VICTOR Ochei, speaker of Delta State House of Assembly, has promised that the state legislature would intensify efforts to ensure that new bills that will further impact positively on the state are passed to enhance the good governance of the polity.
Speaking at the resumption of the Assembly’s plenary for the third legislative year of the Fifth Assembly, Ochei said that, opting for this avowed commitment was the only veritable barometer, through which the legislature’s contributions to the development of the society could be measured. He added that for the House to function optimally, and in synergy with the executive in giving hope to the masses, “the legislature must continue on its part of robust, painstaking and detailed legislation to ensure that our people continue to derive the benefits of good governance.”
The legislator also promised that the House would continually synergise with the public in the process of any legislation, which is the hallmark of participatory democracy and as such debunk the presumptuous notion that the legislators know it all. He, therefore, appealed to Deltans to avail themselves of the opportunity of public hearings in order to further enrich the laws.
Heat on Terrorists, Kidnappers
NIGERIA is winning in its war against terrorism. That was the assurance of President Goodluck Jonathan at the Standing Committee meeting of the Bishops’ Conference of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) at Saint Peter’s Deanery in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on Thursday, September 12. “From a society that was beset with uncertainty, we are now beginning to see a gradual return to normalcy in most parts of the North and other parts of the country with different levels of certainty and predictability in our daily lives. I believe, and I can say with all humility and gratitude to God, that we are winning the war against terrorism. And by His grace, we will surely overcome terrorism and insecurity in our land. More than winning the war, we are also winning space for peace and stability,” Jonathan said.
He said further that because of the military campaign and methods adopted, the security situation in the country has started to improve and that the effect of the state of emergency in the North East has been wonderfully felt in the whole country. “No religion or culture preaches violence and mindless killing. The sorrow, blood and tears you have seen lately are not the hallmarks of our country or any civilized society. We will continue to do our very best to ensure that all Nigerians will be able to live in peace and in one strong, united and indivisible nation,” the president added.
While regretting the abduction of Ignatius Kartey, an archbishop of the Province of Niger Delta, he promised that the federal government and the security agencies would continue to do everything possible to rescue the kidnapped persons and ensure that kidnappers were brought to justice.
Seriake Dickson, governor of Bayelsa State, in his speech, urged the church to pray for Nigerian leaders and the nation. He said that his government had taken steps to bring about peace in the state to enable people to go about their daily activities.
“At a time when brothers have turned against brothers, the leaders of this country need prayers. Mr. President needs prayers. Continue to pray for the peace and stability of this country. We are living in trying times and one man in the midst of all these distractions, Mr. President is doing his best to give the country profound leadership,” Dickson said.
Ozekhome’s 21-Day Ordeal
AFTER 21 days of ordeal in captivity by kidnappers, Mike Ozekhome, a senior advocate of Nigeria and a human rights activist, regained his freedom, in the early morning of Thursday, September 12. Ozekhome returned home to a rousing welcome by family members, friends and well-wishers. The activist, who was kidnapped between Ehor and Ekpoma Road in Edo State, narrated his ordeal to well wishers who thronged his home on Mike Ozekhome Lane, Igando, Lagos State, on Thursday. Ozekhome said the kidnappers asked them to lie down inside the car as policemen were passing and there was an exchange of gun fire before they were taken away by the abductors. He said that when the kidnappers requested for communication with members of his family over the ransom, two of his children who came to negotiate the ransom were also abducted in the process. They were all released together at about 1 am on Thursday morning. He suspected that the kidnappers operate randomly and have cell units across the country.
“They asked me who I was, and I replied saying that I am a lawyer. They asked me again for how long I have been practicing, I told them, 32 years. The experience was horrific because we were psychologically tortured. It was the nearest thing to death on earth. We were about 13 in all that were kidnapped. There was even a woman with two of her sons and a daughter as well as her driver. The danger knows no status, religion or occupation. The federal government should do certain things as a matter of urgency.
“The kidnappers vowed to make the country ungovernable in 2015 because they said they would show their true colours and that they were ready for the politicians. They told me that because of what they read about me, I should go and not stop in the fight for the masses. On two occasions, I took ill while in captivity and on those occasions doctors who wore hoods were brought in to treat me and I was given injections at some point,” the lawyer said.
Ozekhome, therefore, appealed to the federal government to grant amnesty to all kidnappers in the country because they had promised that if they were assured of their freedom they would drop their guns. He also called on the government to immediately declare a state of emergency on youth unemployment, insecurity and also amend the constitution to accommodate state policing in the country.
The lawyer asked his guests to observe a four-minute silence for the four policemen from the Ehor Police Division, who were killed while attempting to rescue him. He also urged the federal government and the inspector-general of police to institute a foundation that would cater for the education of the children of the four policemen who tried to rescue him and his driver.
Ozekhome’s ordeal started on Friday August 23, 2013 as he was leaving Benin, the capital of Edo State for Agenebode, his home town in Estako East Local Government Area of the state. He and his driver were accosted between Ehor and Ekpoma Road in Edo State. An unconfirmed story said he paid N20 million for his and children’s freedom.
IT appears the face-off between Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State and Joseph Mbu, commissioner of Police in the state, is not going to end soon. The state government has alleged that a contingent of police blocked the road to deny the governor and his guests entrance into Government House, on Thursday, September 12.
Amaechi was said to be in company of 102 former speakers of state Houses of Assembly when a team of policemen, allegedly drafted by Mbu, blocked the Force Avenue which leads to Amaechi’s residence in the Government House. This was said to have led to a heated argument with the police for about 30 minutes. Eventually, the governor’s convoy had to turn back and take another route.
Ibim Semenitari, commissioner for information and communications in the state, said even when the governor personally came down from his vehicle to introduce himself to the leader of the police team, he and his guests were still denied passage. The leader of the team, she alleged, told the governor: “I do not take orders from civilians.’ Semenitari said it was obvious that the state commissioner of police had ordered his men to barricade the road.
The commissioner said the whole incident was in the full glare of the 102 former speakers that came from different parts of the country.
But Angela Agabe, the state police public relations officer, dismissed the claim that police blocked the governor and his guests. Agabe said security operatives were not at the Government House, but only mounted a guard at the New Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, secretariat that was sealed off on Thursday. She said policemen were sent to disperse some hoodlums with PDP flags who had taken over the property to avoid violence.
Before the Thursday incident, there had been no love lost between Amaechi and Mbu. The disagreement between the governor and the police commissioner started with the takeover of the Obio/Akpor Local Government Area secretariat by policemen after the suspension of Timothy Nsirim, chairman, by the state House of Assembly. Before then, Mbu had, during his maiden interaction with newsmen, warned that gone were the days policemen would be used like errand boys. At a point, the police commissioner withdrew security aides to Otelemaba Amachree, speaker of the state House of Assembly, and some local government chairmen. He also allegedly withdrew security operatives in the Government House, a development that worsened the already strained relationship between Amaechi and Mbu as the governor believed that the police boss actions were targeted at him and his perceived supporters.
The governor had, on several occasions, called for Mbu’s redeployment to no avail as Mohammed Abubakar, inspector-general of police, has insisted that the police commissioner had carried out his job in a professional manner. The police authorities have also ignored calls by the National Assembly to redeploy Mbu.
— Sep. 23, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT