An explosion has rocked the ancient city of Okene, the headquarters of Kogi Central Senatorial District, the home town of Governor Yahaya Bello.
The explosion at the governor’s home town occurred a few hours before the expected historic visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Kogi State, yesterday.
Controversy has, however, trailed the explosion.
While some persons attributed it to a bomb blast, others said it was a transformer blast.
Three persons were reportedly killed in the explosion that happened just a few meters from the Ohinoyi’s palace at Kuroko Street in Okene.
The governor had been in Okene since Wednesday waiting for the first visit of the president to the state since he took over power on January 27, 2016.
Buhari was expected to first touch-down in the same Okene where he was scheduled to hold a town hall meeting, and commission some projects in the senatorial district before he moved to Lokoja, the state capital to continue the commissioning of other laudable projects.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has assessed the seven and a half years administration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the centre with a claim that the ruling party headed by him has delivered on all electoral promises made to Nigerians at all levels.
Speaking, yesterday, at the palace of the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, which he also inaugurated as part of his one-day official Visit to Kogi State, the president also said Governor Yahaya Bello had performed creditably in his two terms as governor.
According to him, “We are an administration that prides ourselves in the fulfillment of our electoral promises to the Nigerian people, at both national and sub-national levels. This is why I am glad that we have an impressive array of legacy projects through your own state government as proof of our stewardship of Kogi State.
“The APC administration has indelible footprints in Kogi State. Among the many projects executed by the Federal Government are the Itakpe to Okene bypass, the Obajana to Kabba concrete road built by Dangote Industries Limited under our ‘roads for taxes initiate’ (Executive Order 7) and the Itakpe to Warri railway service, among others.
“I am very pleased to be here today to commission several projects executed by the administration of His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello.”
Buhari also spoke of the determination of his administration to position Kogi State as an industrial hub, as well as a solid mineral power base.
He took time to explain how the Federal Government achieved the resolution of all legal entanglements that had bogged down the progress of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex, adding that the project stands to benefit the people of the state immensely.
The president said: “No other single project holds the key to unlocking this vast potential as much as the Ajaokuta Steel Complex, which we inherited as a long moribund complex strangulating under a tangle of local and international commercial disputes.
“I am glad to report that as we begin to round off in office, we can genuinely say that our administration has rescued Ajaokuta from all legal disabilities and it is now ready for concessioning to a private investor with the right profiles to put it to work for Nigeria in general and Kogi State in particular.
“The process has cost this Federal Government over $400million so far, but I consider it money well spent as we move closer to achieving our objective of transforming Kogi State into Nigeria’s iron and steel powerhouse.
“The benefits of getting Ajaokuta Steel Complex working again are numerous. It would provide over 500,000 estimated jobs and more than $1.6billion in annual income to the Nigerian economy.
“Nigerians can rest assured that I remain committed to seeing this process to a logical conclusion before the end of my tenure in office.”
Buhari added that Kogi State also stands to benefit in diverse ways when the 614 kilometres (384 mile) AKK gas pipeline which traverses the state starts operations next year.
He commended Bello “for rising up to the occasion in many sectors especially security. We are proud of him and I encourage the people of Kogi State to continue to support him and his team as they are working hard to ensure peace, security and development in the state”.
Projects inaugurated by the president included: the Reference Hospital Okene, which boasts of the first ever hyperbaric treatment chamber in Nigeria and the fleet of ambulances attached to it; the new Ohinoyi’s palace at Okene; the Ganaja Junction flyover and interchange at Lokoja; the GYB Model Science Secondary School, Adankolo, Lokoja; the MuhammaduBuhari Square (Civic Centre) at Lokoja; and a fleet of high–tech security vehicles to combat crimes and criminality.
Earlier in his welcome address, the state Governor,YahayaBello, thanked the president for showing leadership and for the various programmes and interventions which had positively impacted on the state and her people.
These, the governor said, included the Itakpe-Warri rail line, which he noted, had brought relief to travellers and business owners in the state.
Bello informed the president that the projects inaugurated were in response to his commitment to serve, stating that since his swearing-in on January 27, 2016, his administration constituted a multi-sectoral committee that went round the nooks and crannies of the state, identifying the needs of the people.
“This document has been our guide,” the governor stated.
While acknowledging the commitment of Buhari towards the resuscitation of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex, the governor thanked the president for his unrelenting interest in the project.
Bello also stated that his administration has a cordial relationship with the traditional institution in the state, adding that the new Ohinoyi’s palace inaugurated by Buhari was a testimony to this.
Earlier, the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, Dr. Ibrahim Ado, represented by the Ohi of Okengwe, Alhaji Mohammed TijjaniAnage, on behalf of the traditional rulers of the Central Senatorial Zone of the state, thanked Buhari for his support to Bello’s administration and for being the first sitting president of Nigeria to visit the state on a working visit.
PSC Appoints Three DIGs, Suspends Promotion Of Eight CPs, 11 DCPs
The Police Service Commission has approved the appointment of three Assistant Inspectors General of Police, Hafiz Inuwa, Aji Janga, and Adeleke Bode, to the rank of Deputy Inspectors General of Police.
The new DIGs are expected to fill the vacant duty posts created due to the retirements of three DIGs representing the North-Central, North-East and the North-West geopolitical zones.
The Spokesperson for the PSC, Ikechukwu Ani, revealed this in a statement, yesterday.
The PSC noted that the approval of the appointments of the new DIGs had also ensured that the defined succession policy in the Nigerian police is sustained.
The Force Secretary, Hafiz Inuwa, will be replacing retired DIG Mustapha Dan-Daura for the North-West slot. Dan- Daura retired on January 15 this year.
Aji Janga from the North-East will replace DIG Zanna Ibrahim who retired on November 26, 2022, while Adeleke Bode of North-Central will replace DIG Sanusi Lemu who retired on January 31 this year.
The new appointments were part of the decisions of the reconvened 18th plenary of the commission which held in Abuja, last week and chaired by the acting chairperson of the PSC, Justice Clara Ogunbiyi.
Meanwhile, the commission has suspended the promotion of eight Commissioners of Police to the rank of Assistant Inspectors General and 11 Deputy Commissioners of Police to the next rank of Commissioners due to their failure to appear before it for the mandatory promotion interview.
Ani said, “The PSC had sent invitations to the officers to appear before it for the usual interaction to ascertain their suitability and capability for the new offices.
“The commission expressed surprise on their failure to honour the invitation especially as the 2023 general election is just days away.”
The commission also approved the promotion of 10 Assistant Commissioners of Police to the next rank of Deputy Commissioners; 17 Chief Superintendents of Police to Assistant Commissioners and 301 Superintendents of Police to Chief Superintendents.
Meanwhile, 47 skipped Deputy Superintendents of Police from previous recommendations to the commission were also promoted to Superintendents of Police while 665 Assistant Superintendents of Police were promoted to Deputy Superintendents of Police.
The recommendations for ACP Nwamanna Nelson, SP Iliyas Casmir and SP Alheri Mamman were also endorsed and the officers promoted to their next ranks after they were absolved of any pending disciplinary matter.
Justice Ogunbiyi congratulated and wished the officers success, while charging the newly-promoted officers to give their best to the service of the nation especially now that Nigeria will be going to the polls to elect new leaders.
RSU Commences Academic Activities In Satellite Campuses
The Rivers State University, Nkpolu-Oroworukwo, Port Harcourt, has commenced academic activities for the 2022/2023 session in her satellite campuses at Emohua, Etche, Ahoada and Sakpenwa.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Nlerum Okogbule, DSSRS, disclosed this when he led other Principal Officers of the University, Head of Etche Campus and Dean, Faculty of Agriculture on a courtesy visit to the Paramount Ruler of Abara, Etche, last Wednesday, as part of assessment tour of the various campuses.
Speaking at the palace of the Paramount Ruler, the Vice-Chancellor expressed appreciation to the Ochimba and his Council of Chiefs and the entire community for the support given to the university which, according to him, contributed to the speedy completion of the various structures at the Etche campus.
He said that the satellite campuses had commenced studies with the year one students for the 2022/2023 session, expressing optimism that more accommodation for staff and students will be provided by the university within the year.
He appealed for more support from the community, stating that the Etche campus is a replica of a full fledgef university, which all over the world, is a centre of development.
He explained that the presence of the campus would stimulate economic activities and assist in the development of the host community and neigbouring communities.
He assured the leaders of the community that the iniversity would continue to maintain its corporate social responsibility with her host community.
Responding, the Paramount Ruler and Ochimba of Abara Etche, Eze Jonah Nwala, thanked the Rivers State Government for completing the project and the take-off of academic activities at the Etche Campus of the university.
The paramount ruler said that what the State Government has done for the people of Abara Etche is beyond providing a school, explaining that the campus is an industry which has started impacting on all sectors of the economy within the community.
While appreciating the management of the university for ensuring the take-off of studies, he assured the university of the community’s continuous support for the sustenance of the Etche campus.
2023: Wike Enjoins Military To Be Apolitical
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has advised officers and men of the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army in Port Harcourt to be apolitical throughout the 2023 general election.
The governor stressed that in the interest of the country’s democratisation process, the military must adhere to President Muhammadu Buhari, Chief of Defence Staff and Chief of Army’s commitment not to interfere in the 2023 general election.
He stated this during the 6 Division West African Social Activities (WASA) 2022, that held in Port Harcourt over the weekend.
Governor Wike, who was the special guest of honour at the occasion, was represented by the Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt, Chief Emeka Woke.
The governor, who commended the military for its active role in fighting crime in the State, urged officers and men of the 6 Division to work assiduously with personnel of other security to provide level playing for all political parties and politicians in the State.
“We want to thank you for the relationship we have enjoyed. You have also contributed a lot in terms of crime fighting. But as you are aware, we are now in election season. It is on public notice that Mr President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces (Muhammadu Buhari) has said at different forums that he will not interfere in the forthcoming election.
“And that he will ensure a free and fair election. The Chief of Defence staff has also said at different forums that the military will be apolitical and they will not interfere in the general election. I want to believe that men and officers of this 6 division will follow suit.
“I want to believe they will follow the position of Mr President, Chief of Defence Staff and Chief of Army Staff not to interfere in politics. I am saying this because of the ugly experience the people who live and do business in Rivers State had during the last election.”
Governor Wike, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, recalled how the Nigerian Army Bori Camp barracks, which is the headquarters of the 6 Division in Port Harcourt, was practically converted to a collation centre during the 2019 governorship election.
He expressed dismay that the military allowed itself to be used to interfere in what ordinarily ought to be a civil exercise.
The governor, however, said that with the level of discipline and focus that the present officers of the 6 Division have shown and exhibited, he is hopeful there would not be a re-enactment of the despicable incidences of 2019 general election.
“Allow the citizens of Rivers state to exercise their civil responsibility in an atmosphere of free and fair election. Work with other security agencies to provide level playing field for politicians”, he said.
He congratulated the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Faruq Yahaya; the General Officer Commanding, Major General O.O Oluyede, and the personnel of the 6 Division for a successful completion of the training year 2022 and the beginning of a new year, 2023.
Governor Wike extolled the GOC 6 for efforts put in place since his assumption of office to fight all forms of criminality especially in areas of crude oil theft and kidnapping in his area of responsibility.
He said, “Your effort has brought about maintenance of peace in the region. I want to congratulate you and the entire personnel of 6 Division for a job well done and also urge you not to relent in your efforts.
“Let me use this opportunity to solicit for support of all stakeholders to join hands with the 6 Division to eradicate criminalities in our society.”
In his remarks, the GOC 6 Division, Major General O.O Oluyede, who was represented by Brig. General A.A Idris, explained that West African Social Activities (WASA) is customary in the Nigerian Army to mark the end of each training year as well as ushering Nigerian Army into the new year.
Highlight of the event was presentation of awards to some personnel of the Nigerian Army who distinguished themselves in the previous year.
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