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2023: OWWA Takes PVC Sensitisation Rally To Opobo Communities

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Ahead of the 2023 general election in Nigeria, women under the aegis of Opobo Women Welfare Association (OWWA), last weekend, took the sensitisation for registration and collection of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) to more Opobo communities.
The communities where OWWA the campaign to include, Kalama, Iloma, Oloma, Epellema, Ekeregborokiri, Queens Town, Kalasunju, Kalaibiama and Opobo Town, among others.
At the communities, the group urged residents to ensure that they register with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and obtain their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) in order to participate in the electoral process next year.
Addressing a mammoth crowd during the drive in Opobo Town, President of the group, Felicia Stephen Pepple, admonished Nigerians, particularlyeligible voters to go out and get their PVCs now that the opportunity is calling on everybody, no matter their tribe, creed, religion or political divide, noting that “without the PVC, you donot have the right to choose leaders come 2023,” because your vote must count.
Saying that, “no PVC, no vote,”Pepple explained that apart from election matters, the PVC was required to serve multi-dimensional purposes, especially banking transactions, children school enrollment and others, noting that failureto obtain their card could either make or mar their future.
“Without your Permanent Voters Card (PVC),you have no power to either vote or to be voted for,” she said, stressing that it has become imperative for the people to be enlightened on the need to register and collect their voters’ cards to avoid, “had I known, which comes at last.
“Your PVC matters alot now, therefore, you need to go out and get it. Never transfer your card to anyone no matter the relationship between you and that person. Avoid dual registration as your card will be annulled except on transfer from a unit to another of your choice. Endeavour to do so in your own interest”,Pepple declared.
The group also visited churches, schools and markets in the area, where the leader enjoined students and teachers to shun the temptation of standing aloof, and disenfranchising themselves, and blaming others for the election of weak leaders at the end of every election.
At the markets and churches, the group announced to traders and congregants, to ensure that the exercise did not pass them by and work assiduously to be eligible to vote during the 2023 elections, because, according to OWWA, their votes could make a difference in determining who occupies the elective positions at the executive and legislative leaderships in the state and at the national level.
The events, spurred the group into action,as thousands of women embarked on ralliesand road walks, singing and dancing all the way from Kalama axis to ancient city of Opobo.
The group leader appealed to leaders in other adjoining communities around the city to make sure that their subjects who are 18 years and above, including students and the less privileged in the society, get registered with INEC for their PVCs immediately.

By: Bethel Toby

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Customs Suspends Rice Sale As Seven Die In Stampede

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The Nigeria Customs Service has announced the suspension of the sale of foodstuffs following a stampede that reportedly killed seven persons at the NCS Old Zonal Headquarters in the Yaba area of Lagos State, last Friday.
A Chief Superintendent of Customs and National Public Relations Officer for Comptroller General of Customs, Abdullahi Maiwada, disclosed the suspension of the exercise in a statement on Monday.
Nigeria Customs had said it was selling seized food items at N10,000 per 25kg to alleviate the people’s suffering as a result of the current high cost of living and other economic hardships.
Last Friday, a pregnant woman and six others reportedly died in a stampede after some suspected hoodlums attempted to force their way into the Yaba Customs office compound.
Some Lagos residents who thronged the NCS office in Yaba expressed disappointment on Monday following the suspension of the initiative.
However, in a statement on Monday evening, the NCS said the suspension became necessary considering “the recent unfortunate event.”
“We regrettably announce the suspension of this exercise until we establish what transpired on Friday, February 23, 2024,” the NCS spokesman said.
He explained that: “The disposal of the food items got off to a smooth start at about 0800hrs. We enjoyed the cooperation of the large crowd that obliged us, giving preferences to the elderly, people living with disabilities, pregnant women, and other vulnerable Nigerians who showed up for the exercise.
“This was the case up until about 1700hrs, as attested to by the over 5,000 beneficiaries and members of the press. However, unforeseen challenges arose when we ran out of stock and announced the continuation of the exercise the following day, leading to a regrettable outcome.
“The crowd became desperate and charged through our barricades in search of rice bags inside emptied containers. In the stampede that ensued, some fatalities and injuries were regrettably recorded.”
The Customs extended its “heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives during the unfortunate incident.”
The service said it was working with health authorities to establish contact and engage directly with the victims’ families on their next steps.

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Court Dismisses Police Objection Against Fubara’s CoS …Restrains Police From Arresting Ehie

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A Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt, yesterday, dismissed the preliminary objection by counsel to the Nigerian Police, Celestine Dickson, challenging the jurisdiction of the Court to hear the fundamental rights suit by the Chief of Staff to Governor Siminalayi Fubara, Hon. Edison Ehie against the police for lack of merit.
The trial Judge, Justice Sika Aprioku, in a ruling, yesterday, assumed jurisdiction and held that the non-joinder of the Nigeria Police Force in a matter that the Commissioner of Police is a party to does not render the suit incompetent.
Justice Aprioku said the application by the Police lacks merit and thereby dismissed it with a cost of N100,000 in favour of Hon Edison Ehie.
Aprioku also granted the prayers of the counsel to Edison, Damian Okoro to restrain the Police from arresting, detaining, harassing, or inviting Ehie based on the trumped-up charges in the suit by Rt Hon. Martin Amaewhule in connection to the destruction of the Hallow chamber of the Rivers State House of Assembly.
Speaking to newsmen outside the courtroom, counsel to the Police, Celestine Dickson, said he would study the judgment and advise his clients accordingly.
Dickson stated, “That is the wisdom of the court and we cannot criticise the wisdom of the court. The outcome of court decisions must bind parties.
“If you are not satisfied I think you study the judgement and take the next step. The court made it clear that in a couple of minutes, we were going to have copies of the judgement. That will give us the opportunity to look at the judgement and advise our clients accordingly.
On his part, one of the counsel to the Chief of Staff, Ibioku Mac-Barango said the judgment reflects the position of the law.

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Fubara Expresses Confidence In Tinubu To Address Labour Concerns

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In the midst of the ongoing nationwide protest organised by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has expressed confidence in President Bola Tinubu’s ability to address the concerns raised by the organised labour and alleviate their fears.
Fubara gave the assurance during the NLC’s protest to the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday .
The State NLC, led by its chairman, Alex Agwanwor, had joined its counterparts in other parts of the country to protest against high cost of living in the country occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government in May last year.
Recall that there have been a series of protests across the country over the cost of living, inflation, insecurity and hardship among Nigerians.
The NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) had on February 8 issued a 14-day nationwide strike notice to the Federal Government over the failure to implement the agreements reached on October 2, 2023 following the removal of the fuel subsidy.
Responding to a letter of demands presented to the governor by the State NLC, Fubara noted that the grievances outlined by the protesters primarily fell within the purview of the Federal Government.
The governor, who was represented by the Head of the Rivers State Civil Service, Dr. George Nwaeke, said, “To all who listened to every presentation of the labour leader as it is being read out, we can find out none is local, not originating from local source here. They are all national issues and we have hope in the Renewed Hope Agenda of the Federal Government. We have hope. And I know Governor Fubara will also deliver this message as presented by you to the President.”
Fubara further assured the protesters that his administration remained committed to alleviating the economic hardships faced by the people of Rivers State.
He highlighted initiatives such as the provision of palliative buses in response to the fuel subsidy removal and the ongoing development of 20,000 housing units for low-income earners.
The governor also emphasized his administration’s dedication to improving the welfare of civil servants, citing measures such as the employment of 10,000 youths into the state civil service, promotions, and the provision of bonuses.
He affirmed the significance of the issues raised and reiterated his commitment to prioritizing the welfare of workers in the State.
He, however, assured that the NLC’s demands would be conveyed to the President as presented.

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