The Minister of Information and Communications, Prof Dora Akunyili has tasked the media on highlighting the positive aspects of Nigeria in order to reposition the image of the country.
Prof Akunyili gave the challenge while declaring open the 6th Nigerian Guild of Editors Conference in Port Harcourt on Thursday.
The Information Minister said the mass media must join in the effort to rebrand Nigeria, stressing that as gatekeepers in the media industry, editors are expected to display transparency and high level of accountability in checking the contents of their newspapers.
She lauded the media for championing the cause of democracy and good governance in the country, recalling that Nigeria’s independence from colonial masters was also won by the mass media.
For the media to sustain the tempo, she called on the editors to engage in thorough self scrutiny as to meet up the developmental challenge in the country.
With the 2011 election fast approaching, Prof Akunyili tasked the media executives to rise up to the challenge by ensuring that the elections were free and fair.
In his remarks, Rivers State Governor, Rt Hon Chibuike Amaechi said the theme of the conference was timely considering the fact that the post amnesty poses a lot of challenges for media practitioners who are expected to check the contents of what they publish.
Amaechi said the situation in the Niger Delta is far from what many newspaper publish, hence the need for the editors to have a first had information of the situation.
He stated that the situation in the Niger Delta was peculiar and needs special attention to ameliorate the anguish of the people which arose from oil and gas exploration.
The president, Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Mr Gbenga Adefaye had earlier stated that the theme of the conference: “oil and gas, post amnesty and the Nigeria editor”, was timely as oil contributes to about 90 per cent of the country’s revenue.
Following the reforms initiated by President Jonathan, towards sustaining the post-amnesty programme editors and journalists he noted must exhibit transparency, accountability and consideration for the people and the environment as well.
The NGE president remarked that the country should emulate global best practices in the oil sector, adding , “ the way United States has treated the spill in Gulf Mexico should attract Nigeria’s attention.
Adefaye lauded the Rivers State Government, NDDC the secretary to the Government of the federation and other corporate bodies for ensuring the success of the conference.
In a related development, Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has called on the media to be accountable to the public in the reportage of events and activities in society.
Amaechi stated this yesterday in his keynote address to the Sixth All Nigerian Editors Conference in Port Harcourt which has as its theme: Oil and Gas, Post-Amnesty and the Nigerian Editor.
He pledged support for the Information Bill as long as it has a provision for criminal libel against a media practitioner that deliberately publishes what is incorrect.
The governor, who highlighted the many advantages of an accountable media culture, urged media practitioners to be accountable to the public through factual reportage of events, emphasizing that it was the same way elected officers could be held accountable to the people that elected them.
He remarked that Nigeria stands on the threshold of history towards the 2011 elections and charged the media to play its agenda setting role through their editorials in the various media organizations.
The governor explained that political parties must be prepared to show the electorate what they have done to seek for election, stressing that votes should count, for politicians to be more responsible.
The State Chief Executive noted that God has blessed Nigeria with natural resources in various parts of the country and enjoined the Nigerian Guild of Editors to push for fiscal federalism as a way of enhancing the development of the nation.
According to him, “oil and gas seems to have crippled the inherent but readily available mental capacity of our nation to engage itself fully with the lure of easy petro-dollar”, noting that the discovery of oil has ushered in misery to the Niger Delta people even as the federal government has not done any project in the state for the past 20 years.
Amaechi, who highlighted his efforts in the establishment of the social rehabilitation institute to reform misguided youths, said federal government need to move fast in its Post Amnesty Programme to enable ex-militants reintegrate into society.
Speaking, the Minister of Information and Communications, Prof Dora Akunyili urged the Nigerian Guild of Editors to celebrate Nigeria as part of efforts of rebranding the country .
She said time has come for the editors to believe in themselves and highlight some positive things that are happening in Nigeria in their publications.
On her part, the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs Ibim Semenitari thanked the Nigerian Guild of Editors for choosing Port Harcourt for their conference, and enjoined them to thank Governor Chibuike Amaechi for picking one of their members to serve in the State Executive Council.
The President, Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mr Gbenga Adefaye described the conference as an opportunity to refocus as elections are approaching, adding that editors need to put public policies on the agenda while politicians play their game.
Amaechi, who also conducted the delegates round some projects executed by the State Government, had earlier received the Nigerian Guild of Editors on a courtesy call at Government House, Port Harcourt where he charged them to be responsible in the discharge of their duties to the society.
Mexicans Set Up Labs In Nigeria To Produce Meth, Reps Confirm
House of Representatives, yesterday, explained that since 1990 the production of crystal meth had been hijacked by Mexican drug dealers, who set up laboratories in Nigeria for the production of Mkpuru Mmiri in 2016.
The lawmakers then mandated the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), to go after peddlers of Methampheramine nicknamed Mkpuru-Mmiri and other hard drugs in the country with a view to stamping them out.
The House also asked the agency to reintegrate and strategize further on its enforcement and enlightenment capacity to cover the mode and cure for meth addiction which, it said, has no medical treatment at the moment.
The resolution followed a motion titled “Urgent Need to Sensitize Nigerians on the Danger of Widespread Meth Epidemic and Effect of Crystal Meth on the Nigerian Youths”, moved by Henry Nwawuba at the plenary.
Presenting the motion, Nwawuba noted the widespread meth epidemic and the effect of crystal Meth on Nigerians, especially the youths.
He also noted the highly addictive street form of the pharma grade amphetamine and the ill-equipped handling or stopping of the spread.
“Many homes in the south east are currently facing the dangerous effect of Methampheramine nick-named Mkpuru-Mmiri which translates to seed of water.
“Crystal meth is a crystal narcotic hallucinogen that is capable of destroying a person mentally.
“An estimated 75percent of the users in our society are adversely affected and they have become a burden to their families and communities.
“Since 1990 the production of Crystal Meth has been hijacked by Mexican drug dealers who set up laboratories in Nigeria for the production of Mkpuru Mmiri in 2016.
“Methamphetamine also known as Crystal Meth or Mkpuru mmniri was developed in Japan in 1919 and grossly abused during World War II when it was issued to pilots on suicidal mission then called KamKaze.
“After the world war, it was used briefly as a medication for depression and for controlling obesity, but it was quickly abandoned and banned thereafter, especially in the 1970s.
“As a stimulant, it has a powerful euphoric effect similar to those of cocaine.
“Meth typically keeps users awake depriving them of sleep, making them react violently and takes a toll on the physical look of its users,” he said.
Contributing to the motion, the Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Toby Okechukwu asked NDLEA to trace the manufacturers and others in the chain.
“Who are the manufacturers? Where is the factory? Where is it manufactured? Who are the traders?
“When you beat young people, it is like double jeopardy. Somebody is a victim of the drug and you are still beating them.
“NDLEA should trace, and we should ensure rehabilitation of the victims and make sure we take meth out of the market.
“That is the quickest thing we can do; after taking meth out of the market, then we will know what to do with our citizens who are already victims,” he said.
Also speaking, Lynda Ikpeazu said that many youths of young ages were involved in the consumption of the drug.
“It does sound like a joke, but it is actually very serious and killing a lot of people.
“In the next 10 years, if we don’t stop it, we are going to have a zombie society.”
Join Campaign To End Violence Against Women, Girls, Banigo Tells Nigerians
Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo has called on all well- meaning citizens, especially the male folk to join the campaign to end violence against women and girls.
Banigo made this call in her goodwill message in Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday, to commemorate the 2021 International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls.
The deputy governor, who urged the male folk to be strong advocates in the quest to eliminate violence against women and girls, noted that violence against women and girls increase in the society during crises.
She said it manifests in physical, sexual and psychological means and most times perpetrated by trusted family members, while the rest of society look the other way, adding that sometimes women are also culpable when it comes to violence against fellow women.
Banigo said the state government under the leadership of Governor Nyesom Wike takes the security and wellbeing of women as top priority with zero tolerance for violence against women.
It would be recalled that November25 each year is set aside to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
It also marks the launch of 16 days of activism that would end on December 10, 2021, which is the International Human Rights Day.
The theme for this year’s celebration is: “Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!”.
Similarly, Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo has said that every girl-child must be intentional and focused in order to achieve success in life.
Banigo stated this while speaking during the Girl Child Initiative, Just Girls Talk Programme at the Government Girls Secondary School, Rumuokwuta (UBE), last Wednesday, organised by the Youth Church of the Mountain of Fire & Miracles Ministries in Port Harcourt.
Speaking through the Coordinator, Protect the Girl Child Initiative of the Deputy Governor’s Office and Senior Special Assistant to the Deputy Governor, Barrister Inegogo Fubara, Banigo said women are leaders created by God to solve problems.
“We are problem solvers, do not ever think of yourselves as being little because you are wonderfully created for a purpose. We are here to tell you that you can be whatever you want to be, but you have to work it out, education is very important and you must take it very seriously and be diligent in what you are doing”, Banigo said.
The deputy governor, who described Wike as the most gender friendly governor in the country said apart from having a female deputy, he has continued to appoint women into positions of trust and has encouraged women to run for elective positions.
Banigo commended the school authorities and the Mountain of Fire & Miracles Ministries for the putting up the Just Girls Talk Programme.
In his remarks, the Regional Overseer of the youth church, Pastor Chinedu Udechukwu said the Just Girls Talk Programme, has been going on in the church for years, noting that after the pandemic they decided to re-strategize and take it off to schools to talk to young girls about their vision and expose them to our Lord Jesus Christ who is the author and finisher of our faith.
Also speaking, the Coordinator of the Just Girls Talk Programme, Mrs. Esther Udechukwu said the Just Girl Talk was organised to enlighten young girls on the consequences inherent in premarital sex, the physical and spiritual aspects, as well as to empower and sharpen them for the future.
Police Smash Four Deadly Kidnappers In Rivers
Operatives of the Force Intelligence Response Team (IRT) in collaboration with policemen from the Rivers State Police Command, have arrested a kidnap syndicate that specialised in using Facebook and WhatsApp to lure their victims, in Port Harcourt.
The suspects admitted during interrogation to have kidnapped, tortured, raped and robbed their victims.
They admitted that their targets were usually female and that they have successfully collected ransoms from at least ten 10 female since January, 2021, with N5million their highest ransom.
The nabbed suspects are: Izunna Fidelis, 21; Humble Unity Okeregwu, 24; Izuchukwu Nwaobiri, 22; and Chibeze Nwike,23.
They were arrested in Choba and Etche areas of Rivers State.
According to the police, for suspects to get the attention of their victims, they take to their respective Facebook pages posing as foreigners working in multinational oil companies in Rivers State and professing love as well as proposed marriage to their Facebook girlfriends, all in a bid to trap them.
The police said their arrest followed report of kidnapping for ransom and the gang-rape of a 27-year-old lady identified simply as Happiness, on August 28, 2021.
According to leader of the gang, Nwaobiri, “The first thing we do is to check Facebook profiles for beautiful girls. Then, we would add them to our friend lists. Each of us works on different persons. I would start up a conversation with my supposed girl, exchange pleasantries and tell her that I worked with an oil company. I also asked if she was married or single.
“It takes time to familiarize with them, say two to three months. Thereafter, we would progress to WhatsApp chats and then telephone calls and when friendship has been established, we will invite them over to the company’s base which is a bush where they would be blindfolded and calls put across to their families.”
Nwaobiri added: “I started earlier this year because of circumstances. My mum is late, my dad has a stroke and I have been the one catering for everything. I have been involved in seven cases but succeeded in four.
“We only rape our captives if they don’t cooperate. That is, if they don’t mount pressure on their relatives to pay ransom.”
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