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Thailand Army Chief Announces Coup

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The pro-government Red Shirt centre has warned the country to “stand-by for retaliation” after Thailand’s military launched a coup, three days after it initiated martial law.

Gunfire has been heard on the streets of Bangkok, and the army announced on television the names of 18 people who should report to the army. First on the list was deposed Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan.

The army has imposed a nationwide curfew from 10pm until 5am, which Australians and other visitors in the country will have to obey.

The Red Shirt group posted on Twitter: “Now it is a coup – stand-by for retaliation.”

The constitution has been suspended and gatherings of more than five people banned

An army spokesman said people should remain calm and continue to go about their normal activities.

“We will provide security for foreigners,” he said.

In his official announcement that the coup had taken place, army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha said: “In order for the situation to return to normal quickly and for society to love and be at peace again … and to reform the structure of the political, economic and social structure, the military needs to take control of power.”

The curfew will affect tens of thousands of tourists in resort areas like Phuket, Chiang Mai and Pattaya. It is also expected to create chaos for travellers arriving into and leaving the country and will affect dozens of flights, because passengers are prohibited from travelling after 10pm.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says it is updating its advice for Australians who are in Thailand or planning to travel there.

Many Thais will not know about the curfew because Thai television and radio stations have been taken off the air, although the internet and social media sites like Twitter are still operating.

International television stations like the ABC’s Australia Network, CCN and BBC were taken off at least one cable channel provider. The Cartoon channel was even taken off air.

Troops have been deployed in large numbers across Bangkok, where major shopping centres have closed early and restaurants, bars and other businesses are shuttered.

They have entered television stations that were not already closed and the stations that remain open are now playing soothing music.

Troops are also in newspaper offices.

Martial music played all evening as it became apparent that the soldiers have taken over government in Thailand.

As commanders appeared on television about 5pm Bangkok time (8pm AEST) to declare they had taken over, the leaders of both rival political parties in Thailand were taken away in a vans amid dramatic scenes at the Army Club in central Bangkok, where talks were being held to try to find a resolution to six months of sometimes violent unrest.

The Red Shirt centre posted another message on Twitter saying “many of our co-leaders have been detained without whereabouts (known) – they are most likely detained at an army base.”

A military source said the leaders were told “we will keep you together until you understand and love each other”.

Formally announcing the coup on television, General Prayuth said martial law had moved to a full-blown coup, to quell political violence and “ensure fairness for every side”.

”To restore peace back to the country in a short time and to reform the country’s politics, economy and society, the Thai military, army, navy, air force and police have seized power from May 22 onward,” General Prayuth said.

“I ask the people to remain calm and carry on with their business as usual.”

Gunfire was heard on Uttayan Road, where the pro-government Red Shirt protesters have been camped.

 

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USAID begins Covid-19 testing in Imo rural areas

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USAID averts 25,000 unwanted pregnancies in Ebonyi, Kogi

…Umuagwo Varsity of Agric kicks-off October

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has begun Covid-19 testing in the 27 Local Government Areas of Imo State, “in a bid to reduce the impact of community spread of the virus in the rural areas of the state.

The Imo State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Declan Mbadiwe Emelumba disclosed this in Owerri while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the Weekly Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Hope Uzodimma on Wednesday.

Chief Emelumba said so far, the USAID officials have carried out reasonable number of testing in Njaba LGA and reported that all those tested came out negative and that the council prayed that the result from other Local Government Areas will be the same.

He announced that the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) has approved the take off of the Imo State University for Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Umuagwo in October this year.

According to him, the approval underscores the efforts which the Imo State Government ably led by Governor Hope Uzodinma has made towards the establishment of a second university for the state.

Recently, the NUC panel was in Imo State to carry out the necessary verification exercises on the state facilities, human and physical infrastructures.

Mr. Declan Emelumba, who was flanked by the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Bernard Ikegwuoha, Commissioner for Health Dr. Damaris Osunkwo and the Chief Press Secretary/Media Adviser to the Governor Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku, informed that the Executive Council is happy that something new is happening in the Education Sector of the State.

Emelumba said that the Imo State University of Science and Environmental Sciences, Umuagwo will take off by October when other universities would be resuming for a new academic session.

In the same vein, the Council has approved the immediate relocation of Faculty of Engineering Imo State University Owerri to its permanent site at Okigwe, stressing that Government has put all processes and facilities on ground to ensure the immediate take–off of the faculty.

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Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital

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Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM  Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital

The Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku has visited Mr. Ogechi Iwu, a journalist with Osiza FM.

The media man is hospitalized at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri over complications from diabetes that led to his right leg being amputated.

Mr. Nwachuku said the visit was to show solidarity on behalf of Governor Uzodimma to his professional colleague, assuring him of their prayers, particularly that of his principal, and the prayers of Mr. Iwu’s numerous friends and well wishers who are touched by his plight.

“I am here on behalf of my principal to associate with him in this time of health challenge and to encourage him not to see the sickness as a death sentence.”

Oge Iwu at fmc

L-R: Chief Akaraonye, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku with Ogechi Iwu during the visit

Mr. Nwachuku urged Mr. Iwu to continue in the high spirit he saw him and trust God for his total recovery “because healing is a thing of mind and when a sick person is in high spirit the patient gets recovered quickly.”

The spokesman of the Governor promised to bring the plight of the journalist to the attention of his principal, and assured that the Governor will, in his usual manner of one with milk of human sympathy, show concern over Iwu’s plight.

Earlier, Mr. Iwu thanked the CPS/Media Adviser, the State Chairman of NUJ, Imo State, Chief Christopher Akaraonye and other journalists who were on the entourage, for coming to identify with him on his sick bed, and assured that God in his infinite mercy will quicken his recovery.

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Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council

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Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council

Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma has inaugurated a new Governing Council, for the Imo State University, IMSU, Owerri.

At the inauguration ceremony on Monday, August 31, the governor named Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji as the Chairman of the Governing Council and Pro-Chancellor of the University.

Other members of the Council include: Chief Leo Stan Ekeh, Chief Tony Ezenna, Prof. (Ven.) Chinedu Nebo, Sir. Louis Ezeigwe, Chief Engr. Ernest Nwapa, Dr. (Mrs.) Uwandu Uzoma, Ugoeze Victoria Adaku Ekezie, Prof. Adaobi Obasi (Vice Chancellor) and others.

Speaking at the inauguration, Governor Uzodimma said the choice of the members is to infuse fresh air into the university because “It is in dire need to bounce back to reckoning.”
He added that the choice of the members was because they have carved a niche for themselves in their chosen fields of endeavour and that they have earned solid reputation as men and women of substance in their individual trade, indices that qualified them for the appointment.

He challenged the members to bring their reputation to bear on the University, bearing in mind the task for good quality scholarship in Imo State University as well as service to humanity.

The Governor urged the members to deploy their individual accomplishments, excellence, expertise, passion for service as effectively as necessary to actualize the dream of his administration of having a highly reputable University comparable to the best Universities in the World.

He also requested the Council to “restore in words and deeds the motto of Imo State University, which is Excellence in Service”.

“Imo State University currently is a classical example of a failed University,” Governor Uzodimma said but strongly believed that “with a star studded Governing Council such as the one inaugurated there is no doubt that Imo is on the track to realize the dreams of her founding fathers.”

He further enjoined the Council members to quickly hit the ground running and come up with policies and programmes that will reassure Imo people that the University that made them proud 20 years back is on track as he assured them of Government partnership in this regard.

In an acceptance speech, on behalf of the Council, the Chairman, Most Rev. Ugorji who is the Catholic Bishop of Umuahia thanked the Governor for the absolute confidence reposed in them by giving them the assignment and acknowledged that though the task is daunting he has a strong belief that with the calibre of members of the Council and support of the management, staff and students the University will be returned to a centre of excellence which was the dream of the founding fathers.

He said that Imo State University deserves the best and that he and his members as inaugurated will work acidulously to ensure that the target of the governor in making Imo State University one of the best universities in Africa is realised.

He congratulated fellow members and promised that God’s willing, they will not fail the government and people of Imo State.

Present at the inauguration were the Deputy Governor, Prof. Placid Njoku, the Speaker Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins, the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Cosmas Iwu, and other members of the expanded State Executive Council.

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