Mr Charles Aniagwu, the state Commissioner for Information, gave the warning while briefing journalists in Asaba on the decisions reached at the state Executive Council virtual meeting on Tuesday.
He said that government had decided to set up a taskforce and mobile courts to enforce strict compliance with COVID-19 rules to contain the spread of the virus in the state.
Aniagwu, who earlier tested positive for coronavirus but was discharged on Tuesday, lamented the alarming rate of spread of the virus and the rising number of confirmed cases in Delta.
The commissioner noted that no fewer than 25 persons had died of COVID-19-related illnesses in the state while the confirmed cases had overshot 1,200.
He said that hotels, markets, bars, tricycle riders, bus drivers, churches and mosques that violated the protocols as outlined by the Nigeria Center for Disease Controls (NCDC), would be prosecuted.
“We have also review a number of activities that we embarked on with respect to the enforcement of COVID-19 protocols, and it became evident that we are going to take some other concrete measures.
“A taskforce will be put in place to check places like hotels, bars and supermarkets, among others. Anyone that fails to observe the protocols can be sealed indefinitely.
“We are also going to ensure that tricycle, taxis and bus operators adhere to the instructions to carry only the stipulated number of passengers.
“We also insist that individuals who fail to wear their face masks properly in public places, will be apprehended and arraigned before the mobile court.
“Beyond that, religious bodies should run in such a way that they will not jeopardise the interest of all of us,” he said.
Aniagwu said that despite the pandemic, the state government was committed to boosting the economy through jobs creation as well as road and drain construction, among other projects and programmes.
“The first family – the governor, his wife and daughter – are doing very well.
“In no distance time the governor and his family will return to direct the affairs of government, even though he is still directing the affairs of government from isolation.
“I am in touch with the governor and he is in a very high spirit as he has given directives that will ensure that all the ongoing projects in the state will continue to run,” he said.
It would be recalled that Okowa, his wife Edith and their daughter as well as the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr Chiedu Ebie, had tested positive for COVID-19
The commissioner stressed that the virus was real and that those who compared it with malaria should have a rethink and urged the people to go for test for the virus as testing positive was no death sentence.
“We must try to address this prejudices. Many prominent Nigeria have died and some people are saying that it is a fluke and money making. How much will anybody pay somebody to die?
“It is our desire to flatten the curve of COVID-19 in the state,” the commissioner added.
He cautioned the people to adhere to all the protocols such as avoiding crowded places, observing regular hand washing and using sensitiser, to contain the spread of the pandemic and save lives.
Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Ejike Obeta (NAN)
Asaba film village, leisure park will boost economy, create jobs – Okowa
The Governor of Delta, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, says Asaba Film Village and Leisure Park when completed, will boost the state’s economy and create jobs for unemployed youths.
Okowa gave the assurance on Monday after an inspection tour of some ongoing projects in the state, including the film village, leisure park and the new technical college in Asaba.
He said that the state government would continue to give priority attention to projects that would boost the economy and enhance the living conditions of the people.
“The twin-project of film village and leisure park would serve as a community where people would go for entertainment, relaxation and watch movies.
“The project, will on completion, also create employment opportunities for many persons, especially, during this period where the number of the unemployed is increasing,” he said.
The governor said that Asaba had always been a “movie town’’, saying that the film village would positively impact on the economy of the state.
Okowa, however, said that the project was billed for completion in 2021 given the circumstances of the nation.
“The leisure park is of great importance to us because whatever you do, there is need for relaxation and we believe that the park will provide that relaxation for both our children and adults.
“People need somewhere to go and relax in a fast-growing city like Asaba and I believe that the leisure park is going to be of great value to our people. It is going to be a project that will generate quite a lot of funds with good management,” he said.
The governor noted that the state, particularly Asaba, had been the hub of Nollywood actors and after, he had met with them, they made a request and “we find out that it was important to encourage them’’.
“At the film village, we are going to have a lot of facilities that will encourage more and more of our Guild of Actors to come to Asaba to shoot their movies.
“The village which is properly sited, will create a lot of economic activities and also create a recreation for our people,” Okowa said.
The governor, who was impressed with the level work done at the new technical college, commended the contractor handling the project and urged him to sustain the pace of work to ensure timely delivery.
He said that the state government was committed to building nine new technical colleges, which currently were at various levels of execution.
“It was a proactive step to give the people opportunity to acquire technical education aimed at turning the youth into an army of entrepreneurs,” he said.
Okowa promised to also visit the sites of the other eight technical colleges to ensure a steady progress on the projects.
NAN reports that the governor and his team were conducted round the film village, leisure park and others by the Project Consultant, Mr Kester Ifeadi, who pledged the company’s commitment to deliver the project in 2021. .
Edited By: Nkiru Ifeajuna/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)
MWUN seeks compliance with govt. directives on stevedores, dockworkers
Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), on Monday has called on dock labour employers and private operators to comply with government directive on the use of registered stevedores and dockworkers.
The President General of MWUN, Mr Adewale Adeyanju made the call in a statement in Lagos.
Adeyanju said that the registered stevedores and dockworkers are government approved and endorsed by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
“We the maritime workers union of Nigeria, wish to call the attention of the general public to a ‘Marine Notice tagged, ‘Government Notice No. 106’ on Stevedoring regulations, 2014, issued by the NIMASA which has been widely published in the print and electronic media.
“The Marine Notice, as well as the Associated Stevedoring Regulation 2014, are operational guidelines issued by NIMASA to all dock labour employers and private operators of any work location.
“It also include Ports, Jetties, Onshore or Offshore Oil and Gas or bonded terminals, inland container depots (ICDs), off dock terminals, dry ports and platforms.
“We have noticed with dismay that some of the stakeholders mentioned have continued to flay this government directive by their blatant refusal to grant the government appointed and NIMASA registered stevedores and dock workers access to the operational areas allocated to them by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
“This is not acceptable to us, as we cannot sit back, fold our arms and watch our members being disallowed to perform their statutory duties that fetch them their daily bread.
“We therefore use this medium to sound a note of warning to those stakeholders who feel that they can always flout government directive with impunity and in effect expose our members to starvation, to have a rethink.
“They should allow the government approved and NIMASA registered stevedores and dock workers access, without let or hindrance, the operational areas government allocated to them to perform their legitimate duties,” he said.
Adeyanju said that the union would not hesitate to engage, in a manner that had never been witnessed in the land, such stakeholders that see themselves as above the law.
He said that the energy and innovation Jamoh had brought into the agency was a pointer to many laudable achievements in the pipeline.
Adeyanju also acknowledged and commended the commitment Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman, the Managing Director, NPA, for the payment of severance package to the erstwhile Tally Clerks and On-Board ship gangway security men and others.
He, however, requested the managing director to look into the lingering issue of dredging the Calabar channel which would positively boost trade and commerce in the Niger Delta area.
This, according to him, will further help boost revenue to the federal government coffers while also creating employment for Nigerians.
“We want to assure the public of our readiness to partner with the two government agencies in maintaining peace and industrial harmony in the maritime sector.
“We will continue to do so, as long as fairness, equity and justice which they have brought to bear in the system is maintained,” he said.
Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)
NDDC probe: Uduaghan dismisses reported N429m road contract allegation
Former Delta Governor, Dr Emmanuel, on Monday said the allegation linking him with a Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) road contract in Port Harcourt, Rivers, was false.
Uduaghan in statement in Warri which was signed by his media assistant, Monoyo Edon, urged the public to disregard the allegation as reported by the media on Monday.
According to the media report, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, had in a letter linked two former Delta governors, James Ibori and Uduaghan, to various contracts awarded by the commission.
The letter was said to have been addressed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
Uduaghan, an All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain in Delta, said he had reached out to the minister to immediately correct the falsehood.
“The publication states that the former governor was linked to the contract for the emergency repair of Close B, Alhaji Estate & Environs, Rumuodomaya, Port Harcourt, at a cost of N429m.
“I want to state clearly that the said accusation is false. Uduaghan has never approached the NDDC for any contract whatsoever.
“It is even more ridiculous that the said contract is a road inside Port Harcourt town.
“The attention of the Minister of the Niger Delta, Sen. Akpabio, has been drawn to the publication and I hope he makes a correction,” he said.
Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Ejike Obeta (NAN)
Okowa felicitates with Ibori at 62
Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta has congratulated a former Governor of the state, Chief James Ibori, on the occasion of his 62th birthday day anniversary on Aug. 4.
Okowa in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Olisa Ifeajika, on Monday in Asaba eulogised Ibori for his path-finding and immense contributions to the development of Delta and outstanding input to nation-building.
While felicitating with his boss, whom he served as two-term commissioner, Okowa said that Ibori’s deep knowledge of politics and his administrative acumen put him ahead of his contemporaries, and stood him out as a worthy and legendary leader of all time.
He commended Ibori for championing and his doggedness in the fight for resource control struggle.
Okowas said that the result of the resource contro struggle was the establishment of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by the Federal Government as an interventionist agency for the development of oil producing communities.
“My distinguished leader, I can recall clearly that you and other great leaders fought very hard for the oil -producing states of the Niger Delta to enjoy 13 per cent derivation of the nation’s oil resources.
“As a champion of Resource Control and Fiscal Federalism, you were among the true patriots who struggled for the establishment of a regional interventionist agency to address the issues of development and environmental degradation of the oil-rich Niger Delta, which gave birth to the NDDC.
“As a respected voice in Nigeria’s democratic experience, we were not surprised when your colleagues in the forum of former governors named you as “Patron” of the group in an obvious recognition of your political sagacity and amiable disposition to the unity of the country.
“As the father of modern Delta, let me commend you for the visionary and inclusive leadership that you epitomised in the eight years of laying the foundation of the desired modern Delta laced with building bridges of unity among the diverse ethnic groups in the state.
“On behalf of my family, the government and people of Delta, I rejoice with your family members, friends, political and business associates on this occasion of your 62nd birth anniversary.
“It is my prayer that your best years are yet to come even as God Almighty grants you long life, good health and wisdom to keep navigating Nigeria’s political and business landscapes fruitfully,” Okowa said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Tajudeen Atitebi (NAN)