Tag Archives: Rivers State

CULTISM: Wike Imposes Two Weeks Curfew In Parts Of Rivers State

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has imposed a 24-hour total curfew for two weeks on the entire area around the Okoro-Nu-Odu flyover in Rumuokoro, in a bid to arrest the drift in cult-related clashes and other violent crimes in the community.

In a statewide broadcast, on Sunday, the governor warned that government would not spare any efforts at dealing with anyone who decided to disturb peace and security of the state with cult activities and associated violence and killings.

Governor Wike explained that decision to impose the curfew became necessary after the State Security Council met and reviewed the security situation on Sunday in Port Harcourt.

The Rivers State Government, the distraught governor added, was seriously disturbed by the recent upsurge in cult activities and related violence and killings around the adjoining areas of the Okoro-Nu-Odu flyover in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state.

He regretted that despite the state government’s repeated warning that engaging in cultism had anti-social effects on the society, some misguided youths continued to engage in the unwholesome activity.

“As part of measures to tackle this menace, therefore, Government has imposed a 24-hour total curfew for two weeks on the entire area along and around the Okoro-nodu flyover up to one-kilometre radius from Saint Emmanuel Anglican Church, Rumuokoro, extending to the Rumuodomaya Slaughter and Local Government daily market with effect from Monday 23rd November 2020,” Wike announced.

To that effect, all forms of trading activities in the area are banned, just as “no form of human or vehicular movement is allowed within the aforementioned restricted areas until further notice. Only staff and vehicles belonging to Julius Berger Nigeria Limited are exempted from the curfew and associated restrictions on movement so that construction work on the Okoro-Nu-Odu flyover is not stalled.”

The governor also directed security agencies to enforce strictly, compliance with the curfew directive; arrest and summarily prosecute any person, trader or vehicle that might attempt to violate the curfew order.

“Again, we wish to warn that community leaders that allow cultism and related activities to thrive unabated in their communities would be treated as collaborators to the resulting crimes and dealt with accordingly,” the governor further warned.

“We urge all citizens to be part of the efforts to curb cultism in the State by reporting any suspicious cult activity, including gatherings and initiations in or around their neighbourhoods to the security agencies for immediate action,” he pleaded.

Governor Wike disclosed that the state government would construct the 7th flyover in Port Harcourt to traverse Ikokwu to Azikiwe Street, and called on residents of Port Harcourt and Obio-Akpor Local Government Areas to bear with the State government on the traffic challenges that they might encounter in connection with the ongoing construction of the Oro-Abali and other flyovers.

“As you know our promise to construct five flyovers to ease the perennial traffic challenges and accelerate socio-economic development of the State is well on course. we delivered and commissioned the first of the initial five flyovers, (the Rebisi flyover) to the glory of God and the good of our State, while construction work on the rest has reached advanced levels of completion,” he noted.

According to him, “The Okoro-nu-do flyover is next on the line to be delivered and commissioned, latest, in the first quarter of 2021.”

Two days ago, it would be recalled, the State Executive Council approved the award of the contract for the constructing of the sixth flyover along the Oro-Abali (Kaduna street) intersection of Aba road to Julius Berger Nigeria Limited.

Chiefs beg Defence Headquarters not to withdraw soldiers in Oyigbo

Chiefs in Oyigbo, Rivers State Nigeria have implored the Defence Headquarters not to withdraw soldiers deployed to restore peace in the Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State.

The chiefs said that such withdrawal would amount to the remnants of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) regrouping.

The chiefs under the aegis of Ogbakor Oyigbo, have also urged all those who deserted Oyigbo to return as normalcy has been restored.

The appeal to the military authorities was made when the Publisher of the Ovation International Magazine, Chief Dele Momodu, visited Oyigbo, to assess the situation in the area ground.

A high chief, Eze Ukwu III, Louis Okorie, told Momodu and his delegation that the community chiefs do not approve the withdrawal of soldiers from Oyigbo. He expressed serious concern that if soldiers are withdrawn from Oyigbo, IPOB anarchists would unleash violence in the area.

” The Ogbakor Oyigbo General held a meeting here yesterday and said they will not allow the removal of soldiers from Oyigbo. On 12th of November, 2020 we met with the Local Government Chairman, Gerald Aforji, informing him of our plight. We don’t want Army to be withdrawn for the benefit of Oyigbo people. We need to be careful of the remnants of IPOB terrorists. We thank Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike for imposing of curfew which has calmed down the situation in Oyigbo.”

In the same vein, High Chief, Lisbery Onyegorom, narrated that indigenes of Oyigbo were astounded by the wanton destruction unleased on their community by members of the outlawed, IPOB.

“We were surprised by the level of destruction by the IPOB. We are Rivers State and Niger Delta people. Our people are not members of IPOB . I am not aware of any Oyigbo indigene who is a member. We don’t allow that.

“Now, that the IPOB have killed some soldiers, all of them have ran away. The Army is investigating and fishing them out . Most of the IPOB members arrested have given vital information about the remnants.

“We are in support of the Governor’s ban on IPOB activities across Rivers State and hoisting of IPOB Flag.”

Onyegorom frowned at allegation of extrajudicial killings levelled against Nigerian Army by some persons working for some extraneous forces playing petty politics with the Oyigbo issue.

” We are tsolidly behind our Governor’s effort to maintain peace in Oyigbo. The Governor did not say, go and kill people. The Army came on a rescue mission . That’s what they came for. It is the deployment of the Army that give us comfort to remain here. For now, we hear of threat to protest again. Army is going no where. Let the Army stay until we are sure of peace in Oyigbo.”

” Those who ran away should come back. The Army is not chasing any body. Army is not killing any person. Let the Army stay, until we are sure peace has returned.”

On his part, the Chairman of Oyigbo Local Government Area, Prince Gerald Oforji said most of the negative information peddled in the media on the situation in the area are unfounded.

“Today, I am very happy for the visit by the Ovation family to assess the wanton destruction carried out on the 20 October by the IPOB. Today ,they have come to assess and see things for themselves based on lopsided information they have been getting concerning Oyigbo. I believe with what they have seen today, the world, can confirm that most of those negative information posted against Oyigbo, against Rivers State, are unfounded

Chief Dele Momodu said he was on an assessment cum sympathy visit to Oyigbo to see the level of wanton destruction perpetrated by IPOB.

Momodu, described as unfounded and untrue insinuation in some quarters that the military have been killing innocent persons in Oyigbo.

“The way they describe Oyigbo as if there is massacre, there is no massacre going on. I have not seen any massacre. I believe, we have moved round extensively, nobody has told me not to move to anywhere. A lot of people have challenged me that I can not come to Rivers and visit Oyigbo.

“So, I am here. For me, it is a mixture of sadness and joy. Joy, that am able to come here in peace, because the impression I got was that nobody could come here at all; that everywhere has been taken over by the military and people are been massacred. I have gone round. I went to the market, I have gone to the police headquarters that was allegedly burnt down.”

Momodu later inspected some State government projects which include: Umunju-Umueze, Umuroke- Umusu-Umuelechi-Umuokpurukpu-Umuagu-Umugwu-Umueke and Umuoyoro Road. Others are: Umuakrikpo Community Primary School, Umuoyoro Community Primary School, Community Primary School Umuobasi Eberi and State School Obibi Umuogba.

Rivers State will always be home for Ndi Igbo, says Wike

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has declared that the state will continue to be home to people of the Igbo Ethnic Nationality.

Governor Wike gave the assurance during a meeting with South-East Governors, the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndi-Igbo and the Igbo community in the state at Government House, Port Harcourt on Sunday.

The governor said in the wake of the Oyigbo crisis, people peddled the rumour that he is chasing Igbos out of Rivers State which is not true because the state has an enduring relationship with the Igbos.

“Tell your people, Rivers people will continue to live together with Igbos. Don’t allow your sons to tell you lies. Igbos are innovative and hardworking. There can’t be Nigeria without Igbos. Nobody should take them for granted. But that doesn’t mean you must allow criminals to spoil your name.

“If I hate Igbos, I won’t appoint your son into my state cabinet two times. But you have to obey rules. Don’t allow criminals to dictate to you”.

The Chairman of the South East Governors Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, has warned Igbos to be weary of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) because the outlawed group is trying to instigate another civil war.

He said they were in Rivers State to ascertain the veracity of the news circulating in the social media over alleged killing of Igbo people living in the State. According to him, their findings has proved otherwise.

Umahi after listening to Governor Wike’s narration of the atrocious activities of IPOB in Oyigbo that culminated in the imposition of curfew in the entire Local Government, warned Igbos to be wary of IPOB as the group was bent on instigating another civil war that will result in the murder of Igbo people.

The governor said he finds it nauseating that IPOB could go to Benue and Rivers State to foist its flag and claim the territories belong to the Igbo people. According to him, Igbo leadership are opposed to this stance by IPOB.

Umahi, who revealed that he has huge investment in Rivers State, urged Igbos living in the State to respect the Government and people of Rivers State in order for them to continue to live and do business in the State peaceful. According to him, Ndi-Igbos cannot support any form of criminality.

Also speaking, the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo said the meeting has reinforced the existing affinity between Igbos and the people of Niger Delta.

He described Governor Wike as a champion of restructuring of Nigeria and a man who loves justice.

He explained that the leadership of Igbos cannot remain aloof while some misguided few who did not experience the brutal reality of the last civil war continue to fan the ember of disunity.

Nwodo, said he was elated to hear from Igbo leaders that under the leadership of Governor Wike Igbo businesses have continued to thrive.

Former Rivers State governor, Dr Peter Odili, lauded the Igbo leaders for the peace initiative and decision to visit Governor Wike.

He stated that every governor desires peace to govern and Governor Wike is no exception. He stressed that the people of the State endorse every measure taken by Governor Wike to ensure lasting peace in the State.

Present at the meeting were the Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr Nkem Okeke, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu. Other dignitaries are: Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Mrs. Ipalibo Harry Banigo; former Governor of Rivers State, Sir Celestine Omehia; the chairman of Rivers State Traditional Rulers Council and Amanayanabo of Opobo, King Dandeson Douglas Jaja, National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Uche Secondus, among others.

50 killed, 80 injured at Obigbo, Intersociety reveals as it releases names of victims in Rivers community

Against denials and cross-fire accusations of a possible massacre of unarmed civilians by the Nigeria Army in Oyigbo Town, in Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State, a Civil Society group has published names of persons it said were victims of the military operations.

In its statement Intersociety for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law, which said the report was temporary, said that not less than 50 persons were reportedly killed and about 80 injured.

Below is Intersociety’s full statement on the Oyigbo military invasion and alleged killings in other states in the South East Nigeria:

The Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law can circumstantially, verifiably and statistically state that the EndSARS protests in the Igbo States of Rivers (largely Igbo), Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi, Abia and Imo were turned into shooting and killing spree by ethno-religiously imbalanced armed soldiers of the Nigerian Army and personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, leading to close range shooting to death of at least 110 unarmed citizens and terminal injuring of at least 200 others.

These, including Gov Wike aided Army massacre in Obigbo and environs, generally took place in 14 days or from 21st Oct to 4th Nov 2020. The killings were so glaring that the corpses of the slain littered inside the bushes and by the roadsides; with some buried shallowly or left to decompose and others picked up by their relatives or emergency officials of some of the affected States especially Rivers and Enugu States. There are also independent reports of scores of bodies of the slain buried atrociously by soldiers in shallow graves including melting them with acid substances. Such was the case in Aba in Feb 2016 and Sept 2017 and Onitsha and Nkpor in May 2016.

While most of the shootings, killings and injuries had occurred between 21st and 24th Oct 2020; a period of three days, in Enugu, Anambra, Ebonyi, Imo and Abia States, those of Obigbo and environs in Rivers State took place between 21st Oct when the Gov Nyesom Wike imposed curfew in Oyigbo Local Government Area, targeting Obigbo and environs and 4th Nov, a period of 14 days, when the curfew supposedly elapsed and the massacre forced to subside following public outcries. Since then, Gov Wike has been running from pillar to pole defending himself, saying he ‘did not invite soldiers to kill Obigbo residents”.

We also wish to state clearly that the 50 death figures and 80 gunshot injuries in Obigbo and environs are most likely to be very conservative. This is going by the fact that pieces of credible information are still filtering in and what we have given here is the general evaluation of what happened. The projected 50 deaths and 80 injuries were temporarily arrived at based on credible information gathered from some of the survivors, who also told us that “they saw soldiers driving away dozens of blindfolded residents of their area (Obigbo and environs) with their hands tied behind their back and taken away half naked in batches of military vehicles”. Intersociety is presently carrying out extensive investigation into the massacre especially with regard to ascertaining the final figure of the dead, the tortured, the sexually harassed including the raped; the burnt, the destroyed, the looted, the arrested and incarcerated and the permanently disappeared.

The number of those blindfolded and made half naked who were independently seen being taking away is estimated at over 200. Our contacts who independently verified from police authorities said police told them that none of them arrested and taken away by soldiers since 21st Oct has been handed over to the Rivers State Police Command as at 4th Nov 2020. This raises serious suspicion of secret killing of scores of them by soldiers and possible decimation of their bodies with acid substances for purpose of erasing traces. We also seriously suspect that those arrested since two weeks and possibly held illegally in secret Army custodies are most likely to be undergoing outlawed and agonizing detention practices.

Therefore, as statistics conscious rights group, Intersociety has refused to speak categorically on Obigbo massacre until pieces of reliable statistics or information are gathered. That is to say that this position of ours on the number of the slain and the maimed arising from the massacre is not final, but a credible attempt to present the thirsty global community with a general statistical idea of what the ethno-religiously lopsided Nigerian Army did to Christian citizens of old Eastern Nigeria in Obigbo and environs, in full conspiracy of Gov Nyesom Wike.

We are also in possession of dozens of photos and videos of the slain and the maimed, collected from Rivers, Anambra, Ebonyi, Imo, Enugu and Abia States. Apart from getting them from direct source, they have also been manually and forensically investigated. The photos and videos, many of which not public image friendly, except on personal or formal request, clearly depict deadly use of force by the culpable soldiers and police personnel particularly in Obigbo and environs where ‘heavy’ military bullets were used against unarmed and defenseless citizens.

The victims were also targeted and shot at close range and forbidden or sensitive parts of their bodies; all with intent to massacre or slay. That is to say that the slain victims seen and verified were shot at close range and their sensitive parts including forehead/brain, chest/heart, abdomen/manhood, stomach, and eyes/nose/mouth regions. For instance, Intersociety agrees with Gov Nyesom Wike, to an extent, that “some photos and videos being flooded in the social media as those linked to Obigbo massacre are fake or not connected with same”, but not all of them are fake or with different origins.

Gov Wike’s position on this has implied that ‘soldiers and proscribed SARS operatives did not kill defenseless residents of Obigbo and environs, or destroy and burn properties including residences, or sexually harass including engaging in forced sexual intercourse with or raping unmarried/young married women, or carry out general acts of torture, or blindfold some defenseless residents, take them to unknown military destinations and possibly kill them, or engage in mass arrest of hundreds of the residents of the area; etc. Contrarily, reverse is the case.

Obigbo Casualties & Injuries: Therefore, in Obigbo and environs in Rivers State, we can temporarily confirm the killing of at least 50 unarmed citizens and injuring of not less than 80 others. We can also confirm eleven deaths so far out of which, eight has their names identified and three yet to be named. Their names are: (1) Pastor Igwe (slain husband of Mrs. Amara Igwe), (2) Queen Nwazuo (slain fiancée of Mr. Monday Bakor), (3) Okoro Peter and (4) Chinwendu O.: they were shot at close range and killed instantly by soldiers on 24th Oct 2020 few meters away from Gov Wike’s convoy.

The Gov was visiting Obigbo to assess his military deployment and curfew same day and the two young residents barely emerged from their houses to hear what their Gov has come to tell them when soldiers sighted them and opened fire, killing them instantly. They were shot at forehead, forcing the brain-box of Late Chinwendu to bust and emptied at the center of the road. Other dead citizens were: (5) Jude Egejuru (died from gunshot injuries), (6) Clifford Nkemdilim, (7) Late Miss Ngozi Ozuo, (8) Udeme Ossy Monday, (9) a yet-to-be identified dead citizen, (10) second yet-to-be-identified citizen and (11) third yet-to-be-identified dead citizen. It must be noted that soldiers took away bodies of most of those killed.

Among the deadly injured are: (1) Chukwuma Chinonso, (2) Nwoke Okwudiri Nwonye, (3) Uche Ogbonna, (4) Chikaodi Agwu, (5) Michael Okwudiri, (6) John Emeka, (7) Agwu Enyi, (8) Obichukwu Chibuike, (9) Izuchukwu Igwe, (10) Eluu Chukwuemeka, (11) Arinze Joshua, (12) Nwakama Izuegbe, (13) Destiny Okorie, (14) Michael Nkama, (15) Israel Asoh, (16) Emeka Heart, (17) Victor Heart, (18) Orji Amaoji, (19) Paschal, (20) Obasi Emela, (21) Chiwuzu Orjinta and (22) Sylvester Odoche.

Casualties & Injuries Across The Southeast: In Ebonyi State, where at least ten citizens were killed, among them were: (1) Nwibo Chibueze, (2) Nwali Emeka, (3) a yet-to-be-identified young man in his twenties and (4) Ofoke Sunday. Among at least 30 victims of gunshot wounds in the State are: Oshopo Chinedu, (2) Ngoke The, (3) Nwoji Ikechukwu, (4) Nwovu Ikechukwu, (5) Nwofe Lewis, (6) Elom Chimezie, (7) Opoke Mbakwe, (8) Onwe Monday, (9) Elochukwu Suday, (10) Onwe Ezekiel, (11) Igwe Uchenna, (12) Nwudele Uchenna, (13) Nwudele Uchenna, (14) Nwamiri Chukwudi, (15) Nwebi Stephen, (16) Nwofoke Ugochukwu, (17) Nwoke Peter, (18) Mbam Emmanuel, (19) Okey Emeka, (20)Egba Izuchukwu, (21) Awoke Nnamdi and (22) Alo Peter.

In Enugu State, where at least ten citizens were killed, among them were: (1) Christian Ugwuaja, (2) Sunday Chime, (3) Victor Igwe and (4) John Ikemuefuna. Among at least 30 gunshot victims are: (1) Okafor Kosisochukwu, (2) Ezeagbo Ifeanyi, (3) Odigomma Chimazom, (4) Ajah Chukwuemeka, (5) Somtoo Nwaeze, (6) Innocent Ominyi, (7) Friday Mgebebu, (8) Ezinduamaka Osondu, (9) Happiness Chidiebere, (10) Chinonso Obodoagu, (11) Idoko Ebuka, (12) Ibebuike Uzoigwe, (13) Chidi Oguejiofor, (14) Odinaka Ejim, (15) Solomon Okafor, (16) Ani Ifedibalachukwu, (17) Ituma Tochukwu, (18) Oge Simon, (19) Ezeaga Chukwuma, (20) Onwuna Kosiso, (21) Onwe Humphrey, (22) Sunday Kingsley Nweze and (22) Akpataobi Peter.

In Anambra State, where at least ten unarmed citizens were killed, among them were: (1) Ezenwile Okwuchukwu John, (2) Obasi Mmaduabuchi, (3) Nwafor Ikechukwu and (4) Ekeh Emmanuel Friday; and among 20 wounded citizens are: (1) Okafor Chidi, (2) Ogbada Chinonso, (3) Chigozie Ezenwa, (4) Nwokwu Anayochukwu and (5) Onuoha Kalu. In Abia State, where up to, if not over 20 citizens were killed, among them were: (1) Ifeanyi Nwaogu, (2) Isaiah Chiedozie, (3) Chijoke, (4) Chinedu, (5) Kelechi Godslove, (6) Uche (killed at Ogbohill, Aba), (7) Gorge (killed along Cameroon Road, Aba) and (8) Chukwuka Odinaka Omemma; and among some 25 gunshot injured citizens are: (1) Cyprian Onwe, (2) Uchenna Kalu, (3) Nze Anayo Okoro, (4) Enyinnaya Agha and (5) Chinomso Nkalu. In Imo State, ten persons were killed in Mbaitolu and Orlu and about 15 others shot and injured. Among the dead were Late Mr. Agomuo of IMSUBEB (killed by Army at Nworie-Ubi, Owerri) and Mr. Uwadi Ebuzoeme shot dead in Orlu.

Signed:

Principal Officers: Emeka Umeagbalasi (Board Chair),

Chinwe Umeche, Esq., (Head of Democracy),

Obianuju Igboeli, Esq., (Head of Civil Liberties),

Ndidiamaka Bernard, Esq., (Head of Int’l Justice & Human Rights) and

Comrade Sam Kamanyaoku (Head of Field Data Collection & Documentation)

Contacts:

Mobile/WhatsApp: +2348174090052

Email: info@intersociety-ng.org

Website: http://www.intersociety-ng.org

PROTESTS: Protect non-natives, Igbo communities in the North, Igbo Group appeals to Security Agencies

A front line Igbo organisation, OCHIE IGBO has called on security agencies in Northern Nigeria to help protect Igbo lives, businesses and interests in the region.

Ochie Igbo in a 5 paragraph letter, signed by its Coordinator, Mazi Benedict Okoro and made available to journalists said the civil disturbances in parts of the country, especially in parts of Rivers State is worrisome and capable of sending the wrong signals across.

While calling on Igbo youths to avoid violence and tow the path of peace, Okoro appealed that the security of Sabo Ngeris (non-natives) is very paramount in the 19 states of the North, especially in this trying times.

It said in parts:

“We write to call the attention of Security Agencies in Rivers State concerning the activities of some irrate youths at Oil Mill.

“The violent activities by a group of young men from the North brandishing matchetes, metals and dangerous weapons, whilst chanting Allahu Arkbar puts people at harm’s way.

“We wish to suggest that these chants have the capacity to create chaos, breakdown of law and order and cause anarchy.

“We urge the Security Agencies to ensure safety of lives and properties in all the Sabo Ngeris and Igbo settlements throughout the 19 Northern States.

“While the dogs of war are baying for blood, it is pertinent that we rise to the challenge of this season; together we shall overcome.

“OCHIE Igbo”.

Wike: The Gunshots Persist, by Odimegwu Onwumere

Your Excellency, The Executive Governor of Rivers State, Barr. Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike. Greetings, Sir.

I come to you again with a heart full of tears after my earlier open letter to you begging of you to oversee to the motiveless shootings in parts of Rivers State to immobility. Within hours of that letter, the tears of residents have gone up than they were especially in a place like Oyigbo.

We are inundated with information from residents of that area that they doubt if the unjustifiable shootings are really those from the security agents or some external intruders are using the opportunity to cash in and take over Oyigbo.

Many of the residents have fled their homes. Please, for the sympathy of the living, do make peace. This is more than the alleged hoodlums taking over the #EndSARS protest but something is fishing out from the cupboard concerning the fate of Oyigbo in this time of uncertainties.

Rivers residents – whether born natives or visitors – cannot afford to lose any part of Rivers state to any tribe, whose sole aim is to cleanse a people and occupy their ancestral homes. Some information from a place like Rumukwurushi is that there is a particular people who are guarded by those who were supposed to protect all; and the people are hiding under the cover of the protection they enjoy unleashing mayhem on the residents of Rumukwurushi. The same is applicable to Oyigbo.

Sir, you might not notice what is happening across the state at the same time except for such information like this. You have to try to save the state that you love from falling in the hands of a people who never meant well for us. You have to read history from ancient gallery and stop the neo-ethnic cleansing that is well written bold on the wall in guise of #EndSARS protest.

In a plain language, sir, Oyigbo without a doubt has fallen in the hands of wrong people while many still believe that the gunshots were only from the security agents. No. You need to act now else every genuine person living in Oyigbo and some parts of Port Harcourt will wake up from memories’ grave. It would be sacrilegious that we are dead in Rivers state while our homes are taken over by the cold-blooded killers.

In war, it is certain that the end will come but ordinary people are not certain of surviving that long. I am not pointing finger at any person but no man would stand and watch his enemies hide under the cover of security agents to unleash terror for the purpose of either vendetta or land grabbing. And if you don’t act now, parts of Rivers state may be in the hands of the enemies yet we misconstrue the gunshots as those from the ‘genuine’ security agents. Let the year 2020 not be the year we are regressing back to 1700 when lords governed fiefdoms. Someone might not be a robber but if such a person goes to the bank like a robber, he or she would be labeled a robber.

Some persons have dressed like robbers in Rivers state. They don’t care to know that time of acquiring territories by force is gone and we cannot afford to stand on the shadow of the keep. Our state cannot be taken over by force, by any tribe. You need not fold your hands because there will be no excuses and no exceptions should these shootings persist. Watch if the enemies are close, hiding under the #EndSARS brouhaha.

Your Excellency, it would be better that I slap your face with words today in lieu of you waking up tommorrow and notice that your grandparents graves have become home for people who did not buy them from you and who do not mean well to you, either.
There are screams and cry ongoing in a place like Oyigbo. It is not too late to check who are causing the residents of that area to cry. The residents can barely breathe. Don’t allow the door to slam against the wall.

The presence of heavy security men in Oyigbo and in some parts of Rivers state is not a shield. Gunshots are locating the residents more that the presence of the security agents could protect them. This has spurred my suspicion if the town has not fallen in the hands of enemies to kill as many residents as possible while we presume all happening are part of the wave from the #EndSARS uproar oblivious that some people with ulterior motive are bent to take our ancestral land.

The door is open to bring about the needed peace which that part of the state facing heavy presence of gunshots need. How can a people’s right be intruded? The language of gun is not smooth. Let the soldiers not make the residents believe that they are the injured party whereas the residents cannot tell for sure where the sporadic gunshots are coming from and the military Code of Conduct is not observed.

Sane soldiers do not wave unlocked gun recklessly in the midst of civilians. Unguided bullets flying everywhere. Sir, the language of gun is not smooth, not a political agenda. Therefore it is time you introduced and enforced basic human rights this time. Residents cannot afford to walk in their underwear and none knows it were intruders greeting them in the language of gun.

Yes. Oyigbo might not be a city but there are a people who see her as paradise. So, make sure you find out why farmers cannot go to farm because their crops are eaten by human-guided-animals and they are killed if they complain. The same thing is happening to every resident under the #EndSARS hijacked-show-of-shame.

Your Excellency, the grumbling across the state is getting out of hand. Maybe, you have to walk the towns if your security intelligence was not seeing too well. No legitimate child deserves to be called an infidel in his paternal home. The gunshots in Oyigbo are irritating pretense that Rivers state is still in the #EndSARS era. Some people have taken over that era flaunting dangerous folly. I had no difficulty in restraining myself but had to write you in order to stop this stupid importance it has become to a people to desert residents with gunshots at the Haunting Hour which is now their bloody manifesto.

Odimegwu Onwumere is a multiple award-winning journalist based in Rivers state. Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

BREAKING! Special Adviser on Media, Simeon Nwakaudu is dead

The Special Adviser to Governor Nyesom Wike on Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, is dead.

The cause of his death is still unknown, but sources at Government House Port Harcourt said Simeon may have died of cardiac arrest.

Governor, Nyesom Wike in a statement by the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim, expressed shock over the sudden death of his Special Assistant on Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu.

Wike described late Nwakaudu as a loyal and dedicated professional who contributed immensely to the implementation of The NEW Rivers Vision.

“The governor on behalf of his family, the government and good people of the State condoled with the bereaved family.

“He prayed God to grant them the fortitude to bear the great loss.

“Late Nwakaudu died today at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH) after a brief illness,” the statement read.

Governor Wike places Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas on Total Lockdown

hotels, guest houses and beer parlours must remain closed

•requests for waivers and entry permits from oil and gas companies will be considered on a case by case basis

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has announced a 24-hour total lockdown and a dusk-dawn curfew on Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas as part of the State Government’s measures to check the spread of coronavirus.

In a broadcast on Monday, Governor Wike said: “Consequently, we have decided on the extreme measure of placing the entire Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt City Local Government Areas under a 24 hours total lockdown from Thursday 7th May 2020 until further notice.

Governor Wike said with the declaration, all residents of Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt City Local Government Areas must stay at home.

He said: “On no account should there be any vehicular movements or gathering of more than two persons in these Local Government Areas, except those on essential services with appropriate authorization;

” All shops, trading or business activities, including currency exchange, in these Local Government Areas must also remain closed until further notice.

“All Landlords are advised to ensure that no shop or trading activity is opened or carried out in or around their premises or risk the confiscation of their property by the Government.

“Any person, group or institution that violates the lockdown and curfew in these Local Government Areas will be made to face the full wrath of the law. ”

The Rivers State Governor directed the immediate arrest and prosecution of Chief B.A. Worgu and Mr. Isaiah Abraka for sneakily organizing night markets in defiance of existing ban on such activity.

Governor Wike said given the threat posed to the State by oil and gas company workers, it has reviewed all entry waivers and permits earlier granted to Oil and Gas Companies .

The Rivers State Government declared:

“(i) from now on, requests for waivers and entry permits from oil and gas companies will be considered on a case by case basis;

“(ii) all inward-bound vehicles and flights into Rivers State from oil and gas companies with workers for crew change or other essential operations must first submit details of their manifests to the State’s taskforce on COVID-19 for proper vetting of their virus status before they can be allowed to enter the State;

“(iii) all operators of chartered flights into Rivers State for oil and gas operations, especially Bristow and Caverton Helicopters, should please comply with this directive and refrain from jeopardizing the lives of our people for the sake of making profits.

Governor Wike sternly warned the Chief Medical Director of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital to stop politicalizing the issue of coronavirus in the State with his rascally, irresponsible and ill-motivated utterances.

He said: “This Government is focused and therefore will not allow itself to be distracted on its battle against COVID-19. However, we will neither tolerate nor hesitate to deal anyone who dares to fabricate lies to rubbish the hard work and sacrifice we are making to save the lives in our State just to advance parochial partisan interests.

” I wish to reiterate that the hard choices we have to make as a Government and as a people over the COVID-19 pandemic are all premised on upholding the sanctity of human life.

“As a Government, we cannot abdicate this compelling responsibility and abandon our people to chances in the midst of this much dreaded and ravaging pandemic.”

The Rivers State Governor pointed out that the latest of these positive cases was the 14th case that was flown in to Port Harcourt by Bristow Helicopters from an offshore oilfield facility in Akwa Ibom State on the 29th of April 2020.

He said these positive cases have shown and confirmed our fears that unvetted entry of Oil and Gas workers from Lagos, Abuja and elsewhere remains a potential source for the importation and spread of COVI/D-19 in our State.

He said: “We have also observed with disappointment the persistent disobedience to the State Government’s lawful orders and or directives on COVID-19 by a number of communities and residents, especially in Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt City Local Government Areas despite repeated warning.

“On the whole, we can all see that COVID-19 cases confirmed across the country are growing in numbers, meaning that the situation in our State, although still relatively low, can change for the worse, if we relax our measures or become complacent.

“In view of the foregoing, Government has resolved to impose additional measures by the Executive Order, I have just signed, which are targeted at reinforcing our efforts toward stopping the spread of the virus in the State, as follows:

“(i) All residents must wear face masks before stepping out of their homes to the public space;

(ii) The operations of all private motor parks, taxi ranks and loading bays throughout the State is hereby prohibited;

(iii) No commercial taxi driver should carry more than three passengers in his vehicles per trip;

(iv) No commercial bus driver should carry more than 40 per cent of full capacity of his vehicle;

(v) All tricycles (Keke NAPEP) must limit their passengers to two persons only;

(vi) No private vehicle should carry more than three persons in the car;

(vii) All drivers, persons or passengers in commercial and private vehicles, including tricycles, must wear face masks and observe the use of sanitizers;

(viii) All hotels, guest houses and beer parlours must remain closed;

(ix) A task force has been set-up to:

(a) arrest and prosecute any person without wearing face masks in public places or inside vehicles;

(b) impound and auction any vehicle with persons or passengers without wearing facemasks;

(c) arrest and prosecute any driver loading or off-loading passengers at any private motor-park, taxi rank or loading bay;

(d) impound and auction any vehicle loading or off-loading passengers at any private park, taxi rank or loading bay; and

(e) confiscate and auction any hotel and guest houses operating in defiance of the ban.”

(f) Government will give N100,000.00 to any whistle blower who gives out relevant information leading to the arrest and prosecution of any person, hotelier or motorist that violates these directives.

The Governor said all hoteliers must provide the State Task Force on COVID-19 with the manifest of those already lodged in their hotels before the coming into effect of this directive.1

Governor Wike noted that while the State Government is battling the importation of this virus, the greatest threat to people’s lives is posed not from outsiders but by those residents who are refusing to comply with the established directives and change their behaviour to conform to the new experience.

COVID-19: Church opens free restaurant to feed less privileged in Port Harcourt

The Omega Power Ministries (OPM) worldwide has reopened its free restaurant in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to help feed the less privileged people following the stay at home order declared by government to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

A statement issued on Tuesday by Pastor Isaiah Gogo-Ogute, Public Relation Officer of OPM, quoted Apostle Chibuzor Chinyere, the General Overseer of the church as saying that the move was to serve as palliative during the lockdown.

Chinyere said the gesture was also to support the efforts of government in curtailing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which is ravaging many countries. The statement quoted Chinyere as saying that the free restaurant would serve takeaway food to the less privileged people in Port Harcourt and its environs during the lockdown.

Church members preparing food for the less privileged in Port Harcourt “The reason for the takeaway is to maintain social distancing and to ensure that government policies on coronavirus are kept while the poor and less privileged are saved from massive hunger and starvation.

“The food is for everybody just like our schools and hospitals; the gesture is for everybody – Christians, Muslims and pegans. My vision is not to buy private jet but to prepare people to make heaven.

“OPM free restaurant has been in operation for seven years but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we decided to give food to people as takeaway instead of them coming to sit down to eat; we also gave them money.

“Church is not about collecting offering from members, it is also about assisting them and the less privileged during crisis period.

“There are many families that their source of livelihood is selling in the market but now they have been shut down and children are hungry. So, how will such people feed, if not through this means,” the statement quoted Chinyere as saying.

He commended the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, for shutting down the state to stop the spread of the virus. The clergy urged Nigerians to stay safe as the virus was real.

“We should fight the virus seriously and we should also pray because it is only God that can remove it, not paracetamol or chloroquine. I know that God will help us discover a vaccine that will solve this problem,” he added.

Coronavirus: Wike bans public burials, weddings in Rivers State

Sets up border surveillance posts

In furtherance of measures to pretend to spread of coronavirus in the state, Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, on Monday announced the ban of public burials and weddings.

In a second statewide broadcast in less than 72 hours, the governor announced that with effect from Tuesday, March 24, 2020, all public parks, night clubs and cinemas would remain closed till further notice.

He said: “With effect from the same date (Tuesday, March 24, 2020), all public parks, night clubs and cinemas in the State are to remain closed till further notice.

“Similarly, after due consultations with religious leaders, it was agreed that all religious organisations are to temporarily stop all forms of open worship. Public burial and wedding ceremonies are also banned within this period.

“In view of the fact that the disease spreads fast through body contact, social distance has become imperative if we are to contain the spread.

“May I, therefore call on all Religious Leaders, Traditional Rulers and Opinion Leaders in the State to assist government to implement these decisions by ensuring that persons under their care do not fall foul of this directive.”

Wike directed Local Government Council Chairmen to ensure that public burials and weddings do not take place in their respective areas.

He said: “May I emphasise that Local Government Chairmen are to be held responsible if public burials and weddings take place in their Local Government Areas.

“Government will set up monitoring teams for the 23 Local Government Areas to ensure compliance. Defaulters will be seen as enemies of the State and will be made to face appropriate sanctions.

“My Dear Good People of Rivers State, the essence of governance is to protect lives and we cannot be indifferent when this COVID-19 continues to claim lives world-wide.

“We urge everyone to remain calm and maintain social distance. We shall continue to review the situation and adjust accordingly.”

He encouraged the people to accept the measures in good fate noting: “Like I said in my Broadcast last Friday, these decisions may seem painful for all of us but there is no price that is too much to pay for us to stay alive.”

He stated that with effect from Tuesday, March 24, 2020, surveillance posts will be set up across the state.

“The Rivers State Government having reviewed current developments across the country is desirous to further strengthen prevention measures across the State to keep our citizens safe.

“The surveillance post comprises of 6 land posts and 6 Marine points with each manned by trained health and security personnel who will ensure that motorists and seafarers are tested before they are allowed to enter the State.

“All motorists and seafarers are please enjoined to cooperate with the Surveillance teams as they have been empowered to legitimately enforce this directive,” Wike said.

The Governor added: “I use this medium to call on citizens to minimise family visits. Rather, everyone should maintain contacts through the use of telephones,” Wike stated.