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13,000 Teachers’ Exam Result Out, Today …As RSG Dispels Banana Farm Explosion Rumour

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L-R:President Goodluck Jonathan; Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke and Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, at the Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja on Wednesday

Anxiety and apprehension have gripped the more than 45,000
applicants who last Wednesday sat for the recruitment examination for the
13,000 teachers jobs in Rivers State, as the Ministry of Education gets set to
release results of the examination, today.

Speaking to The Tide in an interview yesterday, Permanent
Secretary, Ministry of Education, Richard Ofuru said that the result would be
released either today or on Monday.

Ofuru said the ministry had concluded the marking of the
papers, and would not want to be put under any pressure by the applicants,
hence the decision to release the results immediately.

He stated that the ministry had tried to spread the
placements fairly equally across the 23 Local Government Areas of the state, ,
stressing that while some candidates may be employed for scoring 80 per cent in
one local government, another may be given the same consideration after scoring
60 per cent depending on the number of applicants from such local governments.

Ofuru stated that the ministry strived to avoid favouring
any particular applicant over the other while putting merit and excellence
above other factors in selecting the teachers for the schools.

He stated that the state government conducted the selection
examination for those to be employed as teachers to ensure that the best
qualified persons emerged from the process.

The Permanent Secretary told The Tide at the Holy Rosary
Secondary Schools, one of the centres in Port Harcourt, Wednesday, during the
examination that apart from having teachers with integrity and high quality
intellectual base, the selection process would enhance the standard of
education in the state.

Ofuru said, Governor Amaechi considers everybody as his
candidate therefore, the selection examination was meant to treat everybody
equally and give them a level playing ground.

‘With the examination, nobody will say that this Politician
or this Commissioner brought list. Everybody is put on the field. Write the
examination, if you pass, you go for the oral examination, he said.

On why the candidates were asked to return the question
papers and post cards along with their answer scripts, Ofuru said it was to
ensure proper standard.

He disclosed that conducting another examination was
dependant on the performance of the candidates.

According to him, “ there are over 45,000 candidates writing
this examination and for only 13,000 positions which no government in this
country has ever done. But then, 13,000 out of over 45,000; how do you get the
number you want?

Commenting on the sudden change of centres, he explained
that they changed centres because of locations, and added that they insisted
the centres should only be in Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt Local Government
Areas for easy coordination and conveniences for candidates.

The examination was conducted in 87 centres. The candidates
were tested on verbal and numerical aptitude and ICT/current affairs.

Meanwhile, some of the applicants who wrote the examination
Wednesday in Port Harcourt expressed satisfaction over the unique employment
examination conducted by the Rivers State Ministry of Education.

At the Airforce Secondary School, Rumuomasi, one of the
candidates, Miss Rita Ogah expressed satisfaction with the organisation of the
examination. She told The Tide that although, she expected questions on current
affairs there were drills on mathematics and other subjects, adding that for
lack of time, she could not answer all the questions.

He explained that the system of the  examination was unique as it discouraged
malpractice while commending the Rivers State Ministry of Education for the
initiative.

Meanwhile, the Rivers State Government has debunked reports
of a purported bomb explosion at the Banana Plantation in Tai, in the State.

Chief Press Secretary to Governor Chibuike Amaechi, Mr David
Iyofor in a press statement yesterday, said the report was untrue as no life
was lost.

We must state categorically that there was no bomb explosion
at or within the perimeters of the banana farm plantation, Iyofor said, adding,
“ We are aware that some sort of device went off but this was some reasonable
distance away from our plantation and certainly not within the perimeters of
the banana farm.

“ He urged journalists to always cross-check and
double-check whatever information they have before going to press, and assured
all and sundry that Rivers State remains safe, conducive and open for
business’’.

Dissociating themselves from the development, some
traditional rulers from the area  pledged
support to government projects in the area.

The 2000-hectare farm, according to Governor Amaechi, is
aimed at diversifying the state’s economy and provide employment to the people
of the state.

Meanwhile, spokesman for the Rivers Police Command, Mr Ben
Ugwuegbulam, yesterday told newsmen in Port Harcourt that the command had swept
and secured the banana farm, adding that unknown persons might have planted the
IED to scare workers from the plantation, there was no casualty and that the
incident occurred last Wednesday.

 

Vivian-Peace Nwinaene & Eunice Kayode

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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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