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PHED Loses 215 Transformers To Vandals

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The Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company has raised the alarm that over 215 of its electricity transformers have been vandalized in the last few weeks in Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Bayelsa and Cross River States.
To this end, the Disco has appealed to members of the public to desist from the despicable act of tampering with its network, fittings, meters, wires and especially carting away of power transformers.
The Managing Director of PHED, Dr. Henry Ajagbawa, lamented that despite the huge investment in infrastructures gulping millions to overhaul ageing assets for efficient service delivery, all effort were being stifled by the horrendous action of these vandals.
Ajagbawa regretted that despite numerous campaigns on vandalism and its associate dangers, including electrocution and untimely death, faceless individuals were still having a field day in their chosen career path of vandalism.
He warned that PHED will not relent in tackling any further case of suspected and purposeful act of vandalism hence, the company will invoke every extant laws against vandals, as vandalism of electricity assets remains a jailable crime under the Miscellaneous Offence Act, Laws of the Federation.
“In recent weeks, the company has recorded more cases of vandalism of its assets than it has ever experienced from inception in 2013, as over 215 power transformers in our franchise area have been vandalized with no end in sight.
“A grave concern for PHED is that the replacement of those vandalized power assets costing millions of naira, is capital intensive and also has the propensity to keep other responsible customers in unforeseen darkness which is a disservice.
“Assuming that the vandals are not interested or choose to ignore the gravity of their actions as law breakers, the willfull destruction and theft of critical power assets is a jail-able offence under the laws guiding public utilities.
“The general public is therefore informed that PHED is more than prepared to tackle any further case of suspected and purposeful act of vandalism hence, the vandals should be warming up for a real battle for their freedom as PHED will invoke extant laws below against the vandals.”
The PHED boss further stated that the habitual act of vandalism poses a highs risk of instigating societal crimes in such a period where the citizenry are experiencing relative peace in the State.
He assured all PHED customers that the company will continue to fulfill its promise of delivering reliable and safe power supply in all its area of coverage.
“Unrepentant vandals heading to their next destination to unleash their plot should note that vandalism is not only wrong but also absurd as the Miscellaneous Offences Act contains provisions dealing with tampering with electrical equipment.
“Clearly, Section 1(9) of the Act provides that ‘any person who unlawfully disconnects, removes, damages, tampers, meddles with or in any way whatsoever interferes with any plant, works, cables, wire or assembly of wires designed or used for transforming or converting electricity shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to be sentenced to imprisonment for life.

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WFD: RSG Assures Proactive Agric Dev Policy

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Rivers State Government has unveiled plans to embark on an aggressive agric development in across the 23 local government areas of the state.
The state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike gave this indication during this year’s World Food Day celebrations.
Against this backdrop, he called on the people of the state and entrepreneurs to invest in agriculture to create wealth, employment, and enhance food security.
Speaking through the Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Fred Kpakol, the governor charged farmers to take advantage of the vast arable land and water the state was endowed with to aggressively involve in agriculture.
The 2021 World Food Day celebration held at the Rumuodomaya Farm in Obio/Akpor, yesterday, had the theme, ‘Safe Food Today For A Healthy Tomorrow.’
The governor said, “We need to put our resources together and use the agricultural products to create wealth, create business and also generate employment.
“I want to let the world know that Rivers State is an ambiguous state with the products you have displayed here today. We also want the world to know that Rivers State is blessed with good and quality food”, Wike said.
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Fred Kpakol commended the governor for investing so much in agriculture with the construction of the Rivers State Cassava Processing Company in Afam, in Oyigbo LCA, and other agro-based projects in the state.
He noted that the cassava plant, when fully operational, would process 45,000metric tons of cassava tubers into 12,500 high-quality cassava flour that would be used by companies and would also provide Jobs for over 3,000 persons.
He said that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in partnership with the state government, had recently supplied 10,000 bundles of improved TMS419 cassava cuttings to farmers in the 23 local governments in the state.
“I want to encourage all of you that collected the high yielding cassava stems to cultivate it to provide food and raw material that will feed the Rivers State Cassava Processing Plant,” he said.
Kpakol also disclosed that the state government was constructing a state-of-the-art automated abattoir in Mgbousimini, Obio/Akpor LGA, and explained that the slaughterhouse can kill 400 cattle and 150 goats per day.
“The Mgbousimini abattoir is automated and will meet the demands of the people. It is strategically located by the seashore for easy accessibility to both the riverine and the hinterland; and it will generate revenue to the state, local government, and to individuals.
“Governor Nyesom Wike, just few days ago, approved the construction of a Veterinary Clinic and Laboratory here in Rumuodomaya, where animals and birds will be treated.
“Rivers State Government, in concert with the Benue State Government, has agreed to produce goods and services that they share different comparative advantage. They have identified rice as the goods, and modalities are in motion to produce what will be called ‘Benue/Rivers Rice.
“The state government through the Covid-19 Action Recovery Economic Stimulus, NG Cares is given access to input to poor and vulnerable households in agriculture,” Kpakol disclosed.
Kpakol further said that the state government has approved the rebuilding of the Taraba Jetty, also called Borokiri Jetty.
According to him, the governor has made recommendation of a high-profile company to handle the project.
He stated that the jetty when completed would promote deep sea and other types of fishing as well as creating employment.
Speaking earlier, the Deputy President, Port Harcourt Chambers of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (PHCCIMA), Eze Mike Elechi, had called on the government to encourage those that are into agriculture.
“Our vegetation encourages agriculture, and I wonder why people are talking about a bad economy when there is arable land to cultivate.
“I believe if we can feed ourselves, we won’t also talk about a bad economy,” he said.
He urged farmers to form association and reach out to PHCCIMA and the state Ministry of Agriculture so that they can be recognized and work with.

By: Kevin Nengia

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Three Kalabari, Emohua LG Bosses Launch Security Outfit, Friday

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In furtherance of the ongoing regional collaboration amongst the four intertwined local government areas of Emohua, Degema, Asari-Toru and Akuku-Toru, in an attempt to nip the security challenges along Emohua-Kalabari Road in the bud, the Chairman of Asari-Toru Local Government Area, Hon. Onengiyeofori George, and his counterparts from Emohua, Dr. Chidi Lloyd; Degema, Hon. Michael John Williams; and Akuku-Toru, Hon. Rowland Sekibo, have now concluded plans to launch a regional security outfit along critical state road.
The official launch ceremony has been scheduled to hold, this Friday at the Emohua Local Government Council Secretariat on the East-West Road section of the state.
The chairmen, after exhaustive discussions in a meeting, which held at the Degema Council’s Secretariat in Buguma City, last Monday, also unanimously resolved to collaborate with Lubrik Construction Company (LCC), handling the Trans-Kalabari Road construction, on the rehabilitation of the bad portions of the Emohua-Kalabari Road.
While addressing newsmen shortly after their closed-door security meeting, the Chairman of Akuku-Toru Local Government Area, Hon Rowland Sekibo said that the four LGAs have resolved to launch a regional security outfit, which would be beneficial to all and sundry who live and do business in Kalabari and in Emohua.
He said the measure was geared towards strengthening security along the Emohua-Kalabari Road to boost economic activities in the LGAs.
Sekibo further said that the security outfit would be launched and provided with operational vehicles and other security gadgets at the Emohua Council Secretariat.
He said: “Let me start by thanking my colleagues for good sacrifices we have all made in making sure we provide security for our people.
“With all pleasure, we are in Buguma, the headquarters of Asari-Toru Local Government Area, and by this, we have completed the visitation of the four LGAs.
“Today’s meeting is basically putting our words into action. Let me also use this medium to invite you all, the general public, especially people from Emohua, Degema, Asari-Toru and Akuku-Toru, that by our next meeting, we will be commissioning our regional security outfit and security regiment so people can conveniently ply that road without the fear of being kidnapped.
“I want to use this opportunity to thank Lubrik Construction Company for their collaboration in starting the remedial work on the failed sections of the Emohua-Kalabari Road, because we have identified that one of the reasons for which that ugly incident happened was due to the deplorable state of that road”, he added.
In his remarks, the Asari-Toru Local Government Chairman, Hon. Onengiyeofori George expressed delight with the progress so far made by the chairmen, and hoped that the synergy would continue to yield positive dividends for the people of the respective LGAs.
He used the opportunity to also show the LGA chairmen round the new face of the ASALGA-First Project.
Speaking at the meeting with the LG chairmen, the Managing Director of Lubrik Construction Company, Mr Haddi Chaddi pledged to provide materials and machinery for the remediation of the bad sections of the road.
It would be recalled that the LGA chairmen had met with the management of LCC at their corporate headquarters in Port Harcourt penultimate Monday in furtherance of their quest to provide security along the Emohua-Kalabari Road.
The culmination of the collaborative efforts of the council chairmen came to fruition, as heavy-duty trucks were witnessed working on the road on October 15, 2021, as earlier promised.
During an inspection tour of the repair work, the four LGA chairmen said the synergy became necessary because a section of the road had turned to target for miscreants who take advantage of the poor state of the road to perpetuate their nefarious activities.
The Emohua-Kalabari Road which is a Trunk B Road and the only road linking the three Kalahari-speaking LGAs via Emohua, has become so deplorable that motorists and other road users plying the route lament the poor condition of the road as it impacts negatively on trade and commerce within the area.

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NCC Charges Licencees On Compliance

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The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, has advised telecom licencees to comply with the laws, subsidiary legislations and other regulatory frameworks put in place by the commission to ensure a more competitive and sustainable telecoms sector.
The EVC gave the advice at a two-day tripartite dialogue of the commission tagged, ‘Talk To The Regulator (TTTR) Forum’ which held in Kano, yesterday.
The programme was attended by representatives of more than 104 telecoms licencees in various categories and segments of the telecoms market as well as consumers of telecoms services.
Danbatta said while the commission continued to engender effective regulatory environment, there was the need for licencees to support several initiatives designed to enhance market opportunities for its licencees.
“Telecoms industry sustainability can only be guaranteed where licensees ensure full and effective compliance with licence conditions and other regulatory prescriptions. So, this forum provides an opportunity to discuss areas where some of our licensees are falling short of their licence obligations, and how we can collectively improve on the present situation,” he said.
The EVC highlighted some of the key policies that have been articulated by the Federal Government, including the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS, 2020-2030); the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP, 2020-202), the Revised National Digital Identity Policy for SIM Registration, among others, and sought the licencees’ full and unalloyed commitment to ensure their successful implementation.
He also briefed the licencees about some activities which the commission was pursuing to further facilitate the achievement of its regulatory mandate.
These include the recently-launched NCC’s five-pillar Strategic Vision Plan (SVP, 2021,2025); commencement of a comprehensive review of its licensing frameworks; ongoing reviews of other key regulatory instruments to align with the rapidly emerging contemporary developments; ongoing National Identification Number (NIN) and Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) linkage exercise; as well as the ongoing efforts to launch the Fifth Generation (5G) network in Nigeria.
The NCC CEO said, as the regulator, the NCC provides the enabling environment for healthy competition in the industry.
Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, NCC, Adeleke Adewolu, who amplified Danbatta’s voice on the need for strict compliance with telecoms regulations by the licensees, said telecoms has continued to lead national economic growth through effective regulation and adherence to rules of engagement by the licensees.
Adewolu said the sector has consistently driven growth of the Nigerian economy and has provided critical infrastructure required for the digital transformation of practically all spheres of life.
He declared that in the second quarter of 2021, the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector sustained its trajectory of growth and contributed 17.9per cent to the nation’s Gross Domestic product (GDP).
Adewolu, however, identified three key factors driving the sector’s performance to include a stable policy environment engendered by various digital economy policies; a consistent tradition of firm, fair, forthright, transparent and developmental regulatory oversight provided by the NCC; as well as long-term infrastructure investment and service commitments of telecoms licensees.
“The NCC has, therefore, organised this forum to enable us to strengthen collaboration along these three lines, to enable our valued stakeholders give us feedback on ongoing initiatives and to enable you seek clarifications on issue of concern,” Adewolu said.
In his remarks, Director, Licensing and Authorisation, NCC, Mohammed Babajika, said while the commission is fully aware and committed to discharging its mandate, especially in facilitating conducive telecoms environment and guiding the industry to sustain the achievement already recorded in the industry, these can only be possible with the cooperation and support of the licensees.
Babajika said the commission recognises the importance of various service providers, hence the need to constantly engage the licensees with a view to identifying generic and unique challenges and collectively proffering solutions to them.
The overarching objective of the forum, which is in line with NCC’s vision of strategic collaboration and partnership, was to get first-hand feedback from NCC’s licensees.
The programme would be hosted in other cities across the country during the year.

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