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FOI: Remove Hindrances, Minister Tells Govs

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The Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku,
yesterday urged state governors to remove all bottlenecks to the implementation
of the Freedom of Information law in their domain.

Speaking at the opening of the 43rd session
of the National Council on Information in Abuja, he said the call for the
domestication of the law in the various states was not necessary, adding that
it would inhibit the citizens’ participation in governance.

Maku said the enactment of the Freedom of
Information law by President Goodluck Jonathan underscored the present
administration’s commitment to the principles of good governance and
accountability.

He said the law was revolutionary a document
that should not be tampered with by any progressive-minded group or
stakeholder.

Maku urged all Nigerians to take possession
of the FOI law, saying that the Act was made to serve all Nigerians
irrespective of their backgrounds.

He said, “Let me this clear to Nigerians that
the Freedom of Information act is a revolutionary law that is far stronger than
any anti-corruption law that has been made in Nigeria, stronger than the EFCC
Act. “Unlike at the federal level, many states have not started implementing
the Freedom of Information act; we were told that states needed to domesticate
the law.

“Let me call on all the state governors and
my colleagues, please let us not delay the implementation of the Freedom of
Information law in all the states and the FCT

Maku said the choice of the theme for the
43rd session of the meeting underscored the importance the council attached to
the actualisation of the Federal Government’s Transformation Agenda.

The minister, therefore, called on
information managers in the country to use their expertise to promote good
governance at all levels.

He said the various programmes of government
at all levels could only be achieved if the media fully gave its support
through robust public enlightenment.

“As managers of information in our various
states and at the national level and as stakeholders in this sector, we must
use our expertise and the facilities of public communication available to us,
to manage information in such a way that will improve governance at all levels
across the country.

“We must also as experts in this field and as
managers in this filed ensure that governance remains open and transparent and
accountable because in a democracy governance is never possible until people
are involved in the process, until people are informed,” he added.

The minister also stressed the need for
greater synergy among stakeholders at various levels to ensure that government
policies permeated to the grassroots.

Maku said both the state and the federal governments
needed to work together on a non-partisan basis to provide the basic needs of
the people.

He said the success of the Transformation
Agenda of the government was largely dependent on popular participation,
especially at the grassroots.

Maku urged the media to redouble its efforts
to project Nigeria’s image positively and sensitise the public on environmental
issues and on the need to adhere to early warnings.

On the implementation of previous
recommendations of the council, Maku said the Federal Ministry of Information
had done well in the implementation of some of the resolutions.

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Ensure Security Of Govt Projects, SSG Tasks Community Leaders

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The Secretary to Rivers State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, has implored leaders of community associations in the state to monitor ongoing projects in their communities to ensure that the security of the contracting firms was not compromised.
Danagogo made this assertion when the leaders of a socio-cultural group, Nyemoni Awome Ogbo of Abonnema, paid him a courtesy visit in Port Harcourt, last Tuesday.
On the ongoing Trans-KalabariRoad project, Danagogo noted that the governor’s determination to deliver the first phase of the road in 14 months was unshakable as it was cash-backed.
“This is a crucial project to the development of Kalabari Kingdom. Every right-thinking Kalabari person must condemn, and avoid anything that will cause delays to the project delivery. What the governor is doing for us is unprecedented in the annals of the history of governance in this state.
“As Kalabari people, we must condemn every gang-up to sabotage the development of the Trans-Kalabari Road project. This road project is being executed to transform our communities, and this government is doing it for us. If our own people either by acts of omission are trying to sabotage this developmental effort, then, you must be proactive in condemning it and stopping them. You must as leaders commend what deserves commendation, and condemn what deserves condemnation”.
The SSG further condemned the recent kidnap of a staff of the contracting company, and particularly noted with dismay the sad comments made by notorious Kalabari group whose founder/leader is a known kidnapper and illegal bunkerer who owes Kalabari and Rivers State explanation and apology for several kidnappings, including the kidnap of the wife of the late High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs.
He urged Kalabari leaders not to allow people without meaningful source of livelihood or good intentions to speak on their behalf.
Earlier, the former President of Nyemoni Awome Ogbo of Abonnema, Prof. Adaye Orugbani, had said that the visit was to serve as an opportunity for the association to express its appreciation to Governor Nyesom Wike for his benevolence and love for the people of Kalabari Kingdom and Akuku Toru Local Government Area in particular.
“We are here to thank the governor through the SSG for the immense developmental projects in our community. These projects are crucial to the development of our community, particularly the Ring Road. In a record time, he commenced and completed the project.
“As an island, it used to be difficult to access Abonnema Town, but today, we have easy access in and out of the town because of the Ring Road. As an island community, the land is scarce and expensive, but the sand-filling projects of 52 hectares of land also awarded by Governor Nyesom Wike will provide us with more land for other developmental projects and expansion,” he stressed.
Orugbani added that the ongoing Trans-Kalabari Road project was a goldmine that all sons and daughters of Kalabari Kingdom should be happy about.

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Rivers Exco Approves N5bn To Resuscitate Health Institutions

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The Rivers State Executive Council has approved over N5billion required for the revamping of the Prof. Kelsey Harrison Hospital, and the Dental and Maxillofacial Hospital located in Port Harcourt.
The state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, presided over the meeting that held at the Executive Council Chamber of Government House, Port Harcourt, last Wednesday.
Briefing journalists after the meeting, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Princewill Chike said, the approved sum would be spent on renovation, rehabilitation and installation of medical equipment at the health facilities.
“For the Prof. Kelsey Harrison Hospital in Port Harcourt, the civil work is to cost N1, 007, 205, 941, 51, while the equipping and furnishing and installation of medical equipment will cost N693, 570, 367, 25.”
The commissioner said the work at the Prof. Kelsey Harrison Hospital was expected to last for a period of 13 months, and when completed, would be an affiliate of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, to add to the training of medical doctors and medical personnel.
Chike also spoke about the approval given for the revamp of the Dental and Maxillofacial Hospital, which he said, when completed, would also be affiliated to the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital for the training of medical personnel.
“The civil work is to cost N1, 789, 395, 743, 87 only, while, the equipping, installation and furnishing will cost N1, 590, 671, 047,31.”
Chike also provided explanation as to why the Mother and Child Hospital has not commenced full operations after it was officially inaugurated.
He said the Council had approved a committee which was working together with the Bureau for Public/Private Procurement, to make sure that the necessary processes for seamless take off of the hospital was put in place so that the facility can offer maximal service to the public.
Chike stressed that the State Executive Council was also briefed about the approval given by the Medical and Dental Council to the Rivers State University College of Medical Sciences to admit 100 students per session.
The commissioner said the cases of Covid-19 in the state have continued to grow because residents have refused to observe the Covid-19 protocols.
He called on residents in the state to avoid crowded areas like weddings, burial events, market places, wash their hands regularly, and also wear facemasks.
Also speaking to journalists, the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, said council approved that a bill be sent to the Rivers State House of Assembly for the enactment of a law for judicial officers to own their houses on retirement.
He explained that the approval was in line with policy of the Governor Nyesom Wike-led administration to ensure that judicial officers who put in their best to ensure that justice was done in a very fair manner in the state were well housed after their service years.
“And to entrench this as its policy, a bill has been sent to the Rivers State House of Assembly for the enactment of a law,so that, at the end of this administration, subsequent administrations that will come will ensure that this policy is not toiled with”, Nsirim said.
Nsirim also said that Rivers State has been approved as the South-South Zonal Headquarters of the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC).
According to him, the state was to also establish a Judicial Institute for the training of judges and magistrates which would complement the activities of the National Judicial Council (NJC).
“The establishment of the institute is a way of helping to ensure that judges and magistrates who are in the state here have regular training as a way of updating them on their skills to complement what the National Judicial Service Commission does for them.”
On his part, the Special Adviser to Governor Nyesom Wike on Special Projects, Dax Alabo George Kelly, said the council ratified the approval given for the construction of Nabo Graham-Douglas Campus of the Nigerian Law School in Port Harcourt.
According to him, all the structures both on the campus in Rumueme community and at the staff quarters opposite the Hotel Presidential will be completed within the stipulated seven months, and ready as part of projects to celebrate the third-year of anniversary of Governor Nyesom Wike’s second tenure next year.

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Scare As EFCC Chairman Slumps At Aso Rock

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The Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, reportedly slumped, and was rushed out of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday.
Bawa was giving his goodwill message at the National Identity Day celebration when he suddenly stopped speaking.
According to reports, Bawa was talking about a man the commission arrested in Ibadan, Oyo State, with 116 SIM cards when the incident happened.
Bawa had stopped talking and covered his face with his right palm, saying, “Please, excuse me, I can’t continue.”
However, in a swift reaction to the incident, the organisation’s Head of Media and Publicity, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said that Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa,was hale and hearty.
He said in a two-paragraph statement, yesterday afternoon that, while giving a goodwill message at an event at the Presidential Villa, yesterday morning, Bawa felt unwell and decided to return to his seat.
The statement reads in full, “The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa is hale and hearty.
“This clarification became necessary following an incident today September 16, 2021, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, where he was giving a goodwill message to the National Identity Day celebration, felt unwell and had to return to his seat.
“He has since received medical attention and is due back at his desk”.
Meanwhile, the reason the Chairman of the Economic and Crimes Commission, Abdurasheed Bawa, collapsed while delivering a goodwill message at the National Identity Day at Banquet Hall, State House Abuja, has been revealed.
Bawa was rushed to the State House Clinic for medical attention.
Reacting to the development, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, attributed the collapse to pressure and work burden.
He enjoined Nigerians to pray for Bawa, noting that he has regained consciousness.

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