The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has lauded men and officers of the Nigerian Armed Forces for their commitment to safeguard the sovereignty of the country and ensuring internal peace.
Wike stated this at the interdenominational church service marking the 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration, which held at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The governor said while it was good to have a date annually to appreciate and recount the contributions of the Armed Forces in ensuring that the civil populace can enjoy peaceful country, the Federal Government should do more for them.
He said the one off contributions made on such Remembrance Day was never enough to cater for those who have suffered injuries while defending the country or the families left behind by those who paid the supreme sacrifice.
“It is not easy when people would say for the sake of this country; we are willing to make sacrifices. They laid down their lives to protect us. While some of us will be sleeping, they are busy, fighting to defend the country, the sovereignty of this country.
“In the course of doing that, so many died, some got injured to the point they can’t be useful to themselves again all their life. You know how painful it is that a man goes to work with the hope that he’s coming back home, but the children are later told that they have lost their dad because he went to protect the country?
“So, we must have a special recognition for our fallen heroes and to those who are still in the Armed Forces fighting. See what is going on in Borno and Yobe states and all over the country; banditry, insurgencies!
“So, for us, we think that government should come up with something concrete that when they go out and fight, their families will know that there is something their parents have kept that will cater for their children.”
In his sermon, Bishop of Diocese of Niger Delta, Rt. Rev Wisdom Ihunwo, called on leaders in Nigeria to be like Jesus Christ who came to earth, fulfilled the dictates of His manifestos without distraction.
He said Jesus knew there were spiritual and physical challenges confronting the people, and he preached to the poor, liberated the prisoners of addiction, healed the blind and delivered the oppressed.
Ihunwo wondered why most politicians make promises they cannot keep, and become oppressors of the people by increasing sufferings.
According to him, there was so much killing; yet, nobody has been brought to justice.
He pointed out that the hope of the people was failing because even the government was unable to protect lives and property of the citizenry.
The bishop stated that Nigeria cannot be better when there was profound injustice and the leaders lack integrity, cannot promote equity, and work to reverse the magnitude of oppression in the land.
He commended Wike for embarking on massive infrastructural development projects across the state in fulfilment of his electoral promises to the people.
There were prayers of thanksgiving for God’s goodness to Nigerians, blessings for families of the fallen heroes, for the Federal Government, Rivers State, the Nigeria legion and the Armed Forces.
Nkanga’s Death Has Left A Void In N’Delta, Wike Laments
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike says the untimely death of Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) Chairman, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (rtd) has dealt a severe blow to Niger Delta struggle.
Wike made this assertion when he visited the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Emmanuel Udom at the Government House, Uyo, yesterday, to commiserate with him over the death of Nkanga and the state Chairman of PDP, Udo Ekpenyong.
The Rivers State governor said the death of the PANDEF chairman has created a deep void in the agitation for restructuring of Nigeria in line with the principle of true federalism.
“The PANDEF chairman stood for the struggle of the Niger Delta, restructuring of this country. As Rivers people, we are all from Niger Delta. We face the same problems. So, if anything happens to Akwa Ibom State, it also affects Rivers State. We have lost a voice. Whether anybody likes it or not. We have lost a voice.”
Wike, who described the death of both the PANDEF and PDP chairmen as painful, urged Udom and the people of Akwa Ibom State to take solace in God over the death of these two great sons of the state.
In appreciation of the immense contribution of the late PANDEF chairman to the Niger Delta struggle, Wike said Rivers State Government will collaborate with Akwa Ibom State Government to support his family and accord him a befitting funeral.
“My brother, we will support you to sustain the family. We will support you for the burial of the late PANDEF chairman. Rivers State Government will want to be fully involved in whatever it takes to give him a befitting burial.”
Wike, also lamented the abrupt death of Ekpenyong who was just recently elected chairman of the party in the state.
In his response, the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Emmanuel Udom, thanked Wike and Rivers State delegation for standing by the people of Akwa Ibom in their moment of grief.
Udom said the death of Nkanga, who was the Director General of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s Divine Mandate Campaign organisation 2015 and 2019, was emotionally devastating to him and the people of the state.
“He was my DG for both first term and second term. For somebody who had been your director general for first and second term, you know the man must have proven that high level of loyalty and integrity.
“What he doesn’t say in front of you, he will never say it behind you. He was that man at that level of integrity, character.”
He urged the governors of the South-South states to collaborate with the Akwa Ibom Government to give Nkanga a befitting funeral next month.
Udom, who described death as a mystery that only God understands, said he was saddened about the death of his state party chairman, who according to him epitomizes loyalty.
“In fact, my party chairman when they are introducing him, they use to call him Mr Loyalty. He was that loyal to our party. He had served the party at the national level; he started serving the party at the state level. If you want any definition for loyalty, just look for Udo Ekpenyong.”
NSCDC Uncovers 119 Gallons Of Adulterated AGO In Rivers
The Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Rivers State, Commandant Muktar Lawal says the command has uncovered an illegal dump of 119 25-liter gallons of adulterated AGO, and arrested one suspect, saying that the Special Anti-Vandal Team which specialised in identifying illegal dumps in the state, was responsible for the discovery and arrest.
A statement signed by the spokesperson of the command, Assistant Commandant Oguntuase Michael, and made available to The Tide said that at about 1500hrs on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, the anti-vandal team arrested a suspect, one Mr. Ezike Shoke, with a Volkswagen Jetta car loaded with suspected illegally-refined AGO, in gallons (25liters), 56 in number at an illegal dump situated at number 34 Arochukwu Street, Rumumasi in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state.
According to the statement, the illegal dump where the suspected products were seized was situated at a residential area making it unacceptable and dangerous for residents of the area due to the adverse health effects it poses to the people.
The statement also said that 57 empty gallons found at the crime scene were seized while investigation is ongoing to arrest all the fleeing gang members who are connected to the dastardly act.
He said that when they are arrested, they would be charged to court.
RSG Orders Civil Servants To Stay-At-Home
The Rivers State Government has directed civil servants on salary grade levels 01 to 13 to stay-at-home to check the spread of a spike in the second wave of the novel Covid-19 pandemic.
The state government’s position was made clear in a statement signed by the state Head of Service, Barrister Rufus Godwins, in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The statement, copied to the Secretary to the State Government, the Chief of Staff, Rivers State Government House, all honourable commissioners, all chairmen of commissions, all permanent secretaries, the accountant general, the auditors-general of state and local government, the surveyor-general, all special advisers and senior special assistants, all heads of non-ministerial and extra-ministerial departments, the clerk, Rivers State House of Assembly, and the Rivers State Liaison officers, Lagos and Abuja, with reference number: A.779/Vol.11/156, and dated January 19, 2021, was titled, “Stay-At-Home Directive for Officers on Salary Grade Levels 01 – 13 due to Covid-19 Pandemic Second Wave”.
The statement reads, “Following the current hike in the incidence of the Covid-19 pandemic due to the second wave of the virus, the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, has directed all civil servants on salary grade levels 01 -13, except those on indispensable essential duties to stay away from duty forthwith, while officers from grade levels 14 and above should be on duty, and assume full responsibilities for their offices until further notice.
“Accordingly, all permanent secretaries, and heads of extra-ministerial officers should ensure compliance with this directive within the strict context of the Covid-19 Protocols. This directive, which takes effect from Wednesday, January 20, 2021, shall remain in force until His Excellency, directs otherwise, please.”
By: Susan Serekara-Nwikhana
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