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2,000 Rivers Pilgrims Set For Israel

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Not fewer than 2,000 Christian pilgrims are set for pilgrimage to Israel from Rivers State before the end of this month.

The disclosure was made by the Sole Administrator of the Rivers Christian  Pilgrims Board, Monsignor John Wangbu to journalists shortly after conducting  a one day orientation workshop for the pilgrims in Port Harcourt on Monday.

According to Rev. Wamgbu the first batch of pilgrims numbering about 749 would be air lifted by 21st, 22nd and 23rd of this month to Israel for pilgrimage.

Since they would be airlifted in batches, he advised those who have not seen their names to be patient as their passport and other travelling documents are under preparation.

He stated that the first batch of names were compiled based on the passports received from the Nigeria Immigration Service.

Rev. Wamgbu who advised the pilgrims to be of good conduct during their stay in  Israel also harped on the need for them to be prudent in their spendings.

The catholic priest observed that pilgrimage was not a shopping spree but a time for spiritual refreshment and reflection.

The Christian Pilgrims Sole Administrator in Rivers State frowned at a situation where some pilgrims go the extra mile to pay for their flight tickets, saying such fees have been taken care of by the state Government.

He warned that any pilgrim who goes to pay for special flight ticket  was doing that at his or her own risk.

On the other hand, Rev. Wamgbu has debunked the news making the rounds that the current pilgrimage list in Rivers State was highly politicised.

Rev. Wamgbu said the selection of applicants for the pilgrimage was based on the criteria laid down by the board.

He said only 500 applicants were sponsored by the State Government under the auspices of the Christian Association of Nigeria, stating that other slots were given to civil servants and indigenes that qualified.

The Catholic priest while defending the rationale for government huge spending on pilgrimage remarked,” pilgrimage is aimed at bringing together all religious faiths.  I think it would not only benefit the Christians but the state as well.”

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Indian Police Nab Nigerian With N1.8m Cocaine …As NDLEA Intercepts 12,385kg Drugs In Lagos

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Another Nigerian, Kehinde Sadiq Idris, 26, has been arrested by the Prune City Police in India for alleged possession of cocaine worth Rs3.46 lakh (N1.9million).
It was gathered that a patrolling team of the Anti-Narcotics Cell and Uttamnagar police station intercepted a two-wheeler at Kutje around 2am, last Saturday.
The two-wheeler rider tried to escape from the spot, cops nabbed him.
It said during searches, they recovered 23.9grammes of cocaine worth Rs3,46,350 from his possession.
Police also seized his vehicle, two cell phones and cash of Rs6,000 from him.
The online portal said an offence was lodged against him at the Uttamnagar police station under sections of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
Police Inspector VinayakGaikwad said the accused has been arrested earlier in a case of illegal drugs trade.
Similarly, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has announced the seizure of 12,385kilogrammes of Loud Cannabis, a strong variant of the illicit weed imported from a neighbouring country and smuggled into Lagos through the waterways.
The seizure, which took place at the weekend, according to the agency, was based on credible intelligence that 12, 385 pellets of Loud Cannabis were brought in from the West African country through the ocean and ferried with boats to the Eko Atlantic Beach, Victoria Island from where they would be distributed to drug hot spots such as Island, Peti Alagba and others across Lagos and other states.
A statement by the Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, yesterday, said over 50 narcotic officers stormed the beach on Saturday, November 27, 2021, recovered the consignments along with two long trucks, a Toyota Sienna bus and arrested three suspects.
“Those arrested include: AbdulkadriZakari, 24; Ka’abuSausu, 45 and Lawrence Adie, 27.
“In the same vein, a 70-year-old woman, Mrs. Beatrice Aigbedion was among suspects arrested in parts of Edo in connection with the seizure of over 5,000kilogrammes of assorted illicit drugs across the state.
“After days of surveillance, NDLEA operatives, last Wednesday, stormed a warehouse at Uhiere, Ovia North East Local Government Area of the state, where they recovered a total of 4,261.5kg of cannabis sativa and a suspect, Ikong Stanley, arrested.
“The previous day, 1,240kg was equally seized at a warehouse in Uzebba, Owan West LGA of the state.
“At the point of her arrest in Irrua, last Wednesday, Mrs.Aigbedion was caught with different quantities of Codeine cough syrup, Swinol and Rohypnol while another dealer, Joseph Onyemaechi, 50, was also nabbed at IkpobaOkha, Upper Sakponba-Benin City, last Friday, with different types of psychotropic substances weighing 2.055kg.
“Similarly, Gabriel Akioya and Isa Salihu were arrested, last Thursday, at Irrua, Esan Central LGA with various quantities of Codeine, Tramadol, Swinol and Rohypnol.
“In Delta State, operatives raided Hampton Towers and Spa Hotel, OkpanamRoad, Asaba where DobedientEtumudor and Thompson Chukwuemeka were arrested with different quantities of psychoactive substances, while another dealer, Emeka Ben was nabbed with 4.7grammes of Methamphetamine along Asaba – IbusaRoad.
“Other suspects arrested, last Thursday, in the state for dealing in Meth, Cannabis, Cocaine, and Heroin include IfeanyiOdibe, UcheOnwurah, and Justice Obika.
“In Kano, a drug dealer, AlhajiBukar Malan Abdu, was arrested and 143kilogrammes of cannabis recovered from him while 466kg of same drug was seized in the home of one Bashir Shuaibu, an indigene of Edo State but resident in Kano, who deals in Cannabis sativa.
“On Thursday, a drug dealer in Maiduguri, BornoState, Chima Obi was arrested in a follow up operation following the seizure of his drug consignment, 73.2kg codeine, at an NDLEA checkpoint in Postiskum, YobeState same day”.
In his reaction to the arrests and huge seizures in Lagos, Edo, Delta, Kano and Yobe states, Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig.-Gen. Mohammed BubaMarwa (rtd) commended the officers and men involved in the operations, and urged them along with their compatriots in other commands not to rest on their oars.
He charged them to always strive to record greater feats until the drug supply and drug demand reduction targets of the agency are fully achieved.

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#EndSARS Report: SERAP, 116 Others Sue Buhari, Want Arrest, Prosecution Of Suspects

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and 116 concerned Nigerians have filed a lawsuit asking the Federal High Court in Abuja to “direct and compel President MuhammaduBuhari to take immediate steps to ensure the arrest of soldiers and police officers indicted by the Lagos #EndSARS panel report for the shooting of peaceful protesters at the Lekki toll-gate, and police brutality cases.”
In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1482/2021 filed, last Friday, SERAP is also asking the court to “direct and compel President Buhari to bring to justice anyone suspected to be responsible for the shooting of peaceful protesters, and to ensure access to justice and effective remedies for victims, including adequate compensation.”
In the suit, SERAP is arguing that: “It is in the interest of justice to grant this application, as it would improve respect for Nigerians’ rights, the rule of law, and public confidence in government institutions, as well as reduce the growing culture of impunity of perpetrators.”
SERAP said: “The safety of protesters in Nigeria remains as precarious as ever, and impunity for crimes against them is growing. Impunity emboldens perpetrators. A failure to bring to justice those indicted for the shooting of peaceful protesters is, in itself, a violation of the rights to life and human dignity.”
According to SERAP: “The flagrant lack of accountability for past violations of the rights of protesters has given rise to a growing sense of powerlessness, and resentment not only among victims and their families, but among the general public.”
SERAP also said: “The failure to promptly arrest, and bring to justice those suspected to be responsible for the shooting of peaceful protesters, and to ensure access to justice and effective remedies for victims and their families amounts to a travesty of justice, as justice delayed is justice denied.”
SERAP is also seeking “an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Buhari to ensure that those still being detained solely for peacefully exercising their human rights are immediately and unconditionally released and all charges against them are dropped.
SERAP is further seeking “an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Buhari to ensure full and effective respect for the human rights of everyone across the country, including the rights to life, dignity, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association.”
Joined in the suit as Respondent is the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mr AbubakarMalami, SAN.
The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers,KolawoleOluwadare, and OpeyemiOwolabi, read in part: “The Buhari administration has the constitutional responsibility to allow victims of human rights violations to find out the truth in regard to acts committed, to know who the perpetrators of such acts are, and to obtain justice and adequate compensation.
“The right to life is an inherent, core, and non-derogable human right, regardless of the circumstances, and even in times of armed conflict or states of emergency. Summary, extrajudicial, or arbitrary executions are clearly prohibited under the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended) and international law.
“The UN Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary, and Summary Executions affirm that ‘extra-legal, arbitrary, and summary executions’ cannot be carried out under any circumstances.’
“According to the principles, ‘governments shall prohibit orders from superior officers or public authorities authorizing or inciting other persons to carry out any such extra-legal, arbitrary or summary executions.
All persons shall have the right and the duty to defy such orders.’
“International law requires that the use of lethal force, such as firearms, is an ‘extreme measure’ that should only be considered when strictly necessary in order to protect life or prevent serious injury from an imminent threat.
“Articles 2(1) and 2(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Nigeria is a state party require State Parties to ‘undertake to respect and ensure’ and provide effective remedies for violations of the rights in the Covenant.
“The remedies must be accessible and effective remedies and take into account the special vulnerability of certain categories of person.
“The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a set of principles relating to states’ obligations to the victims of serious violations of international human rights law that makes clear that states are obligated to investigate violations of international human rights law thoroughly and impartially, and where appropriate, take action against those allegedly responsible.
“States also have the duty to investigate and, if there is sufficient evidence, the duty to submit to prosecution the person allegedly responsible for violations.
“President Buhari has a constitutional duty, being the Chief Executive Officer of the Federation and the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, to ensure access to justice and effective remedies for victims, and that there is no impunity for allegations of human rights violations.”
The suit followed the submission of the Lagos #EndSARS panel report on the Lekki shooting incident and police brutality cases to the state governor, BabajideSanwo-Olu.
The leaked report is said to have indicted some soldiers and police officers for “the shooting of protesters, leading to grievous injuries and deaths.”
The panel reportedly found that “the shooting of protesters at the Lekki toll-gate on October 20, 2020 was unwarranted, excessive, provocative and unjustifiable in the circumstances of the state of the protests, which was peaceful and orderly.”
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

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Our Investment On Infrastructure, Paying Off-Banigo

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The Rivers State Government has said that its huge investment in infrastructure development was yielding significant dividends.
The state Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo stated this while playing host to a delegation of the Nigerian Association of Dermatologists and Venereology at the Government House in Port Harcourt, last Friday.
According to Banigo: “With the ongoing infrastructure development, Rivers State is fast becoming the easiest state to do business and the most secured state in the country.”
The deputy governor, who maintained that the State Chief Executive, Chief Nyesom Wike’s commitment to reduce the disease burden of the Rivers people was not negotiable, said “Our governor is healthcare-friendly, he believes that health has taken a huge bite of his budget, and I know he does as much in education, social services and security.”
On the practice of the dermatology and venereology in the country, she expressed delight that the association and its members have endeavoured to improve on the quality of life of the Nigerian society, with the promotion and application of Dermatological Sciences and Technology.
Banigo, while commending the choice of Port Harcourt to host the 2022 Annual General and Scientific Meeting of the association, said: “I thank you for choosing Port Harcourt, I do not think you have made a mistake at all, we will announce to the governor that you have also chosen him to be the patron, and I am sure in his usual manner he will be happy to receive it”.
In his remarks, the President, Nigerian Association of Dermatologists and Venereology, Dr.Tahir Mohammed said they were proud of the achievements of the state government under the leadership of Governor Nyesom Wike in the health sector where most governments pay less attention.
According to him, they were in the state to inform the deputy governor that Port Harcourt has been chosen to play host to the 2022 Annual General and Scientific Meeting of the association in collaboration with the African Society of Dermatology and Venereology.

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