As a result of the current crisis in Jos, capital of Plateau State, the Rivers State government says it has commenced evacuation of its citizens from the area.
In a statement, the State Information and Communications Commissioner, Mrs. Ibim Semeniari said that so far about 250 indigenes of the State have been moved back to the State.
According to the statement, those evacuated comprised mainly students, Youth Corpers of Rivers State origin and others who may want to come home as a result of the killings in Jos.
The release which said that the Rivers Sate government is prepared to evacuate as many Rivers people as would indicate interest to return home with their families as a result of the crisis, described the situation in Jos as unfortunate as it has once again brought untold hardship to not only indigenes of Plateau State, but indeed the entire country.
It however reiterated the determination of the Amaechi-led administration to protect the lives and property of its citizens anywhere in the country and internationally no matter the cost, provided such citizens live and do their business within the confines of the law wherever they are domiciled.
Charred bodies with scorched hands reaching skyward lay in the streets and a mosque with blackened minarets smoldered Wednesday after several days of fighting between Christians and Muslims killed more than 200 people, according to reports..
There are conflicting accounts about what unleashed the bloodshed. According to the state police commissioner, skirmishes began after Muslim youths set a Christian church ablaze, but Muslim leaders denied that. Other community leaders say it began with an argument over the rebuilding of a Muslim home in a predominantly Christian neighborhood that had been destroyed in November 2008.
Corinne Dufka, senior West Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch, said what caused the latest spark was beside the point. The deeper problem, she said, is the government’s failure to address underlying conflict in the region.
After similar bouts of violence in the past, Nigerian authorities have “come up with analysis, but they don’t respond properly with concrete measures and policies,” Dufka said.
More than 13,500 Nigerians have died in sectarian violence in the last decade, and at least 2,500 people had been killed in Plateau state alone since 2001, according to Human Rights Watch. Dufka said no one has been held accountable, leading to a climate of impunity.
“It’s not just the perpetrators who often murdered people in horrific ways who have not been held accountable, but also the political leaders and sometimes the religious leaders that foment violence, as well as the security forces who’ve used excessive force to respond to it.”
Authorities imposed a 24-hour curfew, but on Wednesday people could been seen walking around the center of the city. When an army convoy passed, they stopped and raised their hands above their heads to show they were not a threat.
“We want the government to come and help us,” said Abdullahi Ushman, who said he had seen rioters attacking people with firearms and bows and arrows.
Plateau State governor Jonah Jang said the violence was not provoked by a lack of opportunity in this rural farming community. He claimed many of the attackers were from Muslim-dominant northern Nigeria and from the nearby, predominantly Muslim nations of Niger and Chad.
“There are people masterminding this for their own selfish reasons,” said Jang, who is Christian.
The Minister of Police Affairs, Ibrahim Yakubu Lame, issued a statement Tuesday blaming the violence on “some highly placed individuals in the society who were exploiting the ignorance and poverty of the people to cause mayhem in the name of religion.”
The chief of Army staff, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Danbazau, confirmed accounts that some residents had been dragged out of their homes and shot by men dressed in what appeared to be army uniforms.
However, following the deployment of troops to quell the religious crisis in Jos, Plateau State, the federal government has warned trouble makes and those responsible for the mayhem to desist or face the full wrath of the law.
The warning came in a national broadcast made by Vice President Goodluck Jonathan over the crisis yesterday.
The Vice president who expressed shock over the spate of killing and destruction said the federal government cannot fold its arm and watch people take the law into their hands.
According to vice president Jonathan those arrested in the course of the crisis would be brought to justice no matter who was involved.
His words; “we would not hide anyone who hides under the canopy of crowd action to elude justice… the federal government is determined to secure the conviction of the perpetrators of this crime no matter how highly placed”.
He assured Nigerians that the federal government is on top of the situation and has the capacity to put the crisis under control by preserving the lives and properties of the citizenry irrespective of their ethnic and religious affiliation.
The vice president equally assured foreign nationals residing in the state of government protection saying that the government had convened high powered security meetings to study the situation.
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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