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Delta Re-Run: Fire Razes INEC Office In Ughelli

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President of Ogbakor Ikwerre, Chief Sampson Agbaru (right) with President, Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Barrister Ledum Mitee, during the 19th Ogoni Day celebration in Bori, yesterday. Photo: Chris Monyanaga

President of Ogbakor Ikwerre, Chief Sampson Agbaru (right) with President, Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Barrister Ledum Mitee, during the 19th Ogoni Day celebration in Bori, yesterday. Photo: Chris Monyanaga

Barely a day to the governorship re-run elections in Delta State, fire has razed down the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office in Ughelli, headquarters of Ughelli North Local Government area of the state.

Though no life was lost in the fire incident, the building was completely razed. Since the unfortunate development, there have been accusations and counter-accusations among political camps in the state.

A source who pleaded anonymity, told The Tide that they woke up at about 5:30am to see the INEC building in flames, accusing fire fighters of not making any efforts to save the building.

INEC materials including voters registers and other valuable electoral materials were said to have been destroyed by the fire. The source lamented plans of those behind the incident to frustrate the election in the area. Several vehicles were also allegedly burnt by the hoodlums. Some of the vehicles reported burnt were said to belong to loyalists of erstwhile governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan.

The Public Relations Officer of INEC in Delta state, Mr. Livy Unuigwe, while reacting to the incident, insisted that election would hold across the state tomorrow, saying, “the incident leading to the burning of the INEC office in Ughelli was uncalled for.”

He insisted that election would hold in the area despite the unfortunate action of the hoodlums, and advised the people of Delta state and Ughelli North to make sure that they exercise their franchise. “The REC has said that anywhere INEC offices are torched, in the course of an election, such elections would be cancelled and not when it has not commenced. Election will hold in Ughelli,” he said.

Delta State Secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Mr Jaro Egbo, described the incident as unfortunate and accused PDP supporters who were afraid of losing the area to Chief Ovie Omo-Agege of the Republican Party of Nigeria (RPN), for being behind the act.

Egbo said the action of the perpetrators would not stop the election from holding in the area, and urged the supporters in the area to cast their votes for the RPN.

The State Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Urban Development, Chief Fred Majemite, in his own reaction, alleged that PDP opponents were responsible for burning the INEC office.

Mr Sunny Onuesoke, a former PDP governorship aspirant in the state, said the burning was politically motivated. On his part, Dr Joe Oharisi exonerated DPP from complicity in the ugly incident.

The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr Charles Muka confirmed the incident as he said the Police Command was already interrogating the guards attached to the burnt INEC office.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Police have deployed 22,600 conventional and 2,835 mobile policemen to monitor the re-run election slated for January 6 in Delta.

Mr Audu Abubakar, the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, “B” Department (Operations), announced this in Asaba on Monday during a press conference.

“We have deployed 22,600 officers and men of conventional police and 45 PMF units of 63 officers per unit from various squadrons.

“The Federal Government is determined, INEC is ready and we are given a matching order to be here and ensure that the election is not only credible but free and fair.

The DIG had a closed door meeting with the 14 gubernatorial candidates contesting the re-run election.

Mr Great Ogboru, the Democratic Peoples Party candidate told newsmen that the DIG underscored the seriousness of the election, and that it was a litmus test.

On his part, the state PDP chairman, Chief Peter Nwaoboshi, said the party was satisfied with the security arrangement, and ready for the re-run.

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90% Of Money Laundered Via Real Estate, EFCC Reveals

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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.”

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We’ve Spent N9bn To Upgrade RSUTH, Wike Confirms

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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.

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Power Generation Falls 23% To 3,172MW

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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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