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COVID-19: Rivers Agog As Wike Opens Markets For Business …Oil Mill, Slaughter Markets Remain Closed

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Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, and its environs, including adjoining communities in the fast-growing Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, last Monday, went agog as the Rivers State Government announced the re-opening of all markets in the state with effect from, yesterday.
The state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, who announced the re-opening in a state-wide broadcast, last Monday, directed that the markets should open from 7a.m and close at 6p.m daily.
He further directed that the “Rumukwurushe (Oil Mill) and Oginigba Slaughter Markets still remain closed”.
Wike stated that as the markets resume business, they must operate in strict compliance with the established protocols on wearing of face masks, washing of hands and maintaining social distancing.
The governor said government lifted the ban placed on markets to increase the tempo of economic activities in the state.
“Market managers must provide for hand washing and use of sanitizers for everyone at the entrance of every market, ensure wearing of face mask and maintaining social distancing.
“Any market that opens to the public and fails to comply strictly with these protocols shall be closed down. The market managers shall be prosecuted while the contravening shops shall be forfeited to the state government without notice.
“Similarly, churches can now hold services with 50 per cent of their hall capacity provided the leadership can enforce wearing of face masks and washing of hands at the entrance by worshippers.
“The ban on outdoor sports activities at the Port Harcourt Club, Golf Club and the Port Harcourt Polo Club is also lifted.
“Members of these clubs must also comply with the established Covid-19 protocols or risk another closure.
“In addition, all night clubs, cinemas, bars and in-service restaurants remain banned until further notice. The established restrictions on public burials and weddings are also still in force.
“All local government chairmen are hereby directed to ensure strict compliance with the protocols in their respective local government areas.
“We also call on the security agencies to support the state government to fight against the spread of this disease by enforcing the wearing of face mask in public places and maintenance of physical distancing throughout the state.
“Government has increased the state’s capacity for surveillance, contact tracing, testing and treatment of positive cases in line with the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), oil and gas companies that provided PCR laboratories.
“We are also considering the request for approval and certification by some private laboratories to provide sample collection and testing services,” he said.
Wike stated that with the available data on Covid-19 cases, the measures put in place by the state government are impacting positively on the efforts to control the spread of the virus.
He stated that even though the state presently stands as the fifth most impacted state in the country, there has been a steady drop on the number of new positive cases within the last seven weeks.
According to the governor, the state can move to a higher level of increased spread, if residents do not change their deviant behaviours.
“The deviant behaviour of residents and visitors to the state to comply with the basic Covid-19 rules in spite of repeated appeals from me, NCDC and other well-meaning persons is quite unfortunate.
“We, therefore, appeal to all residents to exercise due sense of responsibility by complying with the established protocols on wearing of face mask, use of hand sanitizers and maintaining social distancing,” he said.
Wike commended the medical personnel and volunteers who have continued to render selfless services to check the spread of the virus.
He also thanked individual and corporate donors who have supported the state, and said their names would be published soon.
On the dissolution of the Task Force on Illegal Motor Parks and Street Trading, the governor said the decision was taken because the members took the laws into their hands.
While urging motorists and traders not to go back to their old ways, the governor announced that a disciplined task force would soon be reconstituted.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Government has reiterated its position that Oginigba (Slaughter Market) and Rumukwurushe (Oil Mill) Market still remain closed despite the lifting of the ban on markets in the state.
A statement signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, last Monday, warned traders in the affected markets not to dare government’s directive.
“Anyone that violates the order will face the full wrath of the Law,” the statement added.

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We’ll Expand Socio-Economic Opportunities For All Rivers People -Fubara ……As Wike Bows Out

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has declared his administration’s resolve to expand the existing socio-economic opportunities in order to engender prosperity for all Rivers people.
Fubara made this declaration on Monday at the General Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Elekahia, venue of his swearing-in as the sixth democratically elected governor of Rivers State.
Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Simeon Amadi, administered the oath of office on the new governor and his deputy, Prof. Ngozi Odu.
Thereafter, the former governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, handed over the flag of Rivers State and handover notes to his successor.
Fubara, in his inaugural address titled “Together, Let’s Consolidate the New Rivers State”, noted the poor state of the national economy, but promised that his administration would take measures to diversify Rivers economy and insulate it so that it can grow.
He also assured of promoting the climate of ease of doing business in the State to attract direct foreign investment capable of empowering Rivers people.
“The primary responsibility of a new government is to do its best to advance the security and well-being of the State and its citizens.
“Therefore, as we undertake our responsibilities, we promise to stay the course, commit to cooperative governance and expand opportunities for everyone. The wishes of our people for a happy life are our mission in politics.
“We will prioritise the well-being of the State and citizens with a renewed focus on economic growth, people-centred projects and social services”, he said.
He said further that, “We will improve the ease of doing business and sustain a congenial fiscal regime to attract local and foreign direct investments to stimulate greater economic activities, create wealth and improve citizens’ livelihoods.
“We will adopt a re-industrialization policy master plan and partner with the private sector to revive or establish viable industries to create jobs and empower our people.
“We will also support the growth of small businesses and encourage commercial agriculture to achieve food security, industrialization and improved living standards for citizens.”
Fubara added that his administration is already building on the successes of his predecessor and will construct more projects including the Port Harcourt ring road.
According to him, there shall be healthy partnership with private investors to provide integrated inter-modular public transportation system in the State.
“We witnessed unprecedented growth in infrastructure in the last eight years, but there’s still more to do.
“We will follow our leader’s footsteps to invest in capital projects, including roads, bridges, electricity supply to our rural areas, and social housing.
“We will, therefore, partner with the private sector to develop an integrated multimodal public transportation system to advance mass mobility and access to socio-economic opportunities across the state.
“We will also construct the Port Harcourt Ring Road to enhance the mobility of goods and services across the State”.
Fubara said the challenges in the health sector like inadequate manpower and corruption would be addressed to achieve optimal performance.
In the education sector, he promised to provide smart classrooms for students to prepare for global competition, empower the youths with skills to become economically active while being connected to small and medium scale business opportunities.
He said, “We care about our youth. We know they need jobs, opportunities, empowerment and the freedom to build sound, promising futures. We will not abandon our youth to their fate. We will continue prioritizing education at all levels and empower our youth with the relevant skills and opportunities to become economically active, productive and prosperous.
“We believe in the job creation capacity of small and medium enterprises. And so, we shall facilitate targeted access to low-interest funds for youth entrepreneurs to start or improve their businesses, earn decent incomes and generate employment for themselves and others.”
The governor particularly acknowledged the achievements of his predecessor in the health sector saying, “We are also proud of the state’s achievements in the healthcare sector, particularly the construction of new primary healthcare centres, the Mother and Child Hospital, the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, the Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases Diagnostic and Treatment Centre and the contributory Healthcare Insurance Law.
“With what is on the ground, it is evident that the primary challenges with our healthcare system are more with inadequate manpower, corruption, indiscipline and ineffective management”.
Fubara gave a firm assurance by saying: “I assure you that apart from completing all ongoing healthcare infrastructure projects, we will deal with all identified challenges and ensure that the healthcare system functions optimally to deliver affordable and efficient healthcare to citizens.
“We are equally proud of the State’s unprecedented educational advancement, especially in the last four years. Our public schools at all levels, irrespective of location, are some of the lovely and best-resourced in the country.”
According to him, his administration will consolidate on the progress made so far by “introducing smart schools and classrooms across the State to empower our children with world-class learning experiences and make Rivers State a knowledge hub.”
Fubara vowed to be hard on crime and criminality in the State saying, “We will be hard on crime and criminality. We will swiftly and firmly deal with anyone, regardless of status or position, rich or poor, who breaks our laws or dares to violate our environment, peace and security”.
The governor thanked civil servants for their support and promised regular payment of salary, gratuity, more training, promotion for them and housing for low income earners.
Describing the civil servants as members of his constituency, he said, “To our civil servants, I thank all of you for your invaluable contributions to the state’s progress over the years.
“We appreciate your indispensability and promise to meet all our obligations to you, including regular payment of wages, pensions, gratuity, training and promotions. All we ask is your continued patriotism, dedication, and enthusiasm in the execution of your official duties”.
He further promised to govern Rivers people with the fear of God, cognizance of the fact that Rivers is a Christian state.
He also assured the church and spiritual leaders of his administration robust partnership to enhance the moral and spiritual wellbeing of Rivers people.
“Rivers State is a Christian State, and God is our foundation. We shall govern with the fear of God and stay strong to our Christian values of trust, faith, love, care and sacrifice.”
“We shall deepen the inseparable ties between the Church and the State government for the benefit of our people. We assure the Christian Association of Nigeria and other spiritual leaders of our sincere friendship, support and solidarity.
“We will continue to support and work with the Church to defend our faith, advance our values and enhance our people’s moral and spiritual well-being”, he assured.
At the Government House, Port Harcourt, the governor hung the official portraits of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, his own and that of his predecessor, Wike.

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… Appoints Nwaeke HoS, Ideozu Acountant General

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The Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has approved two new strategic appointments in the state Civil Service.
In the latest development, the governor has approved the appointment of the most senior civil servant and permanent secretary, Dr. George Nwaeke as Head of Service, Rivers State.
He also approved the appointment of Dr Uche Ideozu as the new Accountant General of Rivers State.
A statement signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Communications in Rivers State, Ibiwari Clapton-Ogolo, Esq, said that the appointments take immediate effect.
The two fresh appointments bring to six the number of appointments already made by the governor since assuming duties on Monday, May 29.
The first set of appointments was the nomination of four former commissioners under Governor Nyesom Wike as commissioner-designates.
The names are Prof Zaccheaus Adangor, Dr Dakorima George-Kelly, Isaac Kamalu, and Prof Prince Chinedu Mmom.
While Adangor was attorney general and commissioner for justice, George-Kelly was works commissioner, Kamalu was finance commissioner, and Mmom was education commissioner.

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Fuel Scarcity: Tinubu Resumes Work, Meet With Emefiele, Kyari

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President Bola Tinubu yesterday officially resumed work at the Presidential Villa, Abuja where he met with the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele and the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mr. Mele Kyari.
This was the first official assignment by the President after his inauguration as the 16th President of the country at the Eagle Square, Abuja, on Monday.
The President arrived at the forecourt of the State House at about 2:30 pm through the quarter guard gate, which is his official entrance gate and was received by the Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima, the Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and the outgoing Director of Protocol, DOP.
Others who received him were Emefiele, Kyari and a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. James Faleke, among others.
The President went straight to his office with Emefiele, Kyari, Gbajabiamila, Faleke and others.
Although the agenda of the meeting was not made public, it may not be unconnected with the removal of fuel subsidy and the attendant fuel scarcity.
It is expected that the issue of unification of foreign exchange, recent Naira redesign, among others will also be discussed.
Recall that President Tinubu had during his inaugural speech announced that the subsidy has been removed and this immediately made filling stations to shut down operations across the country.

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