The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, will, tomorrow, inaugurate members of the newly reconstituted Rivers State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board.
A statement yesterday, signed by Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor on Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, indicated that the inauguration ceremony would be held at the Executive Council Chamber of Government House, Port Harcourt at 12 noon.
The statement, which also announced the reconstitution of the board, listed the new members of the pilgrims board to include Barrister Biobele Odesola as Chairman, Ven Sunday Opara as deputy Chairman, and Ven Richard Okpara as Secretary.
Other members of the board are, Dr. Harcourt Wokocha, Chief D.U. Ozah, Pastor Friday Greene, Rev. Fiberesima, Rev. Chigbu Godfrey, Rev. Peter Georgewill, and Pastor Edith Ikiroma.
The statement further advised all affected appointees to be seated at the Executive Chamber, at least, 30 minutes before the scheduled time, just as it congratulated them for their well-deserved appointment.
Naira Notes: There’s Sufficient Stock For Economic Activities, CBN Assures Nigerians
Amidst complaints by some Nigerians about scarcity of Naira notes, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says there is adequate supply of the currency.
The Tide’s source reports that CBN gave the assurance against the beckdrop of complaints by some bank customers on scarcity of Naira notes at the counters, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) Points of Sale (PoS), and Bureaux de Change (BDCs).
Some officials of Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) also claimed that the DMBs were not getting adequate supply of cash from the CBN.
But, according to a statement issued by the Corporate Communications Department of the CBN, there is no shortage of Naira notes, as there is adequate supply of the currency in the economy.
The apex bank said that the seeming currency scarcity was occasioned by large volume withdrawals of cash from various CBN branches by DMBs.
It said that panic withdrawals by bank customers was also partly responsible for the seeming scarcity.
“The attention of the CBN has been drawn to reports of alleged scarcity of
cash at banks, ATMs, PoS and BDCs in some major cities across the country.
“Our findings reveal that the seeming cash scarcity in some locations is due largely to high volume withdrawals from the CBN branches by DMBs and panic withdrawals by customers from the ATMs.
“While we note the concerns of Nigerians on the availability of cash for financial transactions, we wish to assure the public that there is sufficient stock of currency notes for economic activities in the country.
“The branches of the CBN across the country are also working to ensure the seamless circulation of cash in their respective states of operation,” it said.
The CBN advised members of the public to guard against panic withdrawals as there was sufficient stock to facilitate economic activities.
It also advised Nigerians to embrace alternative modes of payment, which would reduce pressure on using physical cash.
Meanwhile, the CBN also warned Nigerians to beware of fake Naira banknotes in circulation.
Its Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Mrs Hakama Sidi-Ali, gave the warning in a statement.
Sidi-Ali said that the counterfeit Naira notes were mainly used for transactions in food markets and other commercial centres across major cities in the country.
She said that any person found complicit in the circulation of the counterfeit currency notes would face severe sanctions.
The director said that the law provided punishment by a term of imprisonment of not less than five years, for any person found culpable of counterfeiting Naira notes or any other legal tender in Nigeria.
“The attention of the CBN) has been drawn to the circulation of counterfeit banknotes, especially higher denominations by some individuals.
“The CBN is in constant collaboration with relevant security and financial agencies to confiscate fake Naira banknotes, arrest and prosecute counterfeiters.
“Members of the public are also encouraged to report anyone suspected of having counterfeit naira notes to the nearest police station, branch of the CBN, or via email@example.com,” she said.
She enjoined all DMBs, Financial Houses and Bureaux de Change and the general public to be more vigilant.
Sidi-Ali urged them to take all necessary precautionary measures to curtail the acceptance and distribution of counterfeit notes.
“Furthermore, the general public is encouraged to embrace alternative modes of payment for day-to-day transactions to mitigate the risk of spreading counterfeit banknotes,” she said.
RSHA: Amaewhule-Led Lawmakers Defy Court Order, Elect New Leaders
The crisis rocking the Rivers State House of Assembly took a new twist on Wednesday as lawmakers loyal to the former Speaker, Martin Amaewhule, sat under tight security in the complex.
This is contrary to the court order asking the two factions of the State House of Assembly to maintain the status quo pending the determination of a suit filed by the Edison Ehie faction.
Recall that Ehie faction had obtained a court order that parties should maintain the status quo pending the determination of a suit seeking to sack Amaewhule as the House Speaker.
The Rivers Assembly had become factionalised following an unsuccessful move to impeach Governor Siminialayi Fubara.
The Amaewhule-led lawmakers are believed to be loyal to Fubara’s predecessor and political godfather, Nyesom Wike.
It was learnt that ahead of Wednesday’s sitting, cleaners had on Tuesday been deployed to clean up the Assembly complex, which had been under locks, since October 29, following an explosion in the complex the night before.
One of the cleaners said they were instructed to tidy up the complex ahead of a sitting on Wednesday.
It was gathered that the Wednesday sitting was held for about two hours as a team of riot policemen and security vans were stationed in front of the House to prevent any breaches.
It was gathered that the lawmakers elected a former Chief Whip as the new Majority Leader of the Assembly.
The member, representing Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Constituency 1, Frankline Nwabochi, was named the new Chief Whip.
An unsigned statement sent to the Assembly Press Corps obtained by The Tide said the two new principal officers accordingly took their oath of office.
Amaewhule congratulated them, charging them to be committed to their new responsibilities.
According to the statement, the lawmakers also passed the first reading of a Bill seeking to amend the Rivers State Local Government Law, No. 5 of 2018.
They also debated on the Rivers State House of Assembly Funds Management (Financial Autonomy) Bill, 2023, which passed second reading on Wednesday.
Amaewhule who described the Bill as important, expressed his conviction that Governor Fubara would assent to it after the lawmakers finally pass it.
He hinted that the governor had withheld funds meant for the Assembly for the month of November.
He said the lawmakers were determined to perform their constitutional duties despite the distractions.
He thereafter referred the Bill to the House Committee on Public Accounts for public hearing and further legislative scrutiny.
The other faction of the Assembly led by Ehie, and loyal to Fubara, had yet to react to the Wednesday development as of the time of filing this report.
Ogoni Group Mulls Recall Of Lawmakers Over Foiled Fubara’s Impeachment
An Advocacy group in Rivers State, Ogoni Development Drive (ODD), says it has begun the process to recall four Ogoni lawmakers from the Rivers House of Assembly over their alleged roles in the botched impeachment of Governor Similanayi Fubara.
The lawmakers are Dumle Maol (PDP, Gokana constituency), Barile Nwakoh (PDP, Khana), Aforji Igwe (PDP, Eleme) and Bernard Ngba (PDP, Tai).
The group’s Convener, Comrade Solomon Lenu, made this known at a news conference in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Recall that Fubara survived an alleged impeachment plot on October 30.
ODD said it had on November 10 issued a seven-day ultimatum to the four Ogoni lawmakers who partook in the plot that attempted to serve an impeachment notice to Governor Fubara.
The four lawmakers, now suspended, were asked to apologise to the Ogoni people whom they represent and to Gov. Fubara for denigrating his exalted office or risk being recalled.
“Instead of heeding this advice and embracing the olive branch extended to them, they rather embarked on an egocentric escapade,” the group said.
Lenu further said the lawmakers rather than heed to the advice by ODD, engaged in various meetings that purportedly plotted to unseat the governor.
“Governor Fubara was collectively voted for by the entire Rivers people, and as such, the action by the lawmakers has not gone well with all men and women of conscience.
“It is illogical for the erring assembly members to think it is right to impeach an innocent governor for no just cause but wrong to recall them for erring against their constituents.
“The suspended lawmakers called a bluff of ODD ultimatum, and so, we have decided to carry out this recall process in earnest, to put our democracy aright,” he said.
Lenu said the group had already reached an advanced level in sensitising and mobilising the lawmaker’s constituents to recall them.
He said that ODD had also obtained the comprehensive voters’ register of all voters in the four local government areas and constituencies.
According to him, an electronic capture form has also been created to make the petition process easier for students at various tertiary school campuses and those on holiday to sign the petition.
“So far, the response from the aggrieved constituents has been very impressive, and we shall in a few weeks’ time complete the compilation of the required signatures.
“The signatures are required for INEC to call for a referendum, which shall be carried out in branches with strict security guidance, to abort any sinister counterplot against democracy.
“We know this process is not going to be easy, but we are ready to go all the way, to create a sense of responsibility in our elected leaders,” he said.
Lenu said instilling a sense of responsibility in politicians and elected leaders would further entrench democratic tenets in the country.
The ODD convener called on the people of Ogoni to come forward and sign the petition, to end political “jamboree and illicit godfatherism” in the state.
The Tide reports that 26 lawmakers on Oct. 30 proceeded to impeach Fubara but were stopped by four pro-Fubara lawmakers led by Ehie Edison (PDP-Ahoada East II).
Mr Martins Amaewhule (Obio Akpor constituency), a close ally of a former governor, was later ousted as Speaker and Ehie sworn in as the new Speaker.
However, Amaewhule insists that he is still the Speaker of the House of Assembly, resulting in some form of confusion over the office of the Speaker.
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