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Unease In Yenagoa Over Gun Attacks

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In the past few weeks, something akin to the thug of War has been taking place in different parts of the Bayelsa State. There has been cult related fighting. Anxiety and tension has been at its peak at the state capital, Yenagoa while the stories coming from the coastal communities of the state are not different.

The incidence of atrocities and other abnormalities has become the other of the day as violence and illegalities have seemed the norm since the last two weeks in the state.

Last Weekend, unknown gunmen attacked the maternal home of the Bayelsa State governor, Chief Timipre Sylva in Okpoma Community of Brass Local Government councils, while the governor’s uncle, an 83 years-old retired major was Manhandled. The attack on the governor’s maternal home, Okpoma Community, is coming few days after the men of the Joint Military Task Force code named Operation Restore Hope were deployed into the streets of the state capital following rising cases of attacks on homes of political office holders and alleged cult killings of over seven persons in the state.

The home of the impeached Deputy Governor, Peremobowei Ebebi at Aleibiri community of Ekeremor Local Government, the home of the State chairman of the Sanitation Authority, Chief Reginal Dede in Akassa Local Council and the Senior Special Assistants to the Governor on Conflict Resolution, Mike were also attacked in the last few days.

The attack on the Okpoma home of the governor was reportedly launched at about 4.30am on Saturday by unidentified men in two speed boats. The armed youths, numbering about eighteen invaded the community and vandalised homes.

Some indigenes of the community, including the state governor, who visited the community to assess the extent of damage, claimed that though no life was lost in the incident, the State Commissioner for Information, Strategy and Orientation, Hon. Nathan Egba told newsmen after the tour of the governor to his maternal home in Okpoma to assess the damage, said the series of attacks and violent actions in the state maybe a coordinated effort by some persons to disrupt the existing peace in the state and embarrass the state governor. Egba,s aid “it is obvious that may be part of a coordinated attack to make the Bayelsa environment unsafe. The state has enjoyed peace because the state governor has invested much in sustenance of the peace and development of the state. The governor’s record at achieving and maintaining peace in the state may have threatened some individuals.”

Similarly, at the early hours of Monday, the country home of the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Hon. Nestor Binabor was attacked, even as a dynamite attack at his house did not have the desired effect on his building due to the resistance put up by the youths of the community which equally led to the killing of Mr. Esanpou Nainar in the clash at the waterside, investigations by newsmen revealed that the attackers of the home of the Speaker, situated close to the waterside of the Okunbiri Community, arrived the town at about 12.30 am in two speed boats and immediately moved to the old building owned by the Speaker to plant dynamites.

But some youths of Okunbiri, according to indigenes of the community, had mobilised and moved in two directions to stop the attack and apprehend those involved. But the invaders, according to the youths, sighted the movement and rained volley of gun shots at the youth group in the counter force boat.

The Speaker, who was deputy Speaker during the impeachment of the former deputy governor Peremobowei, however in his recuperating mood said though the threats received by the members of the house of Assembly during the impeachment exercise were reported to the State Commissioner of Police and other relevant agencies in the state, saying we received lots of text messages on plans to terminate, damage and injure many of us, even as he added that the continued violence in the state is as a result of the recent impeachment of the former deputy governor Peremobowei Ebebi.

Just as the story of insecurity was dying down, the attack on King Johnny Tumer, a close confident of Mr. President, broke out. The report was that the attackers invaded private home at Opueme in Ogbia local government area while vital documents were removed and police guiding the house were dispossessed of the weapons.

But what would have caused such large scale of violence within a short space of time in the state. Some pundits have averred that because of crunch facing the state “free money” from government unlike before are no longer vailable. This, many people believed is because government official tight hand and “chop alone’ hence the violence to draw attention. One school of thought also point to the velvet glove treatment being given to ex-militant leaders who live like kings in the government House to the exclusion of so many of their followers now roaming about in the streets.

However, The On Sunday Tide gathered that most government functionaries no longer keep money in the banks hence they constructed reservoir in the homes. This new method of keeping their loots far from the prying eyes of EFCC, was leaked to the boys. In fact this was the reason for the Akasa raid. The raid paid up handsomely, hence the attack at Okpoama and Oupeme.

The Tide On Sunday further learnt that more top functionaries may face attacks on their country homes as most of the boys they used are disenchanted because of the peanuts they are getting.

On the killings in the streets of Yenagoa, it was discovered that far from what Police described as cult war. It is something more than that. A source told The Tide On Sunday that before  the  impeachment of the former deputy governor, some ‘bad’ boys were contracted to do some jobs with promise that each of them will get two million and a ticket to travel outside the country for safety. The masters that contracted them reneged on the promised and the boys threatened to talk, and the ploy to silent them led to what has been seen as cult war.

However, a retired army colonel from the state who chose to be anonymous was of a different opinion, he said there could be fifth columnists in Chief Sylva’s administration that are sponsoring all the atrocities in other to discredit the administration. The earlier the governor fishes out this columnist the better for him.

The ex-army intelligence officer said he has spotted about three different groups working at cross-purpose; they all belong to Mr Governor’s group. According to him each of this group are competing for recognition, hence carry out a lot of activities that the governor may not be aware but is telling on his administration.

However, no matter who is responsible for the insecurity in the state, a lot of social, economic and political harm has been done. In the first place the much talked about investors may be difficult to convince on the safety of their investment in a state that more in the news for the wrong developments.

It is on this note that many believed that Chief Sylva should hearken to the suggestion of those who advocate for a cabinet reshufflement.

Political pundits are of the opinion that if nothing is done to address the situation in the state, state of emergency would not be a far fetched scenario.

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Metro

Illegal Refineries : Rivers NSCDC Parades Suspects, Impounds Vehicles

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The Anti-Vandal Unit of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Rivers State Command has arrested five suspects for their alleged involvement in illegal petroleum products.
Briefing newsmen at the Command Headquarters in Port Harcourt, the State Commandant, Basil Igwebueze hinted that the command under his watch will continue to fight relentlessly the activities of illegal oil bunkerers in the State.
He relayed that it is high time the perpetrators turned a new leaf by engaging in legal ventures instead of engaging in sabotaging the nation’s economy.
Igwebueze said the arrests were made in different locations across the State, noting that the five suspects named: Abdulrasheed Nuhu a male, 25years; Hussaini Ciroma, a male, 24years; Shamsudeen Umar, a male, 23years; Al-Amina Ismaila(M), 19years; Ibrahim Usman, male and 23years, were arrested at Alesa-Eleme-Okrika road, Eleme Local Government for laying galvanised pipes close to NNPC/PPMC line/right of way. The suspects were caught with some galvanised pipes to be connected and used for tapping crude oil.
Preliminary investigation report however revealed that the suspects carried out the act with the intention of siphoning petroleum products from the pipeline at late hours of the night.
The State Commandant said other arrests were made at East-West Road in Eleme LGA, Iwofe road, Rumuolumeni in Obio/Akpor LGA, Station Road, Water Font in Elelenwo Community, Okehi Town in Etche LGA, Location Flyover Mgbuoba Community, New Road off Ada George and Eagle Island Jetty, Port Harcourt.
Consequently, some vehicles were impounded that include Toyota Camry Car Lagos EJ297LSD with 1600 litres of AGO,and a red Mazda Saloon Car Lagos DN 30 APP while conveying 1,000 litres of AGO concealed in cellophane bags.
Also, a Toyota Sienna car with registration number Rivers NDN 797 GM conveying 2,500litres of AGO, together with a white tricycle bus with registration number BRR 553 XA conveying 500litres of AGO, together with a blue selica saloon car Rivers PHC 506 HK abandoned with 1,700 litres of AGO concealed in a cellophane bag.
Another blue and white coloured Volkswagen saloon car RIVERS PHC KNM 111 XA with 1,200 litres of AGO, a black Nissan Pathfinder Jeep RIVERS PHC 853 KK WITH 3,000 litres of AGO, a dark grey Volkswagen car RIVERS PBT 531 SY with 1,000 litres of AGO and a green colour Toyota Camry ABUJA ABJ 611 JN laden with 2,500 litres of AGO were all impounded same time.
The Command helmsman said that the suspects would be charged to court at the end of a thorough investigation while the contents and the mode of conveyance would be forfeited and proceeds remitted to Proceeds Of Crime Account (POCA).

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Body Takes Breast Cancer Awareness To PH Schools

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As the world marks Cancer Awareness Week from the February 4 annually, a non- governmental organisation (NGO), that labeled itself as Engraved Life Foundation has taken breast c ancer campaign to some schools in Port Harcourt.
So far, female students at Government Secondary School Orominike in D-line Port Harcourt and Community Secondary School at Nkpolu Oroworukwo were schooled on care and dangers of breast cancer.
The campaign covered special speeches, demonstrations and sharing of pads and accessories to the young female students aged between 12 -17 years old.
Rivers State Coordinator of the Engraved Life Foundation, Joy Roberts told The Tide Metro that the annual campaign had been over four years, and that the target this year was to reach 200,O00 students across three states of Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Lagos States.
“ So far this year in Rivers State, we have covered over 1,500 students and by the time we round up other schools of our target, the coverage will increase,” she said.
The target of the campaign she revealed is to “catch them early” – those young girls who may be vulnerable to Cancer.
Unfortunately, it’s not just Breast Cancer that is common among women. Cervical and womb cancer are also more prevalent among the female folk.
A medical doctor who joined the campaign, and who served as one of the spokeswomen, Dr. Stella Jerry said the campaign is very crucial at a time breast cancer has grown.
Dr. Jerry told the school girls to be on the alert of any changes, growth or pain in their breasts.
She related her experience years ago when she discovered a young girl of 13 years who had breast cancer.
In her words,” one of the things that put girls or women at risk is that they are black , because this kind of cancer is prevalent among black people.
“ And if you have any of your relatives with breast cancer either mother or aunty, that puts you at risk as well,” she declared.
The young medical doctor urged them to always feel their breasts for lumps or growth,” if you see any thing that is not part of the breast, please, talk to somebody or go to a health centre.”
For her, early detection is very important in the cure for cancer as she emphasised,” Breast cancer is treatable if it’s discovered early.”
Some of the students were excited after the lectures and told The Tide Metro that they will serve as ambassadors to the campaign.
Naomi Madufo, a Senior Secondary Three student of Orominike Girls said,” today I have learnt a lot, on how to care for my breasts and I will tell my sisters at home.”
Beatrice Egali, another student said her grandmum had been battling breast cancer and that from what she learnt, she would be more cautious and be on the watch out.

Kevin Nengia

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Bonny-Nembe-Bille Jetty Inferno: Frantic Search For Bodies …RSG Plans Fire Station At Waterfront

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Search for bodies of a driver and four passengers drowned last Monday during Bonny/Bille/Nembe waterfront fire outbreak has commenced, according to Chairman of the Maritime Workers, Comrade Israel Waribo Pepple.
He told The Tide Metro that the boats that were affected by the fire had been fully loaded with passengers and goods about to sail before the incident occurred.
According to him, the driver of the affected boat had not been found and they were still watching the tide to see if the drowned person(s) will float up from the depths of the river to the surface to ascertain the number of deaths.
Meanwhile, Governor of Rivers State, Sir Siminalayi Fubara says government will ensure that such incident does not occur again as it plans a fire service station at the waterfront.
Governor Fubara further expressed his determination to work with the operators of the jetty to streamline measures that will end the occurrence of these annual infernos in the area.
The governor gave the assurance through the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr. Tammy Danagogo, who represented him with top government officials on a visit to the scene of the inferno.
“Governor Fubara would have been here himself but was on another engagement. He has directed us to be here to get a first-hand report from us before he returns.”
“We have seen the situation on the ground. We have heard from the maritime workers’ chairman; the complaints and of course the recommendations he has made concerning a quick reaction time in terms of fire service response.”
“We will assess the situation in terms of what has been damaged; the building that has been completely burnt down, the damaged jetty and other items that were damaged. Be assured he will take every possible step to assuage your feelings and loss,” said Dr. Danagogo.

 

Kevin Nengia

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