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Black Soot: Wike Declares 19 Illegal Refinery Operators Wanted

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black soot

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Rivers State Government has declared 19 persons wanted for operating illegal crude oil refining sites allegedly responsible for the carcinogenic hydrocarbon soot prevalent in the state.

The state’s governor, Mr Nyesom Wike, in a statewide broadcast on Sunday reiterated the government’s resolve to tackle the soot pandemic by destroying and closing down operations of all identified illegal refinery operators in the state.

He also directed the Rivers State Head of Service to query one Mr Temple Amakiri, a Director in the Ministry of Energy, for abetting bunkering activities and hand him over to the police for investigation and possible prosecution.

He stated that following his 2022 New Year Message outlining measures to tackle the black soot menace, the state Task Force on Illegal Street Trading raided some illegal crude oil refining sites in Port Harcourt and arrested a number of recalcitrant persons.

“Furthermore, the following persons who have been identified as kingpins of bunkering and illegal crude oil refining activities in their communities have been declared wanted and directed to report themselves to the State Police Command, to whom we have already passed their details to:

“Mr Azubike Amadi, OSPAC Commander, Ogbogoro community and Chairman of Akpor Central OSPAC; Mr India, of Rumuolumeni community and Chairman of oil bunkering association in Akpor kingdom; Mr Okey who is in charge of oil bunkering in Rumupareli; Mr Anderson, who is in charge of oil bunkering activities in Ogbogoro community; Amadi Gift of Ogbogoro community; Azeruowa of Ogbogoro community; and Kingsley Egbula, also of Ogbogoro community.

“Also declared wanted are the following persons who are alleged to be in charge of oil bunkering activities in Isiokpo community: Mr Kemkom Azubike, Mr Mezu Wabali, Mr Chigozi Amadi, Mr Opurum Owhondah, Mr Bakasi Obodo, Mr Opus, Mr Galaxi Mas, Mr Chioma, Mr Ogondah, Mr Soldier, Mr Chefo, and Nkasi.

“We have also identified those behind illegal bunkering activities in Okrika communities, Port Harcourt Township, Rivers South-East and Rivers South-West Senatorial Districts and their names would be soon published and declared wanted if they fail to voluntarily report to the police,” he declared.

He urged residents of the state to report those involved in illegal crude oil refineries and other damnable activities to the Task Forces already set up at the state and local government levels for immediate action.

Governor Wike also reaffirmed the total ban on the use of motorcycles in Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt councils, which was necessitated by the collective threat they posed to the security of lives and property.

“Any person or corporate entity that requires the use of motorcycle for any lawful purposes must therefore first apply to the office of the Governor for permit and proper documentation of the operational details and particulars of both the motorcycle and designated rider(s).

“Against this background, we are hereby issuing the final warning to all those operation motorcycles shuttles and or hawking foreign exchange along Birabi Street, Hotel Presidential, GRA junction by Zenith Bank up to Tombia Street to immediately leave or be arrested and prosecuted,” the Governor said.

The governor then accused the traditional leadership, including members of Community Development Committees and youth leaders of Rumuola, Rumuogba and Okoro-nu-odo communities of collecting money from vendors and allowing street trading activities around and under the flyovers in these communities.

“Consequently, I hereby direct the traditional leadership of Rumuola, Rumuogba and Okoro-nu-odo communities to immediately stop all street trading activities around, in or under the flyovers in their respective domains or be deposed, arrested and prosecuted.

“Similarly, the traditional leadership of Rumuwoji Mgbuduku, Obiekwe, Nkpolu-Oroworokwo, Abali, Rebisi, Rumukalagbor-Oroworokwo and Ezimgbu communities are hereby directed to enforce the ban and ensure that no form of trading takes place around and under the flyovers located in their communities,” Mr Wike stated.

He also placed a total ban on the use of umbrella and table trading stands in the entire old and new GRAs of Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt City, Eleme councils.

According to him, the government has credible evidence that most of these purported traders in front of houses are informants who monitor and pass on vital details and information on the daily movement of very important persons to their criminal collaborators.

Governor Wike frowned at the failure of the Rumuokurushe traditional leadership to honour the terms of their undertaking not to allow any form of street trading on the Rumuokurushe market.

“Unfortunately, the Rumuokurushe traditional leadership has apparently failed to comply with or enforce this condition in that market and the government will not hesitate to again shut it down if the ongoing breach continues unabated,” he said.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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IGP Authorises Stop & Search, Raids, Others to Tackle Crime

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IGP alkali Tinted Permits

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Usman Alkali Baba, has ordered the deployment of adequate security around schools, hospitals, and critical national infrastructures across the country.

The Force Public Relations Officer, Mr Olumuyiwa Adejobi, who disclosed this in a statement on Sunday, said the IGP has also ordered regular patrols, stop and search, raids and show of force by tactical commanders to clamp down on pockets of crime and criminality in some states of the federation.

“The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, has ordered the deployment of water-tight security arrangements to cover all schools, hospitals, health workers, and critical national infrastructures around the country,” the statement added.

“The IGP has equally ordered regular patrols, stop and search, raids, and show of force by tactical commanders to clamp down on pockets of crime and criminality recorded in some states of the federation,” it further said.

Mr Baba gave the directive while reviewing the reports he received from various commands and formations on the general security situations across the country.

He tasked strategic police managers at various levels to prioritize the use of intelligence gathering networks while charging officers and men of the force to take the fight against crime to the doorsteps of suspected criminal elements with a view to flushing them from their hideouts.

The IGP also called for the cooperation of members of the public, warning police officers to be civil, professional, and humane in the course of discharging their duties.

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SERAP Begs INEC to Allow 7 million Nigerians Complete Voter Registration

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inec electoral bill

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to allow seven million Nigerians to complete their voter registration.

SERAP made the call in a statement on Sunday through its Deputy Director, Mr Kolawole Oluwadare, warning that the failure of the electoral body to grant this request could attract legal action.

According to the rights group, INEC recently disclosed that out of 10,487,972 Nigerians who carried out their pre-registration online, only 3,444,378 completed the process at physical centres.

SERAP believes that the right to vote is also the right to be given the time and opportunity to complete the registration process so that it can be effectively exercised.

“The right to vote is not merely the right to cast a ballot but also the right to be given the time and opportunity to complete the registration process, so that the right can be meaningfully and effectively exercised,” the statement read.

“Closing the gates on eligible Nigerians and denying them the time and opportunity to complete their registration cannot preserve trust in the electoral process.

“Denying a significant number of eligible voters the time and opportunity to complete the registration for their PVCs would impair the right to vote of those affected, deny them a voice in the 2023 elections, and lead to disparate and unfair treatment of these voters,” it submitted.

The organisation noted that, “According to a report released by INEC, out of 10,487,972 Nigerians who carried out their pre-registration online, only 3,444,378 Nigerians representing 32.8 per cent, completed the process at a physical centre. 7,043,594 Nigerians carried out their pre-registration but are yet to complete the process at a physical centre.

“This represents over 67 per cent of those who began their registration process online.

“According to INEC, a total of 12,298,944 Nigerians completed their voter registration; 8,854,566 of which were persons who did their registration entirely at a physical centre.

“The over seven million Nigerians have already completed their registration online, that is, via INEC online portal by providing their biodata and required documents.”

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FG Threatens CCECC Over Drawback in Rail Contract

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CCECC China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation

By Adedapo Adesanya

The federal government has threatened to sanction the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) for not meeting up with the agreement of providing 85 per cent of rail project costs in a move that could signify friction.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Transportation, Mr Mu’azu Sambo, at the inspection of the Lekki Deep Seaport on Saturday in Lagos.

According to Mr Sambo, the projects are the Kano-Kaduna and the Maiduguri-Port Harcourt rail lines.

“The CCECC has not brought anything to the table. I gave them a deadline which is October 30, if I don’t get that money on the ground, I know what to advise Mr President to do,” he said.

He expressed satisfaction with the Lekki Deep Seaport project, noting that the initiatives were to ensure the smooth evacuation of cargo at the port.

He said that for part-time, the road was being expanded, adding that the government was looking into it, and for medium-term, barges would take care of it.

“I am impressed and happy to be back here. This we know is the pride of all Nigerians, the first deep seaport in West Africa that will take the largest ship in the world has 16.5 meters deep, and will give us hundreds and thousands of jobs.

“Almost automated not fully but automated enough to make life easy for port operations.

“It is initiatives like this we want to encourage, that is why I did not hesitate when I came to the ministry and I saw a proposal of the Badagry Deep Seaport sitting on my table and took it immediately for approval.

“Also, the president is concerned about cargo evacuation at the port and does not want a repeat of the Apapa and TinCan port and so we cannot rely on the road alone which is not the best option.

“There is a need to sit down with stakeholders to see how to tackle this,” he said.

He pointed out that cargo evacuation was not just within the port but outside the port, as goods must reach the final destination.

“First of all, you save a lot of time at the port because of automation and modern technology and equipment.

“After the port what happens, it only makes sense when the goods get to the shipper or owner. And to do that, you need to move either by rail, water, or road,” he said.

Mr Sambo urged the management of the port to employ as many Nigerians as possible as this was the only way citizens could put food on the table for their families.

On his part, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr Mohammed Bello-Koko, noted that the Lekki Deep Seaport was one of the first solutions to reducing traffic at Apapa and TinCan.

According to Mr Bello-Koko, the automation deployed at the port is commendable and fantastic as the processes will be free of human interference.

He said that the Apapa and TinCan port would still be viable, adding that what they had done was to create alternatives for importers and exporters as to where they would decide to do business.

“The operators of those ports should also up their game, and improve their speed in terms of cargo clearance or otherwise.

“Feasibility studies have shown that these ports will still be viable in future like 10, 15 years, the government can decide to turn some of these ports into a real estate, we have some of them in Europe,” Mr Bello-Koko said.

Mr Du Ruogang, the Managing Director, Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Ltd. (Lekki Port), said that the port was 95 per cent completed, adding that they would meet the targeted time.

Mr Ruogang appreciated the NPA for deploying marine services such as tug, pilot, lines, boats and harbour master before the operations of the port.

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