Barely 24 hours after President Umaru Yar’Adua met with leaders of Niger Delta militants at the Presidential Villa, Abuja for a post amnesty deal that would chart a new course for the region, the issue of resource control has reverberated with Ikemba Nnewi, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu- Ojukwu canvanssing support for it.
Speaking at the 2009 Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG) Prize for Science and Literature Award night Saturday in Abuja, Dim Ojukwu said the problem in the Niger Delta region arose because the people were not allowed control of their resources and that lasting peace in the area depends on the people controlling their resources. Ojukwu could not understand the politics surrounding oil in Nigeria wherein host communities are neither allowed control of their God-given resources nor adequately rewarded, in terms of compensation in the course of environmental pollution and hazards they suffered from oil exploration and exploitation.
He could not also understand the reason for amnesty, when according to him, the nation is not at war, maintaining that amnesty shouldn’t have been necessary if the people of the Niger Delta have been allowed ownership of their resources.
“What are we doing with amnesty? We are not at war, yet every newspaper talks of amnesty”, he quipped, stressing that the federal government should do the right thing, by allowing the people control of their resources.
Ojukwu identified the problem of Nigeria as injustice occasioned by greed, warning that except it is redressed now, the nation shall be the worse for it.
The former Biafran warlord was full of praises for the NLNG for instituting the award which he described as celebration of our cooperation in the field of science and literature by which the NLNG has established special place for itself in the comity of nations.
Ojukwu appealed to the awardees not to consider the monetary worth of the prizes but its impact, adding let’s feel in our heart the glow of achievements that fellow Nigerians got to the height of his careers.
Meanwhile, Igbos who are agitating for the state of Biafra under the aegis of Movement for Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) may now have a re-think and dump their agitation for good.
This is because the architect of Biafra and ex-Biafrain warlord, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumengwu-Ojukwu has subtly dissociated himself fron any agitation that is targeted at breaking-up the country while openly opting for a united Nigeria.
Ojukwu, Ikemba Nnewi, counselled his kinsmen from the South East geopolitical zone, most of which are pro-Biafra, and Nigerians from other tribes to embrace Nigeria with their spirit, soul and body, and work towards her greatness rather than causing disintegration.
Presenting a keynote address at the 2009 Nigerian Liquefied Gas (NLNG) Grand Award in science and literature, Saturday night in Abuja, Ojukwu said in the past, there were reasons justifying ethnic agitations but such reasons have since become a thing of the past and there was no justification whatsoever to hold on to ethnic sentiments against the Nigerian state , any more.
“ Nigerian has been close to crisis but never consumed in crises, ladies and gentlemen, Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu is here before you representing Nigeria, my being Nigerian makes me permanently grateful to God for being a Nigerian,” he said.
For those Nigerians who may still see him as Biafran warlord and anti Nigeria, Ojukwu said ‘ I love Nigeria and I want people to live, feeling that because I love Nigeria, they are my friends: whether they are from the North, West or East.
To convince them that he is truly a Nigerian at heart, Ojukwu said I am a Nigerian in the three major languages Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo and won applause from a section of the audience.
For Nigeria not to disintegrate into ethnic cauldron, the Ikemba Nnewi identified the problem of Nigeria as greed.
‘Greed is responsible for the problem all over the world. The problem arises from one man wanting to take what belongs to another. I call for cooperation among us , Nigerians cooperation should be the keynote. A lot depends on co-operation and how successful you are in co-operating”, he said.
For Nigerians from the six geopolitical zone who are disenchanted with the system, Ojukwu advised that ‘ your future lies I co-operation with other Nigerians, be true to your neighbour; once you do that you have an easy life ahead of you”.
Dim Ojukwu further advised Nigerians to work hard and not to depend on juju or short-cut for success because it does n’t work that way. Ojukwu, a retired Colonel in the Nigerian army was leader of the rebel Biafran side in the over three years Nigerian Civil War that was won by Nigerian troops led by former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon
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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