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Adeleke : No Traces Of Poison Nor Metal – Pathologist

Posted on May 17, 2017. Filed under: news |

Adeleke : No Traces Of Poison Nor Metal – Pathologist

New evidence has emerged in the ongoing inquest into the circumstances surrounding the death of the Late Senator Isiaka Adeleke.  

According to the testimony given today by the pathologist who carried the autopsy on the body, Dr. Taiwo Solaja, the toxicology report showed no traces of poison and metal in the system of the late senator.

The Pathologist however pointed to the fact that autopsy report showed that there was a high level of alcohol, sedatives and analgesics in the blood of the deceased.

Dr. Solaja submitted by saying that the autopsy findings showed conclusively that Sen. Adeleke had died of aspiration with multiple drug overdose. 

Dr. Solaja dismissed claims that the late senator had died of a heart condition, stating that although his heart showed signs of inflation, this was however not responsible for his sudden death.

The DPO of Dugbe police station, Mr Ogunkanmi Gbemileke, who was one of the police personnel present during the autopsy, confirmed the testimony of Dr. Solaja while also adding that he ordered evidences taken from the house of the deceased be sent to a police pathologist.

Following the testimony of the O.C Homicide, Eleta Moses which was no different from the account from the DPO, the court adjourned the cases till tomorrow, when the nurse who initially treated the senator, Alfred Idowu Aderigbigbe will give his testimony. 

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Winners of AUTHENTIC News Daily 2016 Awards emerge

Posted on May 4, 2017. Filed under: news |

Winners of AUTHENTIC News Daily 2016 Awards emerge

…as  Alhaji Atiku Abubakar wins AUTHENTIC News Daily man of the year

After they were duly nominated and voted for via mail and SMS, winners of the prestigious annual AUTHENTIC News Daily Awards have emerged.

Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar beat other keen contenders, ex President Goodluck Jonathan and President Muhammadu Buhari to the 2016 AUTHENTIC Man of the Year Awards.

Atiku polled 54,063 votes against 31,347 and 32,892 votes polled respectively by contenders.

For the Politician Of The Year Award, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki with 29, 675 votes beat fellow Senators, David Mark (25,987) a former Senate President and Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, former Kano State Governor, who polled 23,654 votes.

Nominees were published on www.authenticnewsdaily.com  in November 2016 and interested voters supported their choice.

For full details of the winners:

1 AUTHENTIC MAN OF THE YEAR

  1. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar 54,063 votes (Winner)
  2. President Muhammadu Buhari 32,892 votes (first runner-up)

iii.              Goodluck Ebele Jonathan 31,347 (second runner-up)

2 AUTHENTIC POLITICIAN OF THE YEAR

  1. Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki 29,675 votes (Winner)
  2. Senator David Mark      25,987 votes   (first runner-up)

iii.              Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso 23,654 votes (second runner-up)

3 AUTHENTIC WOMAN OF THE YEAR

  1. Senator Oluremi Tinubu
  2. Mr. Ugonna Uzor-Kalu

iii.              Hadiza Bala Usman (Winner)

4 AUTHENTIC GOVERNOR OF THE YEAR

  1. Darius Dickson Ishaku
  2. Nasir el-Rufai

iii.              Nyesom Wike (Winner)

5 AUTHENTIC LEGISLATOR OF THE YEAR

  1. Senator Shehu Sani (Winner)
  2. Senator Ben Murray-Bruce

iii.             Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara

6 AUTHENTIC BUSINESSPERSON OF THE YEAR

  1. Alhaji Sayyu Dantata
  2. Dr. Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma (Winner)

iii.              Chief Ifeanyi Ubah

7 AUTHENTIC MDA OF THE YEAR

  1. Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) (Winner)
  2. Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)

iii.              Ministry of Information, Culture and National Orientation

8 AUTHENTIC BRAND OF THE YEAR

  1. Innoson Motors
  2. Dangote Flour

iii.              Star Lager Beer (Winner)

9 AUTHENTIC CORPORATE ORGANISATION OF THE YEAR

  1. Dangote Group (Winner)
  2. First Bank Nigeria Plc

iii.             Globacom Nigeria

10 AUTHENTIC NGO OF THE YEAR

  1. Sardauna Memorial Foundation
  2. Basketball For Peace (BB4P) (Winner)

iii.              T.Y. Danjuma Foundation

11 AUTHENTIC MILITARY OR PARAMILITARY OUTFIT OF THE YEAR

  1. Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) (Winner)
  2. Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC)

iii.              Nigerian Army

12 AUTHENTIC SECONDARY SCHOOL OF THE YEAR

  1. Nigeria Turkish International Colleges (Winner)
  2. Loyola Jesuit

iii.              Federal Government Academy, Suleja

13 AUTHENTIC UNIVERSITY OF THE YEAR

  1. AUN Yola
  2. Covenant University (Winner)

iii.              Ado Bayero University, Kano

14 AUTHENTIC JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR

  1. Tesem Akende (TVC)
  2. George Onmonya Daniel (News Issues Magazine)

iii.              Bode Gbadebo (LEADERSHIP) (Winner)

15 AUTHENTIC SPORTS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR

  1. Engineer Musa Nimrod (Winner)
  2. Shehu Dikko

iii.              Kelechi Iheanacho

16 AUTHENTIC OPPOSITION FIGURE OF THE YEAR

  1. Rivers State APC
  2. Governor Ayodele Fayose (Winner)

iii.               Timi Frank

17 AUTHENTIC ENTERTAINMENT PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR

  1. Tekno
  2. Husayn Zaguru (Winner)

iii.                Yemi Alade

 

 

Signed Management

 

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Delta Speaker eulogises Udoh, says she was a great lawmaker

Posted on March 23, 2017. Filed under: news |

Delta Speaker eulogises Udoh, says she was a great lawmaker

The speaker, Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Monday Igbuya on Thursday paid glowing tribute to Hon. Omawumi Udoh, describing her as “a woman with mental power, political tact and capacity for self-sacrifice”.

In an addressed he delivered during a valedictory service in honour of the late lawmaker, Igbuya said the late lawmaker was not only influential but also kindhearted.

“Hon. Udoh touched so many lives while she lived”

He lauded her great concern for the development of the state.

“Hon. Omawumi  Udoh excelled tremendously to the delight of Deltans”.

Igbuya said Udoh devoted her very successful career in politics to serving the people of Delta State, particularly Warri South 1.

“Hon Omawumi Udoh will be remembered for her monumental contributions towards the socio-economic and political stability of the state” he said.

He urged Deltans to emulate Hon. Udoh’s commitment to peace, development as well as her magnificent spirit of philanthropy.

Igbuya also prayed God to grant the soul of the lawmaker eternal rest.

Hon. Udoh, a politician of note, joined the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), on whose platform she was elected member of the Delta State House of Assembly in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015.

She was Chairman, House Committee on Environment, Oil and Gas, Chairman, Anniversary Committee of the Fourth Assembly, Chairman, House Committee on Transport and Chief Whip.

The late lawmaker sponsored the Delta State Waste Management Bill, 2003, Delta State Conservation Bill, 2003, Delta State Ecological Bill, 2005, Delta State Sickle Cell Centre Bill, 2008; Delta State Micro Finance Institution Bill, 2008; Public Roads Setbacks for (commercial Purposes and Prohibition) Bill 2008 and the Delta State Estate Regulatory Authority Bill, 2009.

Hon. Udoh moved and seconded several motions. She also carried out her oversight functions thoroughly.

She died on Tuesday, December 13, 2016 in the United Kingdom.

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Delta has a bright future, says Speaker

Posted on March 23, 2017. Filed under: news |

Delta has a bright future, says Speaker

The Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Monday Ovwigho Igbuya, on Wednesday described the performance of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as impressive and inspiring.

“Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has distinguished himself as a dynamic, articulate and vibrant governor. I am proud of his achievements” he said.

Fielding questions from journalists in Ugborhen, Sapele Local Government Area, Igbuya said that apart from carrying out peoples oriented programmes, Governor Okowa has an open agenda and therefore one cannot help but admire him.

Igbuya praised Okowa for his simplicity and forthrightness.

“Democracy is alive in Delta State. Thanks to the cooperation and understanding between the executive and the legislature” he said.

He acknowledged the efforts of the governor in the development of the state.

‘Since May 2015, Delta State has grown from strength to strength under the leadership of Governor Okowa. Where should I start from? Is it provision of critical infrastructures or paying salaries? Is it empowerment of large number of Deltans? Is it high standards in management of public finances? Governor Okowa has set standards for governors in the country” he said.

The lawmaker stated: “Okowa has demonstrated that there is nothing as good as a leader writing his name in gold in the hearts of the people by keeping faith with them.”

The presiding officer of the Delta State House of Assembly expressed support for the governor’s second term.

“Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has so far performed creditably and the people of Sapele will continue to support his laudable programmes. We shall reciprocate this visit in 2019.”

Igbuya also commended the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited, Seplat and the leaders of Ugborhen for the peace in the community and the projects commissioned by Governor Okowa.

“Corporate social responsibility (CRS) is a creative opportunity for companies to fundamentally strengthen their businesses while contributing to society at the same time. The role of Seplat in addressing some of the most serious development challenges common to many communities is unique and genuine. Seplat and Ugborhen community have been developing excellent relationship.”

“I am certain that these projects will contribute further to the development of Ugborhen” he added.

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Peterside, NIMASA DG Mourns Rivers CP Demise

Posted on February 1, 2017. Filed under: news | Tags: , |

Peterside, NIMASA DG Mourns Rivers CP Demise

The Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside has described the death of serving Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Francis Odesanya as “shocking” and coming at a time when the state and Nigeria needed his professional competence and managerial capability.

Dr. Peterside stated that the demise of CP Odesanya has robbed the nation of a fine officer and gentleman, who rose through the ranks before being posted to Rivers State to help curtail the activities of criminal elements.

“Indeed, our state and the entire nation have lost a fine officer and gentleman who weathered it through the ranks to the position he held before his death. His loss becomes more painful considering his efforts at checkmating the dangerous activities of criminals in Rivers State,” Peterside bemoaned.

The NIMASA DG sympathized with the Inspector-General of Police and Police Service Commission over the unfortunate loss, saying it was indeed a big loss to the Nigeria Police.

“This is indeed a sad one to the Police, Rivers State and Nigeria. He has contributed to the corporate existence of Nigeria and fought several criminal elements in the society to ensure that we are able to move around freely and go about our normal duties.

“For the few months he has been in Rivers State, he showed the attributes of a good leader, who is ready to lead from the front and provide direction for the rank and file,” Peterside stressed.

The NIMASA boss prayed for the repose of the soul of the departed, just as he wished his family God’s guidance and grace as they mourn the demise of their illustrious son.

Source: DAP Media Team

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Amaechi lauds late Ken Atsuwete at funeral

Posted on November 22, 2016. Filed under: news | Tags: |

Amaechi lauds late Ken Atsuwete at funeral

Gov Chibuike  Rotimi Amaechi

Gov Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi

Late Barrister Ken Atsuwete has been described as the “defender of the defenseless, voice of the voiceless and man of God who won souls for His kingdom.”

Minister of Transportation and former Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon Chibuike Amaechi stated this at the funeral service for the late legal practitioner, human rights activist and pastor with the Redeemed Christian Church of God, who was killed in Port Harcourt on August 29, 2016.

Amaechi, who was represented by the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside, stressed that rather than mourn the exit of Atsuwete, he should be honoured because he fought against injustice and contributed immensely towards a better society.

“Ken served the Lord faithfully, he will live in glory. We should not be mourning, we should be grateful that he impacted on this world within his short time in life. He was a man who believed in a cause and fought doggedly till death.

“Wherever there was injustice, Ken would fight against it. He offered his life so that the rest of us will live. He exhibited the peak of courage. Be assured that the sacrifice Ken has made will bring to an end the unnecessary killings in Rivers State.

“He was not a member of the any political party, he was not a member of APC, yet he offered to defend Ojukaye (Flag Amachree, a member of APC). He gave his all to defend Ojukaye. Injustice, regardless of party affiliation, was something he abhorred. He will not pay the price for nothing,” the Minister stated.

While saying that God will not abandon the family nor suffer any form of frustration, the minister stressed that his death will bear fruit of “justice, peace, harmony and a thriving society.”

The officiating minister at the funeral service, Pastor Grant Alobari of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, quoting from Ecclesiastes 7:1&2 spoke of two important days in the life of man, birth and death.

He said that the deceased lived for the poor and those oppressed, adding that he was “sympathetic, humble and ready to help at all times.”

The cleric said that God “expects us to do what will glorify him,” an injunction he says the deceased carried out till the point of death.

Several dignitaries were present at the occasion including the immediate past Acting Managing Director of NDDC, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, members of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), civil society groups, among others.

 

 

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The Secret of Obiano’s Giant Strides in Education is Hinged on a 3-Point

Posted on November 18, 2016. Filed under: news | Tags: |

..Thrust; Infrastructure, Teachers’ and Students’ Welfare – Prof Omenugha…

Governor Obiano through a three point thrust in education namely; infrastructure, teachers’ welfare and the students’ welfare, has given education in Anambra State the best attention.

Speaking during the 27th Edition of Anambra Scorecard, Prof Kate Omenugha who is the Commissioner for Education in the State explained that the blueprint of His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano is very clear with the strategic objective of making sure that the learning needs of all are met through equitable distribution of resources.

Taking her time to dissect the 3 areas Governor Obiano has excelled in education, Prof Omenugha, talking about Infrastructure said through ASUDEB, the governor has renovated schools, both at the primary and junior secondary levels and over a thousand classroom blocks have been provided across the 21 LGAs.

Prof Omenugha further mentioned the total revamping ongoing in the 11 technical colleges in Anambra, which hitherto were non-accredited and near moribund.

Omenugha explained the import of the revamping taking place in the technical colleges, saying that that will create employment because youths will be trained on technical know-how and then be able to contribute meaningfully to the state economy.

While speaking on teachers’ welfare, the Prof Omenugha said that “this is one area Governor Obiano has done exceptionally well”, citing that as a son of a teacher, the governor knows what it takes to keep teachers happy.

Prof Omenugha who highlighted teachers welfare packages to include; increase in their salary, paying of 20% of basic salary to teachers who are posted and retained in some difficult-to-access areas of the state and also giving of stipends as incentives to teachers who teach core subjects.

According to Prof Omenugha, a lot of capacity building has been done for the teachers example of which is the Singapore trip where 23 teachers were selected to learn the Singaporean model of education.

Prof Omenugha while thanking the governor for clearing the backlog of salaries, arrears and pensions owed teachers, told the story of her experience in Abuja recently, where she had gone to present a paper on how to enhance teaching quality in Nigeria. She said of all the things that kept churning out were chunks of arrears of salaries owed teachers across the federation but that Anambra became the toast of all present.

When asked if her mandate was only for primary and secondary schools or it includes tertiary institutions, she has this to say, “No, our mandate includes the tertiary institutions… Since governor Obiano came on board, what he has done in the state owned institutions is to ensure transparency. He set up governing councils for these institutions”. “He also increased subvention of these institutions, more than 200% increase, so that they can pay their salaries conveniently.”

“We know about the medical students of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University who had been there for 10 years, they were recently graduated and given automatic employment by Willie Obiano,” she added.

On why there are no educational competitions in our tertiary institutions, Prof Omenugha mentioned that tertiary institutions do claim autonomy and it is hard to dabble into such but promised to look into that to see if there is something the ministry could do.

Anambra Scorecard is a regular Online Live Programme hosted by Ifeanyi Aniagoh where the led engage their Leaders.

Ifeanyi Aniagoh

Senior Special Assistant to Gov Willie Obiano on Social Media

 

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Princewill bags “Nelson Mandela Pan-African Peace Award”

Posted on November 16, 2016. Filed under: news |

…. As ’76 Gets Presidential Nod

left-to-right-her-excellency-bolanle-ambode-and-prince-tonye-princewillRivers State politician and prominent entrepreneur, Prince Tonye Princewill has added another feather to his cap.

The most recent recognition came from the African Youth Global Network, an organization which cuts across West African countries and has a strong affiliation to the United Nations. Prince Tonye was awarded with the Nelson Mandela Pan-African Peace Ambassador Award for 2016 for his contributions towards humanity in the Niger Delta region and Nigeria at large.

A speech presented by the President of the organization, Dr. Laurent Agbemadji, summarized most of the selfless activities, done by Princewill over the years. From the flood relief intervention Princewill carried out in 2012, where his intervention was the first relief program to kick off, reaching the people who needed help even before the federal government could move in; to his various youth mentoring schemes, work with orphans, job creation activity and his support for entertainment.

His protest and eventual resignation as Chairman of the Niger Delta Vision 2020 subcommittee was a milestone in recognizing that the invasion of Gbaramatu was the wrong approach. This led to an alternative as seen in the amnesty program. Not a direct benefit to him, but to his community. A similar display of selfless intent when he supported Amaechi in 2007 as opposed to receive money to fight him.img-20161103-wa0371

The resolution that put Prince Tonye’s name on this years award was reached early this year at the organization’s executive meeting in its headquarters in Accra, Ghana. This was a followup to his nomination by Nigerian delegates at a similar meeting in December last year. His award was approved in a month, where normally it takes a year. In his very usual fashion, he was very reluctant to receive awards but accepted this after he had done his research. It had taken several months to track him down.

Others who have received this award in the past include Barrister Abdoulaye Wade, Former President of Senegal, Hon Soro Guillaume, current National Assembly President of Ivory Coast and HRH Chief Alfred Diete-Spiff, Amanyanabo of Town Brass and First Governor of Rivers State; just to mention a few.

In Princewill’s remarks, he thanked the team for the honour and assured them there will be no change in pace as he continued the fight for youths. He however observed that as he was fighting for youths, he was still doubtful that they were truly fighting for themselves. Their “semi involvement” in the electoral process, he said, left a lot to be desired and where they did get involved, it is primarily to rig or to participate in electoral violence. “If youths changed their agenda, the agenda for their countries will also change. This is why despite calls to run again, I will not be wasting my money and time to do so. The system does not want the best for Nigeria, so I refuse to be a part of it. My theory is if you can’t beat them, fight them.”

img-20161115-wa013Meanwhile his long awaited production “76” has also been in the headlines for quite some time now and it finally premiered in Lagos, the entertainment capital of the country. Having toured some key festivals around the world, this was a homecoming in advance of the films debut in cinemas on the 25th of November. And to welcome it back to Nigeria, the organizers reached out to the First Lady of Nigeria, Her Excellency Aisha Buhari. To the surprise of many, she pledged her full support.

Representing Her Excellency at the premiere was the Lagos state First Lady Bolanle Ambode who dropped everything to make sure she attended the event. Senator Ben Bruce, Mrs. Aisha Oyebode, the first daughter representing the family of the late General Murtala and a celebrity list which would be the envy of even an awards ceremony or a Presidential dinner; sat down to watch 76. Nobody moved for 2 hours.

In the words of the First Lady after the film, “This is one of the best things that I have seen made from Nigeria and Her Excellency Madam Aisha who insisted I must be here will get the full report as soon as I get back. I dropped everything to attend this event and it could not have been a better use of my time. In the end, I was glued to my seat not wanting to even get up. You and your team have done Nigeria proud. Thank you.

Aisha Oyebode nee Murtala, who heads the Murtala Muhammed Foundation was glowing with praises after watching the film. “You people have made an amazing film, unlike any other and what you did with the music is a work of art on its own. I’m speechless. Impressed does not even begin to describe the way I feel. You were brutally honest, but artistically true.”

Senator Ben Bruce who had earlier in the week predicted that the film would smash box office records raised his predictions even higher after watching the full film to say that it would surpass 2 million dollars in Nigeria and Ghana alone. Nobody has done this good a film. Nobody. It will appeal to the young, the old, women, men, lovers of comedy and lovers of history. It has pain, laughter, suspense and action. All tied up in one and it is so masterfully crafted, you don’t want it to end.”

At the end of the night, the cast and crew came out and took a bow to a more than 5 minute standing ovation. It could not have gone any better. 76 comes out in cinemas nationwide from the 25th of November but makes its next stop as the closing film for the African Film Festival in Lagos. That date is the 18th of November at the Filmhouse IMAX cinema in Lekki.

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Why We Protested in Government House – Ogoni Women Leader

Posted on November 6, 2016. Filed under: news | Tags: |

Threaten to take protest to Abuja, Call for a probe into the army raids on Yeghe and other communities in Ogoni

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Ogoni community members protesting during a visit by Gov. Wike to Yeghe to view destruction in community during the February 22-23 army raid.

The protest against incessant military invasion of Ogoni communities especially the community of Yeghe in Gokana local government area of Ogoni land had move to Government House, Port Harcourt, the state capital with over 300 women calling on the state governor, Nyesom Wike to help stop the raids and abuses.

Speaking to newsman, leader of the group Mrs Leedensin Daadan said The women who came in about 20 trucks protested to the governor in government house, Port Harcourt against the raid on Ogoni communities by the Nigerian Army since February 2016 and the abuse against women by the Nigerian military. She also called for a probe into the raids.

Mrs Daadan cited the case of Cecilia Diginee, 77 years old has just been buried in Yeghe. She died from shock on September 13 after she collapsed on February 23 during the military raid on Yegh, Ogoniland.

According to Mrs Daadan, Cecilia’s case is one of the many cases predominantly affecting women and children. The raids by the Nigerian army in Yeghe,Ogoniland is impacting negatively on the health of rural dwellers and ultimately leading to death, she said.

The women leader said there is no crisis in the Yeghe community, no community is at war with the people of Yeghe and the reason for the soldiers to continuously raid and rape women, and causing hardship and terrible heart conditions leading to the death of several women and children is what we are calling on the governor to stop and ensure their is a probe into these incidents.

She said “the soldiers rape us and we can no longer go to farms because sometimes, you just find that they are in the farmlands as early as 6am, they shoot randomly and out of fear, our people are developing heart troubles and dying”

The women leader said they are living in fear and can no longer go to the farm. The result is that hunger is biting hard on them and their families.

Mrs Daadan said if Governor Wike will not take action to stop the army from raiding their communities, they will take the protest to the president, Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja whom she believes will not be aware of the crimes of the soldiers and their mission in Ogoniland.

Vera BI

Editor, Ogoninews.com

 

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PHCCIMA President Harps On Re-Inventing Port Harcourt Seaports to a Shipping Hub

Posted on November 1, 2016. Filed under: news | Tags: |

PHCCIMA President Harps On Re-Inventing Port Harcourt Seaports to a Shipping Hub

emiPresident of Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Emi Membere-Otaji has stressed the need for the federal government and all relevant stakeholders of the shipping industry to give adequate attention to re- inventing Port Harcourt seaports to ensure they are brought back to their original status as a bustling shipping hub as envisioned by the founding fathers.

The PHCCIMA helmsman who made this assertion while speaking shortly after his return from a trip at the Port Harcourt airport said this has become necessary in the light of weakening global oil prices and as a response to the Nigerian government’s new mantra of diversification.

According to him, Port Harcourt was originally created as a port city and shipping hub to export coal and agriculture products in 1912, but however when crude oil was eventually discovered in 1956 it changed everything. He said the city moved from export of non oil products to a major industrial center with a number of large industrial firms and particularly to businesses related to the oil and gas industry.

“When crude was discovered, everything in the city changed and was hinged directly or indirectly on oil, the city drifted and abandoned the ideals of the founding fathers who positioned it as a shipping and commercial hub beyond crude oil” he said.

Consequently he disclosed that the decision had ensured that Port Harcourt and indeed the old Rivers state is paying the price and feeling the pinch brought about by the weakening oil prices.

“Hence, Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce is seriously engaging a whole lot of stakeholders to see how we can get the city back to what it was originally created for; to be a shipping hub for agricultural and non oil exports, while still providing a base for the nation’s oil and gas industry”, he said.

He recalled that old Port Harcourt port was about the 2nd largest port in the country, but however regretted that the port is now underutilized and is facing huge facility challenges. “We agree we have the Onne port managed by Intels and is acclaimed one of the biggest oil and gas free zones in the world, but the Onne port is strictly focused on oil and gas related cargo and their charges are astronomically high; even non oil cargo are charged as if they are oil related and this is not good for business in this era of economic diversification”, he opined.

The PHCCIMA helmsman particularly pointed out that another challenge is the persistence inaction on the part of the port regulators concerning disparity in rates charges between the Lagos ports and the eastern ports.

Hear him: “What we don’t understand is why cargo passing through Port Harcourt ports will cost more than Lagos? This high rate is taking businesses away from Port Harcourt. Most business cargo are now going through Lagos and they are killing the ports in the east. However, one sure thing is that the swamp land and oil fields and land cannot be taken from where it is which is Port Harcourt and Niger Delta, hence there is need to expedite action to ensure that seaports in the state are functional to facilitate import and export of other commodities beyond crude oil and create strings of employment opportunities for the people.

Further speaking on the effort of Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce, he said PHCCIMA has been doing a lot to remedy the situation, we are engaging government and other stakeholder’s to see how we can change the situation and ensure we stop businesses from moving out of the city.

He said the call for more effort has become necessary because virtually all the importers from Onitsha, Aba, Port Harcourt and environs now pass their goods through Lagos and this shouldn’t be so. “The Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA and Nigeria Shippers Council, NSC as regulators should strive to bring down their prices so that the likes of Intels Limited will follow suit. They must acknowledge that payments for non oil cargo should not be tagged along like an oil cargo – so basically Port Harcourt Chamber is engaging across board from the various levels of government, Ministry of Transport, Agencies and Intels Limited to see how we can work closely to revive the Port Harcourt ports.”

“Similarly, there has been a lot of presentation to us by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC we are interfacing with the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, NIPC and we have sustained engagement with the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC. Furthermore, we are setting the tone to engage Nigerian Ports Authority who are one of the critical regulators to say that something need to be done to make the old Port Harcourt port fully functional again while Onne with world class facility needs a review on its rates to accommodate non oil cargo because what we have in place now as rates are astronomically high.”

Dr Membere-Otaji who reiterated the need to stimulate the state economy said Port Harcourt need to go back to shipping which is the idea of the founding fathers, he said we must take a cue from the Singapore and Mauritius model that had nothing but were able to identify their potentials in shipping and today they are among the best and sustaining their economy with that.

“We can solve the problems by first getting the old Port Harcourt port back on stream; how? by dredging and further expanding the ports, which in turn will open up the channels to accommodate and allow various size of vessels to come in. We must as matter of priority review our stifling policies to create healthy competition, engage the various stakeholders to work on reviewing charges to reflect realities and create soft landings to encourage businesses.

“While oil and gas related cargo is unavoidable in Port Harcourt businesses, we must as a matter of main concern ensure we also encourage the non oil related cargo to increase shipping activities; when you do that there is a value chain in oil servicing, shipping servicing and others services which ultimately will trickle down to the least businesses”, he was quoted as saying.

Stemming from the fact that Port Harcourt is acclaimed to be an oil and gas enclave, the global fall in oil prices drastically affected the city, oil businesses came down, contractors were not longer getting jobs, people were being laid off from job and the effect is massive unemployment and hardship which have consequently led to the usual socio-economic issues we are abreast with that spirals to other problems.

Looking at the gains of re-inventing Port Harcourt ports he said, “if we strive to take Port Harcourt back to the idea envisioned by the founding fathers, we stand to gain a lot as there will be in-country trading, for example Dangote Limited and others are exploring coal and other solid minerals in Kogi and other states and we will need marine haulage in-country that will contribute to stimulating the economy. We must take advantage of our natural potentials to better our economic life; look at Mississipi in the US, a River that span across so many cities and states, and has been instrumental to stimulating those economies – we should be able to replicate this. We must take advantage of our stretch of coastal lines, intensify effort on our non oil export, agriculture, industrial fishing and agro allied products and explore the value chain on petroleum in the form of petrochemicals and fertilizer plants and it will be a plus for our economy.

Also, PHCCIMA has sent a proposal to the Rivers State government to set up a Multi-Sectorial State Export Committee.”

Speaking on Security he said, “While security remains a critical issue not only in Port Harcourt but the Niger delta as a whole; strong concerted efforts from the major stakeholders especially the oil companies and strong political will on the part of the national government will ameliorate the issue.

Hear him: “Only recently the Somalian pirates made the horn of Africa’s shipping lane impassable but today, that is history because of strong efforts from key stakeholders. Also we are advocating that government should put in place a medium to long term development plan for the oil producing Niger delta beyond the stop gap Amnesty Programme and NDDC.

According to him, from the time of the pre-independence Willinks commission report, stop gaps have never provided permanent solutions. Since every business in Nigeria cannot gravitate in Lagos, a so called ‘safe haven with good infrastructure’, efforts should be made to develop other cities like Port Harcourt, Kano, Jos, Enugu, Ibadan, Warri etc. to become excellent economic centres. Anything else will be likened to playing out the ostrich game.

Source: Aderson Hart

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