Determined to ensure that the surging pockets of violence in Rivers State ahead of the general elections is contained, the Independent Electoral Commission says leadership of political parties may sign undertaking to maintain peace.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Rivers State Dame Gesila Khan stated this in Port Harcourt during an interactive session with leaderships of political parties in the state.
Responding to suggestions from almost all the leaderships of the political parties, during a question and answer session, that because of the anxiety surrounding the general election, political parties should sign an undertaking also in the state.
The leadership of the 24 political parties out of the 28 parties present at the interactive meeting also suggested to the National Orientation Agency and INEC to embark on intensive grassroots sensitisation programme to avoid low turn-out of voters during the elections.
The National Orientation Agency and INEC in the state had assured voters of adequate security arrangement and voters sensitisation ahead of next month general elections.
Mr. Oliver Wolugbamo, director of National Orientation Agency in the state, pledged a free and violence free elections contrary to the apprehension surrounding the up-coming election. He observed that Rivers State had conducted five elections and they were all free of violence, hence described the apprehension surrounding the next month as unnecessary effusion.
On her part, Dame Khan called on leaders of political parties to watch out for people or politicians wanting to foment trouble.
She said, the commission acknowledges the importance of political party consultative mechanism hence the launching of (IPAC) last year. Hence political parties should be guided by the rules and regulations as spelt out in the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and other enabling laws.
She pledged to work with them and urged them to contact her, saying my door remains open to receive your complaints instead of receiving false stories appearing to be real.
Meanwhile, the commission is set to engage 26,000 Ad hoc staffs during the next month general elections. Dame Khan said the commission has memorandum of understanding (M.o.U) with the National Youth Service Corp to use corp members for electoral activities in the state.
She said that advertisement for recruitment had been placed on the INEC website for the various categories of eligible persons required for the conduct of the election.
She further said selected applicants would be published for the purpose of public scrutiny and objections if necessary.
Police Arrest Nine Suspects For Various Crimes In Rivers
The Rivers State Police Command has paraded nine suspects for their alleged involvement in various criminal activities across the state and its environs.
Those arrested and paraded by the police include, a gang of kidnappers who lured one Adele Emmanuel from Delta State to Port Harcourt for a non-existent employment scam through Facebook.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, SP NnamdiOmoni while briefing newsmen in Port Harcourt, over the weekend, said the victim was lured from Delta State to Port Harcourt,and held him hostage in a hotel at Obeama, Oyigbo Local Government Area of the state.
According to him, operatives of the command, acting on credible information through intelligence-led policing, stormed the area and rescued the victim unhurt.
Omoni said the prime suspect, Bright Williams, aged 22 years, including the director of the hotel and a female staff were arrested during the raid in Oyigbo.
He further disclosed that men of Anti-Kidnapping Unit, working on credible intelligence, arrested the trio of Julius Amadi, IyakNayene and Gift Frank for alleged involvement in the kidnap of one Williams Etuk on September 11,2021 along Igbo-EtcheRoad while armed, adding that the Toyota Highlander Jeep the alleged kidnappers took from their victim was recovered.
The police image maker said that further investigation revealed that Julius Amadi was a member of the syndicate that kidnapped and killed a retired Army Captain whose decomposing body was recovered at Igbo-EtcheRoad last month.
Also, the duo of John Ifeanyi, aged 23; and Orji Ndukwu, aged 24; were arrested for alleged kidnap of one Michael Oladipo, 42 years; who was kidnapped on October 3, 2021, at Igwuruta in Ikwerre Local Government Area.
Omoni while briefing journalists said that the suspects were arrested at Boki in Cross River State and that the Lexus Jeep belonging to the victim was recovered, adding that the suspects would be arraigned in court as soon as investigation was concluded.
Meanwhile, Gift Frank, the wife of Ahie Frank, who was arrested for participating in alleged kidnap of the late retired Army Captain, told Journalists that she was not aware that her husband was into kidnapping business.
Gift explained that she wanted to sell the Highlander Jeep to enable her pay somebody who offered to assist get her husband out of police net without knowing that the Jeep was not owned by her husband.
The victim while speaking to newsmen, alleged that he was lured from Delta State to come for the position of secretary in a company he applied online.
The victim disclosed that on arrival in PortHarcourt sometime in November, 2021, he was kidnapped by his supposed prospective employers,stripped naked while they made video recording of him and sent to his family demanding $20,000 ransom before he was rescued by men of Anti-Kidnapping Unit in the state led by CSP Edward Shadare.
Also speaking, Bright Williams,the prime suspect in an interview with journalists disclosed that the victim contacted them through a website demanding to be linked to a homosexual.
He explained following the bait, they kidnapped and video-recorded him, with intention of extorting money from his family.
Williams added that he was not aware of the amount of money the gang leader demanded from the alleged victim.
He also exonerated the director of the hotel and the female staff of being accomplices in the crime.
The director of the hotel, in an interview with journalists, disclosed that the alleged victim and the suspects came to the hotel to drink and did not lodge in the hotel before the police raided the hotel.
By: Akujobi Amadi
Rivers NUJ Bounces Back As CTC Takes Charge
The Vice President of Nigeria Union of Journalists, Zone F, Comrade Opaka Dokubo, has finally handed over the keys to the Rivers State Council Secretariat to the Chairman, Caretaker Committee (CTC) of the council, Comrade Amaechi Okonkwo.
The handover ceremony, which was done during his maiden meeting with the CTC at the NUJ Press Centre,last Friday, was part of his efforts to resolve the impasse that has trailed the State Council election on August 12, 2021, in compliance with the directive of the National Secretariat of the union.
A statement signed by the CTC Secretary, Comrade Justice Ihunwo, quoted Dokubo as urging members of the CTC to eschew all forms of bitterness and work in harmony to ensure a hitch-free election that would usher in substantive executive of the union soonest.
He promised to work closely with the CTC and the Credentials Committee to ensure that all chapels that were financially up-to-date participate in the election, adding that no registered chapel would be denied their right to participate in the election so long as they meet the constitutional requirements to do so.
Earlier, the former Chairman of the council, Comrade Stanley Job Stanley; and former Secretary,Comrade Ike Wigodo; had in obedience to the directives of the National Secretariat, handed over the council property to the ZonalVice President, OpakaDokubo, last Wednesday.
Responding, Chairman of the CTC, Comrade AmaechiOkonkwo, thanked the zonal vice president for his ingenuity in resolving the misunderstanding in the council, and sued for co-operation of members to achieve the main target of free and fair election.
Conducting members of the CTC to the key offices and facilities in the complex, Dokubo, accompanied by both the former NUJ chairman and secretary, respectively, advised the State Executive Council (SEC) members to be prudent and transparent in the management of the facilities, and ensure that the National Secretariat gets regular briefing on the affairs of the council.
Lawmaker Wants Wike To Lead Ogoni Consultative Meeting
The member representing Khana/Gokana Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Dumnamene Robinson Dekor, says Governor Nyesom Wike is the right person to lead the planned multi-stakeholder consultative meeting between the Ogoni leaders and the federal government over resumption of oil production in OML 11.
Dekor said the controversy triggered by the choice of Governor Wike among sections of Ogoni people is unnecessary, arguing that as the chief security officer of the State, there is hardly any such high level meeting with the federal government as was the tradition in the past without involving the State governor.
The federal lawmaker, who is a former Deputy Speaker, and one time Commissioner for Works in the state recalled similar occasions when past governors including former State governor, and now Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, and his Minister for Niger Delta Affairs counterpart, Godswill Akpabio among others had been on Ogoni people’s delegation to the Presidency on issues concerning Ogoni nation.
Sensing partisan politics as the reason for opposing Gov Wike’s leadership of the multi-stakeholder consultative meeting, Dekor said this is one issue that must not be politicized.
He accused members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as architects of the seeming controversy on who should and should not lead the Ogoni delegation to the planned multi-stakeholder consultative meeting.
Dekor described those opposed to the unanimous decision of Ogoni stakeholders that Gov Wike should be at the head of the delegation as enemies of Ogoni people.
The federal lawmaker said inclusion of the governor who is the chief security officer of the state was in the interest of the Ogoni people, because it would enhance deeper and meaningful consultation with an impactful and meaningful outcome.
On the 26th Ogoni Heroes Day Anniversary, November 10, 2021, Dekor believes the Ogoni martyrs did not die in vain, positing that their blood is the seed of democracy in Nigeria and connotes respect for human dignity.
Congratulating the Ogoni people on the occasion of the death of the internationally acclaimed environmentalist, and Ogoni hero, Ken Saro-Wiwa and others who lost their lives for the sustenance of democracy in Nigeria, the house committee chairman on host communities said though Ken and his kinsmen were gone, they still live on having left lasting legacies and everlasting memories in the heart of people.
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