(NAN)The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mamood Yakubu has urged staff of the commission in Bayelsa to be diligent and follow electoral guidelines in discharging their responsibilities in the Nov. 16, governorship election in the state.
Yakubu made the call during an interactive session with staff members of the commission in Yenegoa, Bayelsa.
He urged them not just to ensure that the election was credible, but also ensure that polling units across the state open at 8a.m.
“We have exactly 30 days to the opening of polling units at a.m. on Nov. 16.
“We want to open the poll at 8a.m. All it required is hard work and early preparations. Let us do everything we can to open the boots at 8am,” he said.
He urged the staff to safe guard election materials during the election.
Yakubu said the Nov. 16 governorship election would be a bit different from previous polls in the state in term of number of candidates.
“In 2015, we have 20 parties that fielded candidate, but in 2019 we have 45 parties fielding candidates,” Yakubu said.
He said that it means the process is expected to be longer than it was in 2015 especially in the collation of results before the final collation at the state headquarters.
Yakubu called for the collaboration among staff to ensure that where there were large concentration of Internally Displaced Persons within the states, they were not disenfranchised in the election.
The state INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC), Pastor Monday Tom, assured the chairman that his team was ready for a free, fair, credible and peaceful election on Nov. 16.
Tom said that the preparations for the election was in progress and on scheduled including the training electoral Officers.
“Also, logistics arrangements had reached advance stages as we have concluded all discussions with the boat suppliers and Transport Unions. Right now they are all being profiled by the security agencies.”
The Nigeria News Agency reports that Yakubu had earlier inspected some INEC facilities and non sensitive election materials in some of its local government area offices in the state including Kolokumw/Opokuma and Yenagoa. (NAN)
Edited by Ali Baba-Inuwa
Bayelsa records 3rd COVID-19 death
Apoku said that the third death was from the nine new cases recorded by the state.
The National Centre for Diseases Control (NCDC) had on Thursday announced that nine new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in the state.
Apoku, also Permanent Secretary, State Ministry of Health said that the nine newly confirmed cases “bring the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 30.
“Four of out of these nine cases are contacts of previously confirmed cases while five are not epidemiologically linked to any of the previously confirmed cases.
“Three of the cases are health care professionals.
“One of these fresh unlinked cases was brought in critically ill and died few minutes after admission.
“Following the history of the sickness, as was revealed by relatives, samples were collected for COVID-19 testing.
“She died as COVID-19 suspected cases.
“The test result returned positive, and as such, we have another COVID -19 related death making a total of three in the state.
“All remaining eight new cases have since been evacuated for further treatment at our isolation facilities,’’ Apoku said.
According to him, all their contacts are being listed and adequately followed up, including necessary environmental decontamination.
“Samples have and are still being collected from their high-risk contacts while they have all been counselled on self-quarantine.’’
Police in Bayelsa apprehend 12 suspected armed robbers, recover firearms
the Safer Highway Patrol Team, along the East-West Road by Zarama, stopped a Toyota Sequoia jeep for a search.
“However, the driver who wore a military uniform zoomed off.
“The team pursued the vehicle to Glory Land Drive axis of the east-west road where the driver abandoned the vehicle and ran away.
“Upon searching the vehicle, the team discovered twenty bags loaded with weeds suspected to be Indian hemp.
“Efforts have been intensified to identify the owner of the vehicle and arrest the suspect,” Akpan said.
“Consequently, the armed robbers came out of the tricycle and started robbing costumers and pedestrians at a POS stand.
“The rider of the tricycle zoomed off and alerted policemen who arrived at the scene and exchanged gunfire with the armed robbers.
“Two of the armed robbers escaped with bullet wounds, while Lucky Eniokon was shot on the left knee and arrested.
“A locally-made pistol and three cartridges were recovered from him,” the police chief said.
Board of Internal Revenue bill scales 3rd reading at Bayelsa Assembly
The Board of Internal Revenue (Repeal and Re-Enactment) Bill, on Tuesday, passed the third reading at the Bayelsa House of Assembly.
The Leader of the House, Mr Monday Bubou-Obolo, who sponsored the bill, said at plenary that when passed, the bill would increase the state’s internally-generated revenue (IGR).
Bubou-Obolo, representing Southern-Ijaw constituency II, said it would also align the activities of the board with global best practices.
“The bill will go a long way in resolving the conflict between revenue collecting agencies, reducing issues of multiple taxations and meeting the annual revenue target,” he said.
Also contributing, Mr Tonye Isenah, representing Kolokuma/Opokuma constituency I, said that the bill would enhance the activities of the board.
According to Isenah, it will no longer be a platform for political settlement in the state.
Mr Mitema Obodor, representing Ogbianko constituency I, said that the bill would be good for the people and bring holistic development to the state,” Obodor stated.
COVID-19: Bayelsa records second death
This was confirmed by Dr Jones Stow, Director of Public Health, State Ministry of Health in a statement made on Tuesday in Yenagoa.
“The patient was presented at one of the state public hospital a week ago, critically ill with signs suggestive of kidney disease.
“He was thus being managed as such and had some sessions of dialysis.
“His test result was among the nine positive results announced by the NCDC for Bayelsa on May 31. He was still due for a final session of dialysis on Monday, June 1 but he passed away on the night of May 31.
“The decease has been buried by the COVID-19 Safe Burial Team witnessed by relatives and friends. May his soul rest in peace,” Stow explained.
On total index case, Bayelsa has so far recorded 21 confirmed cases as announced by the NCDC.
Bayelsa records 2nd COVID-19-related death
This is contaned in a statement issued to News Agency of Nigeria by the Director, Public Health, Dr Stow Jones.
NAN reports that the deceased was a middle-aged Bayelsa resident, who was presented at one of the public hospitals a week ago.
Jones said the deceased was critically ill with signs suggestive of kidney disease.
“He was thus been managed as such and had some sessions of dialysis.
“Further clinical investigations revealed he also had signs suggestive of a possible COVID- 19 infection.
“Samples were thus collected from him, which returned positive for COVID-19.
“His test result was among the nine positive results announced by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), for Bayelsa on May 31.
Bayelsa records 9 new cases of COVID-19, total confirmed number 21
The Co-chairman of the Bayelsa State Taskforce on COVID-19, Dr Nathaniel Inodu, made the disclosure in a statement on Monday in Yenogoa.
“These results are coming from a backlog of 62 samples sent to the UPTH COVID -19 laboratory last week.
“These nine newly confirmed cases bring the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 21. Six out of these nine cases are contacts of previously confirmed cases while three are not epidemiologically linked to any of the previous confirmed cases.
“Two of these fresh unlinked cases are critically ill and were on admission in our public hospitals for other underlying illnesses (one had undergone sessions of dialysis).
”The third unlinked case is a Health Care Professional.
“All nine new cases have since been evacuated for further treatment at our isolation facilities. All their contacts are being line listed and adequately followed up including necessary environmental decontamination.
“Samples have and are still being collected from their high risk contacts while they have all been counselled on self-quarantine. Risk communication and community engagement are ongoing.
“We discharged three cases during the past week. One case was discharged on Saturday, and the two other cases (including the doctor) were discharged just yesterday after all their repeat tests returned negative.
“This makes a total of nine cases that have been discharged from our Isolation facilities. Currently, we have eleven active cases of COVID -19 in the State.
“All cases except the two cases who were previously on admission for other underlying illness are in stable clinical conditions,’’ he said.
Inodu said the state recorded a death last week as the patient who was initially responding to treatment suddenly developed severe shortness of breath.
“All attempts to salvage him proved abortive even with the intensive and delicate procedures that were administered by the attending medical personnel.
“He has since been buried by the Bayelsa State COVID -19 Safe Burial team and witnessed by relatives, friends, and colleagues,” he said.
The Co-chairman said that the State Government Quarantine Facility has since been admitting contacts who were unable to self-quarantine.
Inodu said that they had been very cooperative while enjoying the luxury provided at this centre.
He said that the State Public Emergency Operations Centre (the COVID -19 Situation Room/ War Room of the State response) and the State COVID -19 Task Force were and would remain on REPONSE mode; doing their best to contain and mitigate the impact of the pandemic.
“We now use the UPTH Port Harcourt Reference COVID -19 Laboratory. In the past weeks, we have been sending an average of 25 samples daily to this facility.
“Most of these samples are contacts of confirmed cases. Little wonder our positive figures seem to be on the increase. This is because of our robust surveillance activities and improved testing rates.
“Permit me to seize this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to all the health care workers particularly the frontlines who have been tireless in their resolve and commitment to the COVID -19 response in the State,” he stated.
Bayelsa seals 6 churches for breaching COVID-19 protocols
News Agency of Nigeria reports that the state government on May 7, relaxed its restriction on social gatherings and allowed churches to hold services with up to 50 worshipers.
The relaxation was granted, subject to compliance to strict conditions on provision of hand washing facilities, wearing of face masks and observance of social distancing in the seating arrangements.
Mr Freston Akpor, Permanent Secretary, Bayelsa Ministry of Information, however, told NAN on Monday in Yenagoa, that the Security Sub – Committee of the state’s Task Force on COVID- 19, sealed the churches during its surveillance on Sunday.
“The six churches were sealed for failure to comply with safety measures put in place by the government to contain the spread of the pandemic and protect the people of Bayelsa.
“The affected churches are, Living Faith Church, Igbogene, Salvation Victory Centre, Igbogene, Shalom International Christian Centre, along Tombia-Amassoma road and Great Grace Distinguished Assembly, Okutukutu.
“The churches will remain sealed until further notice to serve as deterrent to other churches.
“The move will help in ensuring that other churches adhere to the protocols on hand washing, use of face masks and social distancing as measures to check the spread of the virus in the state,” Akpor said.
Akpor explained that the two churches , the Halleluya Deliverance Ministry International and Embassy Faith churches were unsealed after undertaken to comply with prescribed safety protocols.
Bayelsa IGR rises to N1.2bn in March
The Bayelsa Government on Saturday said it generated N1.2 billion as Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the month of March 2020, up from N848.9 million generated in February 2020.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the figure is the highest by the state in the last one year.
Mr Timipre Seipulou, the Technical Assistant to the Governor on Treasury, Account and Revenue, gave the figure in Yenagoa, during the transparency briefing for March and April 2020.
Seipulou explained that the gross inflow for March was N12.8 billion while total deductions from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) stood at about N1.5 billion, leaving a net balance of N11.3 billion.
He said the IGR for February was N848.9 million; funds from other sources came up to N1.5 billion while local government refunds from bailout was N16.3 million.
The governor’s aide added that a total of other receipts of N2.4 billion in addition to net FAAC and other receipts amounted to N13.7 billion.
He noted that the state government made a total payment of N4.8 billion for both capital and recurrent expenditures.
For the month of April, Seipulou announced a gross inflow of N14.3 billion , comprising statutory allocation of N2.5 billion, derivation N6.3 billion, extra savings from the Excess Crude Account N2.7 billion, Value Added Tax N1 billion and exchange differential of N1.5 billion.
He also said total deductions from FAAC gulped N1.47 billion, which include refund for budget support N152 million; refund on overpayment of derivation indices N128.3 million; Commercial Agricultural Credit (Scheme 2) N266.6 million, among other components.
Seipulou declared N8.1 billion as total outflows, consisting bank loans and contractual guarantees of N2.1 billion, civil servants’ salary N3.9 billion, part of arrears for payment of January salaries N409 million, salaries for political appointees and members of boards N119 million, gratuity payments N100 million, among other items.
According to him, a balance of N5.86 billion was left in the state’s coffers excluding capital and recurrent payments of N4.3 billion, leaving a balance of N1.58 billion.
He noted that the balance brought forward from the month of March was N573.5 million in addition to the balance of April (N1.58 billion) which stood at N2.11 billion at the end of April 2020.
Chief Freston Akpor, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Orientation, said the transparency and accountability posture of the Sen. Douye Diri administration would no doubt build trust and promote good governance.
Akpor lauded members of the finance team for their painstaking efforts at rendering the income and expenditure of the state government in compliance with the Transparency Law 2012.
Edited By: Buhari Bolaji/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)
COVID-19: Bayelsa vows to continue, complete demolition of illegal structures in Yenogoa
Bayelsa Government on Tuesday said that there was no going back on the ongoing demolition of illegal structures in pursuit of its urban renewal project.
It would be recalled that the Bayelsa COVID-19 Task Force chaired by Gov. Douye Diri had in the past weeks demolished illegal structures at Swali and Etegwe areas of Yenagoa, Bayelsa capital.
Mr Freston Akpor, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Yenagoa, urged residents to disregard speculations that the task force would be influenced to back down.
Akpor, who is also a member of the COVID-19 Task Force in Bayelsa, said that a fraudulent syndicate was obtaining money from unsuspecting traders and landlords , while promising them that they would facilitate de-listing of their property from those slated for demolition.
“Landlords and traders in Yenagoa, have been cautioned to be mindful of fraudsters promising to protect their illegal structures from removal by the security sub-committee of the task force on COVID-19.
“The warning is coming against the backdrop of reports of persons claiming they can influence members of the task force against the removal of their illegal structures marked for demolition.
“Some unsuspecting members of the public, who have already fallen prey to the fraudsters, were allegedly told to pay some amount of money to protect their structures that were eventually removed.
“The fraudsters are apparently taking advantage of the exercise at Swali market, Etegwe and Edepie illegal markets by Tombia Roundabout to defraud gullible landlords and traders.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the task force is not under the influence of any person or group of persons and it takes directives from only the executive governor of the state or his representatives.
“Owners of illegal structures identified for removal will not only be given prior notice but has been asked to remove them before the commencement of any action.
“The task force has not and do not have any reason to engage the services of person(s) to collect money from anyone on its behalf thus wants concerned members of the public to report suspected fraudsters to the Police for arrest and subsequent prosecution,” Akpor said.
The government advised landlords and shop owners of illegal structures and unapproved extensions on buildings, particularly on major roads in the state capital to remove such structures to avoid forceful demolition by the task force soon.
Also, traders at Igbogene, Okaka and Opolo markets as well as Opolo roundabout are advised to remove all their illegal structures immediately as the task force would soon move in to remove such structures as part of the urban renewal plans by government.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Grace Yussuf (NAN)
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