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Rivers Crises Deepen As Oko-Jumbo Emerges Factional Assembly Speaker

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The member representing Bonny State Constituency, Victor Oko-Jumbo, has emerged as a factional Speaker of the 10th Rivers State House of Assembly.

Oko-Jumbo promised to be transparent in the discharge of legislative duties.

He was elected on Wednesday at 10 am during plenary, in line with the Standing Order of the House.

Jumbo stated this in a statement he jointly signed with the new Clerk of the House, Dr. G. M. Gillis-West, issued in Port Harcourt on Wednesday and made available to newsmen.

In his acceptance speech, Oko-Jumbo thanked the members for electing him as the new Speaker sequel to the resignation of the former Speaker, Edison Ehie.

Oko-Jumbo accused the Martin Amaewhule-led lawmakers of legislative rascality since the political crisis that plagued the state started and declared that all laws and actions enacted and taken by what he termed illegal House have been voided.

The factional speaker also called on Governor Siminalayi Fubara to henceforth discontinue any dealings with the 25 lawmakers.

Speaking on the floor of the House, Oko-Jumbo said, “This is in line with Section 92(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (CFRN 1999) as Amended.

“You will agree with me that after the House last sat on the 13th of December, 2023, and adjourned sine die, there has been an avalanche of legislative rascality perpetrated by the 25 former members of the 10th Rivers State House of Assembly, led by the former Speaker, Martin Chike Amaewhule.

“These former members, being fully aware of the provisions of Section 109(1)(g) of the CFRN 1999, defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Party (APC) on the 11th of December, 2023.

“Consequently, the Rt. Hon. Edison Ogerenye Ehie-led Assembly, on the 13th of December, 2023, wrote to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), declaring the seats of the 25 lawmakers vacant in line with Section 109(1)(g) and (2) of the CFRN 1999.”

He noted that there are a plethora of cases pending in courts further to the defection of the lawmakers.

Oko-Jumbo added, “All laws, plenary sessions and actions taken by the illegal House members are hereby declared void and a nullity in the eyes of the law by virtue of the judgment of Lord Denning in the celebrated case of MacFoy v UAC (1961) 3 All ER 1169.

“Lord Denning held in that case that you cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stand. Particularly, Lord Denning stated: ‘If an act is void, then it is in law a nullity. It is not only bad but incurably bad. There is no need for an order of court to set it aside.

“‘It is automatically null and void without more ado, though it is sometimes more convenient to have the court declare it to be so’.”

He stated further that every proceeding which was founded on the activities of the lawmakers had become ‘bad and incurably bad’.

“You cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stay there. It will collapse,” he added.

He called on the Executive arm, the Judiciary and the general public to disregard every law purportedly enacted by members of the other faction.

He added, “Furthermore, this House would want to most respectfully urge and call on His Excellency, the Governor of Rivers State, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, to desist forthwith from further dealings with the 25 former lawmakers, in whatever guise.

“Those members are merely floating and do not have any landing ground or anywhere to berth their ship since their defection to the All Progressives Congress on the 11th of December, 2023.

“This House is the legally and constitutionally recognised House of Assembly by virtue of the defection of the other members and is ready to receive correspondences from and work with His Excellency, the Governor of Rivers State, Sir Siminalayi Fubara. Distinguished colleagues, let me thank you once again.”
Speaking to journalists after the sitting of the House, Oko-Jumbo said he would stay true to his constitutional duties and work assiduously for the growth and development of Rivers people and the state.

“We will sit again, and communicate our proceedings to the public and make sure that we are doing what we ought to do to ensure there is transparency and clarity of leadership of the 10th Legislative Assembly,” he said.

Also speaking, a factional Leader of the House, Sokari Goodboy Sokari said, “As the chairman of the government business in the 10th Assembly, as you’ve heard our Speaker say, we will work in line with set goals to achieve synergy with the Executive.

“But away from that, we want to further warn that if His Excellency, the governor ever have any dealing with those former members, we, the original members of the 10th Assembly, who by the provisions of the Constitution, form the quorum to address the legislative business of the day, will have no choice than to raise the gavel, which is to commence impeachment proceedings against him.”

He, therefore, urged Fubara to cooperate and work in tandem with the legitimate members of the 10th Assembly to ensure the delivery of good governance and quality dividends of democracy to the people.

Meanwhile, the new Speaker was led to the plenary with the original mace of the Rivers State House of Assembly by the Sergeant-at-Arms, David Wariboko, who managed the last sitting of the Amaewhule-led Assembly in the same position.

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Why We’re Charging Helicopter Landing Fee – Aviation Ministry

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The Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development on Monday said the introduction of helicopter landing levies was in line with global best practices and cost recovery measures.

This is contained in a statement by Odutayo Oluseyi, Head, Press and Public Affairs of the ministry in Lagos.

According to Mr Oluseyi, the ministry recognises the importance of helicopter operations in Nigeria’s aviation industry and is committed to implementing international best practices in helicopter operations.

He said that helicopter landing levies were commonplace in countries such as the US, the United Kingdom, India and various other regions worldwide.

He maintained that Tallahassee International Airport in Florida began implementing helicopter landing levies under Vector Airport Systems, since 1 October 2022.

Mr Oluseyi said helicopter landing levies were common across airfields in the United Kingdom, ranging from major commercial ones, to small general aviation fields.

He added that, typically, helicopter levies matched or exceeded those for fixed-wing aircraft, and varied based on factors like location and services provided.

“The federal government has granted NAEBI Dynamic Concepts Ltd exclusive rights to collect helicopter landing levies in line with the MoU between NAEBI Concept and NAMA (focal Agency), Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

“It is instructive to note that NAMA, under the Act as amended in 2022, is empowered to collect aeronautical revenues in both the upper and lower airspace to support her self-sustainability.

“However, over the years, NAMA has predominantly relied on the upper airspace for her revenue generation.

“Government in her wisdom, having discovered a lacuna on the lower airspace where helicopter operations is dominant, directed NAMA to live up to its responsibilities, to enable them generate enough resources, to sustain their aeronautical architecture, enhance security and surveillance and improve the overall quality of helicopter operations in Nigeria,” he said.

According to Mr Oluseyi, the government is confident that the move will improve capacity, efficiency, safety, security and attract more investments in the aviation industry.

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Fubara Vows to Probe Previous Rivers Administrations

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Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, has said he will set up a panel of inquiry to look into the affairs of governance in the state.

Fubara disclosed this during the swearing-in and administration of the oath of office on Dagogo Iboroma, SAN, as the Attorney General of the state and Commissioner for Justice.

The governor criticised recent comments by the former Attorney-General of the State and Justice Commissioner, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor, SAN, who resigned from his cabinet over a fortnight ago and urged the new Attorney-General to defend the state.

Fubara stated, “It is not the one that while you were here… the only thing you do is to sabotage the government.

“Instead of you to close your mouth, you publicly claim that you’re a learned person to tell people that you’re the Chief Law Officer. Chief Law Officer, you were here and went to stand before a Magistrate Court.

“At that time you didn’t remember that you’re a Chief Law Officer going against the ethics of your job.”

Addressing the new AG, the governor said, “You have a big task. As it is today in the local parlance, they say the jungle has matured. We will be setting a panel of inquiry to investigate the affair of governance.”

The governor further said there was a deliberate attempt to sabotage his administration, saying, “If we disagree, no matter how bad it is, it should be resolved.

“But it has become very clear that this disagreement there is no headway to it, and for many reasons, there is very visible evidence that there is sabotage, a deliberate attempt to sabotage this administration.

“Maybe where they are, they are telling them nothing will happen, it is happening here live, we have our own legislators that are performing their duties according to the Constitution. So that record is threatened.”

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Tobi Amusan Again! Sets New World-Leading Record

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The world record-holder in the women’s 100m hurdles, Tobi Amusan, was the fastest over the barriers, setting a world-leading time of 12.40 (0.9m/s).

Danielle Williams, a two-time world champion, was ahead for most of the race but lost her rhythm over the final two hurdles and finished second with 12.46.

“This is the healthiest I’ve been. It’s a pain-free season compared to other years,” World Athletics website quoted Amusan to have said.

“I told myself: ‘I’m not getting a DQ today’. I’m not the best of starters, but looking at how I executed today, it could have been better, but I am thankful for the win.”

Nigeria’s Minister of Sports, John Enoh, took to his X handle to congratulate the Nigerian athletics queen for her latest feat.

“Take your flowers Tobi Amusan, you stormed to an emphatic win in the women’s 100m hurdles at the Jamaica Athletics Invitational, clocking a time of 12.40s (0.9), a World Lead time!

“You defeated World Champion Danielle Williams, who came 2nd in 12.46s, while Christina Clemons was 3rd in 12.54s.

“Tobi, you keep making our country proud. Paris Olympics is around the corner, your performance gives us hope just like others that Nigeria is set to break a jinx. Keep soaring, we are proud of you,” Enoh wrote.

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