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Mark, IBB, Others Mourn Aikhomu

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Senate President David Mark has described the late former Chief of General Staff and Military vice president, Admiral Augustus Aikhomu, who died on Wednesday in Lagos as one of the nation’s best officers.

In a statement signed by Mr Paul Mumeh, his Chief Press Secretary, yesterday, Mark said Aikhomu was a distinguished officer who exhibited a high sense of patriotism, loyalty and commitment to the indivisibility of the nation.

“His death is a personal loss to me. I worked very closely with him and found him an accomplished officer and gentleman who was loyal and dedicated to his nation. He was a man of high moral standing.  He was a leading light and  was among the first set of officers in Africa that brought pride and honour to the continent because of his exploits and successes abroad,” Mark said.

The Senate President added that Aikhomu was one of the patriotic officers who laid the foundation for the Armed Forces of Nigeria which had become the pride of all.

He said Aikhomu as a politician, preached peace and non-violent electioneering, stressing that he eschewed rancour and bitterness in its entire ramification.

Mark urged Aikhomu’s wife, Rebecca, as well as the government and people of Edo State to take solace in the fact that the deceased left an indelible footprint on the sands of time.

Also, former Military president, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, has expressed shock over the death of his deputy, Admiral Augustus Aikhomu.

According to a statement signed by his spokesman, Prince Kassim Afegbua, the former military leader said: “I am dumbfounded with the news coming on a day when I am celebrating my 70th birthday. I have lost a trusted, loyal and extremely reliable friend and a brother in Augustus Aikhomu. I enjoyed all my years of very warm and close relationship with him. He was a professional colleague who understood where we were headed as government and went out of his way to ensure, we achieved our set goals and objectives”.

Babangida prayed that God would grant Aikhomu eternal rest and grant the family and the nation the fortitude to bear the painful and irreplaceable loss.

Also,Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole expressed shock over the death of the  former military vice president, Admiral Augustus Aikhomu.

The governor, who extolled the enviable military career of Aikhomu, said: “Although he served under a military administration, he managed to cut the image of a father figure and a man of moderate influence. In his years as a politician, he was vibrant and demonstrated a competitive spirit.’’

He commiserated with the widow, Rebecca, whom he described as a staunchly supportive spouse. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Aikhomu family at this trying moment and prayed God to grant him eternal rest,’’ the governor said.

Former Chief of General Staff (CGS) Adm. Augustus Aikhomu would be fondly remembered for his loyalty both in the military and politics, former Senate president Adolphous Wabara said.

The former Senate president prayed God to grant the elder statesman “eternal rest in his bosom” and fortitude for his family to bear the irreparable loss.

In his tribute, Gov. Babangida Aliyu of Niger described the death as a great loss.

A release, signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Malam Danladi Ndayebo, quoted the governor as saying that though Admiral Aikhomu died at the age of 72, after a prolonged illness, his death still came as a shock.

“Coming at a time when the guidance and advice of our great leaders are needed to help steer the ship of state, Admiral Aikhomu’s death is a big blow. But we are comforted that the great values he left behind will serve as guiding light not only to his former colleagues in the military but to the entire nation.”

Aliyu described Aikhomu as a loyal and dedicated deputy who supported former President Ibrahim Babangida in the re-engineering of Nigeria with resultant legacies in all sectors of the economy.

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party has described the death of the former Military Vice President of Nigeria, Admiral Augustus Aikhomu (Rtd), as a huge loss to the nation.

A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the Party, Prof. Rufai Ahmed Alkali described the late former Vice President as a statesman whose critical roles as  vice president between 1986 – 1993 contributed in no small measure to the growth and development of Nigeria.

According to the statement, the Acting National Chairman of the PDP, Alh. Abubakar Kawu Baraje and the Party’s National Working Committee deeply regret the passing away of Admiral Aikhomu whose years of committed service to the Nigerian Navy and the nation is a lesson in patriotism.

The PDP further prayed Almighty God to grant him eternal rest and comfort his family, the Government and people of Edo State, as well as the nation.

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Substance Abuse Becoming Thing Of Concern -Odu

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Rivers State Deputy Governor, Prof. Ngozi Nma Odu, has lauded the important role pharmacists play in the wellbeing of the society.
Odu gave this commendation while playing host to members of Association of Lady Pharmacists of Nigeria, Rivers State Branch at the Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The deputy governor said while others are sleeping, pharmacists work hard “to ensure we all live in a better society, especially when you talk about the dangers of substance abuse.”
Odu stressed that, “It is really becoming a thing of great concern because of the level of children getting involved in this thing. It is even coming down to primary schools which now increases the burden of what you are doing, so we appreciate you for what you are doing for the society which we all are living in.”
The deputy governor extolled the lady pharmacists for the scholarship scheme they were sponsoring, noting that it was “amazing because when you change the narrative of somebody’s life, you become what they call a destiny helper.”
The deputy governor added, “So, for me, it is something I would encourage. Even the Bible says when you do it for them you have done unto God. It is a thing we get a lot of blessings out off, you may not see it now but some day it will definitely come.”
She expressed gratitude to them for their support for the Fubara-led administration which according to her has continued to spur them into action.
“Let me thank you for upholding the governor and myself in prayers, because without prayers we won’t be here, many people have prayed and God has heard, please do not stop, even for good governance, we need God to grant us the wisdom and knowledge of what to do”, she said.
In her remarks, Chairman of the Rivers State Branch of Association of Lady Pharmacists of Nigeria, Ebelechukwu Odom, said they were at the Government House to identify with the Governor Fubara-led administration in the ongoing restructuring of the state, and pledged their allegiance and unflinching support to the administration.
She assured that they would utilize the competences of Lady Pharmacists in Rivers State and synergize with partners for improvement in health, education, research development and socio-economic wellbeing of humanity through relevant and appropriate interventions, projects and programmes.

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RSG Denies Rumours Of Cholera Outbreak In Soku

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The Rivers State Government says it is not aware of any cholera outbreak in Soku community in the Akuku Toru Local Government Area of the State.
This was contained in a statement made available to newsmen in Port Harcourt by the State Ministry of Health.
According to the statement signed by the Commissioner for Health, Dr Adaeze Chidinma Oreh, the clarification was necessary following numerous enquiries from the media over a purported outbreak of cholera in Soku community.
The statement read in part, “The Rivers State Ministry of Health has received numerous enquiries from the Press regarding an alleged outbreak of cholera in Soku community in Akuku Toru Local Government Area.
“Public health teams dispatched to investigate these alleged cases and deaths have so far received no confirmation of such.”
While describing cholera as a waterborne infectious disease, the commissioner said that the disease is notifiable, warranting escalating reports from disease surveillance and notification officers at the community level.
The statement clarified that the ongoing medical outreach in Soku community is in no way related to any outbreak of cholera.
“Outreaches have always been a way of getting accessible health care to underserved and vulnerable population, however, all such outreach activities must be conducted with approval from and in collaboration with the State Ministry of Health and as such no entity should be conducting outreaches outside the coordination of the ministry”, it warned.
The ministry further said that all infectious diseases of this nature are reported, managed and escalated by the Rivers State Ministry of Health.
Dr. Oreh said the statement should serve as a strong warning to anyone conducting or planning health activities without due recourse to the Rivers State Ministry of Health.
She added that any such activities found to be carried out without the knowledge and clearance of the State Ministry of Health will be fully investigated and dealt with in order to ensure the protection of the lives of the people.
“Therefore, the general public and members of the Press are advised to disregard the rumours making the round on an ongoing outbreak of cholera and the death of some citizens of Soku community in Akuku Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State as it is presently unfounded, misguided and capable of causing panic amongst citizens and residents.
“The general public is thus urged to remain calm and rest assured that the Rivers State Ministry of Health will continue to be a veritable source of public health information in the state”, the statement concluded.

John Bibor

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Bill On State Police Scales Second Reading

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The House of Representatives, yesterday, passed for second reading a bill to provide for the establishment of state police in the country.
Sponsored by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Benjamin Kalu and 14 others, the bill seeks to alter the relevant Sections of the 1999 Constitution to pave the way for states to establish their own policing outfits.
As lawmakers took turns to contribute to the debate on the floor of the House during yesterday’s plenary, Kalu who stood in for the Speaker, Abbas Tajudeen, urged members to look beyond political ambitions and think about the safety of Nigerians and Nigeria.
Also speaking, Babajimi Benson (APC, Lagos) said, “It is the job of the police to maintain law and order. We have a population of over 200m people but we have a police strength that is less than 400,000. State Police should be created to address the internal security challenges of Nigeria.”

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