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Nigeria gets 4,000 tons of food from ECOWAS

The ECOWAS Commission has donated about 4,000 tonnes of food items to the Federal Government for distribution to vulnerable households, to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ECOWAS Commissioner of Agriculture, Water Resources and Environment, Sangare Sekou,  disclosed this at the presentation of the items to the Federal Government on Saturday in Kano.

Sekou said that the gesture was to demonstrate the region’s solidarity with the Government and People of Nigeria.

He said: “This regional solidarity will be demonstrated through food donations of a total quantity of 3,999 tonnes of cereals comprising of millet and sorghum. The first donation consists of 1,196 tonnes of cereals financed by the ECOWAS Commission’s Humanitarian Emergency Fund for Disaster and Emergency Relief to Member States affected by a humanitarian crisis.

“While the second donation of 2,803 tonnes is funded by the resources of the Regional Food Security Storage Support Project, which the European Union is financing for a total amount of €56 million,” he said.

According to him, “the grains will be taken from the stocks in the ECOWAS Regional Food Security Reserve, partly warehoused with the Federal Strategic Reserve Department (FSRD) and distributed free of charge to the households mostly affected by the humanitarian situation in the country.”

The Commissioner said the donations would complement the multidimensional support ECOWAS was providing to Nigeria since the advent of COVID -19 in the country on Feb. 27.

Sekou noted that the COVID -19 pandemic disrupted production, warehousing, marketing, processing, and distribution systems of agriculture and food productions, especially in the Northeastern part of the Country.

“The Harmonised Framework for Identifying Risk Areas and Vulnerability estimates that over 7,087,102 people are currently in difficult food situations in the country, including Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and children affected by malnutrition. The ECOWAS Commission has, therefore, decided to provide the support of the region through its Humanitarian Emergency Fund and the financial support of the European Union within the framework of the Regional Food Security Storage Support Project,” he said.

He added that food donations would assist vulnerable households to cope with the multiple crises while safeguarding their livelihoods.

According to him, ECOWAS Humanitarian Policy aims to prevent, mitigate, and provide durable solutions to the complex emergencies including natural and man-made disasters in the region.

It is also designed to complement the ECOWAS Disaster Risk Reduction Policy, focusing on disaster risk mitigation through viable interventions targeted at reducing risks as an obstacle to development.

In a remark, Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, said the Federal Government had distributed 70,000 tonnes of food items to deserving households in the country.

Umar-Farouq said the food items were supplied by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development under the National Strategic Food Reserve.

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FG Shares More Revenue For July, Gets N273.189b

The Federal government has shared the sum a of N676.407 billion revenue for  the month of July 2020  among federal, state and local governments  and agencies in the country.

This was disclosed after the monthly Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting for August 2020 through virtual conferencing, and chaired by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. Mahmud Isa-Dutse.

According to a communique issued by FAAC at the end of the meeting, the gross statutory revenue of N543.788 billion was received for the month of July 2020.

This was higher than the N524.526 billion received in the previous month (June) by N19.262 billion.

The gross revenue available from the Value Added Tax (VAT) was N132.619 billion as against N128.826 billion in the preceding month, resulting in an increase of N3.793 billion.

From the total distributable revenue of N676.407 billion, the federal government received N273.189 billion, states got N190.849 billion, while the local government councils received N142.761 billion.

Similarly, oil producing states received N42.851 billion as 13 per cent derivation revenue, while two sub-heads, including cost of collection and transfers to relevant agencies accounted for an allocation of N26.757 billion.

From the gross statutory revenue of N543.788 billion, the federal government received N254.688 billion, state governments, N129.181 billion and the local government councils, N99.593 billion.

The sum of N42.851 billion was given to the relevant states as 13 per cent derivation revenue and N17.474 billion was the collective total for cost of revenue collection by revenue agencies.

The federal government also received N18.500 billion from the Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue of N132.619 billion, state governments received N61.668 billion, local government councils got N43.168 billion, while cost of revenue collection and transfers collectively got an allocation of N9.283 billion.

Further details of the reference month showed that oil and gas royalty, Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) and Value Added Tax (VAT) increased considerably, while Companies Income Tax (CIT), Import and Excise Duty recorded decreases.

The balance in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) as at August 19, 2020 stood $72.408 million, the communique said.

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COVID 19 Pandemic: Doctors Allege Private Hospitals Snub

Private Medical Practitioners in Nigeria have alleged the deliberate relegation of private hospitals and clinics in the fight against the  Coronavirus pandemic by the Nigeria Government.

President, Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigerian (AGMPN) Amb. Dr Ugwu Iyke Odo stated the view of Private Hospital Doctors in an interview with newsmen in Port Harcourt.   

Dr. Odo regretted that the Nigerian Government have deliberated made private hospitals and clinics in the country redundant and insignificant in the management, treatment and control of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

According to him, the fight against COVID-19 is being fought by a divided house adding that a time of war like it is now, calls for unanimity, integration and team spirit of all stakeholders.

Odo called for the harmonization of the nation’s health system stating that over 70% of Nigerians visit private hospitals and clinics as  the private health sector have the expertise, personnel and equipment to handle all manner of diseases Including the Corona virus.

Odo who is the Medical Director of Meridian Hospital in Port Harcourt however commended the efforts of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike for being private-sector-friendly, stating that the state Government had given out looms to assist some Private Medical Institution in a bid to reposition the state health sector.

He expressed the hope that the government will couture to extend hands of fellowship to the private medical sector to improve the health standard of the state.

On the difference between the symptoms of Covid 19 and Malaria, Medical Practitioner stated that though the symptoms may seem alike COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that comes with higher temperature unlike malaria patents that may experience high temperature during the evenings.

Odo advice Nigerians to strictly obey protocols issued by the World Health Organization. (WHO) and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to caution the spread of the pandemic.

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Uniport Disclaims Four Internet Fraudsters

The University of Port Harcourt has disclaimed four students arrested by the  Economic and Financial Crimes Commission  last Thursday for alleged involvement in internet fraud.

The suspects were said to have been apprehended at their hideout on Chibiak Avenue, Elioparanwo, Ada George, Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

Spokesman for the University, Sam Kpenu, said the suspects were not students of UNIPORT, as the institution was not in session.

A statement by the Public Affairs Department of the EFCC, Port Harcourt Zone, identified the suspects as Prince Hyacinth, Rex Emadifie Oghene, Odili Ifeanyi and Uduak Williams.

The four suspects allegedly defrauded 15 victims of $111,500 (N43,104,785).

“Upon their arrest, the following items were recovered; one Tecno Spark 4, belonging to Prince Hyacinth; one iPhone 11 Pro Max, two Infinix Hot and one Apple laptop, belonging to Odili Ifeanyi; one iPhone 7 and two iPhone 11, belonging to Rex Emadifie Oghene; and one iPhone 8+, one Acer laptop and one HP laptop, belonging to Uduak Samuel Williams.

“Preliminary investigation established that the suspects were majorly involved in romance scam and also acted as pickers for organised ring of fraudsters. While Prince Hyacinth paraded himself as a Spain-based Marine Engineer to bait his victims, Rex Emadifie Oghene posed as a Rig Engineer based in the United States,” the EFCC statement read.

It was further disclosed that two other suspects, Ifeanyi and Williams, presented themselves as Rig/Marine Engineers to defraud their victims.

“Between the four, a total heist of $111,500 from 15 victims has passed through their hands. The suspects will be charged to court as soon as investigation is concluded,” the statement added.

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RSG Pays 40% Mobilization For Woji-Aleto-Alesa-Refinery Road

Rivers state Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike,  said  the state government has paid 40% mobilization for the construction of the Woji-Aleto-Alesa-Refinery road

Addressing management team of Port Harcourt Refining company limited, who paid him a courtesy visit at government house, Port Harcourt last thursday, Governor Wike urged companies operating in the state to build strategic partnership with government to promote rapid development.

 He said such partnerships would make business activities to thrive in the interest of the organisations and Rivers people.

Rivers state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim, disclosed that Governor Wike gave the charge when the managing director of the Port Harcourt refining company limited, Engr. Ahmed Dikko led the management team of the company on a courtesy visit at Government House, Port Harcourt.

The governor noted that there are many areas of mutual interests that could be explored in a state that is the headquarters of the hydrocarbon industry.

He enjoined the company to rehabilitate the access road leading to their operational base.

 “Each time I go to Okrika and get to the refinery, I get uncomfortable. You have such a company yet the road leading to your establishment is very bad. “Why is it that nobody has bothered. Is it because it is in Port Harcourt. Would anybody had agreed if it were in another state? Now that you are budgeting to rehabilitate the refinery, you should include the road, he stated.

He announced that government had paid 40 percent mobilization fee to the contractor handling the Woji-Aleto-Alesa-Refinery road project.

“During the pandemic lockdown, all i saw were requests. You asked for approval for the movement of your products. You did not support the government to fight Covid-19 pandemic, now you want government to help you to stop land encroachment but you will not support us. However, as a government, we shall continue to carry out our social contract with the people by supporting corporate organisations to carry out their legitimate businesses, ” he added.

The managing director of the  company, Engr. Ahmed Dikko said their visit was to inform government about the strategic actions taken by the management to revitalise the Port Harcourt refining company.

He stated that  the processes of tendering and selection of contractors that will carry out the rehabilitation of the refinery is in progress, and assured that the rehabilitation and upgrade at the Port Harcourt Refinery would be concluded in the first quarter of 2023.

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Don’t Scrap Amnesty Programme, FG Told

The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has called on the Federal Government to shelve alleged plans to scrap the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) for ex-agitators in the Niger Delta region.

Senator Omo-Agege spoke in Abuja at the weekend when he played host to a socio-political organization, New Era Forum, described the move as premature and ill-timed, as it would truncate the fragile peace in the region.

  Omo-Agege said: “I don’t think that the timing is right for the Amnesty Programme to be scrapped. We have challenges right now in the North East, the ravages of Boko Haram, banditry in North West and North Central. Those are enough challenges already in this country. I don’t believe that this is the time to reawaken the agitations of militancy in the Niger Delta region.

“It is my hope and expectation that the policy makers who are around Mr President will convey this to Mr President that to the extent that there is any such plan at this time, it is premature and ill-timed. That is not to say that this programme must stay in perpetuity. But we don’t believe that the goals set have been completely achieved”, he added.

He urged the group to come up with a new narrative about holding leaders in the region to account, as according to him, leaders in the region have failed, having been unable to judiciously utilise funds released for the development of the region.

“I have been privy to all of the budgetary estimates that were passed both in the Eighth Assembly and in the Ninth Assembly. And all that we are entitled to as a region has been given to us. But we have failed Mr President because we have not been able to hold to account those to whom these resources have been entrusted. You don’t expect Mr President moving from community to community to ensure that the fundings made available to us have been judiciously utilised.

“It is up to us as the people of the region who cried out to insist that interventionist agencies like NDDC be created for us and properly funded and as a result of the youth agitation in the region that the Amnesty Programme be set up, it is left for us to ask questions that to the extent that the fundings have been released to us how have these been utilised?

“It is left for us to ensure we identify the projects that we believe will best meet the needs of our people.It is not in Mr President’s place to come to my community to tell me what project should be sited in my community to alleviate the challenges we face as a result of environmental degradation and oil exploration. It is in the place of my community to come to Mr President through these agencies to say this is our priority.

Earlier, Leader of the group, Sunday Onyewonsa, called for a security summit that will fashion out solutions to challenges facing the region, even as he stressed the need to declare a state of emergency on Niger Delta roads.

Onyewonsa called on the Deputy President of the Senate to prevail on the Federal Government to drop the planned scrapping of the Amnesty Programme, adding that it should be overhauled to run through to the end of the present administration.

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Ogu/Bolo Mourns Death of PDP Chieftain

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area of Rivers State was thrown into shock over the demise of one of the founding fathers of the Party in the area, Chief Jonah Tamuno Furubowarifama.

The Chairman of the Party in the area, Mr. Marcus Thompson who expressed their feelings said the death was a catastrophic to the party in Ogu/Bolo LGA and Rivers State in general as his political prowess would be greatly missed.

Thompson, who described the late party chieftain as an ally to the elders, middle class and the youths of the Local Government and the State, noted that he was a gigantic bridge to everyone in politics.

He opined, enjoined the family and party faithful to take solace in God that their departed loved one lived a simple life worthy of emulation.

Also a former women leader of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogu/Bolo LGA, Mrs. Ibitoroko Kpuwaiseibema said the sudden demise of her political leader and mentor was unbelievable noting that she joined him to decamp to PDP on February 5, 2019 saying that she prayed God to console the family, party members and the entire people of Ogu/Bolo LGA as they lost a political colossus, father and philanthropist.

Meanwhile Senator George Thompson Sekibo, Rivers East Senatorial District has paid condolence visit to the family of Late Chief Jonah Tamuno Furubowarifamama who died after a brief illness.

 Senator George Thompson Sekibo described Late Chief Jonah Tamuno , as a dependable man , to work with, a man of his word, filled with trust and transparency in dealing with others. 

Senator Sekibo prayed with the family asking God to console those he left behind and receive the soul of the departed in his bosom

Until late Chief Jonah Tamuno died, he was a war Canoe House Chief in Ogu Bolo LGA and in Wakirikese. A  chieftains of the People’s Democratic Party PDP in   Rivers State ,  he was a former commissioner in the local government service commissioner.

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For The RecordsNews

NWAKAUDU: A GOOD MAN GOES HOME

The body of late Mr. Simeon Nwakaudu, Senior Special Assistant on Electronic Media to the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike,has been laid to rest.There is no doubt that his kinsmen at Umuanya Ogbodikwu, in Umuahia South LGA of Abia State were full of grief that such an illustrious son was cut down in his prime.

Mr. Nwakaudu, whose sad demise occured on Sunday, May 17, 2020, at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH) after a brief illness had an amiable personality that was magnified with his toothy smile.  As a thorough bred professional, he covered his beat with the dexterity that stood him out among his peers.

His ink flowed with relentless ease as he churned out Press Releases and Features to propagate the policies and programmes of the Rivers State Government. He never missed out on any news item that had to do with the State or our Principal. The timeliness with which he communicated was quite enchanting.

The Abia State-born prolific journalist, who has a degree in Mass Communication from the Benue State University, Makurdi, began reporting in a Makurdi-based tabloid called the Pavilion, before joining The Guardian Newspapers as the Benue State Correspondent.

He joined the Media team of the Rivers State Governor, who was then Minister of State for Education and moved to Port Harcourt with the Governor to coordinate the Media team during the 2015 elections and was officially designated as the Senior Special Assistant, Electronic Media to the Governor after the Election victory.

The late Nwakaudu was a committed and dedicated professional who contributed immensely to the implementation of The NEW Rivers Vision. He was a strong defender of the Rivers State Government, a robust writer and an uncompromising media strategist, who interpreted and presented the visions and initiatives of the administration of  Governor Wike, with comprehensive poignancy and unequivocal clarity.

He was the definitive name and voice of the Rivers State Government House Media and his passing at the time it occurred, came when his services were greatly needed not just by the Government of Rivers State but the entire journalism profession.

Simeon Nwakaudu was a good man. He was a loyal family man, a dependable ally to his friends and colleagues and a devout Christian who enjoyed immeasurable love, respect and admiration from everyone all over the country. He will be sorely missed for his professionalism both to the Rivers State Government and the Journalism Community.

As an individual, I lost not just a friend and colleague but a brother. He showed me so much love and support as we carried out public communication for our State.We had a close nit relationship that created the right synergy that produced a resilient Media Team.

He was ready to go the extra mile as he made sacrifices that made me see him more as a brother than a colleague. There was never a time I gave him an assignment no matter how late or shortness of time that he complained. He was in my assessment a rare breed that I presently feel that part of my professional pillars in the State Media Team is gone.

Nwakaudu’s death is indeed a monumental loss to the Government of Rivers State, family, friends and colleagues.I will surely miss my “Ogbuagu.” Fare thee well, Simeon until we meet on the resurrection morning.

May your gentle soul rest in peace. Amen.

Nsirim is Commissioner for Information and Communications, Rivers State

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NUPENG Insists On National Strike, Wednesday

Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, (NUPENG), has denied holding a meeting with Chevron Nigeria Limited, CNL, over last Wednesday’s sack of members, insisting that the seven-day strike notice subsists.

 NUPENG, in a statement yesterday, said the nationwide strike would go ahead as planned unless its 175 members sacked through WhatsApp messages were recalled unconditionally before this week Wednesday.

It urged members across the country to remain on red alert and wait for further directives.

In a statement by its President and General Secretary, Prince Williams Akporeha and Afolabi Olawale, respectively, the union said: “The leadership of NUPENG has disassociated itself from a purported report that it held a meeting with Chevron Nigeria Limited management over the seven-day strike ultimatum issued over sacking of some of its members.

 The union urges its members nationwide to ignore the report, be on red alert and mobilise for the impending strike action at the expiration of the ultimatum.”

Recall that NUPENG last Thursday, issued a seven-day nationwide strike notice over alleged sack of members by Chevron Nigeria Limited and its service contractors on Wednesday through WhatsApp messages.

The union lamented that no fewer than 175 members working in YKISH Integrated Services for the offsite/onsite maintenance services with Chevron Nigeria Limited, Delog Nigeria Ltd.  and EUROFLOW Services, (all Service Contractors to Chevron Nigeria Ltd), were sacked through WhatsApp messages to their respective mobile telephones.

The Thursday’s statement read in part: “We wish to emphasise that this lack of respect and sensitivity to Nigerian extant labour law, international conventions and global best practices is gradually becoming the stock in trade for Chevron Nigeria Limited and its various Contractors.

“There are still several other lingering infractions and issues against workers yet to be addressed by Chevron Nigeria Limited and its contractor. This is even after several regulatory institutions like Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Department of Petroleum Resources and NAPIMS had ruled on these matters. “These include, among others, illegal deduction of workers’ benefits in BIG SIX contract since the year 2012 and flagrant refusal to refund to the terminated workers the excess deductions made in their meager terminal benefits., the statement added”.

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Police begin Recruitment of Constables in Rivers

In continuation of the recruitment of constables into the Nigeria Police Force, in the country,   the 2020 recruitment screening exercise for rivers state will begin today, Agust 24th and end on Sunday, Septembe 6th.

 According to a release by the SP Nnamdi Omoni, the Police public relations officer of

Rivers State Command,  indigenes of Rivers State from the 23 local government areas, who have successfully completed the online recruitment  registration exercise are to report for the Physical and Credential screening scheduled  at the Civic Centre, Moscow Road, Port Harcourt . 

 He stated that all applicants are to be at the Screening Venue by 7am each day, and are to appear   in their clean white T-Shirts and Shorts with the following mandatory requirements:

1. National Identity Number (NIN) 2. Original and Duplicate of Credentials such: as O’Level Result (s). 3.Certificate of Origin and Birth Certificate Declaration of Age neatly arranged in two white flat files with four (4) Passport photographs. 4. Print out of Application Submission Confirmation page. 5. Duly completed Guarantor’s Form.

According to the release, any candidate, who fails to present the above, will not be considered for the Screening.  Also, applicants must come with their face masks and strictly adhere to the COVID-19 Prevention Protocols.

Reiterating that the recruitment exercise is absolutely free of charge and without pecuniary obligation as directed by the Inspector General of Police, the  Rivers state Commissioner of Police, CP Joseph G. Mukan assured that the exercise will be conducted with the highest level of transparency and accountability, adding that Candidates must conduct themselves in an orderly manner, before, during and after the Exercise or risk arrest. 

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