The Nigerian Navy
yesterday said it would assist the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in conveying sensitive and electoral materials to riverine areas of Cross River State.
Rear Adm. Henry Babalola, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Eastern Naval Command, made the remarks during a familiarisation tour of Navy units and facilities in Calabar.
Our correspondent reports that the FOC inspected the Navy Primary and Secondary Schools, Navy Hospital, barracks, Navy shipyard, among others.
Babalola, who observed some shortfall in some of the facilities inspected, expressed optimism that the Navy would address them appropriately.
Addressing officers and ratings at the end of the tour, the FOC said that the Nigerian Navy had pledged to assist INEC, if the need arose.
“The Navy will stand by INEC in areas where we will be needed to move electoral and sensitive materials to riverine areas within the state.
“We will deploy our men and keep the water safe to enable the people who live in the riverine areas to vote for candidates of their choice.
“We will also cooperate with INEC and other security agencies in Cross River to ensure that there is successful election in the state,’’ he said.
Babalola said the command would not tolerate any misconduct from officers and ratings before, during, and after the elections.
“As military men, you are to conduct yourselves in an orderly manner; it is your responsibility to be cautious and always be on alert on what goes on around you.
“Your safety is dear to us, and the image of the Navy is also very important to us,’’ he said.
He advised members of the public to be law-abiding during and after the elections, adding that they should not allow themselves to be used by politicians to cause violence.
Ayade Suspends Carnival Over Insecurity, COVID-19
Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State, Yesterday suspended the 2021 Carnival Calabar over fears of a renewed outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The governor disclosed the decision after a prolonged debate among his aides including Commissioners, special advisers special assistants, speaker of the House of Assembly, council chairmen, during an enlarged executive council meeting.
Announcing the suspension, Ayade cited the health concerns arising from the outbreak of Covid-19 variant, Omicron, as well as the prevailing security situation as reasons for the suspension.
He said he would not as a governor and leader compromise the lives and safety of the citizens for the fleeting excitement of the carnival.
Before announcing the suspension, Ayade had subjected the decision to popular votes, following which the majority of the stakeholders voted for the suspension of the carnival.
“We voted more than three times to arrive at No Carnival this year for the best interest of Cross Riverians!
“I’m sad of course as I wanted Carnival for 2021 but the majority carried the day. Dear Cross Riverians, we need to be alive first to enjoy Xmas and Carnival.
“The New Covid-19 Variant is dangerous and won’t portray a good image for the Governor who is the hero of Covid-19 prevention,” the governor told the people of the state.
One of the speakers and former Minister of Culture and Tourism, High Chief Edem Duke even opined that it would be a mockery for a state whose Commissioner for Health, Dr Betta Edu, is the Chair of Nigerian Commissioners of Health Forum to hold a carnival amidst the dangers of the new Covid-19 wave.
Lawmaker Empowers Edo Youths, Women
Senator representing Edo South Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Matthew Urhoghide, has trained and supported over 222 youths and women in the state with starter kits to commence businesses.
The training, facilitated by the senator, was sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and the Cross River Basin Development Authority, as part of the lawmaker’s effort to improve livelihood of unemployed persons in the state.
Addressing newsmen at the training session in Benin City, the senator, who is the chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, said he had so far upgraded skills and empowered over 7,000 persons across the seven local government areas that make up the senatorial district in the state.
Urhoghide, represented by Pet Eghobamien, legislative aide to the senator, said: “The programme is facilitated by Senator Matthew Urhoghide. He promised all of these things during electioneering that he will improve lives and livelihood of Edo people.
“There are different classes of participants. For metal works, we have 200 and for barbing, hair making and fashion, we have 22 persons. Those that will be trained on metal works and local fabrication will go home with N50,000. We are not giving the other ones money but we have given them full complement of what they need to start their businesses.”
Ogbomo Tona, chief resident officer, Human Resources, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, who represented the Edo State controller of the ministry, congratulated the trainees, pointing out that capacity development is key to nation building.
Items distributed were generators, sewing machines, and dryers, among others.
Pirates Kill Three, Abduct Seven Oil Workers
Gunmen, suspected to be pirates, in the early hours of Sunday, attacked two oil installations, killing three and abducting seven oil workers in Bayelsa State.
The Tide learnt that the pirates ambushed their unsuspecting victims in Okoroma and Ogbokiri-Akassa communities of Nembe and Brass Local Government Areas of Bayelsa State.
Sources close to the affected oilfields said the gunmen reportedly shot dead two staff of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company and a personnel of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
The driver of their boat, an indigene of Okoroma community, is still missing, according to the local sources who witnessed the incident.
According to the sources, in the ambush that occurred at Ogbokiri-Akassa in Brass Local Government Area, six oil workers said to have been doing maintenance job close to their platform were abducted.
The Agip oil workers and their security guards, it was gathered, came under attack at about 6 a.m., while working close to a manifold in the deep swamp.
The NSCDC spokesperson in Bayelsa, Ogbere Solomon, confirmed the incident on Sunday evening.
Mr Solomon said a civil defense officer died in the ambush, while two others, who were missing, have been found and are currently receiving treatment at a medical facility in Yenagoa.
“Yes, our officers were ambushed and attacked by some unknown pirates while on their lawful duty of providing protection to some Agip oil workers close to Obama manifold in Okoroma community of Nembe Local Government Area.
“One personnel was killed while the other two that were missing have been found and are responding to treatment,” he said.
The youth president of the Okoroma Clan, Tarinyu Joseph, said indigenes of the area had recovered the corpses of those killed.
He said those injured were taken to the hospital while the boat driver is still missing.
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