Nigerian Association of Zoological Gardens and Wildlife Parks (NAZAP) has lauded Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike on the government’s planned rehabilitation of the Port-Harcourt Zoo to further enhance tourism potentials of the state.
The National President of the professional body, Francis Abioye who made the commendation in a statement in Owerri at the weekend described it as a welcome development to see the Port Harcourt Zoo come back to life through the determined effort of the Governor who had earmarked N472million for the rehabilitation of the Zoo.
“We must appreciate and congratulate the Governor for looking into the deplorable state of Port-Harcourt Zoo which has been neglected by successive Governments in the State thus creating bad image for us over decades, stating that any society that cares for helpless animals would definitely care for its citizens,” he said.
Abioye, however, advised the state government against contracting non experts for the execution of the project, saying that such move may encourage possible violation of standards should the Government fail to consult Wildlife experts during implementation.
The association also urged the state government to apply existing local and international laws which regulate the operations and establishment of Zoological Gardens and Wildlife Parks to achieve the desired result, adding that any violation of conventional principles may attract both local and international sanctions from regulatory bodies during accreditation.
According to the President of the association, a letter jointly signed by the association’s National President Francis Abioye, the Secretary Prince Sakiru Raji and the PRO Vitalis Ortese has already been sent to the Governor stating the association’s input to the effort of the government to revamp the zoo.
“We hope that the Bureau for Public Procurement and Intelligence in River State will ensure that such projects are carried out by experienced conservation experts. It will be counterproductive if experts in conservation are not engaged in the project implementation. Engagement of experienced professionals will guarantee the execution of the approved project in line with new guidelines for 21st century Zoo. Any unprofessional work may deny River State Zoo accreditation soonest.
“The association seeks to properly guide the government on the dangers of carrying out the upgrade of a Zoo in the 21st century without a well profiled and experience experts. It could expose members of the public, tourists and Zoo staff to serious hazards.
“As a professional body, it is one of our mandates to institutionalize standards and enforce acceptable best practice among the operators of Zoos and Wildlife Parks in Nigeria.
“We also monitor Government policies as it affects Zoos and Wildlife facilities in Nigeria and provide professional guidance to the Government. Therefore, we strive to ensure that every Zoo and Wildlife facility in Nigeria operates with acceptable best practices.
“There are new guidelines enshrined by Federal Ministry of Environment with active involvement of NAZAP. There are also international laws guiding enclosure of wild animals in captivity to place the animals in an environment most suitable for their continuous survival”, the association said.
Army Confirms Killing 16 Terrorists
The troops of Operation Fire Ball have killed 16 Boko Haram/Islamic States for West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists in recent encounters in the North East theatre of operation.
The Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brig.-Gen. Bernard Onyeuko, made this known in a statement, yesterday.
The statement was titled, ‘Operation Lafiya Dole: Troops of Operation Fire Ball neutralise several bandits, destroy gun trucks, recover large cache of arms and other items’.
Onyeuko said that four terrorists’ gun trucks were destroyed as well as recovery of a large cache of arms and ammunitions during the various encounters.
The statement read in part, “On October 21, 2020, troops of Special Response Area Gajiram deployed at Check Point Three under Sector Three decisively dealt a heavy blow on BHT/ISWAP criminal elements.
“The eagle-eyed troops who were on alert noticed unusual vehicles following the convoy of vehicles conveying Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Maiduguri Cosmopolitan City to Baga town in order to infiltrate own position.
“The troops canalised the criminals and inflicted heavy casualty on them. After the ensuing fire-fight, three Boko Haram terrorists were neutralised.
“In a related development, troops of Army Super Camp, Magumeri, decimated several Boko Haram terrorists who attacked the location. After the fierce encounter, 11 Boko Haram terrorists were neutralised.
“Similarly, On October 24, 2020, the gallant troops of Army Super Camp located at Mallam Fatori routed elements of Boko Haram/ISWAP criminal elements, who attacked their location. After the fierce battle two Boko Haram terrorists were neutralised, others escaped with gunshot wounds as traces of blood of dragged casualties by the criminals were seen during exploitation.”
The defence assured populace of the North-East zone of the determination of the High Command of the Armed Forces of Nigeria “to finally rout out the remnants of the BHT/ISWAP criminals from their enclaves”.
Wike Tasks RSIEC On Conduct Of LG Credible Polls
The newly reconstituted Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC) has been charged to ensure it conducts credible elections in compliance with the Local Government Laws of the state.
The state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, gave this charge shortly after inaugurating the reconstituted leadership of the electoral commission at the Executive Chambers of the Government House in Port Harcourt, last Friday.
The governor, who lauded eight members of the commission for their successful screening by the Rivers State House of Assembly, urged them to take the responsibility of conducting credible elections, from the ward to the local government level, seriously.
Wike explained that the inauguration of the new RSIEC became imperative following the expiration of the tenure of the previous chairman and commissioners in July, this year.
He emphasised that members of the reconstituted RSIEC must take into cognisance the fact that conducting election in the country was a herculean task, amid all kinds of threats and blackmail.
But, irrespective of this fact, he urged members of the commission not to be dispirited in the discharge of their duties.
“It is not an easy job to participate in conducting election, it is quite tasking. It requires every commitment. It is time consuming, it is energy sapping. Sometimes, in three days, you will not get home”, he pointed out.
Wike stressed that members of the commission must detach themselves from social organisations, particularly those with mixed multitude in order to avoid being accused of partisanship as all eyes would now be on them.
He disclosed that he was aware that some persons were already plotting to thwart the successful conduct of local government election in the state.
To this end, he charged the commission not to be deterred, but make sure it adheres to the provisions of the law.
“So many traps will be set for you so that election will not hold. Like I hear people are plotting that the election will not hold. That is not a problem. You do your own work.”
The governor declared that he does not have any vested interest in the election, and insisted that those who want to contest in the election must showcase themselves, and tell their people why they want to run for office and be voted for.
“Elections must be conducted as soon as possible in compliance with provisions of the Local Government Law as amended”, he added.
Wike said he would not hesitate to drop any member of the commission, if he receives petition with proof that any of them was a card carrying member of the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
“I don’t know any of you who has a PDP membership card. If I do know, I will not have appointed you”, he added.
Responding, the chairman of the commission, Justice George Omereji (rtd), lauded the governor for finding them worthy to be saddled with the responsibility to oversee the conduct of the next local government election, and promised not to disappoint the people of the state.
Shiites Dismiss Rumours Of El-Zakzaky’s Dealth
As the rumoured death of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), otherwise known as Shi’ites, Sheikh Ibraheem el-Zakzaky went wild across the country, yesterday, the group has dismissed the speculation as the handiwork of mischief makers.
The Spokesman of the IMN, Ibrahim Musa, who dispelled the rumours in a statement made available to journalists, in Abuja, yesterday, said that the, “originators of the rumour and its circulation are government-sponsored mischief makers trying to plunge the nation into further chaos.
“The Islamic Movement in Nigeria has found it necessary to dispel the rumour currently making waves of the passing away of our leader, Sheikh Ibraheem el-Zakzaky. We believe the originators of the rumour and its circulation are government-sponsored mischief makers trying to plunge the nation into further chaos.
“Sheikh Ibraheem el-Zakzaky was visited by his family members on Saturday, 24/10/2020, in the Kaduna Correctional Centre where he is being held on trumped up charges by the Kaduna State Government led by Governor Nasir el-Rufa’i.
“While the Sheikh, indeed, suffers from potentially life-threatening health challenges due to injuries to his vital organs, and the subsequent prolonged incarceration without adequate care, none of that is new.
“Clearly, this rumour is emanating from the government and its agents, intent on dragging and soiling the name of the Islamic Movement into their self-inflicted chaotic situation in the country currently, thereby causing further mayhem and unrest as a diversionary tactic”.
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