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Rivers Security Council to stop serial killing of young women—SSG



The Rivers Security Council is working round the clock to ensure that the recent killings of young women in the state was stopped.

Dr Tammy Danagogo, the Secretary to the State Government, who gave the assurance in a statement on Tuesday, also warned that perpetrators would be made to face the full weight of the law.

He stated that the State Security Council led by Gov. Nyesom Wike had put measures in place to secure the lives of young women targeted by the serial killers.

Danagogo said that security agencies had been mandated to work with the management of hotels to implement security  measures to “end the ugly trend.”

The Rivers government, he said, remained committed to security of lives and property.

He gave an assurance that the Wike administration, through relevant agencies, would be embarking on mass sensitisation of the people on security measures.

(Edited by Nick Nicholas/Mufutau Ojo)


Ethiopian staff members trained as professional train drivers of Ethiopia-Djibouti rail line in E China




Ethiopian staff members Yidnekachew (C) and Taressa (L) receive guidance on a locomotive in Zhengzhou, central China’s Henan Province, June 5, 2020. Yidnekachew Alemu Mekonen and Taressa Dirbaba Giraba, along with other 32 Ethiopian staff members, came to Zhengzhou Railway Vocational & Technical College in October of 2019. These staff members will be trained as professional train drivers of Ethiopia-Djibouti rail line. On June 1, members began on-site internship and practicing after 7 months’ theoretical study. Once they finish the whole training and obtain graduation certificates, they will return and serve as train drivers in hometown. (Xinhua/Li An)


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Feature: Chinese bus company commits to keeping Cuban drivers safe during COVID-19 pandemic




Cuban drivers from the Guanabo bus station on the outskirts of the capital city of Havana received around 1,000 face masks donated by China’s Zhengzhou Yutong Bus Co. to help minimize the risk of infection during the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

Jorge Hernandez, who has been driving buses in Havana’s metropolitan area for nearly 40 years, said the donation is welcome due to the high demand for face masks among people working in public transportation.

The 59-year-old bus driver said that wearing a face mask while driving is something he could not have ever imagined. “Yutong is not only taking care of the maintenance and technical conditions of the buses we drive, but also helping us keep safe during the pandemic,” he said.

Like Hernandez, close to 80 drivers from the Guanabo bus station start work early in the morning to transport health professionals and essential service workers.

Havana’s provincial public transport company has acquired around 1,080 Yutong buses, nearly 700 of which have active routes in the city of 2 million people during the COVID-19 emergency.

China has had the capacity to look far beyond our health system and has provided a helping hand to different sectors of Cuban society,” said Migdalia Aguero, 48, a Cuban nurse on board a Yutong shuttle bus in Havana.

Oscar Naury, 56, general director of the Guanabo bus station, said that during the coronavirus outbreak, no more than 20 people are allowed on board the buses at a time, and the use of face masks is compulsory for both drivers and passengers.

Workers at the Guanabo bus station have also implemented disinfecting procedures, including a rigorous handwashing process, cleaning surfaces, and disinfecting doors, seats, and other areas frequently touched by passengers.

“We clean the buses early in the morning and late at night, and use virus-killing disinfectant. There are many things we can still learn from China about disinfecting protocols,” he said, adding that buses made by Yutong Bus Co. are comfortable and meet Cuban passengers’ needs.

Cuba suspended national bus, air, and train travel across the country in the second half of March and subsequently prohibited public transportation from functioning in metropolitan and rural areas in early April as part of a governmental strategy to curb the spread of the epidemic.

Yutong Bus Co. has started to distribute around 100, 000 face masks to public transportation workers at nearly 20 bus stations to which the Chinese company provides technical assistance in the Cuban capital.

Wang Tong, head of the company’s branch in Cuba, has been handing out face masks to local bus station personnel and getting insight into the protocols they have adopted to combat the coronavirus.

“These face masks will help protect drivers and passengers from contracting the virus. We are committed to the wellbeing of workers in the public transportation sector in Cuba,” she said.

Full buses have become a common feature in everyday life in Havana due to economic restrictions and the United States blockade against the island, which bars the Caribbean nation from acquiring vehicle parts from the United States market.

Cuba has imported more than 10,700 Yutong buses since 2005, and these vehicles transport 80 percent of passengers on the island and also benefit the tourism sector.

According to Yutong Bus Co., among the company’s plans for a post COVID-19 scenario in Cuba is the continued introduction of hybrid and electric buses and the support of the country’s efforts to save fuel in the public transportation sector.

Yutong Bus Co. is celebrating its 15th anniversary on the island this year, the very same year China and Cuba are marking the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations.


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2 drivers docked for alleged assault, theft of phones



Two men who allegedly assaulted a vehicle owner and stole his mobile phones worth N95,000 have been arraigned before a Life Camp Magistrates’ Court in Abuja on Friday.

The Police charged Desmond Momoh, 39, and Jaiyesimi Oloruntoba, 30, of Asokoro Extension and Dape Village, Abuja, respectively, with five-count charge of joint act, assault, causing hurt, mischief and theft.

The Prosecutor, ASP Peter Ejike of FCT command, told the court that the matter was reported at Life Camp Police Station on May 21, by one Ahmad Tukura of Kado Estate, Abuja.

Ejike alleged that on the said date, at about 12.15 p.m, while the complainant was driving to Life Camp, he was stopped at Setraco police check point by security officers to present his pass document.

He alleged that while the complainant drove off from the police check point, the two defendants drove after him and blocked his vehicle from moving.

The prosecutor further alleged that the defendants dragged the complainant out of his car, beat him up and stole his Techno phone and Samsung galaxy tab both valued at N15,000 and N80,000, respectively.

He said the police at the check point heard the complainant screaming and immediately swung into action, arresting both defendants.

He said that the offence contravened the provisions of Sections 79, 265, 244, 327 and 288 of the Penal Code.

Momoh and Jaiyesimi, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Mr Gadafi Nwegbe, Counsel to the defendants, prayed the court to grant the defendants bail, while citing Section 158 and 165(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

The Chief Magistrate, Celestine Odo, admitted the defendants to bail in the sum of N200,000 each, with a surety each in like sum.

Odo ordered that the sureties must be reliable with a fixed address and must reside within the jurisdiction of the court.

He also said both sureties must deposit a recent passport photograph to the court registrar, and their addresses verified by the court officer.

Odo adjourned the matter to June 25 for hearing.

Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Lockdown ease: FRSC arrests 4,235 drivers nationwide



The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) on Friday said that a total of 4,235 drivers were arrested for overloading of vehicles during the first phase of the gradual lockdown ease.

The Corps Public Education Officer (CPEO), Mr Bisi Kazeem disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.

“The corps successfully recorded a number of arrests from May 11 to June 1. A total of 4,235 drivers were arrested for overloading of vehicles.

“Out of this number, 972 drivers were arrested for overloading their vehicles with goods.

While a total of 636 were arrested for overloading their vehicles with both goods and passengers.

Also a total of 2,627 were apprehended for overloading their vehicles with persons alone, bringing to a total of 4,235 in all.

“Meanwhile, in the course of the arrests, a total of 7,594 passengers were discharged to make way for adequate physical distancing in the vehicles, out of the 4,235 vehicles apprehended for conveying 17,614 passengers,” he said.

Kazeem noted that the corps had been able to evaluate performance in the last four weeks following the end of the first phase of the gradual ease of the lockdown.

He said that the corps was also able to identify areas of strength where significant achievements were recorded and areas where gaps existed.

Kazeem said that the corps had strengthened its capacity to address the identified gaps as quickly as possible.

He said that the corps would also sustain the tempo and to some extent, enhance the performance in the areas where it recorded huge success.

He noted that the corps was working in synergy with other security agencies through the instrumentalities of joint task force, mobile court operations and effective patrol operations.

Kazeem, however, said that collaboration was key to the success of the special patrol operations, saying that combination of the above strategies was expected to yield adequate result as expected.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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General news

Fishing community decries piracy in Rivers



Residents of Oyorokoto, a fishing community in Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers, have decried the high level piracy and insecurity on the region’s waterways.

They are, therefore, calling on the government to immediately deploy security operation for surveillance of the area.

Mr Fidelis Ebirien, Chairman, Oyorokoto High Sea Fishermen told the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Oyorokoto that activities of sea pirates were hindering their fishing business.

Ebirien called on relevant security agencies to increase their surveillance in the area to ensure safety of lives and property.

“Consistent attacks on the fishermen by sea pirates have endangered fishing business, which is our main source of livelihood,’’ he said.

He explained that fishermen were being exposed to pirates’ attacks almost on a regular basis since 2014.

“Almost on a daily basis, we have continued to lose our fishing equipment such as boats and engines to these pirates.

“The state government and relevant security agencies should come to our aid by curbing the menace.’’

Also, the group’s Secretary, Mr Nte Ogwunte said that the challenge of piracy in the area had become a worrisome experience for residents in the ancient fishing community.

According to him, fishing, sea fairing and other related business no longer thrive in the area.

“Oyorokoto, one of the largest fishing coasts in West African, should enjoy adequate security surveillance to protect and guide the country’s economic resources,’’ he said.

Edited By: Kevin Okunzuwa/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Boko Haram: Drivers offer free rides to returning residents of Auno



As residents of Auno town in Konduga Local Government Area of Borno, troop back home following assurance of adequate security by Gov. Babagana Zulum, commercial drivers plying Maiduguri-Damaturu road, are giving them free ride.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that residents of Auno which is few kilometres from Maiduguri, deserted the town in February following an insurgents attack that led to many deaths and destruction of properties.

A driver, Bukar Gwange, said that the gesture was part of the drivers  support to the returnees as they wish to see the once bubbling town bounce back to life.

“Auno is a place we use to get passengers and loads to and fro Maiduguri. When the sad incident happened in February, we were sad as it affected many of our colleagues and passengers.

“Now that the residents are returning home, we feel the best we can do is to give them free ride,”Gwange said.

Another driver, Ali Mohammed, told NAN that they always picked the returnees at Njimtilo area, in the outskirt of Maiduguri.

He said that after dropping the returnees in Auno, the driver used the opportunity to pick passengers who are going back to Maiduguri from Ngamdu and Beneshiek

“That way, we get little money to ease the hardship caused by the lockdown due to the existing ban on inter state travels,” Mohammed said.

Dauda Mustafa, another commercial driver, said the free ride was a blessing in disguise as security personnel along the road also appreciated the gesture and no longer  subject them to tedious screenings and delays.

Meanwhile, Gov. Zulum had already directed that an operational outreach office where he would be working from time-to-time, be set up for him in Auno,  so as to boost the people’s confidence.

The governor has also established zonal office of the state Rapid Response Squad, made up of police, hunters, vigilante and Civilian Joint Task Force in Auno.

According to the Commander of the squad, CSP Abioye Babalola, the team would not only ensure security in Auno and its environs, but also be on constant patrol and respond to distress calls along the busy Maiduguri-Damaru road.

Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Thailand’s rubber agency to push for construction of riverside rubber embankments




A large volume of rubber might be used in the construction of riverside rubber embankments throughout Thailand in an effort to promote its domestic use instead of export.

Uthai Sonlaksap, chairperson of the Rubber Network Council and Rubber Farmers Institute of Thailand, said on Thursday that his agency is yet to submit a proposal to the National Rubber Policy Committee chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

The proposal is made for the planned use of some 500,000 tons of rubber in the construction of the anti-flooding rubber embankments along the banks of 25 rivers in all regions of the country.

If initially approved by the committee and finally by the government, an estimated 100-billion-baht (about 3.16 billion U.S. dollars) budget will be provided for rubber embankment projects to be carried out nationwide, according to the rubber agency’s chairperson.

That sum of money to finance the planned rubber levee scheme might be secured from a 500-billion-baht (about 15.81 billion U.S. dollars) government budget, which have no been allocated under an executive decree for postpandemic social and economic restoration measures.

Instead of exporting a large volume of rubber at lowered prices to the world markets, Uthai said, Thailand might look to use more of it within the country to create jobs and raise more incomes for local villagers, who might be hired in such rubber levee project.

Some 360,000 tons of rubber might be used in the planned making of rubber fender barriers along 12,000 km of roads throughout the country, according to Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob.

Rubber farmers will earn more income by directly providing their product to road-building agencies, namely the Department of Highways and the Department of Rural Roads.

Such rubber fender barrier project is primarily designed to make a substantial domestic use of rubber, which would be otherwise bound for export, according to the minister.

As the world‘s biggest producer and exporter of natural rubber, Thailand’s total rubber production increased for 2.43 percent from 13.54 million tons in 2017 to 13.87 billion tons in 2018, according to Rubber Statistical Bulletin.

Thai rubber accounts for up to 40 percent of global supply but Thai rubber farmers have struggled with low prices in recent years due to decline in global demand.


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General news

Rivers may demolish markets for flouting COVID-19 directives, says Commissioner



The Rivers Government warned on Wednesday that some markets in the state might be demolished for flouting the order of the government that trading should stop at the markets because of COVID-19.

The state’s Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr Paulinus Nsirim, gave the warning in a statement issued in Port Harcourt.

He lamented that traders had continued to flout government’s directives that markets should be shut, due to rising cases of the coronavirus in the state.

Nsirim said that five markets in the state might be shut down permanently for flouting the directives. He did not elaborate.

The Rivers Government wishes to draw the attention of the general public that Mbiama Market has been closed down.

“Any attempt to continue trading activities at Mbiama Market will lead to complete demolition of the market.

The commissioner named Oginigba Market and two others as markets notorious for disobeying Gov. Nyesom Wike that the markets should be closed.

“The government warns that anybody who goes to Oginigba Market for any form of business will face the full wrath of the law.

Similarly, Oil Mill Market has been closed and as such all those using Igbo-Etche Road as an alternative market are warned to desist forthwith or risk destruction of their goods.

“Government has not approved any goat market at the Eleme/Ahoada stretch of the East-West road in the state.”

Nsirim directed authorities of Emohua and Ahoada-East Councils to shut down the goat market in the area immediately.

Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Silas Nwoha (NAN)

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General news

Federal Road Projects: FEC approves refunds of N148bn to Rivers, Ondo, 3 others



The Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday approved refund of N148billion expended on federal roads by Rivers, Cross River, Ondo, Bayelsa  and Osun states.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the  third virtual meeting of the FEC, held at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Mohammed said the approval of the refund followed a memo presented by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola.

He said: “You will recall that in 2016, 36 states of the federation sent a very huge bill to the federal government, asking for compensation for money that they have expended on federal roads.

This prompted Mr President to set up a committee to go and verify the claims of these 36 states, whether indeed these projects were actually constructed, were they completed, in line with the federal government standards.

“At the end of that exercise by an inter-ministerial committee, chaired by the minister of works and housing, but also had Ministers of Education, Transportation, Finance, Minister of State for Works, DG BPP and Permanent Secretary Cabinet Office as members.

“At the end of that exercise, the committee recommended that the federal government should refund N550,364,297.31 billion to 31 of the 36 states, after they were convinced that, yes indeed, the projects were completed and they were federal government roads.

“But the claims of five other states Cross River, Rivers, Ondo, Bayelsa and Osun failed on the grounds that they did not do proper documentation and the committee felt they needed proper documentation.

“So, the committee went back with new terms of reference to ensure that the claims of the five states were in order, that is why the BPP is on the committee.

“So, at the end of the exercise, the committee now reported that the five states – Cross River with 20 roads and one bridge will get a refund of N18,394,737,608.85, Ondo with six roads to get a refund of N7,822,147,577.08, and Osun with two roads and one bridge to get a refund of N2,468,938,876.78.

Others are Bayelsa with five roads and one bridge is to get a refund of N38,040,564,783.40 and Rivers with three roads and three flyovers bridges is to get a refund of N78,953,067,518.29.”

Mohammed said the committees confirmed the roads and the bridges, that not only were they completed, they were in substantial good form, adding that some of the bridges and roads were built about 10 years ago.

He, however, disclosed that “there is a caveat, as the federal government will pay the states but however, henceforth, if any state takes on federal government road, it will not be paid, they will not get any refund.

“Even if you want to pay from your own pocket, you will still need the permission of the federal government and it will be supervised by the federal ministry of works and housing.”

According to him, the modalities of refund are being worked out and payment will be made over a period of time.

Mohammed said 31 states were earlier paid the sum of over N550 billion as refund for the reconstruction of federal roads in their respective states.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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