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FLOOD: Navy provides humanitarian services to Bayelsa, Rivers victims



FLOOD: Navy provides humanitarian services to Bayelsa, Rivers victims
…Lions Club donates relief items to Kogi victims; Yobe govt. supports 2,000 households***

The Nigerian Navy says it is providing security and ferrying stranded commutters across the flooded East-West Road linking Port Harcourt, Rivers, and Yenagoa in Bayelsa.

Sub-Lieutenant Tochukwu Okeke, the Base Information Officer, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) SOROH, a unit of Central Naval Command, said this on Sunday.

He said that the navy had been ferrying people and goods from flooded spots between Yenagoa and Port Harcourt, and deployed medical personnel to care for those in need.

The Base spokesman added that the operation was being coordinated by the Commander of NNS SOROH, Commodore Sunday Daniel-Atakpa.

“As directed by Flag Officer Commanding, Central Naval Command and under the strategic directive of the Chief of the Naval Staff to deploy men and materials to bring this hardship to the barest minimum.

“Under the directive of my Commander, this operation will continue until the flood recedes, this operation is not stopping, we will continue to deploy men and materials to render help and humanitarian needs to Nigerians because we are here for them.

“The motto of the Navy is “Onward Together”. So we are moving with everybody.

“We are informed of the hardship persons are facing here, the flood is unprecedented, on Friday, we got reports that five persons lost their lives, that’s to show you how devastating it is.

“We have been providing intervention in terms of humanitarian needs, we have been providing ferries from this Ahoada point down to that place where there is a ferry point.

“Basically, we have been providing ferries at flooded parts of the road from Bayelsa to Port Harcourt and Port Harcourt back to Bayelsa. We have also been providing medicare for persons,” he added.

According to him, the Navy operation which lasted about one week also prioritizes vulnerable people such as the sick, aged persons, nursing mothers, and their infants, and helps convey them to safer grounds.

Okeke however said that no casualty had been recorded since the naval interventions started.

He added that the nefarious activities of hoodlums who take advantage of the situation to rob travellers of their valuables and extort money from tipper drivers along the route had been curbed.

It was reported that the flood had cut off the East-West Road which connects states in the South-East and South-South to the South-Western part of the country.

The intervention of the navy will help commutters struggling for three weeks to navigate the flooded portions and continue with their journeys to and from Yenagoa, Ahoada, Omoku, Port Harcourt, Owerri, Uyo, Calabar and other cities.

Meanwhile, drivers of tipper trucks are making brisk business as they transport persons and goods such as foodstuffs, drinks, and livestock across the flooded sections.

A commuter, Mrs. Rita Ayaku, commended the Navy for the intervention, saying it has eased the hardship faced by people affected by the flood.

In another development, The Lions Club International, District 404A2 Nigeria, on Sunday donated food items to victims of flood in Lokoja and Kotonkarfe Local Government Areas of Kogi.

Speaking to newsmen at the IDP camp Adankolo, Lokoja, Mr. Jide Bello, the Club’s District Governor, Abuja, said, ”The Lion club is a charity organisation that is always there to help where there is need”.

Bello said they were in Kogi to distribute food items and clothing materials to the displaced indigenes of the state.

”We heard about the flood disaster that submerged their homes and we made our inquiry to get the statistics of their numbers in various IDP camps in Lokoja and Kotonkarfe.

”We are able to identify four camps, which are Kotonkarfe, Serki-Noma, Adankolo, and Gadumo.

”So, we have brought food and other relief items to share and sympathise with them, and to say ‘where there is need there is always a lion’.

”On the whole, based on our statistics, we have reached out to over 3,000 victims including males and females in Kogi.

”We give Kogi a priority because it is worst-hit by the flood disaster. Next week by God’s grace, we shall be visiting Rivers, Bayelsa, Anambra, and Ebonyi states,” he said.

He disclosed that the distributed items were donated by people, fellow lions, and the Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF) Abuja, worth over N10 million.

He commended the IDP camps’ coordinators for ensuring proper coordination at the camps without chaos.

Items donated included rice, garri, tomatoes, sugar, milk, Maggi, salt, oil, pepper, clothes, shoes, bags, and antiseptics, among others.

Lions Club’s District Governor, 494 A2 Nigeria, Lion Hide Belli, distributing relief items to flood victims in Lokoja, Kogi

Also speaking, Dr. Ozi OKonofua, the club’s District Committee Chairperson for Site Preservation and Awareness, enjoined government at all levels to be more prepared for the recurrent flood disaster.

He expressed the club’s dissatisfaction with the humanitarian aspect of the camps visited, saying there was no good sanitary condition which could result in outbreak of diseases.

He urged governments to look at the plight of the victims to find a lasting solution through collaborations with the club and other critical stakeholders to tackle the menace.

Some of the beneficiaries, Mrs. Teni Isa, Hauwa Suna, and Mrs. Mary Sunday thanked the club for alleviating their suffering and pray God to bless them.

”In fact, I am so happy because we never expected that such kind of items will come. May God bless them,” Isa said.

The lions club members had earlier paid a courtesy visit to the palace of Ohimegye Igu of Koton-karfe, HRM Alhaji Abdulrazak Isakoto.

In his remarks, Isakoto appreciated the club for their visit, saying he was overwhelmed by the gesture toward his people.

The traditional ruler said the extent of destruction by the flood disaster in the area and all over was massive and beyond comprehension.

”Our place is always flooded and badly hit because our people settled along the banks of River Niger and Benue.

”I want to, on behalf of the Traditional Council of Lokoja and Kotonkarfe. as the Chairman, I say thank you for your donations, we pray that God will bless you,” the royal father said.




LASG Issues Travel Advisory Ahead Of Students Rave Event



LASG Issues Travel Advisory Ahead Of Students Rave Event

… Says traffic will be restricted between Police Zonal Headquarters, Zone 2 and Onikan Roundabout from 7:00 am*** 

The Lagos State Government has advised Motorists to plan their movement around Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Old Onikan Stadium, Lagos Island ahead of the Students Rave 2023 event scheduled for Friday, 27th January 2023.

As a result of the above rally, the Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde disclosed that traffic will be restricted between Police Zonal Headquarters, Zone 2 and Onikan Roundabout from 7:00 am on the aforementioned day. He assured that Officers of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, (LASTMA) will be available to manage traffic flow.

Explaining the alternative routes, Oladeinde advises Motorists plying Island Club road by Police Headquarters Zone 2, Onikan to go through Ozumba Mbadiwe road inbound Falomo Bridge (Five Cowries Bridge) to link Alfred Rewane and Osborne road to complete their journeys.

In the same vein, Motorists from Bonny Camp according to the diversion plan can access CMS/Marina Bridge after Independence Bridge (Mekunwen Bridge) and loop it down towards Cathedral Church to connect Lagos Island proper through Odunlami Street for their desired destinations,

The Transport Commissioner also advises Motorists to utilize Force road beside Muson Centre to link J.K Randle Avenue (Race Course) or go through Onikan Roundabout to connect JK Randle Avenue/Water Board area to access CMS Bridge by the State House/Old NITEL Building.

He further explained that Water Board inbound Broad Street to Tinubu Square will be available to Motorists, adding that they can equally access Old Defense road/ Ganiyu Smith from Water Board to link Igbosere/Sandgrouse to Simpson Street and connect Third Mainland Bridge to continue their journeys to other parts of the State.

The Transport Commissioner reiterated that Security and Law Enforcement Agencies will be at all strategic junctions and intersections to ensure the safety and security of all road users and the free flow of traffic within the perimeter of the venue and alternative routes outside the venue.

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Aregbesola: Immigration Produced More than 1.7m Passports in 2022



Aregbesola: Immigration Produced More than 1.7m Passports in 2022

…Agrees there are human-induced challenges***

Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, said in Abuja on Thursday that the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) produced more than 1.7 million passports in 2022.

Fielding questions at the 64th edition of the State House briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team, Aregbesola said the figure was a landmark achievement.

He rated the Ministry of Interior and its agencies as having scored above 80 percent in terms of performance.

“By Dec. 31, 2022, we produced more than 1.7 million passports.

“In the annals of Nigeria that has not happened before; as I am talking to you, we have more than 200,000 booklets in our store.

“We are not denying the fact that there are human-induced challenges if you look at the number of applications, vis-a-vis the number of passports produced.

“We are above 80 percent in performance; in any way, take it as given that we produced more than 1.7 passports in 2022,’’ Aregbesola said.

The minister said that a presidential directive had been issued with regard to the domestication of passport production.

He said the Ministry of Interior, in collaboration with the NIS, had impanelled a “project steering committee’ with a mandate to actualise the goal.

Aregbesola also said there was a major reformation and digitisation of passport issuance and administration as a temporary electronic passport had been introduced.

“We are digitising the process; my plan was to fully digitise the Ikoyi Registry in Lagos by Dec. 2022 but I could not fully achieve that.

“What does that mean? When this process is concluded, an applicant does not need to bring anything anymore; you complete your process online and by that time, you don’t need an agent.

“There can’t be racketeering. I am on it and I want to guarantee that we will do it before we leave.

“We have also concluded arrangements on the temporary passport issue; we have the passport, but we have some issues with our sister ministry – the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and we are solving it,’’ he said.

According to the minister, the temporary passport will facilitate a return to Nigeria for Nigerians living abroad if they need to get back in emergencies and did not have current passports.

Such Nigerians would return home, carrying their expired passports also, the minister said.

“Much as that won’t be a problem for us to take at our reception desk, some airlines could be difficult.

“I can even tell you that we are discussing with South Africa now; South Africa does not allow the use of expired passports as a nation contrary to International Civil Aviation Orgnanisation (ICAO) regulation.

“ICAO says that every citizen of a nation dead or alive cannot be denied entry to his home; which is logical anyway.

“The last time I treated a file from South Africa through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, they were insisting that if one’s passport is not current, one cannot be taken in or out of South Africa’s space.

“It is their policy; you cannot deny a nation its national policies and programmes.

“To avoid that, we introduced what is called temporary electronic passport; it is a one-way passport to return home,’’ Aregbesola explained.

He said that under the temporary passport regime, citizens who had the data pages of their expired passports could take them to Nigeria’s embassies to get the temporary electronic passport after paying the appropriate fees.

“The temporary electronic passports are almost exactly the same as their expired passports.

“It does not have more than one page to take you home; when you hold the electronic passport, you cannot go anywhere but home.

“We are still in negotiation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,’’ Aregbesola said.

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Court Again adjourns, for report of settlement in suit against Dana Air MD



Court Again adjourns, for report of settlement in suit against Dana Air MD

…Ranesh still shuns Court*** 

 A Federal High Court, Abuja has fixed May 31 for report of settlement in a suit filed by the office of Attorney-General of Federation (AGF) against Managing Director (MD), Dana Air, Hathiramani Ranesh.

Justice Obiora Egwuatu fixed the date on Wednesday following an oral application for adjournment by counsel to the AGF, M. Okeya.

Though the prosecution counsel was in court when the matter was called, neither Mr Ranesh nor his lawyer was in court.

The suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CR/101/21 which was number 10 on the day’s cause list, was for the arraignment of Ranesh and two others.

Upon resuming the hearing in the case, Okeya told Justice Egwuatu that the parties in the suit were exploring settlement options.

The lawyer, who informed that a sister case was also before a Lagos court, said the matter would be coming up later in the year.

She, however, sought a longer date for a report on the outcome of settlement and the judge consequently adjourned the case until May 31 for a report.

Egwuatu had, on Oct. 13, 2022, adjourned the matter until Jan. 25 for arraignment of the defendants following the absence of Mr Ranesh and the prosecution lawyer in court.

However, Ranesh’s counsel, Ade Adedeji, SAN, was in court and he hinted that the prosecution and the defence were exploring reconciliation.

It is incisive that since the commencement of the matter, Dana Air MD had not been present in court.

On June 30, 2021, when the matter came up, while other defendants were in court, Ranesh was absent.

Adedeji had told the court that the absence of his client in court was to the knowledge of the prosecution.

When the matter was called, Adedeji, said he was in court to represent Ranesh after they were served with the notice of arraignment.

The lawyer had told the court that his client was not in the country.

“The charge before this honourable court is a serious matter.

“We came in from Lagos just to come and explain to your lordship the circumstances that informed our acceptance of service without knowing that the date is coming so soon.

“We didn’t know before we accepted it. We have an option not to accept this but as officers in the temple of justice, we felt we are under obligation to accept on his (Ranesh’s) behalf.

“But to the knowledge of counsel to the prosecution, the principal defendant is not in the country which was made known to the prosecution.

“It is on the basis of these circumstances that we shall be appealing to your lordship for an adjournment my lord to enable the defendant appear before this honourable court,” he had said.

Counsel to the AGF, Wilson Michelangelo, did not oppose the request for an adjournment, and the judge fixed Oct. 13, 2021, for arraignment of the suspects.

On Oct. 13, 2021, when the matter came up, Justice Egwuatu was said to be on an official engagement in Lagos State and the matter could not proceed.

Although the counsel who appeared for the AGF, Moshood A., and lawyer to the defendant, Adedeji, SAN, were in court, Mr Ranesh was not.

Consequently, the court then fixed Feb. 15, 2022, for the arraignment of Mr Ranesh and two other defendants in the matter and on the adjourned date, the case was also fixed for May 26, 2022, for arraignment.

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