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NDLEA Trains Six W/African Countries On Dismantling Secret Labs

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA), has conducted a regional training for six West African countries on how to dismantle secret laboratories to strengthen regional action against drug cartels.
The Director, Media and Advocacy, NDLEA, Mr Femi Babafemi, said this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.
He said the training, which took place in Abidjan, Côte D’Ivoire, from March 27 to 29, involved six other West African countries: Republic of Benin, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, the Gambia, Cote D’Ivoire and Nigeria.
Babafemi said the training was part of an ECOWAS project known as “Organised Crime: West African Response to Trafficking” (OCWART), co-funded by the European Union (EU) and German Federal Foreign Office.
He said the project was executed primarily by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
He also said as the lead agency at the workshop, NDLEA drew from its experiential knowledge acquired from the dismantling of 21 secret laboratories found in Nigeria since 2011.
This he said was, however, used to teach other West African countries the practical know-how of handling illicit laboratories.
According to him, a total of eight topical lectures, practicals and question and answer sessions were delivered in two days by a team of NDLEA facilitators.
“They include: Joseph Nbona (Director, Prosecutions and Legal Services), Margaret Ogundipe (Director, Forensic and Chemical Monitoring); Adebowale Rahman (Digital Intelligence specialist), Anebi Ajilima (Forensic and crime lab expert) and Felix Tagbo (Operation specialist).
“The first two days of the workshop dwelt on various perspectives on the subject matter, including the anatomy of a clandestine laboratory, basic clandestine lab investigation techniques and intelligence gathering, operations safety.
“Also included were guidelines for dismantling clandestine laboratories, clean-up and decontamination of illicit labs and sites, basics of controlled delivery and prosecuting cases of clandestine laboratories,” he said.
Babafemi said the workshop was wrapped up on the third day with a practical exercise on the dismantling of a mock clandestine laboratory at the Abidjan Police Academy.
This he said was set up by the Nigerian contingent, and the participants, divided into teams, took turns to dismantle and decontaminate.
He added that the workshop’s seven participating countries sent in representatives from relevant organisations, including Ghana’s Narcotics Control Commission.
“Also included were Sierra Leone’ Serious Organised Crime and Counter Terrorism Coordination Directorate, Drug Law Enforcement Agency of the Gambia (DLEAG), Transnational Crime Unit of Liberia and the INTERPOL.
“The Republic of Benin was represented by the Organised Crime Fighting Unit (CELCO), Customs and Narcotics Office (OCERTID),
“The host, Côte D’Ivoire, had representatives from Narcotics Squad from Judicial Police (DPSD), Customs, National Gendarmerie, Transnational Crime Unit (TCU), Forensic Police Laboratory and Joint Airport Interdiction Task Force (JAITF),” he said.
Mr Suman Toure, Country Representative of the United Nations on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) and its Senior Adviser, Law Enforcement, West and East Africa, described the latitude of the workshop thus: “It is both enforcement and judicial capacity building.
Toure said the project offered technical and equipment support, and facilitated discussion of joint operations among member countries.
“We need regional cooperation to disrupt the transnational criminal organisations’ network,” he said.
Toure said the South-South cooperation that existed among ECOWAS member states since 2014 had helped to disrupt transnational criminal activities over the years.
Similarly, the Minister of Interior and Security for Côte d’Ivoire, Gen. Vagondo Diomande, said the workshop would ensure that law enforcement agencies across the region were equipped with the modern knowledge and equipment to fight transnational organised crime.
Diomande was represented by Mr Kouma Ronsard, Secretary General of the Inter-ministerial Committee for the Fight against Drugs.
He underscored the need for cooperation among law enforcement agencies in West Africa, saying that there was need for cooperation, especially bilateral cooperation.
“The new law in Cote D’Ivoire gave it the power to cooperate with states in the fight against drug and human trafficking.
“We need cooperation to break this chain. Cote D’Ivoire has cooperation with Nigeria. No one country can say, ‘there is no drug in my country,’ the reality is, we haven’t seen them and or don’t know yet of the techniques of the criminals,” he said.
Also, Dr. Amado de Andrés, UNODC Regional Representative for West and Central Africa, in his speech before presenting certificates to the participants, said: “All countries in the West Africa region need to cooperate.”
He added that the other countries needed Nigeria more in the participation of conventions against organised crime.
He said the purpose of bringing all the countries together was to break the language barrier.
“In the next five years, we will have to work together, so that your combined expertise can be used to train other regions of the world.
“We are trying to foster South-South cooperation in a way to make it effective as to strengthen security and entrench stability in the region,” he told the participants.

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We’ll Expand Socio-Economic Opportunities For All Rivers People -Fubara ……As Wike Bows Out

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has declared his administration’s resolve to expand the existing socio-economic opportunities in order to engender prosperity for all Rivers people.
Fubara made this declaration on Monday at the General Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Elekahia, venue of his swearing-in as the sixth democratically elected governor of Rivers State.
Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Simeon Amadi, administered the oath of office on the new governor and his deputy, Prof. Ngozi Odu.
Thereafter, the former governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, handed over the flag of Rivers State and handover notes to his successor.
Fubara, in his inaugural address titled “Together, Let’s Consolidate the New Rivers State”, noted the poor state of the national economy, but promised that his administration would take measures to diversify Rivers economy and insulate it so that it can grow.
He also assured of promoting the climate of ease of doing business in the State to attract direct foreign investment capable of empowering Rivers people.
“The primary responsibility of a new government is to do its best to advance the security and well-being of the State and its citizens.
“Therefore, as we undertake our responsibilities, we promise to stay the course, commit to cooperative governance and expand opportunities for everyone. The wishes of our people for a happy life are our mission in politics.
“We will prioritise the well-being of the State and citizens with a renewed focus on economic growth, people-centred projects and social services”, he said.
He said further that, “We will improve the ease of doing business and sustain a congenial fiscal regime to attract local and foreign direct investments to stimulate greater economic activities, create wealth and improve citizens’ livelihoods.
“We will adopt a re-industrialization policy master plan and partner with the private sector to revive or establish viable industries to create jobs and empower our people.
“We will also support the growth of small businesses and encourage commercial agriculture to achieve food security, industrialization and improved living standards for citizens.”
Fubara added that his administration is already building on the successes of his predecessor and will construct more projects including the Port Harcourt ring road.
According to him, there shall be healthy partnership with private investors to provide integrated inter-modular public transportation system in the State.
“We witnessed unprecedented growth in infrastructure in the last eight years, but there’s still more to do.
“We will follow our leader’s footsteps to invest in capital projects, including roads, bridges, electricity supply to our rural areas, and social housing.
“We will, therefore, partner with the private sector to develop an integrated multimodal public transportation system to advance mass mobility and access to socio-economic opportunities across the state.
“We will also construct the Port Harcourt Ring Road to enhance the mobility of goods and services across the State”.
Fubara said the challenges in the health sector like inadequate manpower and corruption would be addressed to achieve optimal performance.
In the education sector, he promised to provide smart classrooms for students to prepare for global competition, empower the youths with skills to become economically active while being connected to small and medium scale business opportunities.
He said, “We care about our youth. We know they need jobs, opportunities, empowerment and the freedom to build sound, promising futures. We will not abandon our youth to their fate. We will continue prioritizing education at all levels and empower our youth with the relevant skills and opportunities to become economically active, productive and prosperous.
“We believe in the job creation capacity of small and medium enterprises. And so, we shall facilitate targeted access to low-interest funds for youth entrepreneurs to start or improve their businesses, earn decent incomes and generate employment for themselves and others.”
The governor particularly acknowledged the achievements of his predecessor in the health sector saying, “We are also proud of the state’s achievements in the healthcare sector, particularly the construction of new primary healthcare centres, the Mother and Child Hospital, the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, the Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases Diagnostic and Treatment Centre and the contributory Healthcare Insurance Law.
“With what is on the ground, it is evident that the primary challenges with our healthcare system are more with inadequate manpower, corruption, indiscipline and ineffective management”.
Fubara gave a firm assurance by saying: “I assure you that apart from completing all ongoing healthcare infrastructure projects, we will deal with all identified challenges and ensure that the healthcare system functions optimally to deliver affordable and efficient healthcare to citizens.
“We are equally proud of the State’s unprecedented educational advancement, especially in the last four years. Our public schools at all levels, irrespective of location, are some of the lovely and best-resourced in the country.”
According to him, his administration will consolidate on the progress made so far by “introducing smart schools and classrooms across the State to empower our children with world-class learning experiences and make Rivers State a knowledge hub.”
Fubara vowed to be hard on crime and criminality in the State saying, “We will be hard on crime and criminality. We will swiftly and firmly deal with anyone, regardless of status or position, rich or poor, who breaks our laws or dares to violate our environment, peace and security”.
The governor thanked civil servants for their support and promised regular payment of salary, gratuity, more training, promotion for them and housing for low income earners.
Describing the civil servants as members of his constituency, he said, “To our civil servants, I thank all of you for your invaluable contributions to the state’s progress over the years.
“We appreciate your indispensability and promise to meet all our obligations to you, including regular payment of wages, pensions, gratuity, training and promotions. All we ask is your continued patriotism, dedication, and enthusiasm in the execution of your official duties”.
He further promised to govern Rivers people with the fear of God, cognizance of the fact that Rivers is a Christian state.
He also assured the church and spiritual leaders of his administration robust partnership to enhance the moral and spiritual wellbeing of Rivers people.
“Rivers State is a Christian State, and God is our foundation. We shall govern with the fear of God and stay strong to our Christian values of trust, faith, love, care and sacrifice.”
“We shall deepen the inseparable ties between the Church and the State government for the benefit of our people. We assure the Christian Association of Nigeria and other spiritual leaders of our sincere friendship, support and solidarity.
“We will continue to support and work with the Church to defend our faith, advance our values and enhance our people’s moral and spiritual well-being”, he assured.
At the Government House, Port Harcourt, the governor hung the official portraits of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, his own and that of his predecessor, Wike.

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… Appoints Nwaeke HoS, Ideozu Acountant General

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The Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has approved two new strategic appointments in the state Civil Service.
In the latest development, the governor has approved the appointment of the most senior civil servant and permanent secretary, Dr. George Nwaeke as Head of Service, Rivers State.
He also approved the appointment of Dr Uche Ideozu as the new Accountant General of Rivers State.
A statement signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Communications in Rivers State, Ibiwari Clapton-Ogolo, Esq, said that the appointments take immediate effect.
The two fresh appointments bring to six the number of appointments already made by the governor since assuming duties on Monday, May 29.
The first set of appointments was the nomination of four former commissioners under Governor Nyesom Wike as commissioner-designates.
The names are Prof Zaccheaus Adangor, Dr Dakorima George-Kelly, Isaac Kamalu, and Prof Prince Chinedu Mmom.
While Adangor was attorney general and commissioner for justice, George-Kelly was works commissioner, Kamalu was finance commissioner, and Mmom was education commissioner.

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Fuel Scarcity: Tinubu Resumes Work, Meet With Emefiele, Kyari

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President Bola Tinubu yesterday officially resumed work at the Presidential Villa, Abuja where he met with the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele and the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mr. Mele Kyari.
This was the first official assignment by the President after his inauguration as the 16th President of the country at the Eagle Square, Abuja, on Monday.
The President arrived at the forecourt of the State House at about 2:30 pm through the quarter guard gate, which is his official entrance gate and was received by the Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima, the Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and the outgoing Director of Protocol, DOP.
Others who received him were Emefiele, Kyari and a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. James Faleke, among others.
The President went straight to his office with Emefiele, Kyari, Gbajabiamila, Faleke and others.
Although the agenda of the meeting was not made public, it may not be unconnected with the removal of fuel subsidy and the attendant fuel scarcity.
It is expected that the issue of unification of foreign exchange, recent Naira redesign, among others will also be discussed.
Recall that President Tinubu had during his inaugural speech announced that the subsidy has been removed and this immediately made filling stations to shut down operations across the country.

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