The newly confirmed Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa has denied selling off any assets seized by the commission in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Capital.
He made this known on Wednesday while being screened for the new position by the Senate.
According to him, the EFCC chairman has no power to dispose of assets.
Bawa further explained that it is the sole responsibility of the secretary of the commission.
The new EFCC boss also gave an assurance that under his administration, the commission must recover all stolen assets for the betterment of Nigerians.
He said he will work with strategic partners around the world to see that Nigeria benefits from the repatriation of assets stolen from her coffers.
According to Mr. Bawa, the EFCC will achieve its independent objective by sharing information with its partners.
During the screening by the lawmakers, Bawa assured the lawmakers that the Constitution will guide his actions, should he be confirmed as EFCC Chairman.
He promised that at the end of his tenure, the EFCC will be a better place than he met it, noting that his training by the FBI and the National Crime Agency of the United States and the United Kingdom respectively will come in handy.
Responding to questions regarding what he will do differently from his predecessors, Mr. Bawa said he will reposition the commission by ensuring that it strengthens its standard operating procedures and improve on them.
He also stated that there will be more transparency and accountability.
Below are some of the promises made by the police commissioner at the press briefing:
…I promise to do my utmost best to justify the confidence reposed in me. My primary assignment is to secure the lives and property of the good people of Rivers State with integrity, politeness, and civility.
As you all know, Rivers State is strategic to the economic fortunes of the country. It, therefore, follows that so much needs to be done to curtail and minimize the security challenges arising therefrom, given the peculiar social-economic environment and the volume of human traffic, including foreign nationals in the state.
…Let me state categorically that I am here in the state to tackle crime and criminality headlong, in line with the vision and mission of the Inspector General of Police, in accordance with international best practices, rule of law, and respect for fundamental human rights.
I shall uphold the tenets of democratic policing and ensure that innocent citizens do not suffer infractions from my officers. No efforts will be spared in dealing with all criminal elements in the state. Total war is thus declared against violent crimes like armed robbery, cultism, and kidnapping etc.
We shall deploy technology and also rely on other sources of generating information/ intelligence in the discharge of our duties.
In line with the IGP’s directives, my administration has no room for corrupt officers. HODs/DPOs are to closely monitor their men while a monitoring team will go round to apprehend erring officers. Members of the public are free to report the conduct of such officers to members of the Management Team or the Police PRO.
Under my watch, no person shall be detained unjustly. Arrest by proxy is unlawful and will not be tolerated. No person shall be arrested for someone else’s offence.
No more accidental discharge. Defaulters will be charged appropriately, while their DPOs will be queried. Force order 237 will remain a subject of lecture on a weekly basis.
My men and I shall be professional in dealing with all issues. This involves a high level of neutrality and fairness. Officers shall display commitment to their duties and ensure their men are regularly visited in their beats. Officers who perform well shall be rewarded, while those who prefer to remain lackadaisical will be withdrawn and punished.
Foot and vehicular patrols will be more noticeable under my watch. HODs/DPOs are to redeploy 50 per cent of their men in admin offices on these duties.
The police say they have arrested two former convicts who formed an armed robbery gang while serving jail terms at a custodial centre in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State.
Both men, identified as Abiodun Oshoba and Mustapha Sakiru, were arrested by security operatives in connection with a motorcycle robbery, the Police Public Relations Officer in Ogun, Abimbola Oyeyeni, disclosed in a statement on Tuesday.
The owner of the bike, Aminu Iliyasu, was said to have lodged a complaint at the Sagamu Police Station, saying he was robbed of his motorcycle by the suspects at gunpoint.
He explained that the ex-convicts pretended to be passengers and boarded his motorcycle, requesting that he should take them to a hotel at the G.R.A area of Sagamu, a town in the state.
On their way to the place, the suspects reportedly brought out a gun and ordered their victim to stop, after which they dispossessed him of the bike and made away with it.
Following the report by Iliyasu, the Divisional Police Officer for Sagamu Division, Okiki Agunbiade, was said to have mobilised his men and in conjunction with members of the vigilante group, they blocked all the exit points in the area and commenced a stop and search operation.
“Their efforts yielded a positive result when the motorcycle was sighted at one of the exit points, ridden by Abiodun Oshoba with the plate number folded, and on sighting the policemen, he abandoned the bike and took to his heels.
“He was chased and apprehended by the policemen, and his arrest led to the arrest of his accomplice, Mustapha Sakiru. A locally made pistol with one live cartridge was said to have been recovered from them,” the statement said.
It added, “Preliminary investigation revealed that the duo met in Igbeba prison where they served different jail terms and decided to form a gang after their terms in the prison.
“While Sakiru Mustapha was jailed in 2016 for hijacking a truck, Abiodun Oshoba was jailed in 2019 for snatching a phone; both of them came out of prison in 2020 and decided to continue their devilish trade.”
In his reaction, the Commissioner of Police in Ogun, Edward Awolowo, ordered the transfer of the suspects to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (CIID) for discreet investigation and prosecution.
The Rivers State Governor, Barr. Nyesom Wike, CON has released the sum of N400 million for members of the Ekporo community in Eleme Local Government to rebuild the Ekporo community and compensate families who were fatally affected by the inter-communal clashes eight years ago.
Governor Wike said that the money is for the development and resettlement of the Ekporo people who have suffered as refugees in other communities as their own community was rendered uninhabitable.
Speaking to Elders and Stakeholders of Eleme community during a meeting today in Port Harcourt, Governor Wike, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo noted that it is the desire of the NEW administration to ensure that communities remain peaceful and enjoy the infrastructural prosperity of the state.
He said that Government will continue to foster inter-communal coexistence and peace in order to build a safe and secure state for all.
“It is unfortunate that members of the Ekporo community were sacked from their community for about 8 years now as a result of the inter-communal wars”. “We expect you to work with the Government on beneficial plans to utilize this funds in terms of primary infrastructure and resettlement of the people back into their community”, he said.
He urged indigenes of the state to continue to toe the line of peace as conflict and war will only brew devastation and under-development.
In his remarks, the former Senator representing Rivers South-East, Senator Olaka Nwogu, thanked the Governor for his magnanimity, and for remembering to resettle the people of Ekporo back into their community.
“It is with profound gratitude we are here to thank His Excellency for what he has done. It is historic and important because it touches each and every one of us that it is in our time, we lost one of our most vibrant communities, and also in our time that this community is being recovered. The entire people of Eleme are grateful”, he said.
The King of Eleme, His Majesty King (Dr) Philip Osaro Obele, Oneh-eh Eleme XI, affirmed that what the Governor has done is very historic because the people of Ekporo can be peacefully settled back into their homes after years of living as refugees.
“We lost one of our communities for over seven years and today we are bringing back that community. Members of the Ekporo community have been refugees in other areas despite the situation that there is no war now. What has happened today is very historic.
“I use the opportunity to congratulate the Eleme political class that you have added another cap to your feathers as you did not allow one of your communities to be extinct for life.
The Meeting was also attended by the State House of Assembly member representing Eleme Constituency, Hon. Igwe Aforji, the former Commissioner of Culture, Mr. Marcus Nle-Ejii, a Former Eleme LGA Chairman Chief Ejoor N. Ejoor; the Paramount Ruler of Ekporo, His Royal Highness, Emere Samuel Obe, and other stakeholders.
Announcing the release to journalists in Port Harcourt, Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim said N9 billion of that sum will serve as take-off grant for the establishment of new campuses of Rivers State University (RSU) in Ahoada, Emohua, and Etche Local Government Areas.
According to him, N3 billion will be devoted to each of the new campuses for the construction of faculty buildings, hostels, offices, Libraries, auditoriums, lecture halls, and address other needs required for the campuses to operate maximally. “This is a landmark development in the history of the institution which has maintained one campus since its establishment in October 1980.
“With the establishment of the three campuses, the communities where they are sited will be opened up for consequential development and economic activities. It will reduce the rate of unemployment in the state.”
The Information and Communications Commissioner also said N7. 6 billion has been released to enable the College of Medical Sciences of RSU to establish the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, and Pathology Building.
With the release, Nsirim said, the college will be enabled to fully commence its programme leading to the award of Bachelor of Medicine, and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS).
According to him, the gesture will also strengthen the accredited department and the accreditation at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH).
Mr. Nsirim also announced that the State Government has established a scholarship scheme for Rivers indigenes studying at PAMO University of Medical Sciences.
This, he said, will provide Rivers children and other Nigerians access to medical education in the state.
“We are glad to share this good news with you at a time when governance has been grounded in most parts of the world because of covid-19.
“This development will assist to reduce the gaps in the doctor-to-patient ratio in the state and country.
“The Rivers State government under the visionary leadership of Governor Wike, as a responsive governor, is determined to contribute to reducing this gap thus the massive investment in the training of doctors.
“We are confident that in the next few years, Rivers State will play a major role producing medical manpower in the country. ”
Also addressing the journalists, Rivers State Commissioners for Health, Prof. Princewill Chike said with the release of the fund, the College of Medical Sciences can operate as a full-fledged college with all its required programmes running.
According to him, accreditation of departments and programmes will be easy to secure because of the enhanced capacity of the college that already has requisite personnel engaged.
On his part, the Rivers State Commissioner for Education, Prof. Kaniye Ebeku said skeptics who thought that Governor Wike was making a mere political statement when he promised to establish three new campuses for the Rivers State University will see that he is walking the talk.
According to him, with the money released and contractors soon to commence construction of Classrooms, hostels, auditoriums, and offices at the three Local Government Areas, there is an assured expansion of RSU to benefit the entire state.
Prof. Ebeku said this will increase access to education because admission spaces will be opened for more intakes, and those communities hosting the new campuses will enjoy increasing commercial activities and attendant development.
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Rivers State is asking the Rivers State Police Command to take immediate action to secure the release of a journalist who was abducted in Port Harcourt on Tuesday night.
The victim, Chidiebere Onyia, who is also a nursing mother, is a reporter with the Nigerian Television Authority NTA at the Port Harcourt zonal office.
Mrs Onyia was abducted at gunpoint along the railway line, Woji in the Obio/ Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State on her way home after the close of work at about 8:00 pm.
The Rivers State Council of the NUJ in a statement jointly signed by the Chairman, Stanley Job Stanley and Secretary, Ike Wigodo, on Wednesday condemned the incident, describing it as inhumane and heinous, especially against a journalist and a nursing mother.
The group also asked the police and other security agencies to put a stop to further attacks on journalists as the abduction of Mrs. Chidiebere Onyia is coming less than one month after unknown gunmen attempted to attack the South-South regional Business Manager of Silverbird Television and Head of News, Rhythm FM Port Harcourt, Segun Owolabi.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Police Command says it has intensified effort to secure the release of the journalist.
Spokesman of the Command, SP Nnamdi Omoni told Channels Television that the vehicle belonging to the journalist has been recovered by the command.
He assured that the Police is committed to protecting everyone living or doing business in Rivers State.
Rivers State residents are asking the Federal Government to make the National Identification Number Registration (NIN), stress-free in the country.
Since the announcement of the policy in December 2020, applicants have continued to gather at the commission’s offices within the state most of the time, without recourse to the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
Some of the applicants, including a nursing mother, called on the Federal Government to deploy more personnel and computers to the state or allow citizens to link their sim cards with bank verification numbers, which they say will be readily available.
Following the various outcry for the extension of NIN registration, the Federal Government on Tuesday extended the linkage of the National Identity Number (NIN) to Subscriber Identity Modules (SIM) by eight weeks.
A fire outbreak at a natural gas plant on the outskirt of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital last night, led to an explosion which created panic among residents in the area.
A journalist who lives in the area told Channels Television that the reverberation from the explosion shook the foundation of the buildings in the neigbourhood.
The incident at Rumuodumaya, along the Rumuokoro – Igwuruta road, which leads to the Port Harcourt International Airport is said to have occurred at about 8:45 pm when the plant operators were discharging gas from a truck.
The fire has been put out, but operation at the plant is suspended.
On Sunday morning, the South-South Zonal Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency in Rivers State, Walson Brandon said the agency had started evaluating the level of damage at the plant, and the safety of all staff.
The explosion, which officials say is minor, comes barely two days after an explosion at a gas plant in another South-South state, Delta, killed at least four persons including three children, and left 11 others with burns.
In reaction to the explosion in Agbor, Ika South Local Government Area, Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, visited the victims and the bereaved; and promised to review how gas plants are sited in the state.
“I’m aware that we have some of these facilities even in more densely populated areas and I’m going to sit with the House of Assembly – we have to do an immediate legislation that will not allow such (incident) anymore,” he said.
About three weeks earlier, a fire, and possibly an explosion, had been averted after a gas leak was detected at a facility in Elibrada community in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State.
A Police Inspector has been killed with others wounded in an attack by gunmen in Rivers State.
The police authorities in Rivers State say about seventeen (17) gunmen “launched a surprise attack” on the officers who were deployed from the Borikiri Division to a Pi-Down Point at Captain Amangala Junction in Borikiri area of Port Harcourt on Sunday night.
The Spokesperson of the Police in Rivers Stae, SP Nnamdi Omoni in a statement said the Commissioner of Police in the State, Joseph Mukan has given a marching order to all tactical units to arrest the perpetrators of the crime immediately.
He further revealed that the Corpse of the late Inspector has been evacuated and deposited in a mortuary for autopsy.
The attack on the police officers is coming barely 24 hours after a Police Sergeant, Ibrahim Odege, and a civilian, Sampson Inomoghe were arrested at the Elekahia Housing Estate in Port Harcourt while robbing residents of their valuables at gunpoint at about 10pm on Saturday.
Residents of Bonny Local Government Area in Rivers State on Thursday carried out a fresh protest, this time they stormed the Government House and Rivers State House of Assembly in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
The protesters are calling for an immediate end to the attacks and killings on the Bonny Island waterway by pirates.
The protesters, mainly the youths marched from UTC junction on Azikiwe road to Government House Port Harcourt to register their grievances and to the Rivers State House of Assembly where the member representing Bonny Constituency, addressed them.
Part of their demands is for the government to set up security checkpoints on the Bonny high sea and empower security agencies to tackle violent crime.
The Rivers State Government in July 2019 launched a special security initiative, codenamed “Operation Sting” in which patrol vehicles and gunboats were donated to security agencies to tackle violent crimes on roads and waterways in the state.
The Rivers State Police Command last week deployed 366 special constabularies to various localities for its community policing initiative, but the Bonny protesters say there has been no improvement in the security situation in bonny.
Bonny Local Government Area can only be accessed through the high sea, as the Federal Government’s 120 billion Naira, 37-kilometer bridge to connect the Island to mainland Rivers State is yet to be completed.
Some residents had earlier on Monday staged a protest on the Island over the insecurity which they say has claimed many lives.
The protesters told Channels Television that the most recent of the attacks was on January 5, 2021, when two indigenes drowned in the river after pirates attacked their boat.
They added that the pirates after the attack made away with valuables from the passengers, and asked them to jump into the high sea.