Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has reassured the people of Abua-Odual Local Government Area that the construction of a road to link the Odual people to the rest of the state remains a priority project to be accomplished by the present administration.
Governor Amaechi, who stated this Saturday at the palace of King Kaleh Obuge in Otari during his Town Hall meeting with the people of Abua/Odual Local Government Area, said the 21 kilometers road has three bridges and would cut across communities like Okparaki, Odawu, Emelego, Adada and connect them to the mainland.
According to the Governor, “I feel ashamed that since the creation of Rivers State, Odual people have not been connected to the rest of the state by road”, assuring that the state government under his leadership would break the jinx.
He disclosed that the government had completed design work on the Odual road project and appealed to the people to exercise patience because the process of awarding the contract was slowed down by lack of funds, stressing that it would be given preference in the next round of contract awards.
The State Chief Executive explained, that after the Odual road project, the next most important road project for the area was the Agba Ndele-Abua Road which had been completed except the bridge, emphasising that the completion of the road would enable them access the state capital easily.
The Governor, however, noted that the state government’s greatest achievement in Abua/Odual local government was the restoration of peace and emphasised that his administration would not compromise the issue of security of lives and property in the state.
Responding to questions, during the interactive session, Governor Amaechi apologized to the people for the non- completion of some model primary school projects in the area, pointing out that once the next round of payments are made to the contractors, he would fast track their completion and directed the Commissioner for Health to site more health centres in the area as the present three were grossly inadequate.
On the delay in the issuance of First School Leaving Certificates (FSLCs) in the state by the Ministry of Education, the governor directed the Commissioner to investigate the matter and ensure that certificates of those that sat for the examinations were released in record time.
In his welcome speech, Chairman of Abua/Odual Local Government Area, Mr. Udi Odum, commended the state governor for matching his words with action in the provision of infrastructural development to the people and pledged their unalloyed support to the state government.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Government says it will partner with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (lCAN) in its efforts at building the capacity of accounting practitioners in the State.
The State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed this last Friday when a delegation of the association, led by its President, retired Major General Sebastian Owuama, visited him at Government House, Port Harcourt.
Represented by his deputy, Engr. Tele Ikuru, Governor Amaechi noted that accountants play vital role in the economic stability of the nation, saying “because money is important to us, those who manage our money are equally very important,” adding that “we are ready to partner with you in the area of manpower development”.
The State Chief Executive expressed the hope that ICAN as a body should continue to protect the ethics and principles that guide professional accounting practice in the country, assuring that the State Government will continue to provide the necessary support to its capacity building initiatives.
Earlier, leader of the delegation and President of ICAN, Major General Sebastian Owuama, had expressed delight at the robust relationship existing between the State Government and accounting practitioners, observing that this was demonstrated in “the appointment of accounting professionals into key government positions in the State”.
Commending the Governor Amaechi-Ied administration for its achievements in the improvement of infrastructure, Maj. Gen. Owuama expressed delight at the administration’s commitment to the principles of honesty, transparency, and accountability, while encouraging continued interactions with the government, saying that such interactions provide opportunities to appraise issues and proffer solutions to problems.
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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