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Concerns over rising number of awaiting trial inmates in Akwa Ibom



Despite the provisions of section 296 of the 2015 Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, many accused persons in Akwa Ibom State have remained in prison custody awaiting trial for over 10 years.

The long wait has not only contributed to the congestion of prison cells but has put pressure on the staff, as well as the economic disposition of the Federal Government as the amount for feeding and medicals of those awaiting trial is overwhelming.

Investigations revealed that out of 3,047 inmates in Akwa Ibom State as at March ending, 2,559 are awaiting trial, while 488 have been tried and convicted.

Those in the awaiting trial lists are not only those who committed heavy offences but some innocent persons and others who allegedly engaged in various forms of misdemeanours.

There is a case of one Goodnews Isaiah, 26, an awaiting trial inmate of Eket Custodial Centre, who narrated before the Akwa Ibom State Chief Judge, Justice Ekaette Obot during her prison inspection how he was arrested since 2019 by police operatives on patrol while he was coming back from work.

According to Goodnews who said he worked with a bakery at Eket: “while I was coming back from work around 11 pm (as I was on evening shift), a police patrol van accosted me; I told them that I was coming back from work, they arrested me saying that I was an armed robber, that I was coming back from an operation. They took me to the station alongside other people they saw that night.

“Fortunately for others, they were later released after paying a huge amount to the police for bail but I still remained in custody because no one came for my bail since the incident in 2019. I have been praying to God to help me so that they will charge me to court.”

Also, one John Sunday Akpan charged with “unlawful Stealing” in Ikot Abasi custodial Centre narrated before the Chief Judge how his uncle got him arrested for cutting a bunch of plantain in their family farmland.

He claimed that his uncle who refused to give him his father’s portion of land told the officers to deal with him decisively, adding that he had stayed in prison custody for about three years without being taken to court.

On his part, a 29-year-old tricycle rider in Uyo custodial centre, Ephraim Udo narrated how his wife’s mother, a policewoman, ordered his arrest and incarceration for attempting to marry her daughter.

The prison entry book showed that the inmate has been in custody for four years without trial.

Udo explained, “My Lord, I have two children with the daughter of the policewoman. We have been in love for some years but the mother vowed that the daughter will not marry a ‘keke rider’. She therefore ordered his men to arrest me and they sent me to prison for over four years.”

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Fubara Affirms Backing for Tinubu, Inaugurates NDONI PHC, Criticizes Local Government Chairmen






Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State has reaffirmed his administration’s unwavering endorsement of the people-centric policies spearheaded by President Bola Tinubu’s federal government. These policies are geared towards enhancing the welfare of citizens and delivering essential social services across Nigeria.


Governor Fubara also emphasised that his Administration was determined to build an egalitarian society where people can freely voice their opinions, be bold to criticise his Government constructively to further advance good governance.


The Governor insisted that nothing close to the use of plain cloth security officers to intimidate or harass the citizenry will be associated with his Administration.


Governor Fubara made the remark at the commissioning of the Comprehensive Primary Healthcare Centre in Ndoni Town, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State on Thursday.


This is even as the former Governor of the State, Dr Peter Odili has endorsed the Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara as the political leader of the State.


Governor Fubara said, “But I thank God that whatever it is they think or imagined we are doing, we are happy we are touching lives. Everyone can attest to it. But one critical project, one specific aspect of it is the well-being of our people.


“We made a promise to Mr. President to support him, and we will continue to support him. How do we support him?


“It is to ensure that the welfare of our people is provided for. It is to ensure that our people, those in critical need, we make them happy in this harsh economic situation.


“If we cannot solve all the problems, at least, we will go as much as we can to mitigate those basic challenges. That is the only way to support Mr. President.”


The Comprehensive Primary Healthcare Centre was built and donated to the State Government by the PAMO Educational Foundation, with the former governor of Rivers State, Dr Peter Odili, as its founder.


Drawing attention to what his Administration is doing in the healthcare delivery, Governor Fubara said he increased the quota of employment of personnel into the health sector to 1,000 persons.


The action, he noted, was because the 200 personnel he met on assumption of duty was grossly inadequate compared to the prevailing needs in the sector.


Governor Fubara also made reference to the deplorable condition of over 340 primary healthcare centres across the State when he assumed office, and explained that commendable rehabilitation work was ongoing to ensure the facilities function optimally.


To achieve the needed transformation and provision of quality healthcare services, Governor Fubara said the contractors that handled the reconstruction of the zonal hospitals have been invited and directed to return to site to complete the projects.


He stressed that the initiative was meant to bridge the yawning gap between the primary and tertiary healthcare services in the State.


The Governor said, “But I’m happy with what the Executive Secretary of the State Primary Healthcare Board has said here today.


“On assumption of office, it was different from what we have recorded. We are giving hope to the people. We are not going to stop improving that sector every day, by the special grace of God.


“We’ve gone further to improve our healthcare services by promising our people not just promising, but ensuring that we’ll see it through, that all the zonal hospitals must be put back to function.


“We have invited all the contractors that were awarded those jobs. We have asked them to return back to site so that those facilities will function to provide quality services to our people.


“The Secretary mentioned about employment. When we came on board, the number I saw allocated to you was 200. But I’ve given you 1,000 medical doctors. That will tell you that we place importance on efficient healthcare services for our State.”


Governor Fubara acknowledged as ingenious the conviction of the PAMO Educational Foundation to undertake the construction of such health facility as a private citizen deploying personal resources to give back to society.


The Governor described the gesture as the best thing that has happened to the people, which is worthy of emulation, and urged members of the community to own the project by protecting it.


Governor Fubara took a swipe at those describing his Administration as clueless because it is not constructing roads to personal property or serving the interest of few individuals.


He insisted that he was elected to serve the general interest of Rivers people, improve their social status and make life comfortable for them.


The Governor also told local government chairmen pretending to be serving the people while worshipping the interest of one man, that they were digging a pit to bury their political career.


He particularly expressed surprise that Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government chairman was present at the event, and chastised him and some others for avoiding State Government functions.


In his speech, Dr Peter Odili said he was motivated to undertake the project because two years ago, when flood ravaged Ndoni Town, the health centre in the community was destroyed, leaving people within 50 kilometer radius without immediate healthcare services.


Dr Odili, who urged the Governor to continue in his trajectory of people-oriented projects execution, touching the lives of the people directly with his governance, declared that Governor Fubara is the political leader of the State, insisting that Rivers people will continue to stand with him.


Speaking on the project, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Dr Adaeze Oreh, explained that the health facility that seats on the island of Ndoni in the political Ward 14, has 20-bed spaces, and will meet 80 percent healthcare needs of the people.


Dr Oreh said the health facility will offer such services like antenatal and postnatal services, deliveries, immunization, cervical screening, hypertension and issues of tuberculosis and other levels of health education services.


In his welcome address, Chairman of Rivers State Electoral Commission (RISEC), Justice Adolphus Enebeli (rtd), said the day will be remembered and treasured in history that a man, Dr Peter Odili, a genius, with humanity impulse, had used his personal resources to build a state- of-the-art health facility with support from his wife, Justice Mary Odili.


Justice Enebeli said that the event demonstrated effective Public-Private Partnership to build and donate the facility by PAMO Educational Foundation, adding that the health centre will serve people in all the 18 villages in Ndoni Town.


Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of Rivers State Primary Healthcare Management Board, Dr Kinikanwo Green, said the event aligns with the policy thrust of the Governor Fubara-led Administration that has committed so much resources and motivation to making the facilities in the health sector function optimally.


After commissioning the facility, Governor Fubara took a tour of the wards, laboratories and equipment, and also performed the official launch of the State Health Insurance Scheme at the centre.


Governor Fubara, while on his way to Ndoni Town, stopped over briefly in Elele Town at sighting the crowd of youths, women, men and traditional rulers, who had waited to receive him enroute Ndoni.


The Governor waved at them, walked up to the canopy sheltering the traditional rulers, paid his homage and received the kolanuts they offered him.


Political leaders like the Chairman of Ocabic Group, Eze Okey Okah; and former commissioner for information and communications, Barrister Emmanuel Okah; are among indigenes of Elele Town in Ikwerre Local Government Area who joined the jubilant crowd to receive the Governor.







Nelson Chukwudi

Chief Press Secretary to the Rivers State Governor

Thursday, April 11, 2024.


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African Child Policy Forum Urges Withdrawal of Bill Decriminalizing Female Genital Mutilation in Gambia




Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 11 April 2024 – A prominent child rights policy, advocacy, and research center in Africa is urging the Gambian government to repeal a contentious law that legalizes female genital mutilation (FGM).


The Bill – which Gambian lawmakers voted to approve for its next parliamentary stage and which will now be reviewed by a committee before the final vote – would lift a ban on FGM which has been in place since 2015. It would also run counter to the country’s 2022 National Policy for the Elimination of FGM.


“If the law is repealed, Gambia will become the first country in the world to reverse a ban on FGM,” said Dr Joan Nyanyuki, Executive Director of the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF). “Gambia has come a long way in realising children’s rights, and efforts made so far to ensure gender equality have been yielding fruits. Decriminalising FGM will reverse the progress made so far, increase girls’ vulnerability, diminish their agency and put their lives, health and development at risk.”


The 2015 law sets out jail terms of up to three years or a fine of 50,000 dalasis (US$700) for those who carry out FGM, with the possibility of life imprisonment if the victim dies. Just last year, three Gambian women were convicted of performing FGM on eight girls.


The Gambia has signed up to several child rights instruments including the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC), the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).


“Taking any regressive measures goes against both the spirit and letter of these instruments,” added Dr Nyanyuki. “We call on the government of the Republic of Gambia to uphold its obligation to protect girls from harmful social and cultural practices, including FGM, by withdrawing this Bill.”

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Channels Television Reporter, Joshua Rogers, N30M Demanded




Gunmen kidnapped Mr. Joshua Rogers, a journalist and reporter with Channels Television, from his home in Rumuosi, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State on Thursday night.

Rogers, who covers the Rivers State Government House for his organization, was reportedly followed after leaving work to return home. The assailants intercepted him before he could exit his car, brandishing firearms, and forcefully abducted him along with his vehicle. The incident occurred around 9 pm.

According to an anonymous source, Rogers had earlier attended an event in Ndoni, Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni Local Government Area of the state, where Governor Siminalayi Fubara inaugurated a Primary Healthcare Centre donated to the state by the PAMO Educational Foundation, founded by former Rivers governor, Dr. Peter Odili, on Thursday.

Expressing concern for Rogers’ safety, the source appealed to the kidnappers to release him unharmed, highlighting that he is a journalist carrying out his duties and not a person of wealth or influence.

Reports suggest that the kidnappers have contacted Rogers’ wife, demanding a ransom of N30 million for his release.

Efforts to confirm the incident with the spokesperson for the State Police Command, Grace Iringe-Koko, were unsuccessful as she did not respond to multiple phone calls and text messages sent to her as of Friday morning.

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