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We’ll Vote Against Those Who Say Rivers Don’t Matter -Wike

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has declared that anybody who despises the political capability of the state will be meted with the same treatment.
Wike made the declaration at the inauguration of the Orochiri-Worukwo (Waterlines Junction) Flyover, which was performed by the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in Port Harcourt, last Monday.
The Rivers State governor explained that the dynamics of contemporary politics haves made it unpopular to just give votes away without the assurance of derivable benefit for the people.
“If you say Rivers State does not matter, Rivers State will tell you that you don’t also matter at the appropriate time. If you don’t like us, we will not like you. If you like us, we will like you.
“Nobody will use our votes for nothing. Our votes will matter, and Rivers State must benefit from anybody that we are going to support.
“Politics now is no longer just vote for somebody; it is about what you will do for the people of Rivers State.
“No amount of blackmail in the media can distract us from delivering our campaign promises to Rivers people, I am more concerned about the happiness of our people,” the governor said.
Wike pointed to how difficult it would be for any conspirators to upset the voting pattern of Rivers State and support for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The governor reiterated that those who looted the treasury of the state would not be supported to become governor of Rivers State.
“My guest from Lagos State let nobody tell you story that anybody will come here to win as governor of Rivers State. It will not happen.
“Those who looted the treasury of the state will not come here to be governor of Rivers State, and I have challenged them.
“I am fully in charge. I am not that kind of governor people will go to Abuja and hold meetings against. I am fully in charge here.”
Wike also berated Mr. Yemi Adebowale over his ThisDay publication in which he peddled misinformation in his ‘RingTrue’ column article titled, “Wike, a Governor Possessed By Spirit of Flyovers.”
The governor noted the obvious unhappy mind set of the writer for his dislike for development and hatred for Rivers people who were happy with the ongoing development strides of his administration.
“First of all, let me state, if there is one state that pays salary regularly, it is Rivers State. Let me also state, every month, we pay pensioners. Let me also state, since we have been paying gratuity, have you been hearing anybody talking on radio?”
Wike also challenged those who were envious of his development strides to rather show what capacity they have by executing projects, and invite renowned persons to inaugurate them.
He explained that the Lagos State governor was not the first time person of other political parties invited to inaugurate projects in Rivers State.
He pointed to the overall benefits such invitations have on governance, saying that it served as peer review for them.
Speaking, the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who inaugurated the Orochiri-Worokwu (Waterlines Junction) Flyover, commended Wike for his strong commitment to the delivery of physical infrastructure in Rivers State.
“I would like to specially commend my brother, Governor Wike, for his strong commitment to the delivery of physical infrastructure in Rivers State, a commitment that has been recognised by all and sundry, and which has earned him the appellation of ‘Mr. Projects’ within and outside Rivers State.
“You can hate a man or may not like his face but you cannot dispute the good works he has done, Governor Wike you are a talk-and-do governor,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said though himself and Wike belong to different political persuasions, the invitation extended to him sends a very strong message that politicians and political leaders can come together across political and ideological divides, for the good of the people.
“There is also a strong message being made today about expanding our capacity to play politics without bitterness. This symbolic gesture by my friend and brother is one that should become standard practice across Nigeria.
“There is also a lot that we can learn from one another, and experience that we can translate from one part of the country to the other.”
Sanwo-Olu further added: “Ultimately, we are all in governance to touch the lives of the people for good; to deliver to them the dividends of democracy. There is no doubt that Governor Wike has spent his last seven years focused on this, just as we have similarly been doing in Lagos.”
He added that Rivers and Lagos share a lot of similarities; he suggested that the two states should synergize to provide a solid leadership in the league of states in Nigeria.
“Rivers State and Lagos State share a lot in common; we are both economic hubs of our respective regions. We are both densely populated with rapid growing population mostly from our respective neighbouring states. Huge urbanisation and increased pressure on our physical infrastructure. We both enjoy fairly extensive coastline of water.
“People are drawn to Lagos and Rivers as places where economic opportunities abound; where dreams are fulfilled; where you can achieve your greatest aspirations in life”, Sanwo-Olu said.
Providing the description of the project, the Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Dr Dakorinama George-Kelly said the project has been completed on schedule with specified quality.
“The project has an overall length of 840meters and overall cross sectional width of 17.6meters, 7.3meters on each lane. It has one meter walkway on both sides, and two meter of media. We have a total of asphaltic pavement area of 29,000 square meters.
“This flyover bridge brings to amend traffic congestion along the Port Harcourt-Aba Expressway because right from the Boro Park Flyover down to Eastern By-pass, there will be no traffic congestion. So, there will be ease of doing business around Port Harcourt, and Rivers people will benefit from it.”
In his speech, Regional Manager of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Juergen Fischer, noted that history had been made with the opening for public use of the 7th Flyover awarded to them for construction.
He thanked Wike for the trust reposed in Julius Berger Nigeria Plc to handle such huge projects for the state government.

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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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