The Rivers State Government has warned against the disruption of projects in any community, saying it would do everything to protect the interest and image of the State, as well as that of investors in accordance with the law.
The State Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Barr. Oliselloka Tasie-Amadi handed down the warning during a chat with newsmen in Port Harcourt on Thursday, shortly after a meeting with stakeholders and security operatives following issues arising from the Enwhe Field Development Project in Abua/Odual Local Government Area by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).
Present at the meeting were representatives of the affected communities, including the Paramount Ruler, officials of the Abua/Odual LGA, SPDC officials, the Abua/Odual Cluster Development Board (CDB), heads of the Army, DSS and the Police in the area, all of whom made useful contributions and presentations to the Commissioner.
Tasie-Amadi explained that conflict in one community was likely to affect another community and capable of de-marketing the State and scaring investors if not properly handled and nipped in the board by those directly involved; noting that there were many ways of resolving conflicts.
While assuring that government will find a way to resolve the issues, the Commissioner frown on a situation where communities transfer their internal problems to companies and or projects in their domains, saying people will not be allowed to act or behave in ways they feel and reminded that there is an extant law against extortion in the State.
He said, “We got to know that they have been having some friction, some issues and most annoying I just found out that at some point they had to shut the site. And I always say that there are many ways to resolve these conflicts and if you look deep down you will find out that most of the conflicts are within the communities themselves, not even with the company.
“So they transfer their aggression to the company and these people fail to realize that it is also against the law. There is a law against extortion in Rivers State, number five of 2010. Section three makes it a crime to stop a business in demand of any levy or any form of gratification. There are legal methods, channels through which you can do these things The Ministry is there as well.
“So we have tried to speak to the people. We have heard all of them and even though when they speak, there is a lot underground. Principally maybe fueled by personal interest. We will find a way to resolve it, streamline all the issues, have everything working and see that we did not continue to give a negative image of Rivers State.
“I always tell people that what one small family does or what one small community does in Rivers State affects all of us. We bear the same. When they walk out there they tell you Rivers people are like this; meanwhile it is just a small group of people who are behaving in a manner that is not in consonance with our character. Then everybody goes home and says this is how we are and then we lose investment.
“It is my duty as Commissioner, a representative of the people and the Government to see that the interest of the people are protected, to see that the interest of the State and the nation are protected. To see that communities are developed and protected as well as to protect the interest of investors. As much as I protect the interest of the
communities that bare affected, I must protect the interest of the other communities that are not affected today but will be affected by that adverse behaviour because if you behave negatively in your area, other areas might be affected and the State as a whole,” the Commissioner stated.
He further said people need to know that they cannot do what they like because they want to do it, saying, “It is not just them. It is all of us. We must pursue all the approved and legal channels for dialogue.
“Government frowns very much at obstruction of businesses or any form of shutdown. It is not in our character. And I also tell people, that they should try to respect the authorities. A lot of the youths indicted in today’s meeting you find that they don’t listen to their Paramount Rulers because all their activities, when you have a shutdown the youths go and do that,” Barr. Tasie-Amadi said.
The Chieftaincy and Community Affairs Commissioner also called on the Paramount Ruler of the area to communicate more with their people because according to him, “I see a lot of gap, a wide gap in communication. They are not speaking to each other, they are not telling one another the truth and unfortunately our people at the grassroots assume a lot.
“They assume all sorts of things that are don’t exist. The worse part of it all is the mentality of entitlement. Sometimes people feel entitled to what they are not entitled to without understanding why. And then we have a big problem. So all that we try to address. So we charged then to go home and we will meet again shortly and we will frequently. We will have the next meeting maybe in two weeks to try to straighten and reason out so that we cannot a harmonious coexistence,” Tasie-Amadi explained.
Fubara Promises To Maximise Youth Potentials In Rivers
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.
FG, Cement Manufacturers Agree On N7,000, N8,000 For 50kg Per Bag
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.”
We Are Hungry, Dying, Ibadan Protesters Tell Tinubu
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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