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Gov. Wike declares 19 illegal oil refinery kingpins wanted

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Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt

Governor Nyesom Wike on Sunday 19 people wanted for operating illegal crude oil refining sites believed to be responsible for the black soot polluting the environment in Rivers State.

The governor has also directed the Rivers State Head of Service to query Mr. Temple Amakiri, a Director in the State Ministry of Energy, for abetting bunkering activities and hand him over to the police for investigation and possible prosecution.

Wike, in a statewide broadcast on Sunday said the government is resolved to pragmatically tackle the soot pollution in the state by destroying and closing down all identified illegal crude oil refining sites and activities in the State.

The Governor stated that following his 2022 New Year Message outlining measures to tackle the black soot menace, the State Taskforce on Illegal Street Trading raided some illegal crude oil refining sites in Port Harcourt and arrested a number of recalcitrant persons.

He added that 19 kingpins of bunkering and illegal crude oil refining activities have also been identified.

Wike therefore asked the kingpins, who he said have been declared wanted to report themselves to the State Police Command where their their details have been submitted.

“We have also identified those behind illegal bunkering activities in Okrika communities, Port Harcourt Township, Rivers South-East and Rivers South-West Senatorial Districts and their names would be soon published and declared wanted, if they fail to voluntarily report to the Police,” the Governor said.

The alleged illegal crude refining kingpins declared wanted by Wike are: Mr. Azubike Amadi, OSPAC Commander, Ogbogoro community and Chairman of Akpor Central OSPAC; Mr. India, of Rumuolumeni community and Chairman of Oil bunkering Association in Akpor kingdom; Mr. Okey who is in charge of Oil bunkering in Rumupareli; Mr. Anderson, who is in charge of oil bunkering activities in Ogbogoro community; Amadi Gift of Ogbogoro community; Azeruowa of Ogbogoro community; and Kingsley Egbula, also of Ogbogoro community.

The others alleged to be in charge of oil bunkering activities in Isiokpo community of Rivers are: Mr. Kemkom Azubike, Mr. Mezu Wabali, Mr. Chigozi Amadi, Mr. Opurum Owhondah, Mr. Bakasi Obodo ,Mr. Opus, Mr. Galaxi Mas, Mr. Chioma, Mr. Ogondah, Mr. Soldier, Mr. Chefo, and Nkasi.

He urged residents of the State to continue to report those involved in illegal crude oil refineries and other damnable activities to the Task Forces already set up at the State and Local Government levels for immediate action.

Governor Wike also reaffirmed the total ban on the use of motorcycles in Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt councils, which was necessitated by the collective threat they posed to the security of lives and property.

“Any person or corporate entity that requires the use of motorcycle for any lawful purposes must, therefore, first apply to the office of the Governor for permit and proper documentation of the operational details and particulars of both the motorcycle and designated rider(s).

“Against this background, we are hereby issuing the final warning to all those operating motorcycles shuttles and or hawking foreign exchange along Birabi Street, Hotel Presidential, GRA junction by Zenith Bank up to Tombia Street to immediately leave or be arrested and prosecuted.”

The governor accused the traditional leadership, including members of Community Development Committees and youth leaders of Rumuola, Rumuogba and Okoro-nu-odo communities of collecting money from vendors and allowing street trading activities around and under the flyovers in these communities.

“Consequently, I hereby direct the traditional leadership of Rumuola, Rumuogba and Okoro-nu-odo communities to immediately stop all street trading activities around, in or under the flyovers in their respective domains or be deposed, arrested and prosecuted.

“Similarly, the traditional leadership of Rumuwoji Mgbuduku, Obiekwe, Nkpolu-Oroworokwo, Abali, Rebisi, Rumukalagbor-Oroworokwo and Ezimgbu communities are hereby directed to enforce the ban and ensure that no form of trading takes place around and under the flyovers located in their communities.”

Governor Wike also placed a total ban on the use of umbrella and table trading stands in the entire old and new GRAs of Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt City, Eleme councils.

According to him, government has credible evidence that most these purported traders in front of houses are informants who monitor and pass on vital details and information on the daily movement of very important persons to their criminal collaborators.

Governor Wike frowned at the failure of the Rumuokurushe traditional leadership to honour the terms of their undertaking not to allow any form of street trading on the Rumuokurushe market.

“Unfortunately, the Rumuokurushe traditional leadership has apparently failed to comply with or enforce this condition in that market and Government will not hesitate to again shut it down if the ongoing breach continues unabated.”

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Kalu meets Abdulsalami Abubakar

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Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Uzor Kalu, on Saturday night paid a private visit to former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar.

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Kalu who made the announcement through his verified Facebook page, revealed that his discussion with the former president centered on national issues and peaceful coexistence of Nigeria.
He wrote: “ Tonight, I paid a visit to the former President of Nigeria, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, to greet him for the new year. We also discussed major national affairs and peaceful coexistence of our nation.”

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Lagos police arrest NURTW members amid calls for ban

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By Moses Omorogieva/Lagos

The Police Command in Lagos State on Saturday said that its men arrested some members of the National Union of Transport Workers ( NURTW) who clashed on Lagos Island on Friday.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) , CSP Adekunle Ajisebutu, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Saturday.

Ajisebutu did not mention how many people were arrested and where they were being detained.

He added that normalcy had returned to the Island as more operatives had been deployed there.
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“The police have quelled the crisis. Sufficient facilities were deployed in the area immediately we received a distress call and normalcy was restored.

”Investigation into the crisis is ongoing,” he said.

Two factions of the NURTW clashed over the control of some motor parks on the Island on Friday.

The videos of the clash went viral showing the hoodlums using dangerous weapons against each other

The arrests come amid call by Accord Party for a ban on the notorious union in Lagos.

Lagos State chapter of the Accord Party called on Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to proscribe the union following repeated violence by its members.

The Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Dele Oladeji, in a statement on Saturday called on Sanwo-Olu to tame the members of the NURTW by proscribing the union with immediate effect.

“Again, the members of the NURTW were enmeshed in a deadly fight on Lagos Island which was reported to have resulted in the untimely death of some four youths.

“This deadly clash created a security scare, in which innocent and hardworking residents of Lagos had to scamper into shops, crevices, under table and inside gutters for dear lives.

“Many rushed into shops and were locked in with the shop owners, just to stay away from stray bullets or being caught up in the fracas.

“Traders were forced to shutdown their businesses, which led to the loss of transactions running into billions of naira.

“We advise the Lagos State governor to, with immediate effect, proscribe the NURTW for a peaceful and safe Lagos city.”

The spokesman said that the recent violence was one too many among the members of the NURTW in Lagos State.

Oladeji said that though members of the union were always in the habit of killing themselves during such fracas, their action had always defied the security set up in Lagos State and had always created a state of insecurity among residents.

“Ask an average resident of Lagos, and they will tell you they live and commute in utter fright of these ‘union boys’ daily on the streets and roads.

“Gov. Sanwo-Olu should rise up in service to residents of the state and proscribed these lawless group for a safer Lagos State,” he added.

He said that NURTW factions were known to frequently engage in free-for-all over power tussles at different locations and parks.

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Pakistan proud of pig-to-human heart transplant pioneer

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Friends and former classmates of the Pakistan-born surgeon behind the world’s first pig-to-human heart transplant say they earmarked him for greatness from his medical school days.

Karachi-born Muhammad Mansoor Mohiuddin made headlines last week as the co-founder of the US university programme that successfully transplanted the heart of a genetically modified pig into a gravely ill American man.

While hailed as a medical breakthrough, the procedure also raised ethical questions — particularly among some Jews and Muslims, who consider pigs to be unclean and avoid pork products.

None of that worried Mohiuddin’s friends and former colleagues in Pakistan, who remember him as an ace student with a passion for medicine.

“He would be so interested, always there, always available and always ready to get involved in surgery,” said Muneer Amanullah, a specialist who attended Karachi’s Dow Medical College with Mohiuddin in the 1980s.

College vice-chancellor Muhammad Saeed Qureshi said pride in Mohiuddin’s achievement had flooded the campus.

“There was exhilaration that this has been done by a graduate from this college,” he told AFP.

Mohiuddin was quick to share the limelight with a team of 50 from the University of Maryland Medical School.

“They were all experts of their respective fields,” he told AFP by phone.

“They are the best surgeons, the best physicians, the best anaesthetists, and so on.”

While the prognosis for the recipient of the pig’s heart is far from certain, the surgery represents a major milestone for animal-to-human transplants.

About 110,000 Americans are currently waiting for an organ transplant, and more than 6,000 patients die each year before getting one, according to official figures.

To meet demand, doctors have long been interested in so-called xenotransplantation, or cross-species organ donation.

“We were working on this model for 18 years,” Mohiuddin said.

“Those 18 years were dotted with different phases of frustration — as well as breakthroughs — but finally we have done it.”

The surgery is not without controversy, however, especially given Mohiuddin’s Islamic faith.

Pigs are considered unclean by Muslims and Jews — and even some Christians who follow the Bible’s Old Testament literally.

“In my view, this is not permissible for a Muslim,” said Javed Ahmed Ghamdi, a prominent Islamic scholar, in a video blog where he discussed the procedure.

But another Islamic scholar in Pakistan gave the procedure a clean bill of health.

“There is no prohibition in sharia,” Allama Hasan Zafar Naqvi told AFP, calling it a “medical miracle”.

“In religion, no deed is as supreme as saving a human life,” added Mohiuddin.

In Karachi, the surgeon’s fellow alumni feel their former colleague may now be destined for even greater glory — medicine’s top prize.

“I think… the whole team is in for it, in for the Nobel Prize,” said vice-chancellor Qureshi.

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