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Security: Wike Declares Support As Army Launches Operation Crocodile Smile 4 …Kick Starts Rebisi, Okoro-Nu-Odo Flyovers’ Construction …Disregard False Report On CSO To Wike, RSG Warns

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, yesterday, warned Nigerian Army against doing the biddings of politicians.

This, was as he pledged to support the Nigerian Army’s Operation Crocodile Smile 4 in the state.

The 6 Division of the Nigerian Army had declared the commencement of Operation Crocodile Smile 4 to effectively combat criminal elements in the state.

However, Wike declared his support while stating that he would continue to work with security agencies for the purpose of securing the state.

Speaking during a courtesy visit by the General Officer Commanding 6 Division, Maj-Gen Jamil Sarham, at the Government House, Port Harcourt, the state capital, Wike reiterated that the military must restrict themselves to their traditional role of maintaining security.

He said: “I cannot be enemy to security agencies. Without security, there can be no governance. The Rivers State Government supported the first three exercises, we will support Exercise Crocodile Smile 4.

“We should work as partners. We should not work as if there is a problem. I thank you for coming and hope that this will be a new beginning.”

Wike also warned the military against allowing politicians to infiltrate their ranks and compel them to take act outside their traditional roles.

“As I said, we will give you the required support. However, concentrate on your traditional roles. Don’t allow any politician use you.

“Let any politician who wants to play politics, come and face me. The Army should remain on their constitutional role, that will help,” he said.

He explained that the Rivers State Government under his watch played a key role in the establishment of 6 Division of the Nigerian Army.

The governor noted that the state government would continue to partner with the Army to fight crime.

“Rivers State Government played a great role in the establishment of 6 Division of the Nigerian Army. Of all the states, we played a greater role.

“There is no way that the Rivers State Government will not partner with the Army to fight crime. Rivers State Government is willing to partner with the Nigerian Army to fight crime.

“We have always supported Exercise Crocodile Smile. We will support Exercise Crocodile Smile 4”,

Wike described the visit of the GOC 6 Division as historic.

The Rivers State governor emphasised that the N100billion allocated to the Nigerian Army in the 2020 budget is inadequate towards the promotion of security.

Earlier, the General Officer Commanding 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Maj-Gen Jamil Sarham, had said he was at the Government House, Port Harcourt to seek the support of the Rivers State Government for the forthcoming exercise Crocodile Smile 4.

He said: “The purpose of this visit today is to intimate you of the Division’s preparation for exercise Crocodile Smile 4, and invite you as one of the special guests.”

Sarham invited Wike for the commencement of exercise Crocodile Smile 4, which is a follow up to exercise Crocodile Smile 1, 2 and 3.

He said the exercise would be conducted in Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Delta states.

“Exercise Crocodile Smile 4 is a follow-up exercise to exercise Crocodile Smile 1, 2 and 3. The 6 Division of the Nigerian Army is covering Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states. The pre-exercise flag off will be held on 25th October, 2019.

“The purpose of the exercise is to build on the successes of the past editions by ensuring total security. This will be achieved by identification and clearing of flashpoints of criminal hideouts as well as destruction of illegal oil bunkering camps”, he said.

He added that the exercise Crocodile Smile 4 will also include civil-military cooperation in promoting activities such as medical outreach.

The GOC 6 Division of the Nigerian Army urged the governor to sensitise Rivers people to support exercise Crocodile Smile 4.

Similarly, hundreds of Okoro-Nu-Odo residents, last Wednesday, trooped out to celebrate Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike as the state government flagged off the construction of a major flyover bridge to resolve the traffic congestion in the area.

The flag-off was performed by the Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed, in company of the Sokoto State Governor, Hon Aminu Tambuwal.

The Okoro-Nu-Odo Flyover Bridge is one of the three bridges to be constructed simultaneously by Julius Berger for the good people of Rivers State.

Performing the flag off of the construction of Okoro-Nu-Odo Flyover Bridge, the Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed, described Wike as a man of substance who has raised the bar of good governance in the country.

Mohammed said: “I find it very auspicious because of the recognition to be with the people’s governor, a working governor, and somebody who has raised the bar in governance. It is very satisfying.

“I am not flattering him. He knows me. We were together in the Federal Executive Council, and I know what he can do. When I heard he was coming back again as governor, I knew it wouldn’t be flattering to say that you have gotten yourself a real leader of substance; somebody that can take Rivers State to the next level.”

The Bauchi governor commended the Rivers State governor for embarking on pro-people projects and programmes for the good of Rivers people.

“All the projects and programmes of Governor Wike are touching the communities. He has deepened community relations.

“He has the courage more than all of us as governors to say it the way it should be done. Whatever is being done is not for Governor Wike. It is to leave legacies. He has created the required cash flow and is deploying resources as it should be”, he said.

The Bauchi State governor commended the Rivers State governor for always staying in the state to attend to the needs of the people.

He also praised the governor for building a strong network with Rivers stakeholders to stabilize governance for the good of the people.

“The second thing that I am borrowing from Wike is stake-holding. You can see His Excellency, the former governor and other leaders. They are always with him.

“I have borrowed this from this young gentleman. Honestly, when there is stake-holding, it will reduce tension and pressure. It will relieve us of suspicion”, he said.

Speaking, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike thanked the people of the area for always working together, saying that the name of the new flyover bridge should not be a source of conflict.

“There is no need to fight over the name of the flyover bridge. You have always worked together and you will always work together. We must live together in peace and what is important is that there is a flyover bridge”, he said.

He reiterated that the flyover bridge would create employment for the people in the course of the next 16 months.

“This flyover bridge will create jobs. I have asked Julius Berger to ensure that the sub-contractors for this project are Rivers people. Rivers money for Rivers people”, he said.

Wike warned youths against disrupting the execution of the project, saying that the state government will deal decisively with anyone that hinders the progress of work.

He charged the paramount rulers of the host communities to ensure that they maintain the peace during the construction of the flyover bridge, and added that the countdown to the delivery of the project started three days earlier when the Rivers State Government paid Julius Berger for the project.

In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Works, Dr Walter Ndu, said the Okoro-Nu-Odo Flyover Bridge spans 360metres, with the approach making it 800metres.

He said that the flyover bridge has a roundabout within the bridge, with service lanes, adding that the flyover bridge and the service lanes would be fitted with streetlights.

In his response, the Project Manager of Julius Berger, Engr Daniel Bliss, thanked the Rivers State governor for the confidence reposed in the company, pointing out that they would deliver on schedule.

He said that the process of procurement and acquisition of equipment for the commencement of actual construction work have started.

The Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, Hon Solomon Eke, said that the people of the area were happy with the quality of projects of the governor.

Meanwhile, the Rivers State Government has debunked false report published by some online media claiming that the Chief Security Officer to the Rivers State Governor, Mr Promise Wosu, has been sacked.

A statement by the Special Assistant to the Governor on Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, yesterday, indicated that the report in its entirety was false and should be disregarded by the public.

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Make Laws To Advance Nigeria, Not Selves, Fubara Tells NASS …Seeks Concerns Of Women, Issues In Difficult Terrains Addressed

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has challenged the National Assembly Joint Committee on Electoral Matters to focus on amendments that contribute to improving the electoral process in the country for good of society and not to advance individual gains.
The Governor maintained that any legislation targeting to empower or undo particular individual(s) is misplaced, and urged the lawmakers never to pay attention to identified problems it promoted.
Governor Fubara gave the charge when he hosted a delegation of the National Assembly Joint Committee on Electoral Matters, led by its Chairman, Senator Sharafadeen Abiodun Alli and co-Chair, Hon Adebayo Balogun, on courtesy visit to Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The Governor said: “You are still working on your electoral amendment. I wouldn’t say much on that until when we see your proposal and conduct public hearing where we will make our inputs.
“But, legislate in such a way and manner, knowing full well that tomorrow, you will also sit here (executive). So, don’t do it because you are on the other side. And you say, maybe, let it be at the disadvantage of the people sitting here.
“Do your legislation in such a way and manner that when you sit here, those laws that are made can also apply to you, and you will sit and say, yes, I did the right thing.”
Governor Fubara noted that Nigeria is in a very trying time, and needed to be careful not to make costly mistakes that would erase any good work that has been done in the minds of the people to necessitate a fresh start.
The Governor explained that the level of political awareness and the drive among the people to be involved in the political process is higher now than it was about 20 years ago, and urged the lawmakers to be more sensitive to the realities of the times.
Governor Fubara said: “Everybody now understands that political involvement is the key to a better and developed state. Everybody wants to be part of the system, from the local government to the state and to the Federal Government.
“So, I am happy that we are doing this at this time; and not just doing this but taking the most critical aspect of the election: women. If we are talking about election, it is not the men, the true votes that are counted in elections are women and youths.
“So, taking up this very delicate and sensitive subject to addressing the situation at this time, I think the National Assembly is trying to understand and to feel the pulse of our people.”
Governor Fubara particularly noted how difficult it is to conduct elections in Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, and Ondo states because most of the communities are riverine and could take more than two days journey to access them on sea amidst the scare of being kidnapped or suffer boat mishap.
Governor Fubara applauded the committee for the courage to take on such sensitive task of embarking on sensitisation of the people and engaging with them on best way to ensure that they enjoyed greater safety during elections.
He said, “I believe that after this committee’s sensitization programme that you are doing, it is going to help us have a framework that will help us get an amendment that will protect the interest of the women, protect elections in difficult terrains.
“Because most times, when elections are conducted, we will wait two days or more before results from different areas will come in. And when they come, at times, these results decide the total picture of the election.
“Considering this now, I believe that you will come out, work out something that will help us solve this difficult problem.
“But, most importantly, to encourage women, give them opportunity more than the 35 percent Affirmative Action, and something that will give them assurance that they should be part of this process.”
Governor Fubara said his administration understands the importance of opportunities when given and what it means to give people opportunities to actualise their aspirations.
The Governor, therefore, assured that whatever the recommendations they make, if they make it public, the Rivers State will be one of the states that will first implement them.
He added, “But, most importantly, we want you to be our ambassadors. You are a visitor to Rivers State today. You have seen us. When you go back, you should also tell them that it is not really those things that you are hearing. Tell them that Rivers State is organised. Tell them that Rivers State is focused, and the leadership is purposeful for the people.”
In his address, the Chairman, National Assembly Joint Committee on Electoral Matters, Senator Sharafadeen Abiodun Alli, said they are in the State for what he described as the second in the series of zonal engagements of the people on the proposed amendment to the Electoral Act, 2022.
Senator Alli stated that there is no doubting the fact that Nigeria has never had an Electoral Act that is as good as the one of 2022, but noted that as soon as the 2023 elections were over, flaws were noticed that needed to be addressed.
He said, “And, I must say without being inmodest, that this is the first time this is happening in the history of the National Assembly. Because we felt that for us, for our people to have confidence in the electoral process, they should be involved in the lawmaking process, and we have decided to go round.”
Senator Alli further said: “About two months ago, we were at Ibadan to talk to the youths and the traditional institutions. Today, we came in here, and it is continuing tomorrow to talk about the issues of legislation: the women and elections in difficult terrains.
“We put this because, apart from the issues of the women and the youths; the South-South, because of the topography of the place (region), it is one of the most difficult terrains we are having difficulties in conducting elections in Nigeria.
“And we need to let the people tell us how the challenges they are facing during elections could be ameliorated in the lawmaking process, hence our coming here,” he added.
He solicited the support of the Government and people of the State and the zone in efforts to fashion a workable electoral amendment that would address the concerns of majority, if not all Nigerians.

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Spain Puts Forward 11 Stadia To Host World Cup 2030

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The Spanish FA are reportedly set to confirm the 11 venues that will make up their end of the 2030 World Cup.
The game’s global showcase will take place in Spain, Portugal and Morocco in six years’ time with the final set to take place at Santiago Bernabéu.
But 10 more stadia are set to be put forward by RFEF by the deadline set by FIFA, according to our sources.
Games will take place in: Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, San Sebastian, La Coruña, Zaragoza, Seville, Malaga and Gran Canaria, the Madrid-based sources claimed.
Neither Vigo nor Valencia, as initially planned, will be present amongst the host cities.
Madrid and Barcelona will both have two stadia present with the Santiago Bernabéu and Civitas Metropolitano in the capital and Camp Nou and Stage Front Stadium in Barcelona.
Meanwhile, FIFA has announced their summer update to the men’s world ranking list with some significant movers.
Argentina’s Copa América victory sees them keep hold of top spot, while France’s disappointing European Championship isn’t enough to dislodge them from second.
Spain are the biggest movers near the summit, rising five places to third, while Belgium drop down to sixth and Colombia enter the top 10 as a result of their run to the Copa final.
Elsewhere, Türkiye have shot up 16 places to 26th due to their Euros showing and Venezuela move from 54th to 37th as a result of their recent showings, making them the biggest overall movers.

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Tinubu Tasks Ambassadors On Enhancement Of Economic Value

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President Bola Tinubu received some ambassadors at the Presidential Villa yesterday.
President Tinubu in Abuja called for the enhancement of the economic value of bilateral relations between Nigeria and partner nations.
The president spoke when he received Letters of Credence from the Ambassadors of Portugal, Jorge Adao Martins Dos Santos; the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Biu Quoc Hung; and the State of Kuwait, Salim Khalifa Mohammed Almuzayen, at the Presidential Villa.
Tinubu expressed his appreciation for Nigeria’s long-standing relations with Portugal and the shared interest in the areas of trade and culture, as well as partnership in oil and gas, which had translated into gains for both countries.
“It is good to have you in Nigeria. I am happy you are familiar with Nigeria and the environment.
“I believe that with your presence, our bilateral relations will be further improved. I am happy you are also present in other West African countries.
“I have been informed of your economic interest in Nigeria. We need to work together for more localised productions as regards mineral deposits.
“I have an open-door policy, and you can always reach me through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and my Chief of Staff, Right Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila,” the president said.
To the Ambassador of Vietnam, President Tinubu said the manufacturing sector in Nigeria was ready to benefit from the automating skills and technology of the Asian country.
“Thank you for coming to work in Nigeria. We share a lot with Vietnam in terms of diversity and values.
“We really value our bilateral agreements with your country, Vietnam, especially in the area of technology. We look forward to adding more value to the partnership with you in terms of collaboration for development,” he said.
President Tinubu also thanked the ambassador of Kuwait for his country’s long-standing good relations with Nigeria and extended his appreciation to the Emir and the Crown Prince.
“I am glad we are pulling strings to enhance the value of our relationship. We are both committed to the development of our people and will explore opportunities for economic ties. I have an open-door policy so you can always reach me,” the president said.
In his response, the Ambassador of Portugal said investors from his country had a keen interest in Nigeria, and that the trade with Nigeria on gas predated the war between Russia and Ukraine, and would be sustained.
“I will work on our agreements on improving economic relations. There is no shortage of interest in the areas of development where we can be partners.
“We are one of the highest buyers of gas from Nigeria, and we remain grateful for the supplies.
“Portuguese companies are also handling the rail line construction from Kano to Niger Republic. It will be ready in two years,” the Portuguese Ambassador said.
His Vietnamese counterpart said: “Under your leadership, I see Nigeria overcoming most of her challenges and taking its place among the happiest people in the world.”
Hung added that he was in the country to strengthen relations and improve economic ties.
The Ambassador of Kuwait assured President Tinubu that he would do his best to strengthen bilateral ties for the mutual benefit of both countries.

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