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Rivers State Government Withdraws Charges Against Caverton Helicopter Pilots

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The Rivers State Government through the Honourable Attorney-General has withdrawn and discontinued the two separate charges ( PMC/532C/2020 and PMC/533C/2020) preferred against the two pilots of Caverton Helicopters Ltd and the 10 passengers on board before the Port Harcourt Chief Magistrates’ Court.
According to a statement by the state Commissioner for information and Communications,  Pastor Paulinus Nsirim,  made available to The Tide on Tuesday,  “Consequently, the presiding Chief Magistrate, D. D. Ihua-Maduenyi Esq; has struck out the two charges and discharged all the defendants.”
It would be recalled  that the pilots were arrested and prosecuted by the Rivers State Government  on Tuesday, April 7, 2020, for allegedly disobeying the state Executive order on COVID-19.
The Port Harcourt Chief Magistrate Court remanded two pilots of Carveton Helicopters, Samuel Ugorji and Samuel Buhari, in prison custody, for allegedly intentionally disobeying the Executive Order issued by the Rivers State Governor aimed at checking the spread of coronavirus in the state.
The Court presided over by Chief Magistrate D.D . Ihua-Maduenyi remanded the two pilots at the Port Harcourt Correctional Centre till May 19, 2020 when their trial commenced.
Chief Magistrate Ihua-Maduenyi ruled that COVID-19 tests be carried out on the two pilots to ascertain their status.
The Pilots were arrested by the Rivers State Govt Task Force on Covid 19 for flying people into Rivers State, and arraigned via charge number: PMC/532C/2020.
Prosecution Counsel and Officer-in-charge, Legal of the Rivers State Police Command,  a Superintendent of Police, Gladys Amadi, told the court that the acts of the two pilots were capable of putting  the entire State in danger of contracting coronavirus.
She urged the court to remand them in prison custody to enable the Police conclude their investigation.  She noted that allowing the accused persons roam the streets would endanger others in the state.
According to her, remanding the pilots would also stop them from further violating the Executive Order.
The Pilots were facing a four-count charge:
Count 1: That you Samuel Ugorji (m), Samuel Buhari (m) and others now  at large as pilot and co-pilot of Twin-Otter,  Carveton Helicopters on the 7th day of April 2020 at the Air Force Base , Port Harcourt in the Port Harcourt Magisterial District,  did conspire amongst yourselves to commit misdemeanour to wit: disobedience to lawful order and thereby committed an offence under section 517A of the criminal code CAP 37, Vol 11 Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria,  1999.
Count 2: That you Samuel Ugorji (m), Samuel Buhari (m) and others now  at large on the same date and place at the aforesaid magisterial District did intentionally disobey the lawful order issued by the Governor of Rivers State as contained in paragraph 8 of the Executive Order RVSG -01 2020 made pursuant to Sections 2, 4, and 8 of Quarantine Act Cap. Q2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria,  2004 and Regulation 11 of the Quarantine (Coronavirus (COVID-19 ) and other infectious diseases) regulations , 2020 by flying the Twin-Otter Caverton Helicopters into Air Force Base,  Port Harcourt and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 5 of the Quarantine Act Cap Q2 LFN , 2004.
Count 3: That you Samuel Ugorji (m), Samuel Buhari (m) and others now  at large on the same date and place at the aforesaid magisterial District did conduct yourselves in a manner likely to cause  a breach of peace by flying and discharging passengers from the Twin-Otter helicopter at the Air Force Base,  Port Harcourt and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 249 (d) of the criminal code laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999.
Count 4: That you Samuel Ugorji (m), Samuel Buhari (m) and others now  at large on the same date and place at the aforesaid magisterial District did intentionally disobey the lawful order issued by the Governor of Rivers State on restriction of movement and flights within the State contrary to paragraph 8 of the Executive Order RVSG -01 2020 and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 203 of the criminal code laws of Rivers State of Nigeria,  1999.

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Fubara Promises To Maximise Youth Potentials In Rivers

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has affirmed his administration’s focus in prioritising policies that will maximise the potentials of the youths in the State.
Fubara made this declaration yesterday at the State NYSC permanent orientation camp, Nonwa-Gbam Tai, in Tai Local Government Area during the swearing-in ceremony of 2024 Batch A Stream 1 corps members deployed to Rivers State.
This was contained in a statement by the Head of Press Unit, Office of the Secretary to the State Government, Juliana Masi, yesterday.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Special Services Bureau, Office of the Secretary to the State Government, Sir Samson Friday Dede, the governor commended the NYSC Scheme for the positive impacts it is making in the nation’s quest for sustained development.
“My administration will be unwavering and fully focused in supporting the youths in maximizing their potentials”, he said.
He assured the corps members of his administration’s commitment in supporting them to achieve the mandate of uniting and integrating to the nation.
The governor further admonished corps members to take full advantage of the camp programmes and activities to equip themselves to contribute to nation building.
Earlier, Coordinator, NYSC, Rivers State, Mr. George Mfongang, had urged the corps members to be in the forefront of the nation’s development by being hard working, disciplined and morally sound.
He commended them for being passionate and enthusiastic in imbibing the lessons of the orientation exercise.
The Coordinator thanked Governor Fubara for his unflinching commitment in ensuring the security and welfare of corps members in the State especially, the payment of State allowance to them.
A total of 1,585 Corps members made up of 819 males and 766 females took the oath of allegiance at the ceremony that was administered by Justice Ibiwengi Roseline Minakiri.

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FG, Cement Manufacturers Agree On N7,000, N8,000 For 50kg Per Bag

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The Federal Government and cement manufacturers have agreed on a N7,000 to N8,000 per 50 kg bag price of cement to halt the astronomical rise in the price of the product.
This agreement was part of a deal struck after several hours of meeting held behind closed doors at the headquarters of the Ministry of Works, between the Federal Government and cement manufacturers , in Abuja, yesterday.
The manufacturers agreed to sell a 50kg bag of cement at a retail price between N7,000 and N8,000, depending on location nationwide.
They, however put a caveat that the price drop from the current market price would largely depend on government fulfilling its promised interventions in certain areas of concern to ameliorate critical challenges faced in the industry.
Retail price for cement jumped from N5,000 to N10,000 within one week in the open market, after wholesalers, citing increasing cost of transportation and other variables, made adjustments to the price they sell to retailers.
Retailers in turn transferred the additional cost burden to consumers to stay afloat.
This prompted President Bola Tinubu to order the Ministers of Works, David Umahi and his Trade and Investment counterpart, Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite. to meet with cement manufacturers to find a solution to the crisis.
Umahi had, while calling for the meeting, expressed the Federal Government’s concern over the development, adding that if the situation wasn’t brought under control, it had the potential of hurting the prosperity agenda of the current administration.
After the meeting, Umahi read out a communique in which he mentioned concerns raised by the manufacturers.
These concerns include: bad roads, smuggling, high cost of energy, and the Forex crisis. This according to the manufacturers were the primary reasons behind the price hike.
He also said the manufacturers which include Dangote Cement PLC, BUA Cement PLC, Larfarge Africa PLC and Cement Producers Association, expressed willingness to reduce the prices going forward.
Representatives of the Federal Government include the Minister of Works and his counterpart in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
While reading the communique, Umahi said: “The meeting noted the challenges of the manufacturers like: cost of gas; high import duty on spare parts; bad road network; high foreign exchange; and smuggling of cement to neighbouring nations.
“The government noted the challenges and reacted as follows: Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to seek some remedies from Mr. President on cost of gas and import duties.”

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We Are Hungry, Dying, Ibadan Protesters Tell Tinubu

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Thousands of people, on Monday, thronged the major streets of Ibadan in Oyo State, to protest the hardship in the country.
The protesters, who are mainly youths, kept saying they were not out to cause trouble, but to call the attention of all the tiers of governments to the unbearable hardship in the country.
Though they did not use any objects to block the roads, they converged on accesses leading to the University College Hospital, UCH, Ibadan, Sango, Dugbe and Eleyele, thereby blocking vehicular traffic.
They displayed several placards with inscriptions such as ‘Give us good health, End bad governance, End food hike, Open border, End hardship, ‘Is this the renewed hope you promised?’
At intervals, organisers of the protest kept updating the security agents who kept vigilance to arrest anyone who caused problem or hijacked the protest for selfish ends.
During the protest, some schools and banks shut their gates.
The Tide learnt that the protest was convened through the social media.
One of the messages sent by the conveners read, “People should not pass through Mokola roundabout because there will be protest on Monday”.
The message advised that motorists should take alternative routes to their destinations.
A lady who refused to disclose her name, caught the attention of many people with a placard that read: ‘Sanitary pad now costs N4,000; we can’t be using cloth, Please, help us’. Nothing should happen to me. All I’m asking for is my legitimate earning and ease of life.’
Another woman, who identified herself as Mobolaji Inaolaji, one of the coordinators, said: “We want to tell our leaders that things are not right, they should make things easier for us. We are not here to cause violence, things are too costly and people are dying.
“It is our right to protest whether we got permit or not. We have told the security agents that they should arrest whoever causes problem. We are peaceful and law abiding. All we want is to make government know our pains. We will go through most parts of the city.”
Other protesters who were speaking with anger, said: “This problem is too much. Whoever wants to arrest me should come and do so. If we don’t die outside, we’ll die at home.”
After about an hour at Mokola, the protesters headed towards Sango and other parts of the city.

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