Fourty-five years after the assassination of Chief Samuel Kenneth Etekochay, one of the foremost advocates for the creation of the old Rivers State, a call has been made for his name to be immortalised.
Making the call in an exclusive interview with The Tide last Tuesday, Mr. Obile Samuel, son of the First Republic p olitician from Okporowo, Ogbakiri, expressed surprise why his father’s name has not been immortalised like those of Isaac Boro and others after him.
“My late father was the first person in Rivers State to be assassinated because of his belief for what has today become the Niger Delta struggle,” Obile said.
According to him, late Chief Etekochay, popularly called S.K. Etekochay, alongside late Harold Dappa Biriye and Melford Obene Okilo founded the defunct Niger Delta Congress (NDC) party, a group that championed the rights of the minorities of the Niger Delta people.
The party, he continued, later formed an alliance with the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC) under the leadership of Sir Abubaka Tafawa Balewa, the then Prime Minister of Nigeria, to form the Nigeria National Alliance (NNA).
Obile, a former Special Assistant on Sanitation Matters to the Chairman of Emohua Local Government under Engr. Chukwuemeka Woke, noted that given his father’s involvement in the creation of the old Rivers State and the Niger Delta, the history of the state and region would be incomplete without a mention of S.K. Etekochay.
“The man, S.K. Etekochay was assassinated because of his involvement in the Niger Delta struggle and creation of Rivers State.
(“Today, Rivers State has been created but noting has been done to remember him, meanwhile, streets and other structures are being named after other heros after him,” Obile said.
While commending President Goodluck Jonathan for being “the first President from the Niger Delta after years of struggle,” and Governor Chibuike Amaechi for his “visionary leadership,” he urged them to “give his late father his due by immortalizing his name.”
Late S.K. Etekochay was assassinated on the 3rd of June, 1965 at Ijebuode Junction, on his way to answer a call by Prime Minister Abubaka Tafawa Balewa, according to Odile.
NYSC Boss Charges Corps Members On Host Communities Development
The Rivers State Coordinator, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), George Mfongang, has charged Corps members serving in the State to ensure landmark improvement of the organisation of their primary assignment.
Giving the charge at the closing ceremony of the 2022 Batch C, Stream 1 Orientation Course Exercise in Port Harcourt, Mfongang urged them “to impact positively not only in the organisation, but also the lives of the people of the State”.
Mfongang, who noted the roles of corps members in places of primary assignments, said such roles would be adjudged right when they positively impact on the lives of their host communities.
According to him, the corps members imbibed and exhibited the spirit of patriotism, resilience and hardwork during the 3-Weeks course exercise and stressed the need for sustainability “to make landmark improvements in the lives of the good people of Rivers State”.
While reminding the corps members of the Oath of Allegiance they swore to in camp, Mfongang insisted that they integrate with their host communities as well as respect the culture of the people to ensure a hitch-free service year.
The State NYSC Coordinator stressed the need for corps members to keep to the rules and regulations of workplaces and remain ever guided by the provisions of the NYSC Act and Bye-laws.
“I charge you all to strive to meet up with the expectations of Nigerians in your places of primary assignments”, he stated.
Mfongang further charged the corps members to perform their duties with utmost diligence, in line with global best practices.
By: Lady Godknows Ogbulu
Health Experts Urge Parents To Vaccinate Children Against Rotavirus
A health specialist, Immunization, UNICEF, Abuja, Dr Patrick Akor, has called on parents to vaccinate their children against Rotavirus disease.
Rotavirus is a highly contagious disease among infants, and major cause of childhood morbidity and mortality.
Dr. Akor, who was speaking at a press briefing on diarrheal diseases caused by Rotavirus at the Rivers State Primary Healthcare Management Board (RSPHCMB) in Port Harcourt, yesterday, also disclosed that the disease is a key cause of malnutrition among infants.
“Rotavirus disease is a highly contagious virus that causes severe diarrhea amongst infants and children all over the world.
“It is the leading cause of childhood morbidity and mortality in developing countries and an important cause of malnutrition.
“Diarrhea accounts for 15% of under-5 mortality in Nigeria, with a prevalence rate of 18.8%. On average, over 200,000 children under the age of five die annually from diarrhea disease”, he said.
Akor, who represented the UNICEF Chief of Health, Dr Eduardo Caledes, at the briefing, further stated that majority of Rotavirus infections occur in infancy.
“In Nigeria, more than 50% of hospitalisations result from Rotavirus infection, and 77% of these Rotavirus hospitalisations occurred in infants (children under the age of one year), which is also consistent with the age epidemiology on deaths from diarrhea diseases”, he stated.
Rotavirus, he continued, “is spread mainly by faeco-oral transmission and characterised by diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and severe dehydration, which may lead to death.
“Modelling studies estimate that over 600,000 deaths between 2018-2027 can be prevented by the introduction of the Rotavirus vaccines.”
He disclosed that “UNICEF is supporting Nigeria for the procurement and supply of the Rotavirus vaccines with a total of 19 million doses of Rotavirus vaccines, which will be expected in the country before the end of the year”.
The UNICEF immunization Health Chief assured that the vaccines would be administered to children in accordance with Nigeria’s immunization schedules at 6 weeks,10 weeks and 14 weeks of age, and to other children less than one year of age.
“I would like to encourage parents and guardians to take their children to the nearest health facility for vaccination of the Rotavirus vaccines and other antigens”, he said.
Also speaking, the Deputy Programme Manager, National Emergency Routine Immunization Coordination Centre, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Ahmed-Rufai Garba, said Rotavirus is documented to be responsible for more than 25% of all diarrhea diseases.
“The number of deaths in under-5 children is really scary, but today, the Nigerian Government is providing the vaccines free for every child that’s eligible to access it”, he said.
On his part, the Rivers State Immunization Officer, Dr. Joseph Inwon Urang, stated that the Rotavirus vaccines are available in all primary and tertiary healthcare facilities that conduct immunization in Rivers State.
“The approach we’re using is Fixed Post Approach, where people come to access the vaccine.
“Immediately after the routine immunization intensification, we’ll add the Rotavirus vaccines as part of our routine immunization”, he said.
By: Sogbeba Dokubo
NDBDA MD Tasks Staff On Productivity
The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Basin Development Authority (NDBDA), Engr. Mark Daso Derefaka, has called on staff of the Authority to brace-up for the challenges of repositioning the Authority on the path of increased productivity.
Derefaka said this in a welcome address at the opening ceremony of the 56th FMWR/All River Basin Trade Group meeting in Port Harcourt.
He said the Authority has braved the odds and established No.1 Songhai farm in each of the senatorial districts, making eight so far established within the Authority’s catchment areas.
“We have started PPP arrangements with external bodies to implement our projects in various states of the region .
“As a partially commercialised RBDA, we need to think outside the box to meet-up the task ahead”, he said.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Federal Ministry of Water Resources/River Basin Development Authority’s Trade Group, Comrade Mudi Olayinka Raji, said “the union will not antagonise any management, and we have not positioned ourselves as a pressure group, but rather as a partner in progress”.
According to him, in most cases, their intentions are misunderstood.
“Our congress strongly believe that our progress and wellbeing is in the development of our various River Basin Authorities. This has left us with no other choice than to give our maximum support to the managing directors and the management as a whole”, he said.
He said further that the union is determined to achieve a better salary for its members..
Earlier in her welcome adress, the Niger Basin Development Authority Chairman, National Union of Agriculture and Allied Employees, Mrs Ifiemi Ikpaikpa, said the event provides the union another opportunity to re-evaluate the progress the agency has made in the actualisation of goverment’s set objectives, project the way foreward, and further equip staff with the necessary tools to promote industrial harmony .
She also said the union has grown in leaps and bounds as the leadership strongly believe that dialogue, negotiation, and collective bargaining are the hallmarks of a labour Union in a present day industrial relations compliant environment.
“The Union leadership under my watch has surpassed the benchmarks we set for ourselves as excellent.
“Our results speaks volumes for us, such that even in the eyes of the storm, we have kept our peace and so our focus did not shift”, she said.
Mrs Ikpaikpa also charged the management of Various River Basin Development Authorities to undertake critical assesment of the needs of their catchment areas during planning.
“Funds earmarked for projects and other development initiatives should be judiciously used for massive turnaround of facilities in our host communities”she said.
She commended members for their support so far, and also solicited their sustained cooperation to management to enable it achieve set objectives.
Highpoint of the event was the presentation of awards to some distinguish personalities .
By: John Bibor
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