1. Mass abduction: Reports said unknown gunmen had again kidnapped 10 passengers and the driver of a white Toyota Sienna SUV along the Emuoha Local Government Area, East West Roadaxis of Rivers State. It was gathered that the Toyota Sienna SUV was travelling to Port Harcourtfrom Abua in Abua Odua Local Government of Rivers State when the passengers were accosted by their abductors at the Rumuekpe Junction. An eye witness also told journalists that the gunmen came out from a nearby bush, shot in the air and took away the 10 passengers in the vehicle and the driver. Reacting, the Police Public Relations Office in the state, Nnamdi Omoni, told correspondents that the command was not yet briefed about the incident.
2. Governor steps in with buses: As Nigerians prepare to go to the polls this Saturday to vote in the presidential and National Assembly members, some voters in Rivers State said they may not be able to participate in the elections. Some voters who travelled to their villages last week in the hope of voting told newsmen that the shift has crippled their enthusiasm. The voters said they may not be able to travel to where they registered this week due to lack of funds.
However another group of voters in Port Harcourt said they were ready to vote this Saturday in spite of last week’s cancelation.
The state governor, Nyesom Wike, has stepped in by providing buses to help out.
3. INEC sure all materials in: Meanwhile the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Rivers State said it has received all materials for Saturday’s election. The INEC Director of Information and Voter Education in Rivers State, Edwin Enabor, told newsmen that the materials were currently under the custody of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in Port Harcourt. Edwin said the commission started the distribution of the materials in the 23 Local Governments in Rivers State Thursday Feb 21st 2019. The INEC Director also enjoined voters not to lose hope in the commission. Enabor said last week’s postponement was done in the interest of all Nigerians.
4. APC raises alarm in Asalga: The Asaga Elders Council has sent a ‘save-our-soul’ message to the state police command, alerting it of alleged plans by some politicians to disrupt the elections in Asari toru Local Government Area. A statement signed by the chairman of the group, Benibo Amachree, and publicity secretary, Sam Olukorobo, alleged that some members of an opposition party were arming thugs and militants to scuttle the rescheduled election on Saturday and during the governorship election. The elders council directed leaders, chiefs, heads and youths of various compounds and the community to be watchful and resist the plot to disrup the elections. The statement further advised the ruling party against issuing threats and instigating crisis before and during the elections.
In a related development, the Asalga Resonance Movement has raised concerns over alleged plot by a faction of APC to disturb public peace and also destroy property of the members of the People Democratic Party (PDP) in Asaritolu Local Government Area. A statement issued by the Chairman of the Asalga Resonance Movement, Dimabo Sokubo, alleged that a chieftain of the APC in the Area positioned some thugs at strategic positions to cause havoc in Asari toru. Sokonbo in a statement said the group has alerted the security agencies on the move in order to avert insecurity in the buildup of the rescheduled election. The Asalga Resonance Movement appealed to all security agencies to investigate those behind the threat and bring them to justice. When contacted, Ojukaye Flag Amachree denied the allegation to disrupt the election in Asaritolu Local Government Area. Ojukaye spoke through his media aid.
5. A group of women in Rivers state has raised concern that their right to vote may be infringed upon on the rescheduled elections if security agencies continue with the intimidation of those in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The women at the media parley in Port Harcourt said they wanted to cast their votes in a peaceful election in Rivers State. The group in a communique read by its coordinator, Ukel Oyaghiri, urged President Muhammed Buhari to call the Minister of Transportation. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, to order to avert crisis during the rescheduled elections. Oyaghiri, who is the State Commissioner for Women Affairs, said women in Rivers State are worried over the directive of President Buhari for security agencies yo shoot anyone snatching ballot boxes. Our correspondent reports that the women were drawn from the 23 Local Governments in Rivers State.
6. SIAT set to go to round table: Chiefs and elders Ranging from five communities who are land owners from Ikwerre Local Government have commended the Management of Siat Nigeria Limited for agreeing to come to a round table of the land owners in the area. The Chiefs and Elders from the five communities had some weeks ago staged a peaceful protest in Port Harcourt over the alleged failure of Siat to pay for 10 per cent of the profit accrueing from the project annually to the land owners on the lease agreement of 25th day of April 1977. Speaking on behalf of the land owners shortly after the meeting which was called by the commissioner of the police, one of the land owners, Ikechi Omez, warned Siat against failing to comply with their demands.
Meanwhile the state chairman of the Civil Society Organization, Enefaa Georgewill, who was part of the meeting urged the land owners and Siat to resolve the matter to achieve peace in the Area. Newmen gathered that the communities include Ubima, Apani, Omademe, Omereluo and Azuoha communities in Ikwerre Local Government Area.
7. No work on Friday: In preparation for the February 23 Presidential Election and National Assembly Election, the Federal Government has declared tomorrow Friday February 22nd 2019 as a public holiday. The Minister of Interior Lt. Gen. (RT) Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau made the declaration in Abuja on Wednesday. The Minister of Interior in a statement on Wednesday night by Permanent Secretary of Interior Georgina Ehuriah however excluded bankers and those offering essential services across the nation. He said the work free day is to enable citizens return to their polling unit for the rescheduled Presidential and National Assembly Elections.
8. NNPC must go: The People’s Democratic Party PDP Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has reiterated his resolve to privatize the Nigeria National Petroleum Commission NNPC if elected president in Saturday’s polls. The Former Vice President stated this during an interaction with the Stakeholders from the 22 Local Government Areas of Kaduna State at the trade fair complex. Atiku said his resolve to sell the NNPC asset was informed by the fact that the NNPC has since inception in 1963 failed to meet the expectation of refining crude oil for the country’s consumption.
9. Another APC chairman killed: Less than 48 hours to the Presidential and National Assembly Election, another Chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Imo State has been killed. The APC Chieftain identified as Ifeanyi Ozoemena was reportedly murdered on Tuesday night at Ngor Okpala Local Council Area of Imo State by gunmen said to have operated in a sports utility vehicle (SUV). The deceased was the APC Chairman of Umuohiagu Ward. This came after the Benue State APC lost their state chairman to assassination the previous day.
10. JAMB shifts exams: Joint Admission and Matriculation Board has postponed the Mock Examination of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination slated to start from Saturday February 23rd. The Board said the move followed the rescheduling of the Presidential and National Assembly Election. The Board also said that it may reschedule the 2019 UTME earlier fixed for Saturday March 16th to Saturday March 23th. The Jamb head of Information, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, told journalists in Abuja that a new date for the mock examination would be announced by the management shortly.