The Rivers State Government has launched the “Operation Kill All Rats’ to check the rising incidence of Lassa Fever in the state.
The Commissioner for Environment, Prof Roseline Konya, who said this in a press briefing in her office in Port Harcourt, also said that this will check the spread of the Lassa Fever virus.
She said that apart from Lassa Fever, rat is also a vector for other diseases such as urine typhoid, Eboni Plague Fever and others, adding that to check the spread of these diseases, rats must be removed from our environment.
Konya said that caretaker committee chairmen of the 23 local government councils have been directed to enforce the ‘Operation Kill All Rats’ campaign in their respective areas.
According to her, the council chairmen have been charged to ensure that all communities are kept clean, while refuse dumpsite are cleared and fumigated to ensure that there are no more breeding grounds for rats and other vectors.
She also urged residents of the state to keep their surrounding clean, by clearing all bushes around their homes, while all holes and crevics in individual houses should be properly covered to ensure no hiding place for rats.
The commissioner, who warned against further consumption of rats, also said that people must no longer use bare-hands to remove dead rats, while food must be properly covered by households across the state.
Konya said that the ministry would ensure regular fumigation of the environment, while refuse contractors will be made to ensure prompt and immediate evacuation and disposal of refuse in the state.
She also said that environmental health officers will be dispatched to markets every Thursday to ensure proper disposal of refuse and called for regular hand washing and use of sanitizers by the people.
Meanwhile, the Rivers Commissioner for Health, Dr Theophilus Odagme, said yesterday that daughter of a Lassa Fever victim had been taken into a temporary holding centre for close observation.
Odagme told newsmen in Port Harcourt that the middle aged girl was close to one of the three victims affected by the ravaging fever.
“We have kept her at a one of the three temporary holding centres for close observation. Samples has been taken from her and we are still waiting for the results of the test.
“For now, she cannot be said to have come down with lassa fever, until the result of the test is out. But, we have kept her on close observation and monitoring,’’ he said.
The commissioner noted that field officers from the state Ministry of Health were monitoring 250 contacts to ascertain their status.
“Our contact-tracing team has been monitoring 250 persons by checking their temperatures or symptoms suggestive of the fever. But right now, none of them is positive.
“ We will continue to monitor and observe them for 21 days in order to ensure that there is no trace of the disease in them,’’ he said.
Odagme also said that government was renovating the main treatment centre at Odohia, in Emohua LG, used to attend to Ebola patients two years ago.
“The centre is not in good shape. Renovation is on going there as we speak. We set up three temporary centres to treat the few cases we have,’’ he said.
However, as part of measures to check the menace of Lassa Fever in the state, Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Dr Austin Tam- George says sensitization campaign are now targeted on restaurants and markets.
Speaking with newsmen in Government House, Port Harcourt, Dr. Tam-George regretted the death of medical doctor last week from the disease but assured that government was not resting on its oars to put the virus in check.
He stated that his ministry and that of health were working in collaboration to raise awareness of residents on the virus, “ We have gone out to tell people exactly what they should do. They should avoid the presence of rats in their neighborhoods, cover the food they eat. Anywhere they suspect that the food may have been tampered by rats they should avoid such food completely. They should make sure they cook their food very well. If there are fruits or foods half eaten by rat, they should throw them away,” he said.
Maintained that the Ministry of Information and Communications will continue to raise awareness, noting that the death of the medical doctor underscores the need to fight the virus.
Recall that early this month, Lassa Fever claimed the lives of a mother and her two weeks old baby in Tai Local Government. Area.
The death of a medical doctor last week at the Braithwaite Special Memorial Hospital in Port Harcourt swelled the death toll from the deadly virus to three
Meanwhile, the commissioner has described the visit of the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God Pastor Enoch Adeboye to Governor Nyesom Wike as an affirmation of the administration vision make God its source of power.
The commissioner explained that since assuming office, Governor Wike has made God the pillar of his administration, stressing that the administration constantly believes that whatever it does must have the approval of God.
Tam George further remarked, “as Christians, we may be engaged in administration but we put Christian values first, and these Christian values are traceable to the Bible. That is why we put God first in all things we do. This is a God fearing administration.”
He described Adeboye as a highly respected man of God who leads a large church with huge membership in Rivers State.
The commissioner assured that the Wike administration will do all it can to collaborate with the church for effective governance in the state.
Again, RSG Begins Unveiling, Flag-Off Of Nine Key Projects, ’Morrow
The Rivers State Government has rolled out the drums to herald another phase of official commissioning of key projects embarked upon by the Governor Nyesom Wike-led administration in the state.
A statement by the state government said that the process is in continuation of the commissioning and flag-off of projects by Governor Nyesom Wike.
It indicated that Rumuola flyover would be commissioned tomorrow, while the GRA flyover would be commissioned on Saturday.
The also stated that the government would commission the Ezimgbu Road on Monday, December 13, 2021; with another commissioning of Tombia Road Extension scheduled for Tuesday, December 14, 2021.
The statement said that the governor would commission the Safe Home, Borikiri, Port Harcourt on Wednesday, December 15; while on Thursday, December 16, 2021, the governor would commission the Odokwu internal roads.
Also, the governor would continue the flag-off of key infrastructure projects with Chokocho-Igbodo Road slated for Monday, December 20, 2021; Oyigbo-Okoloma Road on Wednesday, December 22, 2021; and Magistrates’ Court Complex, Port Harcourt on Thursday, December 23, 2021.
Wike Justifies N7bn Libel Suit Against THISDAY
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, yesterday, appeared before the state High Court in Port Harcourt, to testify as a witness in an N7billion libel suit against THISDAY Newspaper.
Wike said he was in court to seek justice and clear his name as a person from the malicious publication by THISDAY Newspaper, which portrayed him as deceitful, untrustworthy person, who exerts subterranean influences on judicial matters and over court sittings in Port Harcourt.
It would be recalled that Wike had in August, 2020, slammed a N7billion suit being damages for libel written and published in THISDAY’s Tuesday, June 23, 2020 edition captioned, “With Wike, Obaseki Meets His PDP’s Waterloo; Almost.”
The defendants in the suit are THISDAY Newspapers Limited, Leaders and Company Limited, Davidson Iriekpan, Chuks Okocha and Adibe Emenyonu.
Wike, while testifying as witness in suit No. PHC/1505/CS/2020 before the court presided over by Justice A. Enebeli, asserted that the defendants maliciously and falsely portrayed him as an unreliable friend/person.
“When you say somebody cannot be trusted; that cannot be a fair comment. When you say somebody is influencing the Judiciary, that cannot be a fair comment”, the governor said.
In his written statement on oath, Wike had stated that the defendants had accused him of influencing the decision of the court sitting in Port Harcourt that granted an injunction restraining Godwin Obaseki from participating in the primaries of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State in 2020.
He stated that the defendants maliciously accused him of undemocratically exerting influence on the primaries process of PDP in Edo State in aid of his ally, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, who was the beneficiary of the court order restraining Obaseki from participating in the PDP primaries.
The governor, who told the court that he was not even aware of the aforementioned suit by Ogbeide-Ihama against Obaseki, said the publication was reckless, false and without regards for the truth.
According to him, contrary to well-known journalistic tradition and practices, the defendants did not investigate properly to ensure the information they relied on was accurate.
“They did not seek to verify the facts from me or in any manner oblige me with the opportunity to state my own side of the story before proceeding to make the false publication” the governor argued.
Wike stated that the defendants further denigrated him before the entire world as a fake democrat, who engages in meddling in the internal affairs of All Progressives Congress (APC) in order to get at his political foe, Chibuike Amaechi.
The governor explained that he was not a member of the APC and has had no hand in the internal crisis which has bedevilled the party both in Rivers State and all over Nigeria.
“By the letter of Messrs E.C. Ukala and Co., Solicitors, under the hand of Emmanuel C. Ukala, SAN, dated 23rd June, 2020, the defendants were given opportunity to retract, and recant the publication as well as to offer apology for the false publication but the defendants spurned the opportunity and ignored the letter completely.”
The governor, while responding to claim by lawyer to the defendants, Turudu Ede, SAN, that the essence of the lawsuit was to intimidate and harass his clients, said the whole essence of the suit was to get justice and clear his name as a man of substantial character, honour and repute.
“The essence of the suit is to get justice since they (defendants) refused to retract the publication or apologise. So, I sued them to clear my name.”
Speaking to journalists outside the court, one of the lawyers to Wike, Mr. Mark Agwu said his client was in court to seek legal redress.
“To challenge him as a person, it means you have made him untrustworthy, a deceit, a cheat, an influencer of the court, because the publication they made was that he had a role to play in influencing the outcome of that Federal High Court case. Nobody will take that lightly, and especially for a man who believes in the rule of law”, Agwu added.
The court adjourned the matter for further hearing to 12th, 13th and 14th of January, 2022.
$130m Fraud: Rivers Sues Saipem SPA, Saipem Contracting Firm, Others
The Rivers State Government has charged two construction firms, Saipem SPA and Saipem Contracting Nigeria Ltd, to court over an alleged conspiracy to cheat and with intent to defraud the state of the sum of $130million, being advanced payment for the construction of the OCGT power plant in Port Harcourt.
In a 16-count criminal charge filed by the Director of Public Prosecution, C.F. Amadi for the Rivers State Attorney General, the state alleged that after collecting the said sum as advanced payment between 2011 and 2018, the defendants have not kept their obligation under the contract.
Others charged alongside the companies were Walter Peviana; Kelechi Sinteh Chinakwe; Giandomenico Zingali; Vitto Testaguzza and Davide Anelli, who are directors and officers of the companies.
The defendants are charged with various offences ranging from conspiracy, cheating and obtaining credit by false pretence, contrary to Section 518 (6) and (7) and punishable under Section 518 of the Criminal Code, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999, section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b) of the Criminal Code, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State, amongst others.
Already, the Rivers State Government has issued a fiat to the law firm of Godwin Obla (SAN) to prosecute the matter before the state High court.
The defendants are equally charged for the offence of false Statements by Officials of Companies contrary to and punishable under Section 436 (b).
The prosecution specifically accused the defendants of obtaining credit of $130million by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); obtaining credit of $20,467,942.00 by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b), obtaining credit of N7,000,000,000.00 only by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b).
They are charged for obtaining credit of N318,640,173.54, by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); attempt to cheat $97million contrary to Section 508 and punishable under Section 509; attempt to cheat $15million contrary to Section 508 and punishable under Section 509; conspiracy to receive a credit of $97million by false pretences contrary to Section 518 (6) and punishable under Section 518; cheating $11million contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating N110, 097, 416.51 contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating by collecting sums attributable to shared facilities already paid for in AFAM Phase I in AFAM Phase II contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421.
Obtaining N20, 467, 942 contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; obtaining credit of $60,168,936.00 by false pretences or other fraud, contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); obtaining credit of $1,512,034.00 by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b) all of the Criminal Code Law of Rivers State, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria 1999.
According to the Proof of Evidence attached to the charge and the statement made by the Head, Power Generation/Mechanical of the Rivers State Ministry of Power, one Mr Temple Azunda M., the facts constituting the case in hand are as follows:
Saipem SPA and Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited and other officers of the duo, herein the Defendants, are Italian companies which services have been retained by the Rivers State Government, herein RSG, in several projects, prominent amongst which is the AFAM Phase II Power Plant Project.
By an initial tripartite agreement made on the January 20, 2010, the RSG under the auspices of the Rivers State Ministry of Power entered a contract with Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited, Saipem SPA for the construction of the OGCT power plant in Port Harcourt at a total cost of $119million consequent upon which the Rivers State Government made advance payments, in instalments, to Saipem Contracting Nigeria Ltd and Saipem SPA amounting in total to a sum of $130million in all which the Defendants have acknowledged receipt of.
The Defendants were to be given an initial mobilization of 20per cent of the total contract sum which the RSG paid.
It was part of the initial agreement – and indeed a condition sine qua non – that, to access the 2nd tranche of payment of 25per cent from the Rivers State Government, the Defendants would mandatorily have installed the Gas Turbine into the foundations as referenced in ATTACHMENT 1 to VO 007 which states that:
CONTRACTOR shall be entitled to a payment corresponding to 20per cent of the VO No. 007 LS PRICE upon mobilisation to site and commencement of bush clearing activities at SITE.
Upon commencement of bush clearing activities at the site, the contractor shall issue the invoice relevant to the above payment and the owner shall pay such invoice within 14 days from its issuance.
The parties agree that no deduction for recovery of advance payment shall apply on the payment due to the contractor for invoices issued by the contractor in accordance with this paragraph.
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