the Federal Government 14 days ultimatum to mobilize to site and fix the road or have economic activities in the area grounded.
The protesters, who carried various placards with inscriptions to press home their demands, trekked from Akpajo Junction to Refinery Junction in Eleme LGA, chanting solidarity songs to register their discontent over the neglect of the road.
Addressing newsmen during the protest, President General of the Ogoni Youth Federation, Comrade Legborsi Yaamabana, said it was regrettable that the road, which was a major route to the economic hub of the nation, has remained in a deplorable state, only becoming a death trap that has terminated the lives of innocent Ogonis.
Yaamabana, who described the mass action of the youths as a ‘warning protest’, said if the contractors handling the road were not immediately mobilized to site, then, the youths will have no option than to shut down all economic activities in the area.
He said, “we cannot continue to watch our people being killed on daily basis by tankers because of the poor state of Eleme axis of the east west road, we are calling on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency fix the road and save our people from untimely deaths as a result of the sorry state of the road, the only bridge on the road at Aleto has collapse but nothing is being done to avert the disasters faced by our people daily”.
Yaamabana also called on the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio to constitute a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission to address the development needs of the Niger Delta region, noting that the use of interim management for NDDC was “diversionary, self serving and not in the interest of the development of the Niger Delta region”.
The OYF president general also called on the Federal Government to exonerate Ken Saro-Wiwa and his compatriots who were extra-judicially murdered by the late Gen Sani Abacha military junta, and given post-humours honour as martyrs of democracy in Nigeria, while the ideals of justice they stood for should be upheld.
Also speaking, the immediate past secretary of the Ijaw Youth Council, Eastern Zone, Comrade James Tobin, who joined the protest in solidarity, decried the neglect of the East—West Road by the Federal Government, and called the immediate fixing of the road to save the teeming road users from untold pains and death.
By: Taneh Beemene
Rising Prices Push 7m Nigerians Below Poverty Line -World Bank
The World Bank has said that rising prices pushed about seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020.
This was contained in a press statement titled, ‘Critical reforms needed to reduce inflation and accelerate the recovery, says new World Bank report,’ released by the World Bank’s Senior External Affairs Officer of Nigeria, Mansir Nasir.
The press statement was released, yesterday, in line with the latest World Bank Nigeria Development Update.
It was acknowledged that the Federal Government “took measures to protect the economy against a much deeper recession” but it was recommended that certain policies should be set for a strong recovery.”
The statement read, “The NDU, titled ‘Resilience through Reforms,’ notes that in 2020, the Nigerian economy experienced a shallower contraction of -1.8 per cent than had been projected at the beginning of the pandemic (-3.2 per cent). Although the economy started to grow again, prices are increasing rapidly, severely impacting Nigerian households.
“As of April, 2021, the inflation rate was the highest in four years. Food prices accounted for over 60% of the total increase in inflation. Rising prices have pushed an estimated seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020 alone.”
Quoted in the statement, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, identified some of the challenges faced by the country and recommended a way forward.
“Nigeria faces interlinked challenges in relation to inflation, limited job opportunities, and insecurity.
“While the government has made efforts to reduce the effect of these by advancing long-delayed policy reforms, it is clear that these reforms will have to be sustained and deepened for Nigeria to realise its development potential,” Chaudhuri said.
Also quoted is the World Bank Lead Economist for Nigeria and co-author of the NDU, Marco Hernandez, who also gave a recommendation.
“Given the urgency to reduce inflation amidst the pandemic, a policy consensus and expedite reform implementation on exchange-rate management, monetary policy, trade policy, fiscal policy, and social protection would help save lives, protect livelihoods, and ensure a faster and sustained recovery,” Hernandez said.
Inflation Dips To 17.93% In May, NBS Confirms
Nigeria’s inflation rate dropped to 17.93 per cent in May, 2021, from 18.12 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed this in its monthly Consumer Price Index report released, yesterday.
The drop in the headline inflation in May was the second consecutive month this year.
The report indicates that the consumer price index (CPI), which measures the inflation rate increased by 17.93 per cent (year-on-year) in May, 2021, which is 0.19 per cent points lower than the rate recorded in the preceding month.
According to NBS, food inflation dropped in the same month from 22.78 per cent recorded in April, 2021 to 22.28 per cent in May, 2021.
The report reads, ‘‘All items less farm produce which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce stood at 13.15 per cent in May, 2021, up by 0.41 per cent when compared with 12.74 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
‘‘The highest increases were recorded in prices of pharmaceutical products, garments, shoes and other footwear, hairdressing salons and personal grooming establishments, furniture and furnishing, carpet and other floor covering.
‘‘Others include, motor cars, Hospital services, fuels and lubricants for personal transport equipment, cleaning, repair and hire of clothing.
“Other services include personal transport equipment, gas, household textile, and non-durable household goods,” the NBS added.
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