A group known as Ijaw Youth Campaign for Peace has expressed Shock over the recent claim by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), that they have vandalised Shell platforms in Focados.
In a statement made available to The Tide, Pere Prince, the group’s Public Affairs Officer condemned the action of the militant group, saying that “This is not in any way an achievement, but an action that in the long run, will affect negatively, the lives of our already impoverished poor majority in the rural communities”.
He described as a welcome development, President Yar’Adua’s announcement of amnesty for all freedom fighters including packages for the development of the Niger Delta region, urging that the terms of the amnesty be put to test .
“Our continued fomenting of havoc in the face of the amnesty will present our people as not actually fighting for genuine course, but personal gains which the government can see as armed robbery and criminality of sort,” the statement said.
“If the purported sabotage was actually true, we in the Ijaw Youth Campaign for Peace hereby condemn it in all facets, because it lacks Niger Delta reasons and the central spirit of fighting for development”, the group stated.
The Ijaw Youth Campaign for Peace however commended some freedom fighters who have accepted the terms of the amnesty, but advised the recalcitrant ones to stop forthwith, all anti-peace activities and campaigns in the Niger Delta.
Meanwhile, the Joint Task Force (JTF) has said that some unidentified groups, have vandalised Shell pipelines at an isolated area off Focados, in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.
A statement issued by Colonel Rabe Abubakar, Coordinator JMCC and made available to The Tide, stated that “This is purely an act of sabotage by some criminals on isolated pipelines, not platforms, as they are claiming. This is not, in any way, act of bravery or gallantry, but pure act of economic sabotage which even toddlers can do considering the isolated locations of such pipelines”.
He further stated that the issue of sinking of gunboat and killing soldiers could not even arise because the ugly incident happened in an unmanned and isolated area, adding that the claim by the militants over an encounter with any boat and hijacking it could only be a figment of their imagination.
According to him, beteen May 13 and 15, militants have avoided any encounter with the JTF but have continued with acts of vandalism of unmanned locations, where local and law abiding communities benefit from proceeds of looking after the pipelines.
Col. Abubakar therefore called on all law abiding citizens and the numerous well meaning Nigerians of the existence of very few crooked elements who are hell-bent to scuttle the restoration of law and order in the Niger Delta.
“we wish to tell those elements that, the watchdog JTF is monitoring with keen interest their plans and activities, and sooner than later its dragnets will catch up with them. This we assure. At the same time, we wish to also acknowledge and salute the numerous hitherto militant groups who have embraced peace with the FGN and assure them that, they have nothing to fear and that, they are on a noble course”, he said.
In continuation of its effort to get rid of criminality in the Niger Delta, the Joint Task Force code-named Operation Restore Hope, has conducted a cordon and search operation recently, at Nembe community in Bayelsa
State. The operation was conducted to bring to justice those responsible for the attack on the security forces’ location at Obioku, near Nembe community.
In the course of the operation, nine suspected criminals were arrested while 142 rounds of 7.62mm NATO, 6 empty magazines, two Dane guns and a speed boat were recovered. The suspects are currently assisting the JTF to uncover the masterminds of the attack. It would be recalled that some unidentified gunmen, suspected to be militants attacked the troops of the Task Force guarding an Agip pipeline, and the attack was successfully repelled by the gallant troops without any casualty.
This is against the claim by the faceless and cowardly hooded MEND that two soldiers were killed. This is untrue and should be disregarded, as it is one of their gimmicks, because it was the same soldiers that carried out the cordon and search exercise, JTF said.
“The claim by MEND is as false as all their previous acclaim to glory. The JTF will continue to exercise patience and professionalism in the conduct of its operation in the communities that militants use as hideouts; we however call on the community members and leaderships to continue to partner with the JTF by exposing the criminals within them to avoid unnecessary hardships these criminals attract to their communities. For those who are bent on carrying out sabotage activities, their days are numbered as sooner or later the arms of the law will catch up with them surely”.
However, the JTF wishes to urge the militants, their sponsors and sympathisers to lay down their arms and accept the golden opportunity provided them by the Government for a soft landing for their own good and for the good of the communities in which they live.
90% Of Money Laundered Via Real Estate, EFCC Reveals
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says about 90 per cent of money laundering is done through the real estate sector.
The commission’s Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, stated this while featuring on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, yesterday,
According to him, although the sector is monitored via the special control unit, more needed to be done.
According to Bawa, “One of the problems we have now is the real estate. 90 to 100 per cent of the resources are being laundered through the real estate.”
He said there are so many issues involved, but that they were working with the National Assembly to stop what he called “the gate keepers” as there would be reduction in looting if there is no one to launder the money.
Bawa, the EFCC boss, gave an example of a minister who expressed interest in a $37.5million property a bank manager put up for sale.
He said, “The bank sent a vehicle to her house and in the first instance $20million was evacuated from her house.
“They paid a developer and a lawyer set up a special purpose vehicle, where the title documents were transferred into.
“And he (the lawyer) is posing as the owner of the property. You see the problem. This is just one of many; it is happening daily.”
The EFCC chairman also revealed that he receives death threats often.
Asked to respond to President Muhammadu Buhari’s frequent “Corruption is fighting back” expression, Bawa said he was in New York, USA, last week, when someone called to threaten him.
“Last week, I was in New York when a senior citizen received a phone call from somebody that is not even under investigation.
“The young man said, ‘I am going to kill him (Bawa), I am going to kill him’.
“I get death threats. So, it is real. Corruption can fight back,” he said.
On corruption in the civil service, he said there were a lot of gaps, especially in contracts processing, naming “emergency contracts” as one.
Bawa said, “A particular agency is notorious for that. They have turned all their contracts to emergency contracts.”
However, he said, EFCC has strategies in place to check corruptions, one of which is “corruption risk assessments of MDAs”.
According to him, “I have written to the minister and would soon commence the process of corruption risk assessments of all the parastatals and agencies under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to look at their vulnerability to fraud and advise them accordingly.”
Asked if the scope of corruption in the country overwhelms him, Bawa, the EFCC boss said, “Yes, and no.”
We’ve Spent N9bn To Upgrade RSUTH, Wike Confirms
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says his administration has spent N9billion in upgrading structures and installation of new equipment at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH).
He said the fact that 40 per cent of the 2021 budget of the state is dedicated to provision of quality healthcare delivery was a further demonstration of the priority placed on the sector.
Wike made the explanation at the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of a Renal Centre at RSUTH, last Friday.
The governor said he made promise to Rivers people that the best would be provided to them in all sectors of the society within his capability because of the mandate they gave to him.
“As we came on here, I just looked around and I see the changes in this teaching hospital. I can say that we have put not less than N9billion in this teaching hospital.
“If you look at the budget, the health sector alone, what it’s taking from the Rivers State Government is not less than 40 percent of the 2021 budget.”
Speaking further, Wike said the state government cannot afford to implement free medical service programme in the present economic circumstance.
While dismissing the request for a subvention for RSUTH, Wike, however, commended the chief medical director and his team for their commitment to turnaround the fortunes of RSUTH.
“I have never seen anywhere that health services can be totally free. They’re telling me that people who come here can’t pay. I have never declared that this state is going to take over the health fees of anybody.”
Also speaking, the former Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, who performed the flag-off, noted that Wike’s achievements in the health sector in particular, surpass what former governors of the state had done.
Sekibo said that the governor has given equal attention to every section of the health sector by providing complete health infrastructure that was positioning the state as a medical tourism destination in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike, lauded Governor Nyesom Wike for his interest in the health of Rivers people.
He noted that the renal centre, when completed, would become another landmark development project in the health sector that would handle and manage all kidney-related ailments.
In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Friday Aaron, commended Wike for approving the renal centre.
Aaron explained that chronic kidney disease was a major burden globally with estimated 14 million cases in Nigeria.
According to him, over 240,000 of these cases require renal replacement therapy in the form of dialysis and renal transplant.
The CMD said the building that would house the centre was expected to be completed in six months and consists of two floors.
The ground floor, according to him, would house the haemodialysis unit with eight haemodialysis machines.
He further explained that the first floor of the centre would house the surgical component where most of the sophisticated equipment for kidney transplant would be installed.
Aaron said Wike has released the funds required to build, equip the centre as well as for the training of personnel locally and internationally.
Power Generation Falls 23% To 3,172MW
Power supply in Nigeria has failed to improve on last week’s performance, as it fell by 22.9 per cent from peak generation of 4,115Megawatts on Saturday to 3,172.20MW as at 5pm, yesterday, latest data from the System Operator has shown.
According to the data, most power plants were operating far below capacity due to gas shortage with Olorunsogo Power Plant 335MW capacity; and Sapele Power Plant, 450MW capacity; completely out.
Egbin was generating at 746MW; Omoku 37.20; Omotosho (NIPP) at 105MW; while Afam was generating at 80MW.
The data showed that on the average power generation in the past seven days were 4,120.9MW on Sunday, June 6; 4,249.4 on Monday, June 7; 4,000.9MW on Tuesday, June 8; 3,720.7 on Wednesday, June 9; 3,517 on Thursday, June 10; 3,765MW on Friday, June 11; and 4,115MW on Saturday, June 12.
The International Oil Companies (IOCs), had last warned that despite Nigeria’s huge gas reserves a lot needs to be done to attract investment to the sector to develop gas reserves to boost power generation in the country.
Speaking at the just concluded Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, the Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria/MD SPDC, Osagie Okunbor, said with 203trillion Cubic Feet of gas reserves, what was needed in the country is to deliver projects that would produce the gas.
“The challenge is not just growing the reserves but in producing these reserves for the benefits of our country. Essentially growing the reserves and delivering on the production is a function of two or three elements.
“I like to see infrastructure that is required for the development of these resources at two levels. Soft infrastructure is often the one that is more important than and that is the one that is actually drives most of what you see at site.”
“Soft infrastructure refers to the enabling environment and nothing pleases me as much seeing both the Senate President and the speaker of the house give very firm commitments about trying to pass the PIB this month.
“That is probably the big one of the enabling environment to provide the kind of stability we also need all sorts of other issues we need to that we have discussed severally in terms of sanctity of contract, stable policies and collaboration and I think we are well on our way there”, he added.
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