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RSG Bans Overseas Medical Therapy

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Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi (centre) discussing with Chief Ufot Ekatte Minister of Niger Delta Ministry (right) and Senator Lee Meeba at 2010 Ogoni day celebration at Bori, on Monday.

Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi (centre) discussing with Chief Ufot Ekatte Minister of Niger Delta Ministry (right) and Senator Lee Meeba at 2010 Ogoni day celebration at Bori, on Monday.

Rivers State Government says it has stopped the financing of medical treatment abroad for indigenes of the state.

Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi who disclosed this Sunday night during an informal evening sit-out with media executives at Government House, Port Harcourt, said the decision takes effect from January this year.

Governor Amaechi explained that foreign medical trips cost the state government huge sums of money, noting that such funds would rather be channeled toward equipping its own hospitals to take care of the health needs of greater number of people.

The governor explained that analysis of beneficiaries of the medical treatment abroad shows that only the rich and influential people in society were gaining from such government gesture, as the common people hardly had access to government functionaries to push their cases.

He noted that the state government was aware of the enormous pressure on the Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital, Port Harcourt, which is the only functional secondary health institution in Port Harcourt, and assured that the new Kelsey Harrison Niger Hospital completed recently, would be equipped this year.

The State Chief Executive also hinted that twenty-three General Hospitals in the local government areas would be renovated to complement the newly built primary health centres across the state and advised residents with minor ailments to patronise the health centres, to reduce the pressure on the hospitals.

The governor said the completed health centres are fully equipped with at least a medical doctor, trained midwives and nurses to take care of the health needs of the people.

According to him, the current situation where all patients rush to BMH for medical attention has resulted in the over-crowding in the hospital, and cited a situation where a doctor attends to about 100 patients in a day, adding that such arrangement would lead to diminishing returns on the part of the medical officer.

The evening sit-out was attended by media executives based in Port Harcourt, and was the first by any Governor in the state.

Meanwhile, the State Chief Executive approved the naming of the new Stadium to be built at the Greater Port Harcourt City after one-time Green Eagles player, Adokiye Amiesimeka, in-view of his enormous contributions to the growth of football in the state and Nigeria at large.

Governor Amaechi said the building of the 85,000-seater capacity stadium, would be done alongside the hostels in the games village in preparation for the hosting of the forthcoming National Sports Festival slated for Port Harcourt before the end of this year.

Explaining that the contractors have given assurances that the projects would be completed in October, ahead of the Sports Festival, the governor lamented the poor quality of jobs carried out by some indigenous contractors in the state who are handling some of the numerous state projects across the state.

The governor specifically condemned the poor quality of job done by the contractor handling the UPE model primary school, Borokiri, Port Harcourt, the Churchill Road Primary School, and the Eleme Town road projects, warning that the names of those contractors would be made public if no significant changes were noted.

He, however, thanked some local contractors for carrying out their projects diligently, while bemoaning those that tend to see their jobs as political patronage, assuring that government would extract every kobo given to them to carry out the projects.

The State Chief Executive said the security situation in the state has improved tremendously and lauded the contributions of the various security agencies towards the achievement of peace in the state.

He remarked that the New Year would witness the consolidation of ongoing projects to ensure their completion under the 2010 budget, noting that several road and educational projects are at various stages of completion as some contractors were working day and night.

Governor Amaechi also hinted that the state government was in court with neighbouring Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom States over the-actions of the National Boundary Commission that ceded oil wells in Soku and Andoni axis of the state to them, and hoped that the issues would be resolved soon.

The governor thanked the State House of Assembly, the Judiciary and Service Commanders for their level of support, as well as cooperation and loyalty of the people of Rivers State despite some hard decisions taken by the state government in the past one year.

Earlier, in his welcome speech, the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Magnus Abe, said the year 2010 would be a unique one for the state because last year witnessed a lot of achievements by the present administration.

Mr Abe opined that the level of Peace achieved has began to attract investors back to the state, noting that the government would consolidate on it to make Port Harcourt the safest city in the country as only policies and programmes that hasve positive impact on the lives of the people would be pursued.

The well attended State Annual Banquet also saw presentation of gifts and souvenirs to all the guests in attendance by the state government.

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Again, RSG Begins Unveiling, Flag-Off Of Nine Key Projects, ’Morrow

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The Rivers State Government has rolled out the drums to herald another phase of official commissioning of key projects embarked upon by the Governor Nyesom Wike-led administration in the state.
A statement by the state government said that the process is in continuation of the commissioning and flag-off of projects by Governor Nyesom Wike.
It indicated that Rumuola flyover would be commissioned tomorrow, while the GRA flyover would be commissioned on Saturday.
The also stated that the government would commission the Ezimgbu Road on Monday, December 13, 2021; with another commissioning of Tombia Road Extension scheduled for Tuesday, December 14, 2021.
The statement said that the governor would commission the Safe Home, Borikiri, Port Harcourt on Wednesday, December 15; while on Thursday, December 16, 2021, the governor would commission the Odokwu internal roads.
Also, the governor would continue the flag-off of key infrastructure projects with Chokocho-Igbodo Road slated for Monday, December 20, 2021; Oyigbo-Okoloma Road on Wednesday, December 22, 2021; and Magistrates’ Court Complex, Port Harcourt on Thursday, December 23, 2021.

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Wike Justifies N7bn Libel Suit Against THISDAY

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, yesterday, appeared before the state High Court in Port Harcourt, to testify as a witness in an N7billion libel suit against THISDAY Newspaper.
Wike said he was in court to seek justice and clear his name as a person from the malicious publication by THISDAY Newspaper, which portrayed him as deceitful, untrustworthy person, who exerts subterranean influences on judicial matters and over court sittings in Port Harcourt.
It would be recalled that Wike had in August, 2020, slammed a N7billion suit being damages for libel written and published in THISDAY’s Tuesday, June 23, 2020 edition captioned, “With Wike, Obaseki Meets His PDP’s Waterloo; Almost.”
The defendants in the suit are THISDAY Newspapers Limited, Leaders and Company Limited, Davidson Iriekpan, Chuks Okocha and Adibe Emenyonu.
Wike, while testifying as witness in suit No. PHC/1505/CS/2020 before the court presided over by Justice A. Enebeli, asserted that the defendants maliciously and falsely portrayed him as an unreliable friend/person.
“When you say somebody cannot be trusted; that cannot be a fair comment. When you say somebody is influencing the Judiciary, that cannot be a fair comment”, the governor said.
In his written statement on oath, Wike had stated that the defendants had accused him of influencing the decision of the court sitting in Port Harcourt that granted an injunction restraining Godwin Obaseki from participating in the primaries of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State in 2020.
He stated that the defendants maliciously accused him of undemocratically exerting influence on the primaries process of PDP in Edo State in aid of his ally, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, who was the beneficiary of the court order restraining Obaseki from participating in the PDP primaries.
The governor, who told the court that he was not even aware of the aforementioned suit by Ogbeide-Ihama against Obaseki, said the publication was reckless, false and without regards for the truth.
According to him, contrary to well-known journalistic tradition and practices, the defendants did not investigate properly to ensure the information they relied on was accurate.
“They did not seek to verify the facts from me or in any manner oblige me with the opportunity to state my own side of the story before proceeding to make the false publication” the governor argued.
Wike stated that the defendants further denigrated him before the entire world as a fake democrat, who engages in meddling in the internal affairs of All Progressives Congress (APC) in order to get at his political foe, Chibuike Amaechi.
The governor explained that he was not a member of the APC and has had no hand in the internal crisis which has bedevilled the party both in Rivers State and all over Nigeria.
“By the letter of Messrs E.C. Ukala and Co., Solicitors, under the hand of Emmanuel C. Ukala, SAN, dated 23rd June, 2020, the defendants were given opportunity to retract, and recant the publication as well as to offer apology for the false publication but the defendants spurned the opportunity and ignored the letter completely.”
The governor, while responding to claim by lawyer to the defendants, Turudu Ede, SAN, that the essence of the lawsuit was to intimidate and harass his clients, said the whole essence of the suit was to get justice and clear his name as a man of substantial character, honour and repute.
“The essence of the suit is to get justice since they (defendants) refused to retract the publication or apologise. So, I sued them to clear my name.”
Speaking to journalists outside the court, one of the lawyers to Wike, Mr. Mark Agwu said his client was in court to seek legal redress.
“To challenge him as a person, it means you have made him untrustworthy, a deceit, a cheat, an influencer of the court, because the publication they made was that he had a role to play in influencing the outcome of that Federal High Court case. Nobody will take that lightly, and especially for a man who believes in the rule of law”, Agwu added.
The court adjourned the matter for further hearing to 12th, 13th and 14th of January, 2022.

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$130m Fraud: Rivers Sues Saipem SPA, Saipem Contracting Firm, Others

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The Rivers State Government has charged two construction firms, Saipem SPA and Saipem Contracting Nigeria Ltd, to court over an alleged conspiracy to cheat and with intent to defraud the state of the sum of $130million, being advanced payment for the construction of the OCGT power plant in Port Harcourt.
In a 16-count criminal charge filed by the Director of Public Prosecution, C.F. Amadi for the Rivers State Attorney General, the state alleged that after collecting the said sum as advanced payment between 2011 and 2018, the defendants have not kept their obligation under the contract.
Others charged alongside the companies were Walter Peviana; Kelechi Sinteh Chinakwe; Giandomenico Zingali; Vitto Testaguzza and Davide Anelli, who are directors and officers of the companies.
The defendants are charged with various offences ranging from conspiracy, cheating and obtaining credit by false pretence, contrary to Section 518 (6) and (7) and punishable under Section 518 of the Criminal Code, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999, section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b) of the Criminal Code, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State, amongst others.
Already, the Rivers State Government has issued a fiat to the law firm of Godwin Obla (SAN) to prosecute the matter before the state High court.
The defendants are equally charged for the offence of false Statements by Officials of Companies contrary to and punishable under Section 436 (b).
The prosecution specifically accused the defendants of obtaining credit of $130million by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); obtaining credit of $20,467,942.00 by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b), obtaining credit of N7,000,000,000.00 only by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b).
They are charged for obtaining credit of N318,640,173.54, by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); attempt to cheat $97million contrary to Section 508 and punishable under Section 509; attempt to cheat $15million contrary to Section 508 and punishable under Section 509; conspiracy to receive a credit of $97million by false pretences contrary to Section 518 (6) and punishable under Section 518; cheating $11million contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating N110, 097, 416.51 contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating by collecting sums attributable to shared facilities already paid for in AFAM Phase I in AFAM Phase II contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421.
Obtaining N20, 467, 942 contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; obtaining credit of $60,168,936.00 by false pretences or other fraud, contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); obtaining credit of $1,512,034.00 by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b) all of the Criminal Code Law of Rivers State, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria 1999.
According to the Proof of Evidence attached to the charge and the statement made by the Head, Power Generation/Mechanical of the Rivers State Ministry of Power, one Mr Temple Azunda M., the facts constituting the case in hand are as follows:
Saipem SPA and Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited and other officers of the duo, herein the Defendants, are Italian companies which services have been retained by the Rivers State Government, herein RSG, in several projects, prominent amongst which is the AFAM Phase II Power Plant Project.
By an initial tripartite agreement made on the January 20, 2010, the RSG under the auspices of the Rivers State Ministry of Power entered a contract with Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited, Saipem SPA for the construction of the OGCT power plant in Port Harcourt at a total cost of $119million consequent upon which the Rivers State Government made advance payments, in instalments, to Saipem Contracting Nigeria Ltd and Saipem SPA amounting in total to a sum of $130million in all which the Defendants have acknowledged receipt of.
The Defendants were to be given an initial mobilization of 20per cent of the total contract sum which the RSG paid.
It was part of the initial agreement – and indeed a condition sine qua non – that, to access the 2nd tranche of payment of 25per cent from the Rivers State Government, the Defendants would mandatorily have installed the Gas Turbine into the foundations as referenced in ATTACHMENT 1 to VO 007 which states that:
CONTRACTOR shall be entitled to a payment corresponding to 20per cent of the VO No. 007 LS PRICE upon mobilisation to site and commencement of bush clearing activities at SITE.
Upon commencement of bush clearing activities at the site, the contractor shall issue the invoice relevant to the above payment and the owner shall pay such invoice within 14 days from its issuance.
The parties agree that no deduction for recovery of advance payment shall apply on the payment due to the contractor for invoices issued by the contractor in accordance with this paragraph.

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