A resident of Saint Andrews in Rumubiakani, Josephine Okoro is still at the moment counting her looses after a terrible fire raised down her apartment.
The fire which began at about 10pm last Saturday night was ignited by her 8 years old son who mistakenly dropped a candle on his bed setting it on fire. His failure to attract the attention of his mother or neighbours eventually led to the entire building being consumed.
Tried as they could, concerned neighbours also fearing for the safety of their own houses could not put out the inferno. Distress calls were put out to shell (SPDC) fire fighters stationed about three blocks away, who eventually arrived about 30 minutes after the commencement of the fire.
The arrival however brought no good fortune for the resident of No. 12 Saint Andrews, as the clustered layout of buildings in the area prevented the Shell fire truck from gaining easy access to fight the fire.
It took the fire fighters about 20minutes, to finally secure a good position to fight the fire. Alas all they could do was to prevent the fire from spreading to neighbouring houses. But for Josephine Okoro, the irreversible had already been done.
A weeping Josephine told City times that it was indeed heart wrenching to watch her entire life savings go up in smoke, ‘’my money, my wrapper dem, my fridge all my children things, all of them just go like that’’, she said . And now in uncontrollable tears she added ‘’wetin I go do, who want help me?’’.
The inability of the Shell fire trucks to gain access to fight the fire brings to light the poor planning of residential buildings in the city of Port Harcourt and its environs. Some have suggested that the state government bulldozers visit some certain areas, with a view of pulling down ill plan structures that litter such places.
The Chairman of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Chief Samuel Osarejou has assured the newly elected executives of the Eleme Youth council of his support in the maintenance of peace, law and order in the area.
Osarejou gave this assurance when he was paid a courtesy visit by the youth council in Alesa, Eleme. He expressed the hope that their tenure will ensure an enabling environment for companies operating in the area.
In his speech, he commended the Chairman of Eleme Local Government Council Hon. Oji .N. Ngofa for the inauguration of the body saying that this would help enhance peace and unity in the area.
“I appreciate the Chairman for seeing to it that this council is inaugurated, because the youths are a major part of every society”
He therefore urged the youths to work in collaboration with the security
agencies considering the activities that go on in the area.
“We all have to work hand in hand with the security agencies to make sure that we sustain peace in this area” he said
Osarejou further intimated the youth body on his achievements in the
construction of an ultra modern secretariat for IPMAN and the promotion of staff welfare.
The President of the Eleme Youth Council, Comrade Isaac Obe told the Chairman that the body will work diligently to satisfy the confidence reposed in them.
For a period of time, the Eleme Youth Council was inactive following issues regarding the leadership of the council. It would however be recalled that the Governor addressed the issue during the town hall meeting held at the Ogale County Council on the 19th of August 2010 where he ordered that the council should be re-established.
By Nnamdi Uzoukwu
As the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), prepares for January 2011 proposed month for the voter’s registration exercise project, the National Orientation Agency (NAO), Rivers State says it is fully ready to perform its role.
In line with this, the NOA State Director for Rivers State, Chief Andy Nweye has said that the NOA is doing all, within its power to ensure a free and fair election come 2011.
In a chat with Citytimes Nnamdi Uzoukwu, Nweye said before now the NOA have been engaged with in house workshops to prepare its officers at the Local government level. On the issue of mobilization and enlightenment of the people, he said the agency’s programme have been reorganized in such a way that there is an interface which involves an interactive session with the people in the wards.
“There is media work going on at the state level which will also involve the interface strategy,” he said.
While stressing on mobilization he said the NOA is employing all possible systems to rally the people. One of which is an information Brochure to educate the officers, also serving as a guide to voters on the do’s and don’t of voting.
“We are not waiting for normal workshops or Seminars, but we are utilizing fora and programmes like the Handover of sixty Health Centres to sixty Communities in days, town hall meetings and club meetings.
However with the help of the interface session which has been our area of strength, we access and get direct feedback from the people, through this we make tremendous success,” he said.
Nweye stated that INEC has its own duties while NOA have theirs, but there is a collaborating assignment at the National, State and the local government level to achieve a successful elections come 2011.
“Ordinarily we are in charge of the enlightenment, mobilization and of course making sure that people come out, but they are supporting us to ensure that information is correctly guarded. There is a little bit of law in the whole exercise because INEC has not told us when the voters exercise will start’’ he said.
Speaking on challenges, Nweye said “for us in Rivers State we know our natural challenges. We are expecting a lot of things from headquarters in Abuja, some papers have come and some have not come, and we are expecting the state to support us in this very exercise. If they all come, then our total operation is going to be very successful. But like I said while are waiting for this things to come, we are already doing that which we know best’’.
Zarah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okoraofor, though fictional and didactic illuminates various hidden abilities abandoned in the reader.
The story line aroused different veins of thoughts in the minds of people at the book reading, motivating them to try what has long been on their minds. This was one striking achievement.
The turn out at the Book Reading was encouraging. There was no hint of a dull moment throughout the various segments which eventually left a hunger for the next book titled ”A Letter To Saint Patrick” by Eghosa Imasuen on the 25th of November 2010.
By Nnamdi Uzoukwu
Friday, the 29th of October marked the 1st annual public lecture of the Amazing Grace Partners law firm at the Landmark Hotels. It was an epoch making event graced by dignitaries such as Elder L.F. Jumbo, Justice Ogbuji, Alozie Chinke Echeonwu, Barrister Preye Agedah and Dr. Steve Ogan.
Elder L.F Jumbo gave the opening remarks, stating that what Nigerians need are honest and accountable leaders. He further stated that lack of involvement and aloofness in the things that concern us as a nation are the mistakes that have been made by the older generation which should be eschewed by the younger generation.
He stressed that current leaders seemed to be lacking in initiative urging the Christian lawyers and brethren of other professions to brace up in their quest for effective administration from the leaders of this country.
In his words, he said ‘thank God we have Christians in this place, Christian lawyers and Christians from other professions. It is time for us to awake from our slumber, it is time for us to take action to change the government. Thank God President Goodluck Jonathan has said one man one vote. INEC is buying into that vision’.
Alozie Chinke Echeonwu, the speaker who gave the first presentation on “resolving disputes in the house of peace: healing social injuries and restoring relationships” outlined the several causes of conflict, attributing it to immaturity, poor conflict management skills, and historical antecedents amongst others. Speaking further on the effects of conflicts, he outlined distance, stagnation, failure and death to be the destructive effects of conflicts.
Focusing on the biblical basis for resolving disputes, he brought to fore, the various biblical instructions as relating to the solving of disputes enunciated by the Lord Jesus. Speaking against the backdrop of 2011 elections, he urged that people especially Christian,s ought to conduct themselves in a manner worth emulating.
Dr. Steve Ogan, the second speaker gave his presentation with the theme ‘The Christian and the Election 2011 and beyond; where should we be found’?
He spoke on the ignorance of Christians as relating to politics and elections, adding that these are the factors responsible for the indolence and apathy experienced in our country. He said “the church is a government of heaven on earth through relationship with Christ”. He urged that we purge ourselves of the mentality that governance is for the ‘secular people’. ‘If you keep thinking from the wrong perspective, then you will function from that perspective’.
He reminded the participants that we are in auspicious times, the jubilee season to be precise.
Elder L.F Jumbo in his closing remarks challenged everyone that the time for talking is past and the time for action has come. He further stated that he would make efforts to ensure that seminars of the kind would be put on a larger platform by way of media publicity to achieve long term and effective results.
In seperate interviews with the Major Partners, Barrister Preye the Managing Partner, who said the vision was birthed out of the Christian’s Apathy to political issues in the country, said the major challenge they encountered putting the lecture together was getting appropriate response from people and mobilizing them to attend.
In his words he said ‘’I believe that there is always a time for action and action means taking responsibility. It’s time we take responsibility for what is happening in our society. We cannot allow our society to be run down and be destroyed while we are all there watching, I think it’s time for us to take responsibility, it’s time for action.
Fielding questions on the next vision of Amazing Grace Partners, Barrister Chinwo the major Partner said next year the program will be organized at Yenagoa and every other year there will be an inter-change between Yenogoa, Port Harcourt and other cities.
He said that the organization not only deals with issues that has to do with election but several other things that affect the Christian affirming that this is what they stand for in their practice.
In his words he said ‘’ we need integrity at every level, from the head to the toe. Let us be able to do what is right, in the right manner, at the right time and then Nigeria will change for the better’’.
The senate president, David Mark has encouraged the people of Rivers State to return the Governor of River State to the brick house come 2011
This was following the inauguration of some projects in the state marking the 3years anniversary celebrations of the Amaechi led Government
David Mark eulogizing the leadership qualities of the Governor described him as a very pragmatic leader who is down to earth; he lauded him for personally monitoring projects to ensure that the contractors meet its required standards.
“I said I should really come and honour him, in the presence of his own people, he has been doing a good Job”
The Senate President urged Rivers people to vote for Governor Amaechi for a second tenure during the 2011 elections in view of his achievements
Responding the State Governor, Rt. Hon Chibuike Amaechi thanked the senate President for recognizing him attributing his achievements to God’s kindness and the support of the people.
He urged the people of Rivers State to register in the forthcoming voters revalidation exercise to enable them exercise their franchise in the 2011 elections
Some of the projects that were inaugurated by the Senate President include the Okrika ring road which was named after Chief Rufus Ada George, Primary Health Centre in Tai, Old Aba road, Rukpoku Model Primary School and Oyigbo power plant project
By Nnamdi Uzoukwu
Following the commemoration of the 3rd Anniversary celebration of the executive Governor of Rivers State, the Governor Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi paid a visit to Rivers State House of Assembly on the 25th day of October 2010.
In the Governor’s address to the House, he thanked the members of the state assembly and their wives who were present, saying that a good member of the house is as a result of the support of his wife.
Speaking on the matter concerning the Laws that have been passed, Governor Amaechi said it has been a struggle implementing a lot these laws, but by God’s grace and the support of members of the house, all the laws that have been passed will be implemented.
Recounting the achievement of his administration, he stated the various strides in Education, Roads and Heath. On the issue of Power, he said that there are power stations been constructed at Oyigbo and Eleme, and by July 2011 when they will be commissioned, there will be an improvement of about 530 mega watts of power.
He said the whole state requires 400mega watts of power, for power situation to improve, but the problem will not be the generation, as the administration will focus on it come 2011.
Mentioning the areas of power epilepsy, Mgbouba, Choba, Rumulumeni and Eneka, the governor said a sub-power station is required at Rumulumeni to feed these areas. He said his administration is about to through due process, award the contract for building a new sub-station at Rumulumeni which when completed, the power situation in the affected places.
Concerning Budget, he said the days are gone where budgets are kept in the Governor’s drawer. He assured the House that henceforth, budget will be a public document, which will be on the internet to be implemented as based on available resources.
Responding to this, the speaker Hon. Chibuike Harry commended the Governor for the achievement of his administration and stated the support of the house in the governor’s bid for a second ternure.
By Nnamdi Uzoukwu
Three Hundred Repentant Militant Youths have graduated from the Social Development Institute (SDI), in Okehi, Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Speaking at the 2nd graduation ceremony which took place, Thursday Sept. 23 2010, was the Executive Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
Governor Amaechi said his coming was because he attached importance to the programme and the graduands.
Making reference to an earlier conversation with the Chairman, Social Rehabilitation Committee (SRC), the committee in charge of SDI, Chief A.K Horsfall, the Governor said it is not all about acquiring the knowledge but applying the knowledge. He urged them to utilize the practical training they have acquired and discouraged them from waiting for employment.
In his remark, the Governor said he is prepared to financially support the programme, as the next year’s budget will be increased from 500 million to 1 billion naira.
For those who were interested in football, Governor Amaechi said they were going to be screened by the Sharks and Dolphin’s football Club, and if they pass the screening exercise they were going to be taken.
He further encouraged the ex-militants to be well behaved as they go out into the society, also reminding them that they are now changed individuals, as they have gone through series of the reorientation exercise.
Responding, was the Chairman of the Social Rehabilitation Committee (SRC) Chief A.K Horsfall, he said that the repentant militant youths comprised of 279 males and 17 females, which made the ceremony unique on like the first batch, where the institute had just one female.
“Apparently the female fighters were too shy to present themselves for rehabilitation and skills development, but now there is a composite group where healthy competition were held and two cases of the female trainees excelling above their male counterparts” he said.
He described the most important aspect of this training as the reorientation programme, which is actually the strength of the programme.As a result he expressed special gratitude to Partners who represent various missions, local and international Religious bodies.
Still speaking he said, what the institution has done, in terms of training will assure every graduands a job opportunity in their trade area after they live.
Expatiating on this he said, it takes time to do business, focus on it, before you make profit. As a result, after loans have been offered, the institution will endeavour to ask business managers to run the business along with them and the Banks will supervise the process, which he said is a new process.
The SDI has up to 12 Departments which comprises of Seafaring, Crane Operation, Arts, Auto Mechanics, Electrical/Electronics, Agriculture, Pipe Fitting, Welding and Fabrication, Computer/ICT, Carpentry, Fashion & Design/ Hair Dressing, Driving Plumbing and Scaffolding.
Presentation of gifts were made by the PDP Chairman, Chief Godspower Ake and Tonye Princewill to the best graduating Students from each of the various departments and an overall gift was given to the best behaved student, Iyalla Mark-Jack.
Iyalla on behalf of the graduands expressed gratitude to the Governor and SRC, for the love shown to them by empowering them and restoring their confidence for the future.
Belema Oruwari, a graduate from the Fashion & Designing /Hair Dressing department, speaking with CityTimes correspondent Nnamdi Uzoukwu, said she has learnt how to make lace but after now she intends opening a Salon with the wherewithal given to them by the Government.
Rivers people believed to be supporters of Governor Ameachi, were said to have been mobilized against the Economic and financial Crime Commission, over the alleged intimidation and arrest of government officials in Rivers State.
Various inscription were written on Posters, T-shirts and caps, as they expressed “we will not be intimidated, we will defend our state against EFCC”, “EFCC obey court order, the court is supreme’’, “EFCC now political weapon, EFCC the Nigerian Gestapo”, “Farida & EFCC are not obeying the Law, Farida obey court orders and judgments, EFCC leave Rivers State”.
Addressing the mammoth crowd at Isaac Boro Park on 15, sept. 2010, were officials of Rivers State government, which include the Deputy Governor Engineer Tele Ikuru who represented the State Governor.
In his address he said governor Amaechi is a man of the rule of law and he came into government by the rule of law, saying that the federal level, the principle was that the government must respect the rule of law.
Taking the people through memory lane the deputy governor said in 2007 this was the same approach EFCC adopted, that is bringing up matters when it is close to election period.
In reminding the people, he said EFCC’s tenancy in Rivers State, he said rivers state government owns the accommodation which EFCC occupies and it was not fair if the people (EFCC), they (rivers state) are rending help to, come against them.
Rivers State as a matter of fact is the only administration in the country, which renders her account of stewardship, not even the federal government has done that he said.
Rounding up his address he thanked all the participants for their effort in marching throw the street of Port Harcourt, he said as soon as the governor comes back he would send all their complains to the president.
In another address by the Commissioner for Justice, Justice Ken Chikere, he said the State is comfortable with what the State Government is doing in the State, and the Rivers State Housing of Assembly has not found the Governor wanting.
The Attorney-General of the State said he has written several letters to the Chairman of the EFCC and endorsed it to the counsel on the case involving state government verse EFCC. He said EFCC must obey the federal republic of Nigeria.
Meanwhile early this month Governor Ameachi in an information summit held at President Hotel, threaten that he will mobilize Rivers people against EFCC.
Following the incessant arrest of officials of the rivers state government by the EFCC over financial fraud, Governor Ameachi felt threaten that it is a ploy to prevent him from contesting the 2011 election.
As a result it was alleged that he mobilized supporters from the 23 LGAs in the State to protest against the actions of the EFCC against his administration.
In another development Citytimes gathered that the acting chief press to the governor, Mr. Wikina denied the rivers state government involvement in the protest
Rhema University, a newly established private University in the Eastern part of Nigeria is set to commence operations. The establishment of the University was borne out of the desire of the owners, Living Word Ministries, to establish a first class tertiary institution that will promote academic excellence, the dignity of man and moral rectitude among the beneficiaries. This was made known at the press conference organised to herald the opening of the Institution.
In his speech the Chancellor of the University, Emma Okorie, lamented the dearth of quality leadership in the country, describing the situation as having leaders who are trained in the head and not in the heart.
Rhema University plans to commence academic activities on a temporary site in Aba, Abia State and later move to its permanent site at Obeama, Asaa in Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State. Rhema was one of the last 7 Universities to be issued operational license by the Federal Government of Nigeria in November 2009.
According to the Chancellor and President, Living word Ministry (LWM), he said Rhema University amongst the comity of Universities in Nigeria, has one of the most affordable fees, global connectivity through linking programmes with neighbouring as well as overseas Universities. He revealed that accommodation in the University would have four students to a room with modern facilities, and well furnished students’ common rooms. There is also provision of a well-established security network managed by experienced and trained personnel.
Fielding questions from News men at the Press Conference, the Chancellor expressed disgust with corrupt leadership in the country. As a result, he said Rhema is determined to transform the head and the heart of their students so as to produce well-trained individuals that will stand against corruption and represent Nigeria anywhere in the world.
In a chat with the Pro- Chancellor of the University Professor Ogwo E. Ogwo, a onetime Vice – Chancellor of Abia State University (ABSU), he said a seed for transformation has been sown in the South-Eastern region and he believes that this seed will germinate, it will be nurtured and it will grow, and in the long run the region will no longer be recognized because of the positive development this establishment will bring to it.