A devastating inferno has razed a storey building in the Rumuodara area of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, destroying valuables and personal documents worth billions of Naira.
The fire, which swept through #4 (8) Bakery Close, off Onukem Avenue, by Shandee’s, in Rumuodara, was ignited around 8pm, on May 5, a day after the world marked the 2022 International Firefighters’ Day, set aside to recognise and honour the sacrifices, commitments and dedication firefighters make to ensure their communities are safe.
The fire, which lasted for more than five hours, took the intervention of firefighters from the Federal Fire Service and thousands of volunteers and neighbours to put out.
However, the fire destroyed every household valuable as well as personal documents and effects in the building, including primary, secondary and university certificates; birth certificates; property and bank documents; international passports; employments documents; among others.
Personnel of the Federal Fire Service, who responded to distress calls from various individuals, arrived the scene more than one hour after the fire had started.
The firefighters, who came to the scene with water, without any support chemicals, battled the fire, until suddenly, heavy rains began pouring down, and helped neutralise the inferno.
The Rivers State Police Command’s Okporo Police Station also deployed a team of combat operatives to give cover to the firefighters and other volunteers, who helped salvage the remaining property outside the building, especially the three vehicles left at the car park in front of the building.
The owner of the building, Engr Callistus Anieheobi, a staff of Chevron Nigeria Limited, who spoke to The Tide, said he had gone to a lounge about seven minutes away from the house along with his wife to join a friend who was celebrating 16 years marriage anniversary.
Anieheobi said that less than 25minutes after they arrived the venue of the meeting on Okporo Road, his house-helps called to raise the alarm that fire was already ravaging his building.
He said that on arrival at his gate, he saw thousands of neighbours, sympathisers and volunteers with buckets of water and fire extinguishers battling to put out the fire while others were struggling to lift his cars out of the compound to avoid escalation of the fire.
Anieheobi, who was left with only a pair of trouser, shirt and shoes he was wearing, said that by the time he came back with his wife, everything in the house had been razed.
He said that his attempt to rush into the building to recover their sensitive documents and valuables was forcefully rebuffed by the raging inferno, heat and billowing smoke, which forced the roof to cave in to the main sitting room and razed everything on its way, including the dining area on the ground floor.
He noted that the fire may have been triggered by electrical fault in the CCTV Controller, explaining that before leaving the house, the air conditioner in the master’s bedroom had been switched on while his children had been asked to go downstairs to take their dinner before going to bed in the same room, where the fire started from.
He thanked everyone who rendered one form of help or the other during his trying moment, including the Federal Fire Service, police and residents around the area.
Also speaking, Dr Chidinma Anieheobi, thanked God for saving the life of her children and her mother, who were downstairs having their dinner when the fire ignited.
Chidinma, a staff of National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), said that everything they had worked hard to acquire was completely razed by the fire, adding that the only thing left was what they were wearing.
The Tide gathered that the couple and their children, since the unfortunate incident, have been surviving with the help of friends, relatives and associates, who have provided clothing, and other gifts to support the family overcome their difficult moment.
The Tide confirmed that no casualties were recorded as a result of the fire, as all residents evacuated safely from the building before fire engulfed the entire building.
The Okporo police operatives, who interviewed the owner of the property and sympathisers, at the scene, also confirmed that no live was lost to the inferno.
When contacted, yesterday, Rivers State Police Command Spokesperson, Grace Iringe-Koko, said she was yet to be briefed on the incident.
However, Anieheobi has made written incident report before the Okporo Police Station.
By: Nelson Chukwudi
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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