Human nature generally is wont to trivializing issues which impact is not directly felt. When catastrophes are announced from afar, they either constitute a spectacle to be viewed by others and probably be amused by it, or a trend that attracts public discussion.
This has been the case with outbreaks of deadly diseases across the globe at different point in time and the attendant attitude of the people towards it. Today, the world’s attention is drawn towards Corona Virus, currently ravaging China.
Zoonotic as it was known, meaning normally transmitted between animals and people. The novel Coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain of the virus that has not been previously identified in humans. For this novel coronavirus (nCoV), both zoonotic and person- to-person transmission has been confirmed.
At the moment, the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), officially named as Covid-19 by the World Health Organisation (WHO), has spread to 26 more countries apart from China, alarming public health authorities across the world.
A total of 69,256 (including 68,566 in China, Hong Kong and Macau) confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection including 1,669 deaths (one each in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan and France) have been reported across the world.
As at yesterday, out of the 68,566 confirmed cases in China, 11,272 are reported to be severe cases.This is indeed, a public health emergency of international concern which further international exportation of cases may not be ruled out in any country.
Thus, even though no strict travel or trade restriction is recommended based on the current information available, the possibility of interrupting spread is still high should countries put in place strong measures to detect disease early, isolate and threat cases, trace contacts and promote social distancing measures commensurate with the risk. The Public Health Emergency Operation Centres (PHEOCs) already established in 22 states of the federation would be tantamount to an effort in futility if they are not worth their raison d’etre.
By: Helen Peterson, Bonny.
Opobo Agog For Governor Fubara
Everyone has a moment in history which belongs particularly to him. He carries the stamp of that passing moment for ever, and the appeal of that moment shapes his generational impact.
Beyond the return of an illustrious and exceptional son to his root, Opobo Town in Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area of Rivers State, home of the Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, on Sunday, January 28th, 2024 witnessed a momentous and historic moment as it played host to throngs of visitors and guests from far and near.
The mission was to felicitate the Rivers State Governor, Sir Fubara in the double celebration of his 49th birthday and his victory at the Supreme Court as the duly elected Governor of the State.
Before this auspicious occasion and outright vindication of Governor Fubara in the contentious legal tussle, the State had been caught up in a web of impending political explosion that kept everyone in suspense.
Then came the Supreme Court verdict which cleared the legal barriers and affirmed Sir Fubara as the man with legitimate clout to navigate the course of governance in the oil rich State that bears the enviable sobriquet; “Treasure Base of the Nation”.
There was relief in the air, as the teeming Rivers population who have come to trust their brand new, genial, affable, benevolent and resourceful Governor hailed the verdict in unison.
As a man who has premised his elevations and breakthroughs in life on providence and divine endorsement, Governor Fubara chose to celebrate his political victory and 49th birthday in a grand thanksgiving to God who made everything possible.
But Rivers people stepped in and in full solidarity to honour their new leader, a man in whom they are pleased. Thus, Governor Fubara was amazed and astonished as he beheld the warmth, acceptance and show of love by his family, kinsmen, supporters and well wishers who thronged in their numbers to felicitate him in his double celebration.
The tumultuous reception by Governor Fubara’s kith and kin and the larger Rivers family at Opobo Town, signalled a new dawn in the annals of Rivers political history. There was nothing unusual about the gathering in terms of regular political estimation but there was everything different about the mood of the people and their declarations which were explicit in demands and hope of redemption into a new era of economic prosperity under Governor Fubara.
The event was held at the St Paul’s Anglican Church, Opobo Town in Opobo/ Nkoro Local Government Area, and fully attended by all strata of the society; the business community, the religious community, the political class, the academia, the traditional institution, and the masses, the popular base very much at home with, and grateful to the Rivers State Governor for giving them a sense of belonging in his governance.
There were also those who braced up against skewed, vested political control and surveillance to identify with the people’s Governor. It was an interesting scenario laden with intrigues, fanfare and great expectations.
The festivities that graced the event were akin to a carnival as the people of ancient Opobo Kingdom rolled out their drums to honour their son. Chiefs, elders, women, youths and children revelled in unbridled excitement as they celebrated the Governor in sonorous and enthralling renditions.
During the intensive thanksgiving service at the St Paul’s Anglican Church, Opobo Town, the Bishop of Niger Delta Diocese, the Most Rev, Bishop Emmanuel Oko Jaja had taken time to explain the importance of leadership and execution of leadership responsibilities.
In delivering his homily, the Bishop harped on the importance of forgiveness and thanksgiving as a key leadership function.
According to the revered cleric, “thanking God is a sign of gratitude, and we are under obligation to thank God as God honours faith and dependability on him life’s circumstances”.
He said now that the Supreme Court has declared him the authentic helmsman in Rivers State, Governor Fubara should, “forgive those who have hurt you for God to continue to fight for you and crown you with more victories”, while the aggrieved should, “sheathe their swords, respect the office of the Governor and pursue peace to promote development in the State.
The Bishop further urged the Governor to expand development to all sectors of the Rivers economy and prioritise youth and women empowerment to boost enterprise development in the state.
In his admonition, the Bishop of Ikwere Diocese of the church, Most Rev Bishop Blessing Enyinda urged the Governor not to be distracted by the onslaught of his opponents but should remain focused to give Rivers State the best to be the envy of all States. He congratulated the Governor and urged him to hold on to God and pursue peace.
Special prayers were offered forthe peace of Rivers State and for the Governor to have clear vision and wisdom to lead the State.
Addressing the people shortly after reading the only lesson in service taken from Luke 17, 11 to 19, Governor Fubara expressed deep appreciation to God and Rivers people for their contributions and support which had propped him up in the evolving political tension in the State, before, during and after his election as Governor.
The Rivers State Governor said he drew his strength and encouragement from God and people’s huge support base to tread on in the task of governance, stating that the development on the State depended on total peace..
The Governor who dedicated his Supreme Court victory to the endearing peace process in the State urged those persecuted for standing for the truth to count it as a blessing and sacrifice for the development of the State.
He commended the security agencies for maintaining peace in the State, noting that Rivers State remains peaceful despite the heightened political tensions in the State.
While thanking the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his fatherly support during his travail, Governor Fubara noted that the battle was yet over as there were still ploys to create disharmony in the State.
But Governor Fubara perceives such trappings as raw materials for the glorious exploits of his administration which is poised to bequeath an endearing legacy of peace and development in Rivers State.
He called on religious leaders and Rivers people to continue to pray for the peace of the state.
“We have a lot of distractions but I strongly believe that while we navigate the path of peace, prayer is also needed for us to pass over this phase. Continue to put us in your prayers, there’s nothing God can’t do”
“A lot of people who started this journey with us ought to have been here with us but unfortunately they are not here. God knows why. We can’t question the Almighty.
“But one thing we can’t take away is that God does not make any mistake. Whatever happens, and when it happens, it is for a purpose.
“I am happy to return this glory to God Almighty, to say thank you to God, and ask for extra energy to continue with the task of governance. But no battle can be bigger than God.”
While celebrating the surmounting of a critical stage his journey to the exercise of his electoral mandate, Governor Fubara believes that the grave challenges, trials and ominous signs of chaos that hung over the State were enough lessons to be learnt to have a collective rethink on the positive way forward for the development of the state.
He emphasised that the hope of the future was tied to the collective responsibilities of the people to embrace peace and keep faith with the Rivers dream above individual interest.
In his characteristic conviviality and deep sense of accommodation, Governor extended the olive branch across political divides to jointly build the State, stressing rectitude as a political culture of strengthening the prospects of development in the State.
Most importantly, the Governor expressed concern over the need for his team to bequeath an endearing legacy of prestige, excellence and positive impact on both the office of the governor and the development of the State at large.
In outright detestation, Governor Fubara dissociated his administration from predatory and vindictive politics, noting that his administration will not yield to the trappings of anarchy but remain open to reconciliation and accommodation of constructive criticisms and divergence in views to place Rivers State on its deserving pedestal among the comity of Nigerian States.
A cursory appraisal of Governor Fubara’s political antics shows that as an active catalytic administrator, he approaches political governance from a practical mindset inclined towards achieving the goals of development and devoid of an abrasive and infringing order, a philosophy mistaken to be weakness by his traducers, and detractors.
In his welcome address, the Intercontinental Youth Pastor of RCCG, Pastor Belemina Obunge acknowledged the immense support RCCG had received from the state government towards the hosting of the rally, which he noted has prophetically coincided with the birthday of Governor Fubara.
Earlier on the eventful Sunday at the Port Harcourt Holy Ghost Rally organised by the Redeemed Christian Church of God at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium Governor Fubara had declared that the foundation of his administration was anchored on God who has given him unfettered promotion and breakthrough in the face of glaring challenges.
Governor Fubara described the theme of this year’s edition of the Port Harcourt Holy Ghost Rally, “Promoted for a Purpose”, which coincided with is birthday and Supreme Court Victory, as a personal gift from the Redeemed Christian Church of God.
“Let me take that theme to be a personal gift from the Redeemed Christian Church of God, because the theme isn’t different from my story, I was promoted by God, first through my party, and leaders of my party, promotion comes from God alone.”
“I want to say a big thank you to the Redeemed Christian family for your support before, during and after our elections, your prayers have kept us going. Our government will continue to support this programme in this State, continue to pray for us so that the purpose of governance will be achieved in the State.”
The Governor expressed special gratitude to the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye for his love for Rivers State as demonstrated by the choice of Port Harcourt for the Special Holy Ghost Rally and blessings at the beginning of every year.
The Intercontinental Youth Pastor of RCCG, Pastor Belemina Obunge who officiated the Port Harcourt Holy Ghost Rally thanked the Governor for his commitment and support towards the success of the rally.
Governor Fubara’s deep sense of humility, civility, pragmatism and magnetic aura has continued to attract the support of Rivers people who see in him the sincerity of purpose to promote people-oriented policies and sustainable development in the State. In an enigmatic and metaphorical coinage, Governor Fubara sees himself as a man of destiny that God uses even his enemies to bless.
Why Police Welfare Package Should Be Improved
The Nigeria Police Force is the principal law enforcement agency in Nigeria. It has its origin in Lagos following the creation of a 30-man Counsular in the year, 1861.
It further has its Constitutional backing in the Chapter Six (6), Part Three (3), Section 214 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria , 1999 (as amended). Down the line, the Nigeria Police Force begin to have other formations like the Mobile Police Force in the 1980s.
The motive behind the creation of the Nigeria Police Force, is to preserve law and order, the enforcement of law and regulations with which they are directly charged. The performance of such military duties within and outside the country as may be required of them by or under the authority of the Police Act or any other Act.
When the heat or should I say, the need or urge to provide better policing in the country became necessary, more formations like the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) were birthed around 1992 to battle crime especially armed robbery.
This very formation (SARS), before it went under on Sunday November 11, 2020, when the then Inspector General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu announced its disbandment was a talk-of the-town.
People were delighted to catch a glimpse of SARS men especially when they are in operation and in their full regalia. They fought crime to almost zero point before the devil took over the outfit and placed it in the history book.
The Slogan ‘ The Police is Your Friend’ is one of the most disgusting or disturbing things about the Nigeria Police Force. Many are not at ease with it. In most cases, they begin to wonder what the Police is even doing to get the least attention.
But until you are closer to some people including the Police, you may not say for sure what they do or their importance to the society. Some Police men are down-to- earth. They execute their jobs in such professional manner that one may be tempted to purchase Police recruitment form of a given year.
I have the privilege to interface with some of them at some Special Areas in Rivers state. Their profiles are not only intimidating, but reveal a serious road map on how best to tackle security challenges in the country.
When they related to me why they cannot execute some actions, I was flabbergasted. The government ought to look for those kind of officers and secretly talk with them.
They complained of being tagged as saboteurs should they approach their Heads with their ideas on some issues.
One of the officers confided in me how he unearthed a high profile kidnapping gang that nailed a certain bigman. I mean a bigman with both wealth and honour. I looked at the fragile frame of mind of the officer and took his claims with a pinch of salt.
When other of his colleagues at different fora commended him on some hard job success, it then dawned on me that I was dealing with a senior intelligence officer. His challenge was not also far from the ones earlier enumerated by his colleagues .
Armed with the little information I have gathered about the Police and its challenges, I delved into personal investigation. I went round almost the big formations in the state. With utmost humility, I discovered that the government was unfair to the Police.
In some of the outfits, over ten (10) officers are squeezed into one office. About three (3) of them or so share one (1) table. One will begin to imagine what the occupants of such place will produce.
Even the big formations with big names are not better. They suffer even the worst. But as the big men they are, they stomached the whole thing and welcome you with a beaming smile.
If you are not of a good temperament, you may take him (the bigman officer), for an evil man who derives joy in suffering. Or was the foremost Afro Beat King , Fela Anikulapo Kuti right when he sang ‘Suffering and Smiling’?
I think it is about time those that head some big Police formations in the country begin to think on how to improve on their jobs. Those at the top are not too mindful of the welfare of others. I blame them not, because such is a typical Nigerian factor.
I can recall vividly well at a particular public function in Port Harcourt when one officer was introduced as the Financial Officer in charge of a certain Police outfit. The master of ceremony (MC), took it up. He (MC), was like “thank God oga will bless us today”, the officer in a quick reaction, gave it back to the MC, thus, please “I am sorry, we are only bearing the name, the real office is in Abuja”.
People took it as a joke including me, but when I dug into the situation, I knew what exactly the officer meant then. The narrative must change, if the police must perform to the taste of the common man.
The Police and its welfarism must not be gambled with. The government and its authorities should consider the need for Police reform and execute it with immediate alacrity.
This will also help the authority to place a plum line on the Police. I think part of the poor check on the side of the government on the Police is deliberate, in that the authority know that they have not performed their own part of the agreement hence, the ‘On Your Own’ kind of approach to issues.
The police, if well equipped, will do more than expected. The manpower to execute some tactical operations are within them, but lack of support for them remains a bane to their positive operations.
Another point to effective Policing in the country is , management of the Internally Generated Funds by the Police. If the Police are allowed to manage the funds they generate internally, it will go a long way in fixing things among them.
The issue of waiting for approval to fix even furniture in the office is a major clog in the system. At times, they are forced to ask for financial support from the suspects to enable them buy as little as writing materials.
Such ought not to be in that the risk of compromising the matter will be high. If the materials are so provided, the officer will have no option than to do the needful.
Another point is that of personal visit and inspection. The authority should make out time to visit the Police formations across the country. They should visit such places like the convenience, bathrooms, canteens, etc. When you pay some unscheduled visits to some of the mentioned places, you will agree with this piece to the extent of making a quick case for an improved welfare package for the police.
As a citizen of Nigeria, make a personal visit Police formation as part of your menu. Let the issue of the police harassment especially on the roads not deter you. By so doing, you will be armed with some information that will convince you that of a truth, the to any Police is really ‘Your Friend’.
The time to address the challenges of the police is now. No need to dwell on the past. Let’s stop the blame game and think of the way forward.
By: King Onunwor
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