The Rivers State Government, in collaboration with the Federal Government, has awarded contract worth N1.2billion for the furnishing and equipment of 66 model primary health centres in the state.
The funding comes under projects listed in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The special assistant to the Rivers State Governor on the Millennium Development Goal, Mr Desire Bobmanuel, disclosed this during the issuance of certificate to contractors involved in the project.
Bobmanuel said that contractors who won the bid for model health centres in the upland areas will be paid N19.5million each, while those handling same works in the Riverine part of the state will each receive Five hundred thousand naira more because of the areas peculiar terrain.
He also warned that the government will not hesitate to revoke any contract which contractor fail to meet up the 45 days deadline given them.
The special assistant further urged them to notify the office of the MDG before shipping their equipment to the various health centres for installation.
Later in an interview with newsmen, Mr Bobmanuel noted that the delay in the award of the contracts was to allow for approval by the due process office.
He assured that his office will ensure the proper inspection of the equipment in all the affected health centres after their installations, saying that the situation will , without doubt, boost the health care needs of people of the state.
In other interviews, Mrs Timi Iboro of Maytonec Limited and Danagogo Odein of Primeshire Limited described the bidding process as very transparent.
They also said that the 45 days period given by the government will enable contractors to be serious with their jobs.
PH Serial Killer Suspect, David West Pleads Guilty Of Murder …Says He Was Possessed By Evil …Spirits, As RSG Takes Over Case
The alleged serial killer arrested by operatives of Rivers State Police Command in the state, Gracious David West, has pleaded for forgiveness from the state High Court handling his matter.
This is just as the Rivers State Government, yesterday, took over the prosecution of the suspected serial killer.
The Rivers State Police command in suit PHC/3426/CR/2019, a case between the accused person and the Inspector General of Police, had levelled 10-count charges boarding on conspiracy and murder on West.
According to the charges read, West is alleged to have unlawfully killed several women in different hotels and guest houses in parts of Rivers State which is a punishable offence under Section 319 sub 1, Cap 37 Volume 2 Laws of Rivers State 1999.
West, however, pleaded for forgiveness after pleading guilty to nine counts out of 10 charges preferred against him by the Rivers State Police Command.
The accused, who appeared before the trial judge, Justice Adolphus Enebeli, however, pleaded not guilty for attempting to also kill his 10th victim, identified as Benita Etim on September 18, 2019, in a hotel around Bende Street in Port Harcourt, informing the court that he never intended to kill her other than tying her hands and legs to a chair and leaving her at the hotel room.
The suspect, West, had during proceedings told the court that he preferred to tell the truth so he could be pardoned, noting that he committed the crimes unconsciously.
West stated that the police have his N60,000, necklace and wristwatch, urging the court to compel the police to release the said items to him.
The suspected serial killer said: “My Lord, I have something to say, I killed all other girls in the hotels but that one in Bende Street which is on the tenth charge, I did not have in mind to kill her, I only tied her on the chair.
“My Lord, all these things I did I did it because I was possessed by evil spirits, I want the court to forgive me that is why I said the truth.
“My Lord, I have a complaint to make, all my properties I left in the SARS station, they have refused to give me, my money, 60,000, my wristwatch and other things, my Lord tell them.”
Having taken his plea, the Rivers State Government through the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Zaccheus Adango, applied to take over the prosecution of the matter, which was not opposed by the parties.
The trial Judge, Justice Adolphus Enebeli, after listening to the arguments, first entered non-guilty plea to the suspect, making references to different sections of the Criminal Code of the Law of Federal Government and state, respectively.
Enebeli granted the application of Rivers State Government to take over the matter, expressing readiness to give speedy hearing of the case.
He adjourned till 18th, 21st, 27th and 29th of November and 4th of December for hearing and remanded the suspect in prison.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the court session, yesterday, the police prosecuting counsel, Gladys Imegwu, said the Rivers State Ministry of Justice taking over the prosecution of the matter was in the best interest of the state.
“The court actually directed upon the application of the lawyer from the Ministry of Justice, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), who made an application to take over which is their constitutional right and the court granted the application, and we are not opposed to it.
“It is for the betterment of the state and we are working together, at the same time, we made it clear that we have prosecutorial power, even the Criminal Justice Law gives us that power.”
Also speaking, Principal State Counsel from the Rivers state Ministry of Justice, Director of Public Prosecutions Office, Chidi Ekeh, said the move to take over the prosecution was to ensure justice prevails.
“We considered this case a very sensitive one, considering the fact that all the nine victims were killed in Rivers state, so we want to send a message to Rivers residents that lives are valued and such an offence cannot be toyed with.
“We will prosecute this matter to its logical conclusion and ensure that justice prevails at the end of the day.”
Counsel for the defendant, Vincent Chukwu, said his client pleading guilty before the court was not enough to convict him of the crime.
“The offence in question here is a capital offence, whether my client did it or not, the presumption is that the prosecution must still prove their case beyond reasonable doubt, so it is not for the defendant to just say i am guilty and liable and it ends there.
“Because the punishment is death, so the burden is now on the prosecution to go ahead and prove their case and we are waiting for them. My client has a very plausible defence which we shall open up at the appropriate time, we have had fruitful deliberations with him yesterday and we hope for the best in the matter.”
Justice Enebeli ordered that the defendant be remanded in prison custody and adjourned the matter till November 18, 2019 for hearing.
Earlier, the absence of a lawyer to represent the suspected serial killer, Gracious David West, had stalled his arraignment at the Rivers State High Court, last Monday.
West was arrested by security personnel while he was on his way to Akwa Ibom State from Port Harcourt after he allegedly killed two women in Lagos, Owerri and nine others in Port Harcourt.
The suspect, before his arrest on September 19, 2019, specialised in luring unsuspecting young women to hotels, killing them and escaping from the hotel.
West, who was brought to court by heavily armed personnel of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS), at about 10.28am, was not represented by any counsel.
This development made it impossible for the charges to be read to him.
The trial judge, Justice Adolphus Enebeli, who observed that the suspect was in court without a lawyer, held that he (West) was entitled to a counsel before he could be properly arraigned.
Justice Enebeli had asked West if he had any lawyer representing him (suspect) in court, and he said no.
The suspect told the court that a lawyer, whose name he could not recall, promised to be in court to represent him.
But West added that he did not know why the lawyer was not in court.
Justice Enebeli, however, adjourned the case till yesterday, adding that the matter deserved timely and expeditious hearing.
Speaking with newsmen after the court session, the Officer-in-Charge of Legal Matters and Prosecutions, Gladys Imegwu, said the suspect was aware that he would be in court.
She said, “The matter for today (Monday) is the case of Gracious West, the suspected serial killer. He was to be arraigned in court today on 10 counts; nine counts bordering on murder and one count bordering on attempted murder. He (West) was duly served and he was aware that the matter would come up in court today.
“He told the court that his lawyer permitted him to be in court today, but the lawyer was nowhere to be found.”
But if the court can, in its wisdom, appoint a lawyer for him because of the severity of the offence, that will be okay. That is even the constitutional provision.
“The court has the right to appoint a lawyer for him either from the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria or the bar. The court in its wisdom adjourned the matter till Tuesday on the grounds that he should get a lawyer of his choice. But if he is not able to do that, the court will decide whether to appoint one for him from the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria or the bar.”
RSG Flags Off Construction Of Rumuogba Flyover Bridge
The construction of the imposing Rumuogba Flyover Bridge in the heart of Port Harcourt has been flagged off by Oyo State Governor, Engr Seyi Makinde.
Performing the flag-off on behalf of the Rivers State Government, in a ceremony attended by prominent Rivers leaders and traditional rulers, yesterday, the Oyo State governor pointed out that the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has developed a legacy of promises kept.
The Rumuogba Flyover Bridge is one of the three flyover bridges that Wike promised the good people of Rivers State during his inauguration for a second term on May 29.
Makinde said: “This is what the Rivers State governor promised the people of Rivers State, and he is delivering on his promise.
“By paying 70 per cent in advance, Governor Wike is saying that there should be no variation. He has provided the yam; he has provided the knife, and nothing should stop the peeling of the yam.
“During his first term, Governor Wike was known as ‘Mr Projects’. Uptill now, he is still ‘Mr Projects’.”
The Oyo State governor said that by investing in good roads, Wike was improving the economy of Rivers State.
“Good roads mean easier commute for the people of Rivers State. This will easily translate to economic development for the state.
“Bad roads mean wastage of man-hour. The investment in roads is for the good of our people.
“With 70 per cent of the funds released, Julius Berger is duty bound to use the funds judiciously. I urge Governor Wike to maintain this energy and momentum”, he said.
Makinde said that the Oyo State Government under his leadership was also delivering democracy dividends to the people of the state, adding that the construction of Iwo Interchange was one of such initiatives.
In his address, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike explained that the Rivers State Government has released 70 per cent of the total contract sum to Julius Berger.
“We will pay the balance when the construction work gets to 90 per cent. We have paid you during the rainy season. So, you will work during rainy season. The 16 months slated for the completion of the three flyover bridges started on the day we paid. That is our agreement with Julius Berger”, he stressed.
Wike announced that the bridge would be called Rumuogba Flyover Bridge.
Lamenting that Artillery was a military concept, Wike pointed out that the Rivers State Government was committed to promoting names of communities where projects are sited.
The governor charged Julius Berger Nigeria Plc to use Rivers people as sub-contractors for the projects.
“We have sourced money to pay for these projects. Therefore, all the sub-contractors should be from Rivers State. We will not be happy with Julius Berger if they do anything different”, he warned.
He urged the traditional ruler of the area to work hard to ensure that the youths cooperate with the contractor to deliver on the project, insisting that he would personally supervise the project to ensure that Julius Berger does not face any hindrance.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Works, Dr Walter Ndu said that the Rumuogba Flyover Bridge would cover a length of 517.5metres, with a width of 14.6metres.
Ndu also said that the bridge has two roundabouts and would be a dual carriageway, and assured that the ministry would provide the necessary technical supervision to ensure that the project was delivered in line with approved specifications.
Speaking earlier, the Paramount Ruler of Rumuogba Town, Eze Temple Ejekwu, had commended the governor for the project, and urged him to change the name of the bridge from Artillery to Rumuogba Flyover Bridge.
Also speaking, the Project Manager of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Mr Daniel Bliss, assured that the company would deliver the work on schedule and in line with specifications.
The Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, Hon Solomon Eke, said the people of the area were happy with the project delivery efforts of the Rivers State governor, and expressed the readiness of the people of the area to support the state government and the contractor to deliver the project according to schedule.
Five African Stars Make Ballon d’Or Shortlist
Five African players have been nominated for the prestigious Ballon d’Or trophy by France Football, the most ever in the history of the award.
France Football has named their short-list of 30 candidates, with seven coming from English Premier League side, Liverpool and another five from Manchester City.
Senegal forward, Sadio Mane and his Liverpool teammate, Mo Salah of Egypt, have both been nominated and will be among the front-runners having helped The Reds to the UEFA Champions League trophy last season.
Algerian midfielder, Riyad Mahrez from City is also in the running, along with Napoli and Ivory Coast defender, Kalidou Koulibaly and Gabon forward, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who plays for Arsenal.
There are also the usual suspects in Barcelona forward, Lionel Messi and Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo, and the Dutch quintet of Virgil van Dyk, Georginio Wijnaldum, Frenkie de Jong, Donny van de Beek and Matthijs de Ligt.
There are also some notable absentees, Brazilian Neymar, Luka Modric of Croatia, Frenchman Paul Pogba and Uruguay’s Luis Suarez all did not make the list.
The vote for the winner will take place among 180 journalists picked from all over the world.
Meanwhile, Nigeria international, Samuel Chukwueze is among the 10 nominees for the 2019 Kopa Trophy, France Football also revealed on Monday.
Presented to the best under-21 player in world football, the Kopa Trophy is only in its second year of existence.
France international, Kylian Mbappe was the first winner of the award with Christian Pulisic and Justin Kluivert finishing second and third respectively.
Chukwueze forms part of a star-studded list of players who all currently ply their trade across Europe with Jadon Sancho and Matthijs de Ligt, the two favourites to win the accolade.
With 10 goals and four assists across all competitions last season, Chukwueze burst onto the scene with Spanish LaLiga club, Villarreal.
The 20-year-old carried that form into the current campaign, duly attracting interest from some of the continent’s top clubs.
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