Sea Robbers Allegedly Kill Two Soldiers In Rivers

Residents Cry Out Over Insecurity In CalabarTwo soldiers have been reportedly killed after responding to a distress call by “heavily armed sea robbers” in Rivers State, south-south Nigeria.

The incident, which occurred on Wednesday, was confirmed in a statement to Premium Times by a spokesperson for the Army, Major Abubakar Abdullahi.

The statement read: “Our troops deployed at Creek 6 Houseboat Cawthorne Channel, while responding to a distress call of sea robbers attack around Ijawkiri general area, engaged heavily armed sea robbers.

“Unfortunately, two gallant soldiers exhibited highest point of patriotism by paying supreme price, while three others sustained gunshot injuries”.

According to Major Abdullahi, the Joint Task Force is making concerted efforts to track and apprehend the criminals.

He hinted that during a patrol around Iyalama Adama area of Rivers State, troops discovered and destroyed 13 illegal refineries.

Abdullahi, however, said no arrest was made from the destruction.

“In continuation of its drive to accomplish its mandate, troops of Operation DELTA SAFE on patrol around Iyalama Adama axis of Rivers State, yesterday discovered and destroyed 13 illegal refineries,” he said.

Students Protest Killing Of Colleague In Ede

protestSome youths in Owode-Ede town in Osun State have protested the killing of their colleague, a student of the Federal Polytechnic, Ede.

The young man, simply identified as Dada and said to be in his twenties, was reportedly knocked down by a fuel tanker driver whom the youths accused of reckless driving.

The angry students also alleged that the Police helped the driver escape.

They took to the streets of Owode-Ede area of the state on Thursday to register their displeasure over the incident.

While the youths claimed that the incident was not the first, residents in the area called for the construction of speed breakers on major roads across the town.

High Voltage Kills Woman In Ogwashi Ukwu

High Voltage Kills Woman In Ogwashi UkwuA mother of four has been electrocuted in Ogwashi Ukwu, Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State, south-south Nigeria.

Witnesses said Mrs Onyeka Anene lost her life after touching a gate which had absorbed unusually high voltage supplied by the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BDEC).

The incident occurred a few weeks after the community was energised and electricity restored by the BEDC, after over 10 years of blackout.

Friends and relatives stormed the residence of the Anene family which was thrown into mourning with the sudden death Anene, mother of four.

One of the witnesses said a frightening spark on a high tension cable led to a breach in the connection from the feeder lines to the houses in the area, which he said also destroyed properties in the area.

A neighbour to the deceased, Paul Adigwe, told Channels Television that “There was a spark from the high tension wire and I heard her shout for help, she was already electrocuted. I rushed her to the hospital where she was confirmed dead”.

While recalling the death of Peter Akabueze who was reportedly electrocuted some months ago at Ubulu Uku, Mr Jude Mgbolu, a relative of the 21-year-old expressed fear over the re-occurrence of the unfortunate incident.

“Electricity is a thing of joy, and life is much easier with it but we are becoming scared due to the re-occurrence which coincidentally has caused the same family losing its loved ones,” he said.

Confirming the incident, the Delta State Government and the BEDC described the incident as unfortunate, adding that investigations were on to find out the root cause of the tragedy.

The Corporate Affairs Officer, BDEC Asaba/Agbor Business Units, Esther Okolie, said “We sincerely sympathise with the family of the deceased.

“You can agree with me that this kind of incident cannot be pre-empted by anybody. After 10 years of blackout in Ogwashi Ukwu, BDEC management before restoring power, organised a safety awareness forum with the community.

“However, while we are still awaiting findings from our investigations, people are advised not to erect structures on the right of way of our lines and wires”.

The Commissioner for Energy, Mr Newworld Safugha, said the Delta State Government has already swung into action.

“On behalf of the State Government, we sympathise with the family of the deceased. It is a very unfortunate occurrence, we got the brief and have questioned the management of BDEC.

“BDEC has assured that the matter is being investigated but as state, we want to assure you that we would not fold our hands and allow this kind of incident continue to occur,” he said.

UNICAL Holds 30th Convocation, Tasks Graduands On Innovation

unicalThe University of Calabar (UNICAL) has urged it’s graduands to be innovative by taking advantage of every available opportunity in life.

Vice Chancellor of UNICAL, Professor Zana Akpagu, who made the call, commended the travails of the young graduates in the current economic environment.

Professor Akpagu made the remarks during the institution’s 30th convocation ceremony held on Saturday at the Abraham Stadium at the University premises in Cross River State, south-south Nigeria.

The event was attended by traditional rulers, stakeholders in the education sector and politicians from within and outside the state, as well as well-wishers of the graduands.

Addressing the graduands, the Vice Chancellor urged them not to be defined by their present educational attainment, but by how they survived adversity following the present economic state.

He also tasked the graduands to put to practice the entrepreneur training they have acquired while in school.

Highlighting the achievements of his administration since he took over, Professor Zana said the University has within his first tenure worked hard to ensure strict adherence to academic calendar, lectures schedules and reopening dates.

He added that his administration created a Quality Assurance/ Control Unit and domiciled it under the Directorate of Research and Quality Assurance, saying the unit was empowered with full inspectorate powers to ensure compliance with NUC benchmark minimum academic standard among others.

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“We have made strides in the area of curricular expansion and establishment of new faculties, departments and courses.

“As young as this administration is, it has already established the faculties of Dentistry, Engineering and Pharmacy.

“These three facilities are capital intensive and require enormous resources in terms of human capacity and infrastructure for effective take off.

“New departments have also been created, they are: Music, Fine and Applied Arts, Mass Communication, Tourism and Hospitality Management, and Food Science and Technology,” the Vice Chancellor noted.

UNICAL’s Pro Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council, Dr. Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, said he is proud that the institution has attained the status of a highly rated world class University and to pursue collaborations with renewed Universities that have track record of excellence and achievements.

“At this juncture, I want to salute the alumni of this great University. They are scattered all over the world and wherever they are, they are making indelible footprints on the path of success, peace and development,” he said.

Some of the awardees commended the University authorities for instilling knowledge in the graduands which they said was the best assets that can be given to any society.

The University of Calabar successfully graduated a total of 13,347 graduates which include 1,437 were awarded post graduate certificates while 11,910 bagged first degree certificates in different classes out of which 22 earned first class honours degrees.

High point of the ceremony was the award of honorary degrees and the foundation stone laying of the proposed site for an ultra-modern medical centre which is estimated at five billion Naira.

Enyimba Draw MFM In NPFL Clash

Enyimba Draw MFM In NPFL ClashSeven-time champions, Enyimba grabbed a late goal to hold MFM to a 1-1 draw in a Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) clash.

The match took place on Saturday at the U.J. Esuene Stadium in Calabar, the Cross River State capital in south-south Nigeria.

Visiting MFM seemed to be heading for a surprise win when they took the lead on 23 minutes through Stephen Odey with his eighth goal of the season.

Ibrahim Mustapha, however, made sure Enyimba avoided a second straight defeat as he levelled the score in the 85th minute.

With the result, Enyimba are 11th on the table with 15 points while MFM remained on fifth position with 20 points.

Wike Accuses INEC Of Plot To Rig 2019 Elections

Wike Alleges INEC Plans To Rig 2019 ElectionRivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of plotting to rig the 2019 elections in the state.

Governor Wike alleged that the redeployment of the 23 electoral officers from the state by the commission was to make way for those in favour of the opposition party.

He noted that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is prepared for the election, adding that the redeployment is a welcome process.

The governor, who spoke in pidgin, made the remarks during a visit to Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State, south-south Nigeria.

He announced the construction of Odufor-Akpoku-Umuoye road, as a reward to the people for supporting the PDP during the Etche/ Omuma federal constituency supplementary elections in the state.

 

FIDA Expresses Worry Over Defilement Of Minors In Bayelsa

FIDA, Bayelsa, MinorsWomen lawyers in Bayelsa State have expressed worry over the rising cases of defilement of minors and violence against the girl child and women in some parts of the state.

The lawyers, under the aegis of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), led by their chairperson, Dise Ogbise-Erhisere, said the available data on cases recorded in the last three weeks showed that four underage girls were defiled.

They added that two girls were also attacked with machete while a seven-year-old boy was beaten to death over alleged wizardry.

In a statement issued at the end of their monthly general meeting held in Yenagoa, the women said although FIDA stood up for the victims while arrests were made, they were shocked that some of the suspects were released by the Police and victims’ families advised to settle out of court.

“With the alarming rate of violence against children, the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Bayelsa State chapter, has called on security agencies to redouble their efforts in the proper investigation and prosecution of alleged suspects.

“FIDA noted that in the last two weeks there are several reports of Violence Against Children (VAC). FIDA cites the case where two girls were given bodily injury with a machete to the point of death; they were admitted at the Okolobiri General Hospital.

“A case of defilement of a seven-year-old girl by a friendly uncle in Ayama-Ijaw in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area. Another set of four minors were defiled.

“The case was reported at the Akenfa Police Station and the perpetrator was granted bail and the parties involved were advised to settle out of court.

“Similarly in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, a seven-year-old boy was brought in dead at the Federal Medical Center after several bodily injury.

“FIDA learnt the boy was accused of witchcraft. He was beaten to death by his father and step mother,” the statement read.

Ogbise-Erhisere noted that the incidents were painful and worrisome, despite the campaigns being staged by FIDA in Bayelsa State, south-south Nigeria.

Edo Governor Seeks Stronger Judiciary-Executive Synergy

Godwin Obaseki, Judiciary, Executive, Edo StateEdo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has called for stronger cooperation and harmonious relationship between the Executive and the Judiciary arms of government.

The Governor made the appeal at the swearing-in ceremony of Justice Esohe Ikpomwen as the substantive Chief Judge of Edo State.

Mr Obaseki noted that the strengthened collaboration would enable his administration achieve its developmental goals for Edo State.

The newly inaugurated Chief Judge assured the Governor that the state would begin to experience speedy dispensation of justice.

The ceremony took place on Thursday at the banquet hall of the Government House in Benin City, the state’s capital in south-south Nigeria.

Justice Ikpomwen, being the most senior judge in the state, took over from Justice Cromwell Idahosa who retired at the age of 65.

Cross River Govt. Lauds FG For Border Projects In Bakassi

Ben Ayade, Cross River, Border ProjectsThe Cross River State government has commended the Federal Government for some developmental projects sited around the boarder area of Bakassi Local Government Area of the state.

Governor Ben Ayade, who made the commendation on Wednesday, however advocated for the speedy conclusion of the projects.

He expressed optimism that the development would be beneficial to the Bakassi community when concluded and commissioned for use.

The governor made the remarks when he received the National Assembly Joint Committee for State and Local Government at the Government House in Calabar, the state’s capital in south-south Nigeria.

Represented by his deputy, Professor Ivara Esu, Senator Ayade noted that much needed to be done for the displaced Bakassi people, whom he said were subjected to harsh climatic conditions at their various camps.

He highlighted the importance of the projects and assured the committee that his administration would ensure the prompt conclusion of the projects without external or internal interference.

Speaking on behalf of the committee, Senator Abdullahi Gumel said that the lawmakers were in the state to inspect the Border Commission Development Agency’s projects around the boarder community of Bakassi.

The Executive Secretary of Boundary Communities Development Agency, Mr Numo-Ipre Wills, also expressed delight at the progress of the ongoing projects.

Mr Wills, however, urged the government for provide more funds for successful completion of the projects.

Edo APC Suspends Spokesman, Godwin Erahon

Edo APC, Godwin ErahonThe All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State on Tuesday suspended its publicity secretary, Godwin Erahon.

A statement signed by the APC Chairman in the state, Mr Anselm Ojezua, revealed that the suspension was unanimously approved by members of the state executive committee.

Mr Ojezua said the ratification took place at the APC end of year meeting in Edo State, south-south Nigeria.

The party has selected its assistant publicity secretary, Mr John Ilegbinose, to act in the stead of the suspended spokesman.

The APC stated that “the suspension of Godwin Erahon takes immediate effect”.

No reason was given for the suspension.

Expert Recommends Study Into Alleged Air Pollution In Tombia

PollutionAn environment expert, Mr Morris Alagoa, has called for the conduct of studies to measure the adverse impact of a gas plant located in Gbarantoru.

The environmentalist made the call on Thursday at Tombia town, shortly after an assessment tour of the area in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, south-south Nigeria.

Residents of the area have been complaining of air pollution, allegedly emanating from the oil and gas facilities located near the community.

Mr Alagoa, who was reacting to the claim which was said to have resulted into breathing discomforts by residents, called for scientific studies to trace the source of the pollution.

He urged the oil and gas industry regulators to monitor and ensure that the provisions of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) were carried out and complied with.

According to Morris, the EIA Act required periodic studies to determine the adverse environmental implications of the project and ascertain when the indices were out of tolerable limits.

“Who monitors compliance with the EIA compliance to ensure that the steps prescribed to mitigate the negative environmental impacts of the operations of the plant were ameliorated?

“We have got reports of air pollution, very high temperature caused by gas flare (and) poor fish catch from the Nun River amongst others. There is a need for studies by scientific experts to compare results with the baseline studies in the EIA report.

“The results of these studies will then form the basis to request for measures to ameliorate the impact of the operations (while) the local and state governments should step up action in the interest of the health of residents in the area.

“But the questions is, do they even have the EIA report which is supposed to be a pubic document? The communities are losing on all fronts as they only bear the adverse effects of oil and gas operations while the benefits in form of social amenities elude them,” Alagoa said.

The expert further noted that gas flare in the area and resultant acid rain make rain water unsafe for drinking, regretting that communities surrounding the plant lack access to potable water.

The spokesman for Shell, Mr Precious Okolobo, had earlier denied that the air pollution was from the company’s gas processing and gathering facility.

Mr Okolobo said “there is no air pollution from our Gbarantoru plant; the plant is running efficiently”.

LEDAP Condemns Killing Of Death Row Prisoners In Benin City

LEDAPThe Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) has condemned the killing of three death row prisoners in Benin City Prison.

The group, in a statement on Wednesday by its national coordinator, Chino Obiagwu, noted that the death warrants of those executed were signed by the Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki.

The convicts: Ogbomoro Omoregie, Apostle Igene and Mark Omosowhota were executed on December 23 2016 in Edo State, south-south Nigeria.

They were all convicted and sentenced to death about 20 years ago by military tribunals under the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Decree as amended.

LEDAP noted that in an earlier petition it submitted to the Governor on behalf of the executed prisoners on December 21, 2016, protesting the plan for their execution, the prisoners had pleaded with the Governor to shelve the planned execution, saying there was a pending case at the Court of Appeal brought by all death row prisoners in Nigeria against their execution.

They pointed out that the appeal had not been decided and maintained that it was illegal to carry out the executions.

“LEDAP is appalled that the earliest social duty of Governor Obaseki upon assumption of office was execution of his citizen on death row. We reiterate that all prisoners, including those sentenced to death, retain all the fundamental rights endowed on all citizens by the 1999 Constitution. This was re-emphasised by the Court of Appeal in the case of Peter Nemi vs Attorney General of Lagos State in 1994. The Supreme Court of Nigeria also held in Nasir Bello vs Attorney-General of Oyo State that a prisoner cannot be legally executed while his case is pending in court.

Death Penalty Moratorium

“In so far as an appeal against the sentences of the death row prisoners in Nigeria are pending in court, to the knowledge of the prison authorities and the government who participated in the high court proceedings before the appeal, there is no legal justification for the Edo executions, more so when it was carried out cruelly on a day to the eve of Christmas.

“It is also appalling that Edo State government carried out the execution despite the declaration by Nigerian Government at its 2009 and 2014 Universal Periodic Reports (UPR) to the United Nations Human Rights Council that Nigeria has put in place a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.

“The December 23, 2016 execution of these three prisoners, as well as similar execution of four prisoners on June 21 2013 by the same Edo State government have undermined Nigeria’s declarations to the international community for death penalty moratorium,” the group said.

LEDAP has further called on the Federal Government to stop all death penalty executions forthwith.

“The National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly should amend the Criminal Code and Penal Code, as well as the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act to remove death sentence as punishment for crimes and replace it with life imprisonment or term of years’ sentence,” the group proposed.