Members of the Rivers State Association of the deaf have raised alarm over what they christen “marginalisation and neglect” by the state government.
Speaking to The Tide on Thursday, the Chairman of the body, Comrade Tamunoibi Chamberlain, who led a delegation of three to The Tide in Port Harcourt, said the alleged marginalisation and neglect is a result of the government’s “non-chalant attitude towards our plight.”
According to the chairman, several attempts have been made “to get through to the state government to tell them our problems so that they can help us, but nothing has come out of it.”
The crux of their plight, according to the chairman, is that no opportunity is given them to prove themselves suitable for employment, even after the body officially registered with the Ministry of Social Development, Youth and Sports in 1994, a year after its formation.
Comrade Chamberlain noted that the body has over 400 members, out of which only five members are employed by the State Governments, at the School for the Deaf.
He explained that over 2oo of the members have completed their secondary education, ten of them have National Diplomas and National Certificate of Education (NCE), while only one is a first degree holder in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN).
The body, also has “over 35 members who are skilled in various fields that could earn them employment if given the opportunity”, he said.
Chamberlain continued that “because of the neglect, some of our members are compelled to go into such areas as street begging and prostitution to earn a living.
“We are not begging them (government) to come and give us money. All we want is for government to give us the opportunity for us to have access to necessary education and job opportunities so we would not always be seen as beggers,” he said.
On his part, General Secretary of the body, Mr Akim Ade also called on the government to look into the plight of the School for the Handicapped in Creek Road, saying that the school needs facilities and competent teachers to function effectively.
“All of this adds up to the neglect because even our education is given less attention,” he said.
They thus urged, the state government to “please come to our aid by including us in the scheme of things so we can have a sense of belonging.
“I promise the government that if they can give us necessary opportunities, among other things, we can even help to rid the streets of fake beggers.”
Also present in the delegation was Mr Opuene Yellowe, the vice chairman of the body.
Police Arrest Nine Suspects For Various Crimes In Rivers
The Rivers State Police Command has paraded nine suspects for their alleged involvement in various criminal activities across the state and its environs.
Those arrested and paraded by the police include, a gang of kidnappers who lured one Adele Emmanuel from Delta State to Port Harcourt for a non-existent employment scam through Facebook.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, SP NnamdiOmoni while briefing newsmen in Port Harcourt, over the weekend, said the victim was lured from Delta State to Port Harcourt,and held him hostage in a hotel at Obeama, Oyigbo Local Government Area of the state.
According to him, operatives of the command, acting on credible information through intelligence-led policing, stormed the area and rescued the victim unhurt.
Omoni said the prime suspect, Bright Williams, aged 22 years, including the director of the hotel and a female staff were arrested during the raid in Oyigbo.
He further disclosed that men of Anti-Kidnapping Unit, working on credible intelligence, arrested the trio of Julius Amadi, IyakNayene and Gift Frank for alleged involvement in the kidnap of one Williams Etuk on September 11,2021 along Igbo-EtcheRoad while armed, adding that the Toyota Highlander Jeep the alleged kidnappers took from their victim was recovered.
The police image maker said that further investigation revealed that Julius Amadi was a member of the syndicate that kidnapped and killed a retired Army Captain whose decomposing body was recovered at Igbo-EtcheRoad last month.
Also, the duo of John Ifeanyi, aged 23; and Orji Ndukwu, aged 24; were arrested for alleged kidnap of one Michael Oladipo, 42 years; who was kidnapped on October 3, 2021, at Igwuruta in Ikwerre Local Government Area.
Omoni while briefing journalists said that the suspects were arrested at Boki in Cross River State and that the Lexus Jeep belonging to the victim was recovered, adding that the suspects would be arraigned in court as soon as investigation was concluded.
Meanwhile, Gift Frank, the wife of Ahie Frank, who was arrested for participating in alleged kidnap of the late retired Army Captain, told Journalists that she was not aware that her husband was into kidnapping business.
Gift explained that she wanted to sell the Highlander Jeep to enable her pay somebody who offered to assist get her husband out of police net without knowing that the Jeep was not owned by her husband.
The victim while speaking to newsmen, alleged that he was lured from Delta State to come for the position of secretary in a company he applied online.
The victim disclosed that on arrival in PortHarcourt sometime in November, 2021, he was kidnapped by his supposed prospective employers,stripped naked while they made video recording of him and sent to his family demanding $20,000 ransom before he was rescued by men of Anti-Kidnapping Unit in the state led by CSP Edward Shadare.
Also speaking, Bright Williams,the prime suspect in an interview with journalists disclosed that the victim contacted them through a website demanding to be linked to a homosexual.
He explained following the bait, they kidnapped and video-recorded him, with intention of extorting money from his family.
Williams added that he was not aware of the amount of money the gang leader demanded from the alleged victim.
He also exonerated the director of the hotel and the female staff of being accomplices in the crime.
The director of the hotel, in an interview with journalists, disclosed that the alleged victim and the suspects came to the hotel to drink and did not lodge in the hotel before the police raided the hotel.
By: Akujobi Amadi
Rivers NUJ Bounces Back As CTC Takes Charge
The Vice President of Nigeria Union of Journalists, Zone F, Comrade Opaka Dokubo, has finally handed over the keys to the Rivers State Council Secretariat to the Chairman, Caretaker Committee (CTC) of the council, Comrade Amaechi Okonkwo.
The handover ceremony, which was done during his maiden meeting with the CTC at the NUJ Press Centre,last Friday, was part of his efforts to resolve the impasse that has trailed the State Council election on August 12, 2021, in compliance with the directive of the National Secretariat of the union.
A statement signed by the CTC Secretary, Comrade Justice Ihunwo, quoted Dokubo as urging members of the CTC to eschew all forms of bitterness and work in harmony to ensure a hitch-free election that would usher in substantive executive of the union soonest.
He promised to work closely with the CTC and the Credentials Committee to ensure that all chapels that were financially up-to-date participate in the election, adding that no registered chapel would be denied their right to participate in the election so long as they meet the constitutional requirements to do so.
Earlier, the former Chairman of the council, Comrade Stanley Job Stanley; and former Secretary,Comrade Ike Wigodo; had in obedience to the directives of the National Secretariat, handed over the council property to the ZonalVice President, OpakaDokubo, last Wednesday.
Responding, Chairman of the CTC, Comrade AmaechiOkonkwo, thanked the zonal vice president for his ingenuity in resolving the misunderstanding in the council, and sued for co-operation of members to achieve the main target of free and fair election.
Conducting members of the CTC to the key offices and facilities in the complex, Dokubo, accompanied by both the former NUJ chairman and secretary, respectively, advised the State Executive Council (SEC) members to be prudent and transparent in the management of the facilities, and ensure that the National Secretariat gets regular briefing on the affairs of the council.
Lawmaker Wants Wike To Lead Ogoni Consultative Meeting
The member representing Khana/Gokana Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Dumnamene Robinson Dekor, says Governor Nyesom Wike is the right person to lead the planned multi-stakeholder consultative meeting between the Ogoni leaders and the federal government over resumption of oil production in OML 11.
Dekor said the controversy triggered by the choice of Governor Wike among sections of Ogoni people is unnecessary, arguing that as the chief security officer of the State, there is hardly any such high level meeting with the federal government as was the tradition in the past without involving the State governor.
The federal lawmaker, who is a former Deputy Speaker, and one time Commissioner for Works in the state recalled similar occasions when past governors including former State governor, and now Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, and his Minister for Niger Delta Affairs counterpart, Godswill Akpabio among others had been on Ogoni people’s delegation to the Presidency on issues concerning Ogoni nation.
Sensing partisan politics as the reason for opposing Gov Wike’s leadership of the multi-stakeholder consultative meeting, Dekor said this is one issue that must not be politicized.
He accused members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as architects of the seeming controversy on who should and should not lead the Ogoni delegation to the planned multi-stakeholder consultative meeting.
Dekor described those opposed to the unanimous decision of Ogoni stakeholders that Gov Wike should be at the head of the delegation as enemies of Ogoni people.
The federal lawmaker said inclusion of the governor who is the chief security officer of the state was in the interest of the Ogoni people, because it would enhance deeper and meaningful consultation with an impactful and meaningful outcome.
On the 26th Ogoni Heroes Day Anniversary, November 10, 2021, Dekor believes the Ogoni martyrs did not die in vain, positing that their blood is the seed of democracy in Nigeria and connotes respect for human dignity.
Congratulating the Ogoni people on the occasion of the death of the internationally acclaimed environmentalist, and Ogoni hero, Ken Saro-Wiwa and others who lost their lives for the sustenance of democracy in Nigeria, the house committee chairman on host communities said though Ken and his kinsmen were gone, they still live on having left lasting legacies and everlasting memories in the heart of people.
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