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“Police Need Attitudinal Reform”

Following the myriad of alleged human right abuses by officers and men of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Port Harcourt based lawyer, Barr. Chimezie Otuonye; says the first step to address the issues is to identify the real problem of the unit under the Nigeria Police Force.

Barr. Otuonye in a chat with newsmen in Port Harcourt, said Federal Government was in a hurry to replace SARS with Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT), adding that it was too hasty.

“Why should the Federal Government be in a hurry to set up SWAT.? In fact, it is a wrong decision. Scrapping SARS and replacing it with SWAT is a negative move. Replacing SARS with SWAT is like an insult to us. There is need to consult people and retired police and army personnel as well as relevant stakeholders,” Barr. Otuonye added.

He stated that there was nothing wrong with the unit known as SARS except the behavior and attitude of officers and men who run and manage the unit, stressing the need for attitudinal change and psychological evaluation among the police officers.

He maintained that the SARS unit can still operate if there is a comprehensive reform, pointing out that the role of the police is almost the same around the world.

He expressed satisfaction with the unflinching support the Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike led administration has given to the police through the donation of Hilux operational vehicles.

He urged the victims of SARS to seek justice through due process and appropriate channel.

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APC Set To Sack PDP In Rivers – Caretaker Chairman

The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State said it is now set to sack the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the forthcoming 2023 general elections.

The Caretaker Committee Chairman of the party in Rivers State, Isaac Abbot-Ogbobula, spoke at the weekend in Port Harcourt while inaugurating the APC caretaker committees in the 23 Local Government Areas of the state.

Abbot-Ogbobula said he was inaugurated as the state’s caretaker committee chairman by the National Caretaker Committee following the dissolution of all the structures of APC by the party’s National Executive Council.

Describing the development in APC as a new foundation to relaunch the party in Rivers, Abbot-Ogbobula asked the local government caretaker chairmen to inaugurate a similar structure at the ward levels.

He said that the decision of the party had brought to an end all legal issues against the leadership of the party in the state, stating that the likes of Igo Aguma were inconsequential to the party in the state.

He tasked all interim leaders to lay a good foundation for the APC to beat the PDP in all the forthcoming elections in the state.

Addressing them he said:  “there is no crisis in APC Rivers State. We are together under the leadership of Chibuike Amaechi. We have disagreements here and there but we don’t have crisis. We have just one APC in Rivers State and one APC in Nigeria. The party will take over the Rivers State Government House, the Brick House in 2023. The APC will produce the next president of the country come 2023. Igo Aguma is inconsequential. There is no faction in APC”.

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Rivers AG, Prof Adangor, Anga Elevated To Silk

Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Professor Zacchaeus Adangor has been sworn in as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).

Also sworn in with 70 other lawyers as new Senior Advocate of Nigeria by the Legal Practitioners Privilege Committee in November was Mr Lawrence Fubara Anga, a top Rivers lawyer based in Lagos.

Anga, a graduate of Yale and Cambridge universities is the Director, Council on Legal Education of the Nigerian Law School.

Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, led a delegation from the State that attended the inauguration ceremony which was held at the Supreme Court, Abuja on Monday.

A total of 137 lawyers were shortlisted for the esteemed rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria. But, 72 only, were successful.

Prof Adangor was shortlisted as one of the academic applicants, following his numerous academic publication as a professor of law.

Governor Wike was accompanied by the Rivers State chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ambassador Desmond Akawor and his predecessor, Brother Felix Obuah; former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Austin Opara; Senator Sam Anyanwu, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, and former Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Dr Chidi Lloyd.

Anga has expressed his gratitude for the prayers and felicitations.

In a thank you message he said, “we pray that we all shall be elevated in different ways and that we are rewarded and recognised for the work of our hands. Most Importantly that we find favour with our creator who makes all things possible. I look forward to when many more of us are accorded this honour and pledge to do all in my power, with God’s grace, to ensure that this happens”. 

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Enduring Reward System’ll Motivate War Veterans –Wike

Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike wants government to institute an enduring reward system for war veterans to justify their sacrifices in keeping Nigeria safe and united.

He said at the 2021 Emblem Appeal Fund Launching to mark the 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration which held in Port Harcourt, Thursday that officers and men of the armed forces will boldly defend the territorial integrity of Nigeria when they know that there is a permanent reward system established to cater for them or their families.

The governor explained that most people do not quite appreciate the enormity of the hardship and trauma families go through losing their breadwinners who volunteered to be part of the security agencies.

Governor Wike, said if not for the solders and other security agencies who put their lives on the line daily to protect the rest of the citizens, perhaps insurgency in some of the country will have been worse.

He stated that one of the reasons why some policemen were targeted and killed during the #EndSARS protest, was merely because they prevent crimes in society.

The governor also assured that his administration will continue to offer members of the State Branch of the Nigerian legion necessary support that will cushion economy hardship on them.

Governor Wike, redeemed the pledge of One Hundred and Seventy One Million Naira (N171,000,000.00)  to the Nigerian Legion for the scholarship of their children.

He also donated 20 million Naira to launch the emblem and enjoined the 23 Local Government councils in the State to donate One Million Naira each to support the launch.

On his part, the Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo said the Emblem Appeal Launching offers another opportunity for well meaning individuals and corporate bodies to support the veterans for their sacrifices and also to boost their morale to elicit optimal performance.

He stated that Governor Wike recently gave N20 million Naira each to widows of the six soldiers and four police officers who were killed by members of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) militants who hijacked the #EndSARS protest in Oyigbo.

Rivers State Chairman of Nigeria Legion, ACG Justice Chichi noted that Nigeria is still immersed in the fight against Boko Haram,  bandits and other forms of insurgency and the security agencies are operationally ready to confront them as a commitment to protecting sovereignty of Nigeria and to ensure safe climate for steady economic growth.

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Rivers LG Polls Hold April 17, 2021

Political activities are in top gear at the local government level as the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC) has slated elections for chairmanship and councillorship positions in the 23 local government areas of the state for the 17th of April, 2021.

Chairman of the commission, Rtd. Justice George Omereji who announced the date during a stakeholders meeting attended by registered political parties, civil society groups, youths, women groups, clergy, traditional rulers and the media appealed for the support of the   political class  towards ensuring free and fair elections in the state

The RSIEC chairman told the stakeholders at the meeting that consultations were ongoing with the various security agencies and opinion leaders in the state to ensure maximum security during the electioneering campaigns and subsequent elections, assuring that the commission will provide a level playing environment for the political parties involved in the exercise.

“Democracy has taken root in Nigeria and it must be assured at the grassroots. RSIEC is determined to conduct the freest and most credible local government elections in Nigeria. We will ensure equal opportunity for all contestants at the polls. We will be resolute and impartial in our conduct,” the RSIEC boss stated.

The RSIEC guidelines launched at the event provides the sequence of activities in the elections, the processes for conduct of primary elections by the political parties, the time for campaigns by the candidates, and substitution of candidates leading to the local government election on April, 17, 2021.

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APC Celebrates Defection Of Rivers Reps In Abuja

…Amaechi, Abe factions intensify rift in PH

As Leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja  received two members of the House of Representatives from Rivers State, Hon. Chisom Dike representing Eleme/Tai/Oyigbo Federal Constituency and Hon. Ephraim Nwuzi representing Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party, the two factions of the party headed by the Minister for Transportation, Rt Hon. Chibuike Amaechi and  Senator Magnus Ngei Abe, are not relenting.

The two national assembly members were received at a meeting convened by the Caretaker Secretary of the APC, Sen. John Akpanudoedehe and a former deputy governor of Edo state, Chief Lucky Imasuen  on forging the unity of the party towards the 2023 elections.

In his welcome address, Chief Imasuen said the meeting was mainly for former and current political leaders from the zone, adding that more meetings would be held with other stakeholders.

Caretaker Secretary of the party, Sen. Akpanudoedehe tasked the leaders on unity. 

The two federal lawmakers from Rivers State were also formally received at the meeting of the Caretaker, Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC during which a former National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, as the chairman of its South-South reconciliation committee.

Other members of the committee include Chief Sunny Jackson, Senator Clever Ikisikpo, Dr. Mrs. Maryam Ali, Dr. Sam Jaja and Chief Emmanuel Nsan.

Reacting to the setting up of a Peace Committee, a former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice,  Worgu Boms said “before we talk about any Peace Committee in Rivers APC, what happened to the Akande Peace Committee? So, clearly, the only peace acceptable to Rt. Hon. Minister Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi CON, is the one Oyegun will birth, with a committee that includes Sam Sam Jaja, inspired by a meeting he, Amaechi called through Odoedehe.”

“That’s the only peace move the Minister would inspire after putting in only those he approved to run the party. Are there not up to or more than 300 persons in that Minister’s faction of the party? Since the Minister long announced that he needed no more than 300 persons to win any election in Rivers State, what, then, is all this Peace talks about? , he quipped.

Former Senator representing Rivers South-East at the National Assembly, Senator Magnus Ngei Abe, had in a statement by his spokesperson, Parry Saroh Benson,  condemned the inauguration of Local Government and Ward Executives of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State by the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon Rotimi Amaechi stating that it was the same attitude that has kept the party comatose in Rivers State.

He said: “It is this imperial approach to the challenges facing the party without the input and consultation of other stakeholders that is responsible for the crisis in the party.

Meanwhile the APC in Rivers State says Senator Magnus Abe should leave the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi alone.

In a statement in Port Harcourt,  spokesman of the party, Hon. Ogbonna Nwuke said the Senator had no reason to drag the Minister of Transportation into the fray.

The APC statement noted that from the utterances of the former Senator, “he was the one who attempted to influence the decision of the National Secretariat. There is no proof, except for Abe’s claims, that Amaechi made any representation anywhere.  The Senator should please show proof if he has any.

The party urged Senator Abe to be a team player, stating “decisions taken shouldn’t be right when they favour us. What is right is right, and we must accept that which is considerably right. When the party speaks, its decision should be seen as binding on all who believe in the mission of the APC.  No individual can be greater than the party. We think that our friend and brother should understand this basic fact.”, the statement added.

In  a related development,  Hon. Igo Aguma has reportedly inaugurated new Local Government and ward executives of the APC. Aguma is of the  Abe faction.

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Nigeria To Begin COVID-19 Vaccination In Jan.

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, on Thursday, officially declared the second wave of the virus in Nigeria.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, represented by Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika stated during the daily media briefing said Nigeria has entered a second wave of infections and stands the risk of losing the gains from the hard work of the last nine months.

According to him, while the country in the last two weeks on the one hand, received cheering news of the COVID-19 vaccine on the other hand, “we have witnessed spikes in number of infections at home and abroad. The real threat is upon humanity and the progress made in the global health sector in the last five decades or more.”

Meanwhile the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said Nigerians would start getting COVID-19 vaccine from January, 2021.

Briefing newsmen after the virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Enahire said, “We’ve signed up with the World Health Organisation and Gavi for access to vaccines immediately they’re available. But you know that these vaccines are new and are in packets and the producers aren’t given any indemnity.

He said, “these countries where these vaccines are manufactured, have of course, given themselves the priority to serve themselves and we hope that the pressure from the WHO and Gavi will be able to get reserves for other countries that aren’t manufacturing and they’ll be able to attend to what will be signed up to. We signed up for advanced market participation in Covax; so, if we will be able to get our own, I think it’ll be in January.”

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I WAS DETAINED OVER TEXT MESSAGE TO GOV. WIKE

…69Yr-Old Reveals

Sixty-nine year old, Ipubo David Davis said officers of the defunct Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS)  unlawfully detained him over a text message he sent to the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike on how to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic in the State.

 Speaking to journalists after presenting his petition at the State Judicial Commission of Inquiry Investigating Acts of Brutality, Violence, intimidations and right abuses of Citizens by officers and personnel of the Nigerian Police in Port Harcourt on Thursday, Ipubo narrated his ordeal in the hands of SARS officers who picked him from his residence in Port Harcourt.

The witness said in the heat of the coronavirus upsurge in the state, he sent a text message to the governor suggesting the establishment of a special centre for victims of the virus in the state and the need to open a dedicated phone line for the public to report incidences of infections for prompt medical attention to victims.

According to him, the Governor acknowledged receipt of the message and promised to get across to him.

He alleged that on the 17th of April, 2020, two policemen visited his residence and informed him that they were sent by the Chief of Staff, Government House, to bring him for a meeting with Governor Wike.

“I hesitated following them because the policemen came in a private vehicle but I decided and left with them in the car. The two men instead of taking me to Government House to meet with the Governor, took me to SARS office at Rukpokwu and detained me till the next day”, he stated.

He said the next day, April, 18 the officers took him to Government House where the Governor received him.

 “When the Governor saw me, he asked if I was the person who sent him the text message and I said yes. He said I should give him few minutes. The governor, later returned accompanied by one of his aides with an envelope containing some money,” the petitioner said.

According to him, rather than handing over the money to him, the official gave the cash to one of the security officials who counted the sum of N5000 and gave to him. “They said I should appreciate them for giving me the money,” Ipubo explained.

He alleged that the security officers drove him back to their Rumukpokwu office and charged him with sending threat messages to the Governor of the state and demanded N500,000 for bail.

“Through the assistance of friends I was able to raise the sum of N120,000 before I was released on the 20th of April after three days in their detention,” Ipubo said.

He alleged that security agents and some officials at Government House plotted his unlawful detention and torture to deprive him of the cash gift of appreciation by Governor Wike over his candid suggestions to the state government.

He appealed to the commission to compel the Nigerian police to return his phone which he alleged was taken from him, and also demanded the sum of N50m as compensation for the trauma inflicted on him by the police.  

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Book On History Of Opobo For Unveilment, Today

A new book on the ancient Kingdom of Opobo authored by a Former General Manager of Rivers State Newspaper Corporation, Mr. Celestine Ogolo is to be unveiled today at the NBA House, Bank Road in Port Harcourt.

The book, titled, “Opobo Kingdom: 150 Years after” on the past, present and future of Opobo Kingdom in Rivers  State, takes a deep look at, local government administration and community development on the way forward of Opobo.

The event which will also feature a lecture on; “Opobo in the Next half a century” to be delivered by a doyen of the pen profession and Chairman of the Opobo Kingdom Title Holders Association, Amaopusenibo Bobo Sofiri Brown FNIPR will also feature a review of the book by Prof. Alafuro Epelle, former Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Rumuolumeni, Port Harcourt.

A former Governor of Rivers State, Sir Celestine Omehia, is the special Guest of Honor at to the epoch making event expected to be attended by media stakeholders, captains of industry, government officials, diplomatic corps, on Monday 14th December, 2020 at the NBA House, Bank Road, Opposite PHALGA Office, Port Harcourt by 11:00am prompt .

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Union President Pledges To Obey Ban on Tricycles

As the Rivers State Government began its clampdown on commercial tricycle operators in some parts of the state, the President of the Rivers  Drivers Transport Co-operative Union Ltd, Comrade Binoye Sunday has promised that his members will obey the government order as law abiding citizens and find solutions and relief for its members.

Comrade Sunday who gave the assurance while speaking with our correspondent after their meeting in Port Harcourt, said they were also ready to comply with the order of the Commissioner for Transport, Barr. Osima Ginah to embark on enumeration and tracking of tricycle operators popularly called Keke Napep in some parts of the state.

He however decried the activities of the chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, Chief Solomon Eke for allegedly imposing illegal fees on Keke riders and drivers plying the area.

He lamented that the council force, members to buy daily ticket and others that have been suspended by the state government, despite efforts by the Commissioner for Transport working with the unions for a peaceful exercise.

He said “we believe that only state governments have the right to enumerate or regulate drivers and riders or other transportation business on the road in the state through their data base that will encompass the 23 Local Government Area of the State,” and urged that the usurpation of the State Government power by the Local Government Council should be addressed and the Chairman called to order.  

He said the council should operate within the ambit of the Act that established the Council for a lawful society and government to carrying out the exercise with a human face.

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