The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has inaugurated a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate acts of brutality and violation of fundamental human rights perpetrated by operatives of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in the state.
The commission, with members drawn from Nigerian Bar Association, FIDA, youth, civil society, women and religious groups, is expected to submit its report 60 days from the date of its first sitting.
Wike, at the inauguration ceremony at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday, explained that the commission was set up in exercise of powers conferred on him by the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the provisions of Section 2(1) of the Commission of Inquiry Law of Rivers State (Cap 30) Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999.
Present at inauguration ceremony were the Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo; the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof Zacchaeus Adangor; the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo; Commissioner of Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim, among others.
The governor charged the commission to ascertain whether any of the officers, men and operatives of the police, particularly, F-SARS involved in alleged acts of violence, torture, brutality, murder, violation of fundamental human rights or other atrocities in Rivers State was sponsored, counselled and procured by any person, group of persons, or officer of Rivers State government by whatever designation.
He said the commission was expected to identify persons or group of persons who counselled, procured and sponsored alleged acts of violence and violation of human rights of citizens committed by personnel of F-SARS in the state.
Wike tasked the commission to identify the victims of the said alleged acts of atrocities committed by officers and men of F-SARS.
He tasked the commission to ascertain the motive if any of the officers and operatives of F-SARS, who committed or participated in the commission of the alleged acts of torture, murder, brutality and violation of rights that occurred in Rivers State.
In addition, the governor directed the commission to ascertain whether any of the victims of the alleged acts of violence by F-SARS was being held in detention or custody and the identify of such victim as well as place of detention.
The commission was enjoined to make appropriate recommendations to the government on measures and means of preventing the occurrence of such acts of violence and violation of rights perpetrated by operatives of F-SARS, and how they can be held accountable for such acts.
“Recommend appropriate sanctions, punishment or other penalties to be imposed on the perpetrators of the said acts of violence, torture, murder, and violation of fundamental rights and/or other atrocities that occurred in Rivers State”, Wike said.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the commission, Justice Chukwunenye I. Uriri (rtd) lauded the governor for the privilege to serve the state.
He assured the governor that the commission would discharge its duties with clear conscience and within the limits of the law.
Other members of the commission are: Mrs Florence Amiesimaka (FIDA); Tonye Ibisiki, Esq, (Nigerian Bar Association); Karl Chinedu Uchegbu (civil society); Chijioke Ihunwo (youth group); Rev. Richard Opara (religious group); Mrs Bella Ebeku (women group); Dr. George Nwaeke (secretary), and Barrister Somiete Inko-Tariah (counsel to the commission).
FG Mulls Introduction Of Private Firefighters
The Federal Government says it is proposing to broaden the scope of the National Fire Academy to accommodate private firefighters to address fire incidents across the country.
The plan, if carried out, would lead to the emergence of private firefighters in the country.
Speaking after his first official inspection tour of the academy, the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, said the fire service could have certified private firefighters like the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps’ private guards.
He added that private firefighters were needed to enhance the fire service’s operations as well as improve their response time.
This was contained in a statement by the Minister’s Media Adviser, Alao Babatunde, yesterday.
The statement partly read, “Today, we have over 3 million private guards certified by the NSCDC. We can have something similar for the fire service. We need private fire service men to enhance our service and response time. The President’s #RenewedHope agenda has charged us to be innovative if we must change the narrative.
“As a matter of fact, this is another innovative way to generate revenue because we expect that anyone looking to become a safety or security guard should get trained and certified by this academy.”
Tunji-Ojo urged all institutions and recreation centres to engage certified fire and safety personnel trained by the academy when the plan materialises.
He said: “A lot has been done, but there is still a lot more to be done. With what I have seen here, I can guarantee you that we will work very hard to see that this facility will not only be useful in training officers of the fire service but also for the private sector.
“We must make fire safety a personal affair. Every institution, commercial and social recreation centre should have certified fire and safety personnel, trained by this facility.
“All public and commercial buildings and infrastructure such as banks, hotels, malls, restaurants, or even government buildings should have first responders that can administer basic fire fighting remedy while waiting for the arrival of a full operation squad of the country’s Fire Service”.
Decentralise Pipeline Surveillance Contracts, Ondo Ex-Militants Urge Tinubu
A group of ex-militants in Ondo State, on Wednesday, called on President Bola Tinubu to revisit the pipeline surveillance project and decentralise the awarding of the contract.
The group, under the auspices of the Ondo State Niger Delta Coastal Vanguard, said decentralisation of the contract would enhance the security of pipelines on waterways.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Public Relations Officer of the group, Chief Lucky Ajiroba.
The statement is titled, ‘Call on His Excellency President Bola Tinubu to re-visit the pipeline surveillance contract.’
The group faulted the last administration for awarding the contract to only one company, saying the purpose for which the contract was awarded was not achieved as the security situation of the pipelines was getting worse.
The statement read, “We are the members of Ondo State Niger Delta Coastal Vanguard. The group led by Akogun Job Omotuwa comprises ex-militants in the state who voluntarily submitted their arms and ammunition in response to the good gesture of the Federal Government of Nigeria under the amnesty programme in the year 2017, and we have shown our unwavering allegiance to the terms of the amnesty initiative of the government.
“The overall effects of all these are: it has increased considerably the quantum of oil production, it has substantially increased the revenue accruable to the Federation account, and ultimately it allows peaceful coexistence among the people of the oil-producing communities of the country.
“We are aware of the sterling enterprise of this administration to improve on the security architecture of the Nigeria state and all its apparatus, with a particular reference to the pipeline surveillance and secured waterways.
“The last administration made a giant stride by awarding the pipeline surveillance to a sole company in the Niger Delta Area. It is not out of place to state that the purpose upon which the contract was awarded for was not achieved as the situation of the security of the pipeline was worse than ever before since their collaborative effort was not enough to support the constituted military authorities.
“The failure of this was ascribed to the centralization of the contract. In view of this perennial failure, there has been avalanche of agitation from every quarter that the pipeline security contract should be decentralized for the purpose of achieving the desired goal of the Federal Government which is in the best interest of the entire citizens.”
The group, which commended the President for its efforts in repositioning the country’s economy, opined that each ex-militant leader in the Niger Delta Region be identified, and the pipeline security contract be split among them.
Assembly Tasks Delta Govt On Rising Prostitution, Drug Abuse
The Delta House of Assembly has passed a resolution urging the State Government to take drastic measures against rising cases of drug abuse and prostitution in the state.
This followed the adoption of a motion by Mrs Bridget Anyafulu (PDP-Oshimili South) at plenary in Asaba.
Presenting the motion, Anyafulu decried rising cases of open sex trade and use of illicit drugs among youths in the state, especially in Asaba and environs.
“Open sex trade and use of illicit drug is not a good example for our children.
“The situation is worrisome considering the fact that both issues are illegal,” she said.
Anyafulu, also the Chairman, House Committee on Women Affairs, Community and Social Development said that urgent measures must be taken to address the situation.
“The twin evil of drug abuse and sex trade represents great danger to the lives of our young people and the society at large.
“They both underline the physical, mental and social well-being of our young people and this will also jeopardize the development, peace and security of our dear state.
“So, I want to state that no nation survives without the youth, the youth and the young general are the life wire of our nation.
“Any nation that ignores the youth is heading for doom, so the importance of the young people cannot be over emphasized, it is therefore very important that we address this ugly trend,” she said.
Also speaking, Mr Oboro Preyor (PDP-Bomadi) decried the negative impact of rising drug abuse and prostitution, saying it must be addressed.
‘‘If this ugly trend is not addressed, it would attract more young people into their folks,’’ he said.
He also urged the government to rehabilitate youths who were addicted to drug and to create other avenues of engaging them in productive activities.
The motion was unanimously adopted by the lawmakers when put to voice vote by Speaker Dennis Guwor.
The lawmakers also called for support from law enforcement agencies to ensure the arrest and prosecution of illicit drug dealers and commercial sex workers in accordance with the law in order to curb the rising trend.
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