President Goodluck Jonathan says the Federal Government is to take steps to ensure that the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) are better focused to carry out their assignments.
The President made the statement at the State House on Monday, during an audience with Bishop Hyacinth Egbebo of the Catholic Vicarage of Bomadi in Delta.
He said action would also be taken to ensure greater cooperation, collaboration and coordination between the ministry and the NDDC in the interest of the people of the Niger Delta.
Jonathan said the NDDC board was recently dissolved and reconstituted because of institutional paralysis, caused by internal strife among members of the dissolved board.
He said that he expected the new leadership of the commission to be more committed to the implementation of developmental projects that would benefit the ordinary people of the Niger Delta, including residents of the Vicarage of Bomadi.
“Our approach will be different next year. We will make sure that the NDDC is better focused and does what is right for the people of the Niger Delta,” he said.
He also pledged that there would be enhanced monitoring of the Federal Government’s developmental agencies in the Niger Delta to ensure that they fulfilled their objectives.
Our correspondent reports that Egbebo was accompanied by the Papal Nuncio to Nigeria, Dr Augustine Kasujja.
Earlier, the Bishop recounted the deprivations suffered by the people of Bomadi Vicarage.
He called on the Federal Government to intervene in order to improve transportation, water supply, power, education and other social services in the area.
The Papal Nuncio conveyed greetings from Pope Benedict XVI to the President and presented him with a Christmas card.
Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on the NDDC has directed the commission to send its 2012 budget estimates not later than March next year.
The Chairman of the Committee, Sen. James Manager, gave the directive in Abuja during the commission’s defence of its 2011 budget.
Our correspondent reports that the last NDDC board could not present the budget earlier, due to the in-fighting that characterised the life span of the board.
Manager said that the committee decided to consider the budget because the new NDDC board had just been inaugurated.
“We feel very bad for the late arrival of this budget. This must be the last time for your budget to even come this way. “In fact, your budget for 2012 must come not later than February or March of 2012, because budget is meant for the year. It is not meant for the end of the year. “We want to consider this budget because we are aware that the current leadership of the NDDC is not the same that started the year with us,” he said.
The Chairman of the NDDC, Dr Tarilah Tebepah, promised that members of the commission would ensure that all targets of the budget were realised.
He also gave assurance that the new board would be guided by the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, which emphasises employment generation, wealth creation and poverty alleviation.
Also speaking, the Managing Director of the NDDC, Dr Chris Oboh, said the budget was set to address the foundation phase of the NDDC Master Plan.
The NDDC presented a budget of N251.75billion, comprising N249.45 billion for capital expenditure while N7.04 billion was estimated for recurrent expenditure.
Oboh told the committee that the 2011 budget was lower than that of 2010 by 49 per cent as a result of the efficient procurement system put in place by the NDDC management.
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.
- Sports4 days ago
Okagbare Sets New Record At Olympic Trials
- Featured3 days ago
APC’s Ploy To Ban, Regulate Social Media, Hypocritical, Wike Affirms
- Politics2 days ago
APC: C’River LP Disowns Decampees
- Oil & Energy4 days ago
Total Nigeria Advocates Petroleum Subsidy Removal
- Oil & Energy4 days ago
Buhari Thumbs Up For NLNG As NNPC Reviews Activities
- Sports2 days ago
CAF Mulls Super League Idea
- Politics4 days ago
Okorocha Cautions Igbos On Secession
- Editorial4 days ago
As New Rivers LG Chairmen Assume Office…