The Rivers State House of Assembly has in a majority vote condemned in strong terms the unguarded utterances and indiscretion made by the Abia State Commissioner for Information, Mr Tony Agbazuere against the state Governor, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi describing it as breach of diplomatic protocol between the two states.
The position of the lawmakers followed a motion by the House Leader, Hon Chidi Lloyd last Wednesday titled a motion to depreciate the uncouth language and indiscretion by the Abia State Commissioner for Information against the person of His Excellency, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the executive governor of Rivers State and the good people of the state.
Presenting the motion at the floor of the House, Hon Lloyd stated that in the context of diplomatic relations between states, the utterances was a gross violation of the rules for a state or its functionaries to cast aspersions or make derogatory vituperations on another state, adding that it was also a breach of moral decorum for a junior officer of a state, to verbally abuse a senior officer in a rank of Chief Executive of another state.
The House Leader explained to the lawmakers that during the accountability rendition to the people of the state by Governor Chibuike Amaechi as part of his three years anniversary in office, the governor had made mention of the modest contribution of the state government in terms of military contingent and police personnel trained by the state governor on counter terrorism to assist the military personnel in arresting the criminal excess in Aba, Abia State.
According to him, “ the rendition by the state governor was made in good faith devoid of any mischief against the Abia State government and neither was it also intended to ascribed glory to Governor Amaechi and the Rivers people in any way”.
He told the legislators that the governor’s account of stewardship was mis-constructed by the Abia State Commissioner for Information, Mr Agbazuere who instead of seeking civil or legal means to react to governor Amaechi’s statement or seek explanation to whatever reservations from the statements resulted to 20 berserk to attack his Excellency with unprintable words describing him as an agbero” meaning “a tout”
He described the commissioner’s attitude as not only an exercise of uncouthness, but also a ridiculous height of political brigandage and infantilism in the discharge of state responsibilities, adding that it amounts to diplomatic naivety and exuberant reeklessness from an equally unseasoned and ill-informed public officer of a state to react in such dastardly manner to the statement of a chief executive of another state.
The House leader prayed among other things that the House should condemn in strong terms this breach of protocol and exercise of unbridled political brigandage by the Abia State Commissioner for Information.
The House Leader also prayed the House to transmit a strongly worded letter to the Abia State House of Assembly demanding the House (Abia State legislature) to compel the said commissioner to tender an unreserved apology in writing to his Excellency, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and the good people of the state for the underserved vituperations against his Excellency and the state.
Finally, that the Abia State House of Assembly do compel the commissioner to publish the apology letter in at least three national dailies and three local tabloids as well as , any order matter it deemed for necessary that would forestall a re-occurrence of such development in the future.
The motion was seconded by the deputy House Leader, Hon Hope Ikiriko, Ahoada West.
Some of the lawmakers who contributed on the motion condemned the unpleasant remarks made by the Abia State Commissioner for Information against the governor of the state.
Hon Hope Ikiriko (ANELGA) and Emmanuel Okatta (Omuma) stated that what ever comments Governor Amaechi had made during the stewardship account to Rivers people was not on his own personal capacity but in position as he state chief executive.
The lawmakers while supporting all the prayers sought by the House Leader described the Abia information boss comments as uncultured and rude.
However, Hon Jones Ogbonda in his own contributions urged the House to treat the matter with levity so as not to heat up the polity between the two sister states.
In his ruling, the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Rt Hon Tonye Harry, who presided over the sitting said the House in consonance with their Abia State counterpart would handle the matter with utmost maturity it deserved.
The speaker later put the motion into voting, seventeen lawmakers voted in favour of the motion , while four voted against the motion.
He therefore, directed the clerk of the House to transmit the resolutions of the House to the Abia State House of Assembly.
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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