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Vote-Buyers Risk Jail Term -INEC

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Ahead this year’s general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said jail term awaits any individual caught with a Permanent Voters Card (PVC), not belonging to him or her.
The commission said it is collaborating with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Matters Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to check vote-buying
Rivers State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Johnson Alalibo Sinikiem, disclosed this at the opening ceremony of the 2023 Week of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), with the theme ‘Media Vigilance Ahead of Peaceful 2023 Election In Rivers State’, in Port Harcourt, Monday.
Sinikiem, who was represented by the Head, Voter Education and Publicity, Mark Usulo, insisted that anyone caught with PVC that does not belong to him or her risks a jail term.
Describing vote-buying as a cankerworm that has eaten deep into the Nigerian system, Sinikiem noted that the INEC had engaged in sensitization campaigns to monitor and report any person involved in the act during the elections.
According to him, security agencies, particularly the Nigeria Police and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), have been intimated to remain vigilant to uncover people in possession of PVCs that are not theirs.
While assuring the commission’s commitment to conducting a free, fair, credible and violent-free elections in the state, Sinikiem challenged the Media on accurate reportage of INEC activities before, during and after the elections.
Earlier, the Chairman, Correspondents’ Chapel, Amaechi Okonkwo noted with dismay the rising spate of political violence in the state and stressed the need for a reverse and resultant peaceful elections.
In his words, “in the past few weeks, we all know what has been happening around politics and campaigns in Rivers State. Even before now, we are not unaware of information about violence or pockets of violence here and there relating to election and campaigns in Rivers State.”
“Rewind to 2019 when we last held general elections here and you will understand the economic and social disruptions, the loss of lives and property and the nightmares of militarisation of the state, which are still very fresh in our hearts.
“This is the reason we insisted on joining the discussion to reinforce not just the discussion but demand for peaceful general elections in Rivers State.”
Also Speaking, the Head, Corporate Communications, Indorama-Eleme Petrochemicals Limited, and Chairman of the event, Dr. Jossy Nkwocha, urged Journalists and the media at large to be patriotic in their reportage of elections.
Nkwocha said “be careful of fake news from various interest groups. Fake news is the biggest thing that threatens journalism and even the electoral process.
“Let us ensure we check sources of information before using such stories. Let’s maintain neutrality and give all political parties equal opportunities at all times.
“Let’s beware of materials that cause character assassination of political opponents. Let’s be careful with information that may trigger violence in the electoral process”.

By: Lady Godknows Ogbulu

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Rivers

Ex-Khana LG Chairmen Pass Vote Of Confidence On Yobana 

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The Association of former elected Local Government Chairmen in Khana Local Government Area have passed a vote of confidence on the Caretaker Committee Chairman of the Council, Amb. Marvin Yobana.
The Vote of Confidence was passed on Yobana at a meeting by former council chairmen in Khana, headquarters of Khana Local Government Area, on Wednesday.
The former council chairmen led by Hon. Letam Alabi Korsi, said they were satisfied and impressed by the performance index of the CTC chairman since assuming office, and urged him to continue in that stead.
Addressing the Press after the meeting, Hon. Korsi who is the first Executive Chairman of Khana Local Government Council, said, “We, elected past Local Government Chairmen of Khana Local Government Council, having observed the performance of the Caretaker Committee Chairman who was just appointed about a month ago, are satisfied and impressed by all what he is doing for the Khana people and the projection of our governor in Khana Local Government Area.
“We, therefore, on behalf of ourselves and others, passed a Vote of Confidence on him and urge him to continue to perform accordingly so as to upgrade the people of Khana from this level to the next level before he hands over to the next elected chairman of Khana Local Government Area.”
The former chairmen also expressed support for two Ogonis in the State Executive Council, the State Commissioner for  Environment, Hon Sydney Gbara, and his Agriculture counterpart, Victor Kii, describing them as seasoned technocrats.
They thanked the Executive Governor of Rivers State, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, for the confidence he has in the Ogoni sons and daughters, assuring him that the appointees would not disappoint him.
“We are also pleased that His Excellency has appointed these commissioners into the State Executive Council, and they are performing accordingly.
“We, therefore, endorse and urge them to continue to work with His Excellency to bring to Khana more dividends of democracy”, the former chairmen stated
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Rivers

Stakeholders Charge Journalists, CSOs On Use Of Technology For Peace-building

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 Media professionals and civil society organisations have been urged to utilize technology for peace-building and tackling criminality and violence in the Niger Delta.
Niger Delta Country Director of Search For Common Ground, Mr. Yacinthe Agbajadan, made the call at a three-day training programme funded by the European Union, and held in Port Harcourt, recently.
The programme was organised by Search for Common Ground, in conjunction with Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND), the Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN), the Academic Associate Peace Works (AAPW) in 66 communities and 33 local governments in Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers.
The training workshop brought together 25 participants from various civil society organisations, media workers and youth groups from across the State.
Speaking during the programme, Agbajadan stated that the training programme aimed at equipping participants with necessary skills to effectively communicate and disseminate information on peace-building efforts in the region.
“Conflict contents and misinformation on digital space could lead to more conflicts, thus, the need for journalists and CSOs to promote peace on the digital space and this cannot be over emphasized as long as the digital space is concerned.
“So, the digital space is a platform capable of providing participants with comprehensive knowledge on how to critically access, analyze and galvanize digital tools to promote contents that would help to reduce conflict and create a community-centered peace mechanism,” Agbajadan said.
Also speaking, representatives from the organising partners, Mr Sunny Dada, Mr Nelson Aso and Ms Afolashade Seye-Ojo, emphasized the importance of digital media literacy in shifting the narrative of the Niger Delta from one that is of violence and criminality to that of peace and development.
The organisers expressed their commitment towards capacity building for local actors in the region, while reiterating their commitment to supporting the participants in implementing the skills and knowledge acquired during the training in their respective communities.
Some of the participants who spoke to The Tide after the training programme, expressed their gratitude to the organisers and acknowledged the relevance of the programme in their efforts to promote peace and security in the Niger Delta region.
They promised to make good use of the knowledge acquired, noting that if media professionals and CSOs become more involved in seeking peace-building and unity in the society, the aim of the training in combating criminality in the social space will be achieved.
The training programme focused on the use of digital media tools and platforms to amplify peacebuilding efforts and counter the narratives of criminality and violence in the region; the ethical considerations in digital peace-building, and the importance of digital fact-checking tools and verification of information before dissemination, among others..
Susan Serekara-Nwikhana
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Khana LG Chair Flags Off Remodeling Of Bori Police Station 

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The Caretaker Committee Chairman of Khana Local Government Council, Amb. Marvin Yobana, has flagged off the remodeling of the Bori Police Station, with a view to improving the welfare of officers in the area and also checking road accidents on the road.
Amb. Yobana, who flagged off the remodeling of the Police Station in Bori, on Monday, said his administration decided to embark on the project to appreciate the role of the security agencies in protecting lives and property in Khana Local Government Area.
“This constitutional duty of the Nigerian security forces cannot be overemphasised. We know that if Khana is not peaceful and there is no security in Khana, nobody will live there or do business in Khana Local Government Area ,” he said at the flag-off ceremony.
The CTC boss added that the remodeling of the Bori Police Station also became imperative to reduce cases of incessant accidents caused by the closure of the part of the road opposite the Police Station.
Responding, the Bori Divisional Police Officer, Femi Okanlawon, expressed delight over the commitment of the Yobana administration towards supporting security agencies in Khana.
He explained that the closure of the part of the road opposite the Bori Police Station had caused lots of challenges that have resulted in loss of lives.
The DPO noted that the remodeling of the Police Station and the distribution of vehicles to security agencies by the Khana Council boss would also boost the morale of officers to be diligent on duty.
In his vote of thanks, a former lawmaker representing Khana Constituency Two in the Rivers State House of Assembly, Prince Ngbor, thanked Amb.Yobana for his support towards security agencies in the local government area, and urged other local government councils in the State to emulate the gesture.
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