A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has declared that the candidature of Dumo Lulu Briggs as the governorship flag bearer of the Accord Party for the elections on March 9 is null, void and unconstitutional.
According to the presiding judge, Justice Emmanuel Obile, Lulu Briggs did not participate in the primaries conducted on October 4, 2018.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has called for calm after a fire accident occurred at its office in Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the HOD Voter Education and Publicity for the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Edwin Enabor, explained that it was a minor accident.
According to him, contrary to some reports that the incident was caused by hoodlums, it was a result of an electrical fault.
Enabor said, “The management of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Rivers State, wishes to inform the general public about a minor fire incident that occurred at our office in Oyigbo LGA, which investigation has shown that it was caused by an electrical fault and not by hoodlums as insinuated in some quarters.
“We want to assure the public that everything is under control and that our offices across the state are well secured”.
Furthermore, he assured the public that INEC remains committed to ensuring free, fair elections in the state.
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has called on the Federal Government to stop illegal refineries causing black soot in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Capital.
The Union says that the soot which is in form of black smoke covers the entire state capital causing respiratory problems being experienced by inhabitants in the city which has health implications worse than Ebola.
PENGASSAN through its spokesman, Fortune Obi, says that the issues are not being addressed because most of the people affected are still performing their daily task but experts have confirmed the soot to be carcinogenic.
“The black soot settles on everything and finds its way into the corners of living rooms no matter how hard people try to stop it. Food items in Port Harcourt markets are as well not spared from getting mixed with this deadly soot that is ever present everywhere,” he stated.
He added that PENGASSAN in collaboration with other concerned bodies and citizens have severally created awareness to call the attention of the government to act swiftly and put an end to whatever is the source of this killer soot.
“Majority believed that the source of this soot is due to ‘’incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons as well as asphalt processing, burning of barges/vessels used for oil bunkering and illegal artisanal refinery operations” in some parts of the state.
“There is a need for collaboration among all stakeholders to end this environmental hazard. We, therefore, call on the State and the Federal Government to put a strategic action in place to finally address this black soot and put an end to whatever is the source.
“This is not the time to play politics with people’s lives. The Federal and State Governments, security agencies as well as all agencies in charge of environment including National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and its Rivers State counterpart, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSRDA), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and other agencies handling related issues should tow a defined and safe path in handling illegal oil vessels as well as the criminal act of illegal refining of crude oil that are said to be the key reason of this menace.
“The governments should also involve the locals and possibly constitute them into Environmental councils to monitor their areas for any possible illegal refining of the crude and such other dangerous acts that are inimical to human existence.”
Mr Obi has called on the Federal Government to arrest those committing these crimes.
The passengers of the near crash landing of Dana Plane at Port Harcourt International Airport are lamenting over what they describe as utter neglect being experienced since the incident occurred.
According to them, no one has come forward to explain what transpired yesterday evening or inform them about how to access their luggage.
One of the passengers also informed our correspondent that contrary to reports, the plane landed normally, but could not explain what happened thereafter.
Meanwhile, Dana Air has refuted claims that they (passengers) have been treated with neglect.
In a statement by the Media Communications Manager, Dana Air, Kingsley Esenwa, “We cannot neglect and will never neglect our guests.
“We have been in touch with them since the incident and have also assured them of our willingness to assist where necessary. We have also provided logistics to ensure that all checked-in items are delivered to them as soon as possible”.
However, it is business as usual as passengers were seen trying to purchase their tickets to their various destinations from the same airline.
Unconfirmed reports have it that some officials of FAAN and Dana Airline are currently at the spot where the Plane ended up, which they say has been cordoned off.
The plane had flown to Port Harcourt from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in the nation’s capital Abuja.
The General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Henrietta Yakubu, confirmed the incident.
She said, “A Dana aircraft numbered 9J0363, flying from Abuja to Port Harcourt airport has overshot the Port Harcourt runway.
“The incident was suspected to have been caused by a heavy rain, which was accompanied by strong wind and storm in Port Harcourt.
“No casualty was recorded, as all passengers on board were safely evacuated.”
The Communications Manager for the airline, Mr Kingsley Ezenwa, said in a statement the plane “skidded off the runway at the Port Harcourt International Airport, as a result of the bad weather situation and torrential rain at the time of landing”.
The airline commended the pilot for how he handled the issue, adding that all passengers and crew disembarked safely.
The Federal Government will be receiving about 7,000 repentant militants in Akwa Ibom State on Saturday, January 23, 2016.
The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Co-ordinator of the Amnesty Program, Retired Brigadier-General Paul Boroh said that the repentant militants declared their interest to disarm and join the Niger Delta Amnesty programme.
He was speaking to journalists after an inter-agency meeting to discuss the recent attack on pipelines in the Niger Delta.
General Boroh added that the ex-agitators have also declared their willingness to be involved in plans to ensure the security of pipelines and oil facilities in the region.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Ugure, had earlier hosted an inter-agency meeting, where strategies on how to counter the attacks on oil facilities were discussed.
Warri Pipeline Explosion
Facilities belonging to the Nigeria Gas Company, Chevron Nigeria Limited and Nigeria National Petroleum Company, NNPC were blown up by suspected militants on Friday, January 15 in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State.
This has forced the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to announce the operational shutdown of the Port Harcourt and Kaduna Refineries owing to crude supply challenges arising from the attacks on vital crude oil pipelines.
Both the Nigerian Army and the Navy have described the attack as sabotage and terrorism which will not be tolerated.
The JTF Commander of Operation Pulo Shield in the Niger Delta, Major-General Alani Okunola, said that the task force had mobilised men to apprehend those who attacked the oil facilities.
He also warned community leaders that they would be held responsible for any attack on the country’s oil and gas facilities in their domains.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, while condemning the act, promised that no efforts would be spared in securing the lives and property of the citizens.
He also proposed the establishment of special courts and tribunals to tackle crimes in the maritime sector.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, on Wednesday announced the operational shutdown of the Port Harcourt and Kaduna Refineries owing to crude supply challenges arising from recent attacks on vital crude oil pipelines.
A statement by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Ohi Alegbe, said that the plants were shut simultaneously on Sunday after the Bonny – Okrika crude supply line to the Port Harcourt Refinery and the Escravos-Warri crude supply line to the Kaduna Refinery suffered breaches.
The NNPC stated that before the closure, the Port Harcourt Refinery was recording a daily PMS yield of over 4.1 million litres while Kaduna Refinery was posting a daily petrol production of about 1.3 million litres.
The statement noted that the Warri Refining and Petrochemicals Company is still on stream and producing a little above 1.4 million Litres of petrol per day.
The Corporation however assured Nigerians that it had put in place strategies to guarantee unimpeded country-wide availability of petroleum products.
“In response to the unexpected setback, we have activated comprehensive remedial measures to sustain the prevailing stability in the supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country,” the NNPC said.
The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesome Wike, on Tuesday reopened the House of Assembly complex that had been shut down for almost two years following crisis that engulfed the House.
The reopening of the complex in Port Harcourt, the state’s capital, brought together a crowd of men and women who staged a red carpet reception for the governor of the state.
Although cameramen could not gain access into the complex due to the crowd, the reopening came as a big relief for many people who gathered at the complex to witness the occasion.
The governor told the gathering that the event was in keeping with one of his campaign promises to ensure that lawmakers in the state would no longer have their sitting anywhere else apart from the hallowed chamber.
According to him, the lawmakers will not just be an appendage of government but a functional arm of government.
Traders at new layout market in Phalga Local Government Area located in the heart of the city of Port Harcourt woke up to find their goods destroyed in an inferno that gutted the market in the late hours of Tuesday night with property worth millions of Naira destroyed.
When Channels Television visited the scene, scores of traders, who are victims of the fire incident, were seen lamenting their losses, while some tried to salvage whatever they could from the rubble.
One woman who is a victim of the fire outbreak told Channels Television in tears that she is a widow and has nothing to fall back on.
Meanwhile, a representative of the constituency where the market is located in the Rivers State House of Assembly expressed hope that government would come to the aid of the victims.
Men and women under the aegis of Wakirike in Port Harcourt have staged a protest and threatened to make Rivers State ungovernable if Governor Chibuike Amaechi continues to make what they called insulting statements about the Presidency.
The group also accused the Governor of wasting a whooping sum of 19 billion naira to organise an APC rally.
A PDP lawmaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly told journalists on behalf of the protesters that they would no longer tolerate unguarded statements by the Governor.
However, the Chief of Staff and Political Adviser to the Rivers State Governor, Tony Okocha, has called on security agencies to investigate the threat of making the state ungovernable by the persons.
“All these allegations by these group of persons are borne out of political desperation and have no truth in them. The office of the President is a public office and is subject to criticisms by the Governor on behalf of Rivers people and that is not tantamount to insulting the President.
“Governor Amaechi remains a disciplined man and will never be involved in the release of prisoners,” he said.
As the political tension in the State increases ahead of the 2015 elections, politicians have been advised to avoid making statements capable of jeopardizing the democratic process.
The empowerment programme of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) will get a boost soon as the commission is set to release various equipment and tools to the youths of the Niger Delta.
The Acting Managing Director, Dr. Christy Atako announced this shortly after inspecting warehouses in Port Harcourt. She said that the various items kept in the stores would be released to the appropriate groups as a means of empowering them.
The aim of the inspection, according to her, would help the interim management to take informed decisions that would reposition the interventionist agency to increase the tempo of its activities in providing sustainable development.
Having seen what was on ground, she promised that the management would take the necessary steps to facilitate the distribution of equipment and tools to the relevant groups in the region.
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has expressed its concern on the crisis rocking Rivers state governemt and the state House of Assembly.
The legal body in a statement noted that the political differences in Rivers state has been in the court which was the right and proper way to settle disputes in any civilized society and this is why it had refrained from issuing statements on the matter.
However a statement signed by the President of the NBA, Okey Wali (SAN) on Thursday said the latest twist of the violence in the state is a dangerous dimension that must be condemned very strongly and quickly.
The NBA therefore appealed to parties involved to sheath their swords and return to the courts, where they have been for adjudication of any disputes between them.
The NBA calls on the Federal Government of Nigeria and security agencies to do all that is lawful in ensuring the restoration of peace and tranquility in the state, adding that the rule of law must prevail, and there must be no sacred cows, as nobody is above the law.
The association also emphasized that the security agencies must not only be above board but must be seen to be above board, in carrying out their lawful duties, stating that the interest and well-being of the good people of Rivers State must remain paramount.