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Protect Our Democracy From Disaster, Amaechi Tells Reps

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Rivers State Governor and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has called on the National Assembly to apply political and parliamentary activism as part of their oversight functions to protect the nation’s democracy from further disasters.
He noted that the lawmakers were voted into power to help the citizens when the need arises.
Amaechi spoke Wednesday when the Chairman, House Committee on Emergency and Disasters in the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Ifedayo Abegunde led other members of the committee to pay a courtesy call on the governor at Government House, Port Harcourt.
According to him, “When you see the citizens not able to react, we must see how we will appraise them through some level of parliamentary and political activism. You seat in the parliament to think of ways to help the citizens, because, if the citizens are helpless, the parliament must be the avenue that the helpless can be redeemed, because that is the reason they were voted into power.
“The judiciary deployed judicial activism in 2007 when I got the Supreme Court Judgement. You can also be progressives in PDP. If the parliamentarians don’t do that, then one day, the citizens will wake up and start running for their lives. That is why you (Reps) and I (Amaechi) have the responsibility to repair the damage. We need to protect our democracy”, he said.
Amaechi tasked the lawmakers to see their responsibility as an extensive commitment that borders on economic, social and political disasters affecting the citizenry.
“I must say that, at different occasions, you have risen to defend democracy. You have a big assignment. The assignment is not only natural but also man-made disasters. The disasters include those in Yobe, Borno, and Adamawa. We are living in a disastrous country where there are disasters everywhere; there is even disaster in the revenue that we are sharing.
He said, “There is the huge disaster that you need to face, and that is the disaster of hunger. Nigerians are extremely hungry and we seem not to be responding positively to the problem of hunger, including the disaster that we are gradually dwindling from democracy to dictatorship.
While thanking the lawmakers for coming to the state to commiserate with the victims of Rumuwoji Market over the inferno that razed the market in which properties worth millions of Naira were destroyed, Amaechi appealed to the Federal Government to assist the state government in the development of the market and payment of compensation to those grossly affected by the December 17, 2013 inferno.
“So, when you go, having found time to come, I will urge you to thank Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, and ask the Speaker to expand the commitment of your committee so that you will help us address some of these disasters”, Amaechi said.
Explaining further, Amaechi noted that “I don’t know which one is more disastrous: The death of the children in Yobe, I think is more disastrous than any other disaster. If we take the Mile One Market inferno, we can all gather here and build a new Mile One Market, and also buy them their wares and products, but, we cannot buy the lives of the children who died in Yobe. All of us must rise to condemn this executive impunity and lawlessnes”..
Earlier, Chairman, House Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness, Hon. Ifedayo Abegunde said, the visit was predicated on the House Resolution of Thursday, January 30th, 2014, which mandated the committee to commiserate with Governor Amaechi and the victims of Rumuwoji Market inferno in Port Harcourt.
He also said the committee will assess the level of damage caused by the inferno, taking into cognizance the statistics of the affected victims with a view to seeking redress for them from the National Emergency Management Agency which the committee has constitutional power of oversight.
The committee further commended Governor Amaechi for resolving to build a befitting Rumuwoji (Mile One) Market.
They described it as one of Amaechi administration’s outstanding achievements in terms of provision of infrastructure and democracy deliverables.
“I want to assure you that the committee will do all that is humanly possible within the confines of the law to seek adequate redress for the victims of Rumuwoji Market inferno in Port Harcourt”, he added.

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Tai APC Collapses As Hundreds Return To PDP …Say They Were Blinded By Fake Promises

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Over 500 former members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Tai Local Government Area have returned to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The returnees led by the first PDP Chairman of the area, Hon Peter Gwezia, announced their return to the PDP, last Saturday, during the GDI’s sensitisation programme for the collection of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVC) at the Council Secretariat, Saakpenwa.
Speaking on behalf of the rest of the returnees while renouncing membership of the APC, Hon Peter Gwezia, said he and other APC members decided to leave the party due to failure of leadership.
While promising to work for the success of the PDP in the 2023 election, Gwezia said the APC lacked ideas, and was like a vehicle without engine, could not take them to their desired destination, hence their decision to leave the party.
In his remarks, Deputy Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Hon Chukwuemeka Aaron, who received the returnees on behalf of the Chairman, PDP Rivers State, Amb Desmond Akawor, assured them of equal treatment, saying there are no new members in the party.
“I want to welcome you all and to say that in PDP and GDI where you are today, no person is new. We all have equal status, we all have equal rights. Some of the people that were with you there doing the jamboree that came back today, they are commissioners; they have gone to the National Assembly, become chairmen of councils.
“So, having seen what our leader, Chief Nyesom Wike has done in Rivers State, and in Tai, and what your chairman of council is doing in Tai, they have come back to take their rightful position. We want to thank all of you, and to say that the party chairman and the chairman of council will integrate you into the activities of GDI”.
Also speaking, GDI President-General, Chief Bright Amaewhule, said the performance of the present administration in the state was enough testimony for any Rivers son or daughter to reckon that PDP was the only party which had their interest at heart.
Amaewhule said that of the candidates lined up for the governorship seat in the state, only the PDP Governorship candidate, Sir Siminialayi Fubara, was competent and qualified to give the state good governance from day one.
He, therefore, challenged eligible voters who have not collected their PVCs to do so as soon as possible, and prepare to cast their votes for the right party which was a master of good governance and quality projects’ delivery in the state come 2023.
The returnees, alongside GDI members from the 10 wards of Tai, including youths, women and students groups, later engaged in a wild gyration, turning the entire arena into dance frenzy.
The event also featured solidarity speeches from stakeholders among them former and current National and State Assembly members, former and serving council chairmen, former commissioners, party stalwarts, and captains of industry, among others.

By: Nelson Chukwudi

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MOSOP Tasks SPDC On Fresh Oil Spill

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Factional President of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Mr. Fegalo Nsuke, has called on Shell Petroleum Development Company (Shell) Joint Venture (JV), the oil and gas multinational company, to take full responsibility and appropriate action to curb a fresh oil spill in Bodo Community in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Nsuke, who noted that the spill was first noticed in the community early last week, blamed Shell for the spill and urged the Dutch multinational to alleviate its impact on the community, curtail its spread and commence proper remediation and compensation in accordance with global best practices.
The MOSOP leader noted that the oil spills from the Trans Niger Pipeline operated by the Shell JV, suddenly erupted within the residential area of the community, alleging that it must have been caused by equipment failure.
He observed that although the cause of the spills, which was occurring 11years after the release of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reports, was yet to be ascertained, the spills have affected residential areas and community dwellers have been asked by the MOSOP to evacuate the area, to avoid causality in case of a fire.
“This massive spill is occurring 11 years after the UNEP released a damning report exposing Shell’s devastation of the Ogoni environment.
“We have communicated with community leaders to cooperate with investigations and ensure that every detail about this spill is communicated to our secretariat as soon as possible”, he said.On his part, Executive Director, Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC), Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface, said, “the cause of the crude oil spill which occurred inside the community where people live is not yet known at this time.”

By: Tonye Nria-Dappa

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Nigeria’s Freedom Of Expression Attracting Global Attention, Buhari Claims

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The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Sunday, said it was instructive that Nigeria was attracting positive international attention as a country that promoted media freedom and freedom of expression.
He said this was premised on the government’s understanding of the important roles that information literacy and media education played in sustainable development.
According to a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari said this while pledging his “full support” for three major international events scheduled to hold in Nigeria in October and November 2022.
They include: the 2022 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s Global Media, Information Literacy Week in Abuja, in October, the first Global Conference on Cultural Tourism and Creative Industry in Lagos, as well as the second Global Association of Literary Festivals Conference, Abeokuta, in November.
In the statement titled ‘President Buhari pledges support as Nigeria hosts major cultural, tourism and literary events,’ he said the global events were opportunities to showcase the nation’s rich heritage in culture, arts, tourism and entertainment as well as advancements on media freedom.
Earlier, the Minister of Information ad Culture, Lai Mohammed, said that hosting the 2022 UNESCO Global Media, Information Literacy Week, would help to address the rising spate of fake news, misinformation and hate speech.
Expressing his delight to welcome international visitors to Nigeria, Buhari urged citizens to leverage the events to exhibit the values “that make us a unique, friendly and peace-loving people.”
The statement read in part, “Welcoming the decision by the UNESCO’s World Tourism Organisation and the Global Association of Literary Festivals to grant Nigeria the right to host these separate historic events, the President assures all relevant stakeholders and participants of the warmth and hospitality of the people of Nigeria.
“On the MIL Week, Buhari notes that it is instructive that Nigeria is attracting positive international attention as a country that promotes media freedom and freedom of expression, recognising the important roles information literacy and media education play in sustainable development.
“On the first Global Conference on Cultural Tourism and Creative Industry, the President says the rapid growth of Nigeria’s film, fashion, music, and the Information and Communications Technology sector, and the increase in international appeal and acceptance would continue to spur government to devote more resources to the sector.”
Among other initiatives, Buhari noted that the Creative Industry Financing Initiative, established by his administration and managed by the Central Bank of Nigeria in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee, had provided single-digit financing to many young Nigerians in the fields of fashion, film, music and information technology.
He noted that the $100 million re-development of the National Theatre, Lagos, into a world-class creative park is also ongoing, following the handover of the facility to the CBN and the Bankers Committee.
The President, therefore, expressed confidence that the literary world would find many good things to celebrate about Nigeria when they meet in the historic city of Abeokuta, homeland and birthplace of one of Nigeria’s finest literary icons and Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka.

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