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Port Harcourt Residents Decry Water Shortages

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The efforts of the Chibuike Amaechi-led administration in Rivers State in providing social amenities stand threatened as companies executing road projects in the State are causing severe damages to utility channels.  

Last Monday, residents of Azuabie and its adjoining communities woke up to find the water channels at Zoo Roundabout, which supply the area with water from the Trans Amadi Station reportedly burst by RCC Ltd, the company doing a road project there.

According to the Station Manager of the Trans Amadi Station, Mr. O.E. Enwere, the damage to the channel has rendered the more than 2,500 residents of the area without water with several gallons of water wasted, a situation some residents who spoke to this reporter attributed to carelessness and lack of due diligence on the part of the company.

Similarly, the water channel at Ndoki Street, off New Layout Street in the Township area of Port Harcourt was, on Thursday, November 5, 2009, allegedly burst by a construction company, Sam Owutubo Nigeria Ltd, putting about three thousand residents of the area in jeopardy of having no water.

The Rumuola/Rumuokwuta area of Port Harcourt has over the years been having persistent issues with damages done to water channels. In fact, a few months back MCC, the company reconstructing the road linking Port Harcourt/Aba Expressway to Ikwerre Road got some water channels there damaged though they were repaired shortly after.

Incidents of damage, burying and outright destruction of channels providing the people access to social amenities raises the question of adherence to due diligence and best practices in executing developmental projects with experts saying that companies doing construction projects especially roads in urban and rural areas with channels providing social amenities are supposed to relocate such channels putting them out of harm’s way.

A top functionary of this administration, who spoke on condition of anonymity, regretted this anomaly, saying “over the years it is obvious that water utilities in Port Harcourt and other parts of the State have been neglected, while some have been damaged, buried or destroyed out-rightly in the course of doing roads”.

He added that “given this negative impact the construction of roads is having on these channels, the efforts of the Ministry of Water Resources under the newly appointed Commissioner, Miss Patricia Simon-Hart, at rehabilitating water facilities and structures in the State risks being undermined except something is urgently done”.

Speaking to this reporter, residents of the affected areas unanimously called on the State Governor to intervene in the matter so that water supply could be restored to the affected areas.

Our findings indicate that with the new drive of the Ministry, the improvement in power generation across the State, and the firm resolve of the Governor Amaechi-led administration, the people of Rivers State have no business being without water as there are three water stations in Port Harcourt supplying the various parts of the State capital.   

So far, the State Ministry of Water Resources has reactivated all the water pumping stations in the Port Harcourt area with water supply resumed in parts of Port Harcourt, including Old Port Harcourt Township, Harbour Road, Marine Base, Old GRA, Ogbum-na-Abali, Trans-Amadi, Elekahia, among others.

What the State Government resolves to do about this situation stands to be seen as the clamour for restoration of the damaged water channels and calling of the erring companies to order to avoid further disruption of utilities in the State.

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June 12: DSS Issues Stern Warning Against Protest

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The Department of State Services (DSS) has warned individuals and groups planning to stage protests on June 12, Democracy Day, to desist from any violent or disruptive actions.
The warning was contained in a statement signed by the Director of Public Relations and Strategic Communications, DSS, Dr Peter Afunanya, yesterday.
The Service said it has received intelligence on plans to incite violence and disrupt public order during the protests.
The security agency vowed to maintain public safety and national security and urged citizens to resist any persuasions to engage in lawless acts.
The DSS also encouraged disgruntled persons to channel their grievances through appropriate channels and procedures.
Afunanya said: “The attention of the Department of State Services (DSS) has been drawn to plans by certain individuals and groups to stage physical protests in some parts of the country on 12th June 2024. These protests are designed with sinister objectives to coincide with the Democracy Day Celebration.
“While citizens may have the rights of assembly and expression, such freedoms should not be used to undermine public safety and national security. The determination by some non-state actors to incite mass disaffection through demonstrations that may turn violent will not be tolerated.
“Citizens are, therefore, called upon to resist any persuasions to be lawless or cause disorder and anarchy in the nation. Displeased persons are rather encouraged to appropriately channel their grievances through the right channels and procedures.
“The Service, while felicitating the government and citizens on this auspicious occasion of celebrating 25 years of unbroken democracy, calls for continued patriotism, unity and commitment to building a Nigeria of our collective dream.
“The Service will sustain collaboration with all relevant stakeholders, including sister security agencies, to maintain the peace as well as protect lives and property across the nation. Law-abiding citizens are enjoined to go about their businesses without fear.”

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Court’s CTC Validates Our Position On Amaewhule, Others -Rivers AG …Advises Media Against Misinterpretation Of Judgements

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The Rivers State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Dagogo Israel Iboroma, SAN, has said that the State High Court neither declared nor affirmed Martin Amaewhule as Speaker of the House of Assembly, stressing that the certified true copy (CTC) of court judgment validates the government’s position.
Mr Iboroma also urged media practitioners to desist from giving interpretations to court judgments by fiat, emotional or other shades of persuasions.
Rather, he advised that they should first obtain the judgement in order to read it thoroughly to gain proper understanding or at best, seek competent legal advice before going to press.
Mr Iboroma gave the advice yesterday night while briefing newsmen after obtaining the certified true copy (CTC) of the Monday court judgment in Port Harcourt.
The briefing was to restate his earlier position that there was no court ruling that ever declared or affirmed Martin Amaewhule and 26 others as members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Rivers State House of Assembly.
Iboroma said: “Yesterday (Monday), I briefed the press and made the point that there is a misrepresentation of the judgment of the High Court of Rivers State in Suit No. DHC/20/CS/2024 in social, print, and electronic media.
“My position has been confirmed and vindicated by the Certified True Copy of the court order in Suit No. DHC/20/CS/2024.”
Mr Iboroma stated that a court order embodied the enforceable decisions of a court, adding that in this case in focus, the enforceable orders of the court will necessarily entail the specific pronouncements of the court.
He listed the three orders of the court in the judgment to include: “That this Suit be and is hereby dismissed/struck out for want of jurisdiction.
“That the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) be and is hereby joined as 4th defendant.
“That the claimants’ case be and is hereby dismissed for lacking in merit.”
Mr Iboroma further said: “Contrary to the false claims and misrepresentation in social, print and electronic media, the court did not make a declaration that Martin Amaewhule is the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, neither did it make a declaration that Martin Amaewhule and 26 others are members of the Rivers State House of Assembly and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“If it were so, it would have been embodied in the court orders which have been circulated to you all and displayed by me here for the purpose of clarity.”
Mr Iboroma regretted that by the deliberate misrepresentation of yesterday (Monday), the court was painted in bad light and the public misled with such misinformation.
He said: “Whatever finding of fact that is not included in the court order is an Obiter Dictum, which has no binding force.
“Once again, I respectively urge the media to desist from giving any interpretation to any judgement without first reading the content of the judgement and seeking legal advice,” the attorney-general added.

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Sexual Harassment: Minister Drags Perm Sec Before Head Of Service

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The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar, has formally lodged a complaint with the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation regarding allegations of sexual harassment levelled against the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Ibrahim Lamuwa.
In a letter addressed to the HOCSF dated May 27, 2024, Tuggar expressed his concern over the serious nature of the allegation levelled against the permanent secretary by Mrs Simisola Ajayi.
He emphasised the importance of addressing the matter urgently and thoroughly.
The letter was titled, “Re: Official Complaint Regarding Sexual Harassment Of Mrs Simisola Fajemirokun Ajayi By Ambassador Ibrahim Adamu Lamuwa (Permanent Secretary Ministry Of Foreign Affairs.
It read, “I am compelled to write to inform you of a formal complaint against the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Ibrahim Adamu Lamuwa, on allegations of sexual harassment.
“Bearing in mind the gravity of the matter, I feel it necessary to draw your attention to it and ask that you handle it accordingly,”
The letter included an attachment of the complaint received via email, and Tuggar assured the HOCSF his full cooperation in the investigation.
“May I also assure you that I remain available to provide you with any assistance required in discharging your responsibilities,” he added.
Ajayi, had a petition dated May 29, 2024, addressed to Tuggar, accused the permanent secretary of serial sexual harrasment.
Ajayi, through her lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), called for a thorough investigation into the actions of Amb. Lamuwa.
The petition, signed by Adebayo A. Oniyelu LP of Falana & Falana’s, was titled “Request For An Investigation Of Amb. Ibrahim Lamuwa’s Conducts Of Sexual Harassment At The Place Of Work, Abuse Of Office, Official Intimidation And Discrimination.”
According to the petition, Ajayi narrated multiple instances of harassment allegedly by Lamuwa, which have created an unsafe and uncomfortable working environment.
She claimed for instance that during a policy retreat on October 7, 2023, Lamuwa allegedly made inappropriate advances towards her, suggesting she joined him in his hotel room.
He reportedly continued with inappropriate remarks throughout the retreat.
She also cited an incident on November 10, 2023, where Lamuwa allegedly invited Ajayi to travel to Hong Kong, promising significant personal benefits from the trip.

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