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22 Die In Auto Crash

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No fewer than 22 persons lost their lives in the various road accidents that occurred in Enugu State during the Christmas celebrations last year.

The National Emergency Management Agency [NEMA] South East Coordinator, Dr Abdullahi Bandele Onimode, disclosed this while speaking with newsmen in his office on Thursday on the activities of the agency in the South East zone for the past one year.

Out of the 223 persons that were involved in the accidents, he stated, 84 sustained various degrees of injuries, while 22 lost their lives, adding that a total of 43 vehicles were involved in the accidents.

Dr Onimode, however, regretted that about 90 per cent of victims of the accidents were indigenes of Enugu State, appealing to governors of the five states in the South East to provide towing vans to enable the agency remove broken down vehicles from the roads during festive periods.

The South East NEMA boss, stated that his zone, in compliance with the headquarter’s directives, organised a training programme in collaboration with “the National Youth Service Corps known as NEMA/NYSC Vanguards of Disaster Management and code named ‘Taking Disaster Management to the grassroots”

According to him, the programme was aimed at engaging and training mobilised corps members who have volunteered themselves towards community based disaster management efforts as vanguards.

He, therefore, expressed satisfaction that following the tremendous success achieved in the zone during the programmes, a special edition of the programme was also held on senatorial basis, Anambra South comprising Ihiala, Ekwusigo , Orumba North, Orumba South, Nnewi North, Nnewi South and Aguata Local Government Areas.

His words; “Fifty volunteers were trained from each Local Government Area making a total of 350 volunteers trained at the same time who in turn would serve as trainers in subsequent launch at their various Local Government Areas.”

Dr Onimode stated further that the agency in his zone was also involved in a joint patrol between it{NEMA}, The Federal Road Safety Commission{FRSC}, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp{NSCDC}’ and the Nigerian Police Force.

He disclosed that the programme, which was the brain child of NEMA, commenced on Monday December 22, 2008 and terminated on Saturday January 3, 2009, adding that it was aimed at ensuring reduced or accident free period for returnees for the Christmas season and other road users within the period.

The agency’s ambulances, he stated further, were used during the period to assist accident victims, adding that the zonal office participated actively in traffic monitoring especially at the head bridge, Onitsha .

Dr Onimode added that within the past one year, the Zonal Office “has through advocacy visits and collaboration with the states seen to the passage of various acts establishing SEMA in the states”

According to him, Ebonyi State was already receiving attention, adding that “it is our hope that before the end of the legislative year, the bill will see the light of the day.

He assured that NEMA was putting in place, contingency arrangements for heavy disasters, assuring that the agency was battle ready for disasters.

Continuing, Dr Onimode revealed that the zonal office was also at Warri during the JTF/militant face off in the region and gave relief assistance to the victims of the crisis.

Dr Onimode, however, appealed for more funding for the south East Zone and vehicles, expressing happiness that the head of the agency was already working hard to address some of the problems facing NEMA in the various states.

Rivers State Governor, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi (right) welcoming his excellency, Kingsley Nabolo, South Africa’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, during a courtesy visit to Government House, Port Harcourt, recently. Photo: Ibioye Diama

Rivers State Governor, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi (right) welcoming his excellency, Kingsley Nabolo, South Africa’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, during a courtesy visit to Government House, Port Harcourt, recently. Photo: Ibioye Diama

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90% Of Money Laundered Via Real Estate, EFCC Reveals

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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.”

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We’ve Spent N9bn To Upgrade RSUTH, Wike Confirms

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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.

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Power Generation Falls 23% To 3,172MW

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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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