The Rivers State Government has called for citizens’ and security agencies’ collaboration to end activities of illegal refiners of crude oil, popularly known as ‘Kpofire’, which has caused incessant fire outbreaks and environmental pollution in the state.
Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim made the call during the presentation of prizes to winners of the ministry’s #OurStateOurResponsibility Theme Song competition in Port Harcourt, last Wednesday.
Nsirim also called on the media to engage in aggressive public enlightenment campaign against ‘Kpofire’ activities in Rivers State.
He expressed concern that the activities of illegal refiners of crude oil have caused incessant fire outbreaks and pollution of the atmosphere through the emission of soot.
“Hardly any day passes that you will not get reports of incidents of fire outbreak, and investigations have revealed that most of these fire incidents are as a result of stockpiling of adulterated petroleum products.
“Government cannot stop this trend without the cooperation of the citizens and the law enforcement agencies. We are appealing that we need to do something, that as we enter into the New Year, let us have a collective resolve as a people to ensure that our environment is not polluted anymore.
“It should concern everyone. Apart from the fire hazards that we are experiencing, the health implication of what we are seeing in Port Harcourt today is something that should worry anyone living and doing business here in Rivers State,” he said.
Nsirim condemned the activities of some security personnel who collect gratification from operators of the illegal petroleum products businesses and allow them free passage on the roads.
“We cannot be our own enemies. We must collectively fight this syndrome. The hazard we are facing is becoming worrisome. If you live and do business here in Rivers State, this ‘Kpofire’ syndrome should concern you, and I think the time has come for us to put an end to this menace,” he said.
He emphasised that the idea behind the second phase of the #OurStateOurResponsibility advocacy campaign was to mobilise a cross spectrum of Rivers society to be part of the NEW Rivers Vision.
He noted that governance cannot be complete if citizens do not play active role in the development process, hence the advocacy campaign.
“It is a vision that will engineer our collective understanding that Rivers State belongs to all of us, whether you are an indigene or not, as long as you live and do business here, Rivers State belongs to you,” he said.
He said the theme song competition awards ceremony coming after the essay competition was a milestone in the quest to strengthen citizens’ participation in governance in Rivers State.
Nsirim congratulated the three persons that emerged first, second and third position winners of the competition, and announced the first position winner, Mr. Barnabas Baridam, as the ambassador of the ministry and the face of #OurStateOurResponsibility campaign.
The commissioner also commended the three-man panel of judges who rendered a diligent service without asking for professional fees.
He said criteria for the theme song include originality and simplicity of content, strong credibility, and appeal to all segments of the society.
Nsirim expressed optimism that the competition would be a starting point for the blossoming career in music for the winners, and charged them to see the opportunity as a foundation for something bigger and greater in years ahead.
Chairman of the panel of judges, Mr Lexy Maol, said the panel was careful in selecting the winners out of the several entries.
According to him, some of the other criteria considered were nature of the song, the connection, the lyric, and the careful fusion of #OurStateOurResponsibility.
In his remarks, the first position winner, Mr. Barnabas Baridam, thanked the commissioner for floating the programme that gave him the platform to showcase his talent.
He promised to represent the ministry and the government positively as its ambassador.
The first runner up is Indiana Tonye, while the third runner up is Prince Innocent Ikinga.
Cash prizes of N300,000, N150,000, and N100,000, were given to the first, second and third position winners, respectively.
By: John Bibor & Oribim Ibama
Publish Details Of Parties’ Financial Transactions, SERAP Tasks INEC
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, to publish the reports of parties’ accounts and balance sheets.
The body also wants details of the guidelines and steps being taken to prevent vote buying in the forthcoming elections and to prosecute vote buyers and other electoral offenders.
In a letter, yesterday, SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, noted that citizens have the right to know about the accounts and financial transactions of parties.
He said transparency and accountability would curb the influence of money in politics, promote a level playing field, and remove the risks to the independence of political actors and would-be public office holders.
The organisation insisted it is both immoral and illegal to pay citizens to vote for a particular political party or standard-bearer.
“Unpunished cases of vote buying would continue to undermine good governance, the rule of law, moral values, as well as hinder citizens’ participation in elections”, it said.
SERAP told INEC that when candidates buy votes, there are possibilities that they will disregard for democratic rules.
“Vote buying and related electoral offences encourage poor governance and weaken citizens’ capacity to hold their elected officials accountable for their actions.”
SERAP charged the electoral umpire to collaborate with anti-corruption agencies to ensure the effective prosecution of any outstanding cases of vote buying and related electoral offences.
The letter urged INEC to act within 14 days or face legal actions that would compel it to comply with the request.
RSG Recommits To Engaging Youth Positively
The Rivers State Government has said it was committed to engaging youths positively and empowering them.
The State Chief Executive, Chief Nyesom Wike, stated this during the opening ceremony of the Uplifting African Youth Through Basketball Programme in Port Harcourt, last Friday.
Represented by his Deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, Wike said the issues of youths and young adults were very important to his administration, while expressing delight that youths were being built up with critical life skills in sports, communication, and entrepreneurial leadership skills needed for Rivers State, Nigeria, and Africa.
“This administration is very interested in youth engagements, we want to make sure that our youths are very inclusive, participate, play their roles, and be well mentored and well-motivated to be able to fulfill all of their potentials in life, educationally, in sports, morally and so we are here to support”, the governor stressed.
The governor expressed gratitude to the leader of the Organised Basketball Network (OBN) and his team, for their efforts and the support of the US Consulate, while urging them to visit the Real Madrid Football Academy in Port Harcourt, to appreciate the efforts of the state government in the area of youth engagement.
The youth friendly governor, said “I want to encourage our youths that as you walk together in the next two days, you would learn how to be tolerant with one another and to know that gender based violence is totally not acceptable and that it is inhumane, I know it is just two days, but a lot can be achieved that can be life time impactful”.
In her remarks, the United States Consulate’s Deputy Public Affairs Officer, Jennifer Foltz said the United States and Nigeria have very special and close relationship, adding that the Consulate feels this was the right time to do a sports programme.
“Sports diplomacy is part of what we do, it is part of some ways we build stronger relationships between our two countries, sports brings people together, and even if you do not speak the same language you can still play sports together”, Foltz stressed.
Earlier, the leader of the Organised Basketball Network, Obinna Ekezie said OBN was a platform founded for the development of grassroots basketball in Nigeria and Africa with a mission to develop the next generation of world-class African student athletes and consistently create opportunities to help them advance their careers overseas, through basketball scholarship.
He said the project uplifting African youths was a project to provide inclusion and opportunities for under privileged talented African youths to learn important life skills through basketball.
PDP Assembly, Reps Candidates Emerge In Rivers
Candidates for the House of Representatives and House of Assembly have emerged following the conduct of primaries by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, yesterday.
According to the official results, Solomon Bob emerged the party’s candidate for Abua/Odual/Ahoada East Federal Constituency while Victor Obuzor emerged the candidate for Ahoada West/Ogba/Egbema Federal Constituency.
Also, Awaji Inombek Abiante won the ticket for Andoni/Opobo Federal Constituency, just as Boma Goodhead returned elected for the Asari-Toru/Akuku-Toru Federal Constituency while Cyril Godwin Hart won Degema/Bonny Federal Constituency ticket.
The results further show that Felix Nwaeke emerged the candidate of the PDP for Eleme/Tai/Oyigbo Federal Constituency, with Boniface Emerengwa emerging winner for Ikwerre/Emohua Federal Constituency.
In the same vein, Kelechi Nwogu cruised to victory as the candidate for Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency while Dumnamene Dekor won Khana/Gokana Federal Constituency ticket.
Similarly, Kingsley Ogundu Chinda emerged the House of Representatives candidate for Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency, while Alabo Victor Tamunomiekaye won Okrika/Ogu/Bolo Federal Constituency ticket.
Chima Boms won Port Harcourt Federal Constituency 2 while Barrister Blessing Amadi is the winner of the primary election for Port HarcourtFederal Constituency 1.
For the Rivers State House of Assembly primary, Hon Dominic Iderima picked the ticket for Abua/Odual, Mrs Queen Williams picked the ticket for Ahoada East 1,Rt Hon Ehe Edison emerged the candidate for Ahoada East 2, while Hon Sokari Goodboy Sokari cruised to victory for Ahoada West.
Hon Major Jack won the ticket for Akuku-Toru 1, Hon Opuende Lolo Isaiah is the candidate for Akuku-Toru 2, Hon Ofiks Kabangs Christopher grabbed the ticket to represent Andoni, whileHon Tekena Wellington Granville got the ticket for Asari-Toru 1.
Also, a serving member, Enemi Alabo George easily won the ticket for Asari-Toru 2, just as Hon Victor Oko Jumbo got the nod to represent Bonny, while Hon Abbey Peter emerged the candidate for Degema.
Hon Igwe Obey Aforji emerged the PDP candidate for Eleme, Emohua will be represented by Mrs Justina Emeji, Hon Onwuka Ignatiuswon the ticket to represent Etche 1, while Hon Chimezie Nwankwor is the candidate for Etche 2.
The present member representing Gokana, Hon Dumle Maol, will retain his ticket for the seat, Prince Lemchi Nyeche emerged the candidate for Ikwerre 1, Mrs Barile Nwakoh won the ticket for Khana1, while Barrister Dinebari Loolo got the ticket for Khana 2.
In Obio/Akpor1, Hon Amaewhule Martin Chike was returned, just as Mrs Emilia Lucky Amadi emerged the candidate for Obio/Akpor 2, and Frankline Nwabochi will fly PDP flag for Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni1.
In the same token, Mrs Nkemuika Ezekwe will fight for Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni2 seat on the platform of the PDP, Davids Arnold Okobiriari won the ticket for Ogu/Bolo, a serving member, Somiari Steward Linda will return in Okrika, while Nwankwo Sylvanus emerged for Omuma seat.
Orubienimigha Adolphus grabbed the ticket for Opobo/Nkoro,Hon Gerald Oforji emerged for Oyigbo, Solomon Wami won the ticket for Port Harcourt1,Hon Tonye Smart Adoki will return for Port Harcourt2, Hon Azeru Opara emerged for Port Harcourt3, and Ngbar Bernard Baridamue won the ticket for Tai.
By: Nelson Chukwudi & Reward Akwu
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