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‘PH, New Hub For Medical Tourism’

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The Rivers State Government has begun moves to end the frequent overseas medical trips by Rivers people and Nigerians in general, and make the state hub of medical tourism in Africa.

To this end, the state government has equipped two hospitals, the Kelsey Harrison Hospital, and the Dental and Maxillo-Facial Specialist Hospital, all in Port Harcourt with world-class medical equipment and experts to handle critical matters.

National Coordinator of International Trauma and Care Centre (ITCC), Dr. Sydney Ibeanusi disclosed this in Port Harcourt, Saturday, while conducting journalists round the two hospitals.

Ibeanusi stated that ITCC will manage the two hospitals with its own foreign experts for a period of 20 years, during which it would train its local personnel to take over from the foreign experts.

He said while the Kelsey Harrison Hospital has taken off but with only out-patients, the Dental and Maxillo-Facial Hospital, located at Garrison Junction, along Aba-Port Harcourt Road will take-off fully before the end of February, 2013.

Ibeanusi expressed the hope that with the two hospitals open for service, most Nigerians will prefer to visit Rivers State, instead of traveling overseas for medical attention.

The ITCC coordinator said; “Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has provided for Nigerians two world-class medical facilities. The hospitals are equipped with state-of-the art equipment that cannot be found else-where in sub-Saharan Africa.

“With these hospitals fully open for service, Rivers State will become a tourism destination for Nigerians seeking medical attention. A lot of Nigerians will prefer coming to the state and will no longer like travelling overseas for medical treatment,” he stated.

Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Health, Dr. Godwin Mpi, said the idea behind the two hospitals was to make sure that the people of the state get quality medical attention at minimal cost.

Mpi disclosed that the Kelsey Harrison Hospital has two type of patients, which include private patients and those under the state government’s free medical programme, pointing out that those under the programme must have been referred to the hospital from other smaller health facilities in the state.

Former Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Fuel Subsidy Regime, Rep. Farouk Lawan (left), coming out of the FCT High Court, which ordered that he be remanded in Kuje Prison till February 8 in Abuja, last Friday.

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Wike Blasts NASS Over Ex-Service Chiefs’ Confirmation …Blames Poor Performance Of NDDC On Presidency, NASS

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says Nigerians are disappointed with the National Assembly for confirming sacked service chiefs as ambassadors.
The governor related the disappointment of Nigerians to members of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta, when they paid a courtesy visit to him at Government House, Port Harcourt, last Wednesday.
Wike wondered why senators, who agreed with Nigerians when they decried the poor performance of the service chiefs, would sit to clear them for another appointment.
“Let me use this opportunity to express the dismay of most Nigerians to the Senate. Convey this to the Senate. We must be courageous in whatever we are doing. Everything must not be party affairs. You (senators) sat and discussed that they should dismiss the service chiefs. You said they’re not performing.
“Now, the same people who were not performing, you have confirmed them as ambassadors. What kind of country are we?
“In anything we do, we must remember that there is tomorrow; our conscience is key. It’s not because I want to be loyalists to a party. No. There are things you cannot reconcile at all,” he said.
Speaking about the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Wike said the commission has abandoned its core mandate; leaving those who canvassed for its establishment disillusioned.
“I don’t like talking about NDDC. It is unfortunate that those who fought for it, if they knew that this is how NDDC will be, I don’t think they would have even asked for it.”
He noted that over the years, various National Assembly committees on NDDC hah failed to provide sufficient direction that would make the commission focus on its core mandate of developing the region.
Wike said some politicians have transformed the NDDC into a cash cow for the prosecution of sinister political agenda.
To buttress this, he accused the commission of spending N10billion to unseat him from office, but added that the scheme failed.
The governor urged the committee’s leadership to prevail on the management of the NDDC to embark on legacy infrastructure projects such as flyovers in the impacted states, and not waste resources on doing 50 or 100-metre roads.
“You, as the Senate Committee chairman, and that of the House Committee, you’re from the region too. You are supervising NDDC; so, why not sit down with them to know the legacy projects they want to carry out this year in the Niger Delta states. Tell them these are projects they must make sure they execute first.
“Rather than do that, you allow them do 50 or 100 meters’ road or a close that leads to someone’s house. What’s their business there?”, he asked.
The governor accused the Presidency, the National Assembly and the ruling party of aiding the gross inefficiency of the NDDC.
“The National Assembly is part of the problem of NDDC. The Presidency is part of the problem of NDDC, and the party in power is part of the problem of NDDC, whichever party it is. They don’t allow NDDC to perform. We too, in Niger Delta, are not allowing them to perform. We are enemies to ourselves.”
He noted how the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) refused to endorse the amendment of the Electoral Act for fear that they would lose the 2019 General Election when it was the best thing to do for the country.
The governor also expressed displeasure over a senator who overstepped his immunity during plenary to demean a serving governor by calling him a ‘drunk’.
In his speech, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, said they were in Government House, to assure Wike, as the host of NDDC, that the commission would be supervised to perform within its core mandate.
“As a committee, we are aware that you have some reservations with the NDDC based on your state’s previous relationship with them. We have come to assure you that with the people you have seen here, who are patriotic Nigerians, we will make sure that the aspirations and the aims of creating the NDDC would be achieved.
“We will do everything possible within the limits of the Constitution, through our oversight functions, for them to achieve their objectives.”
Nwaoboshi also commended the governor for having done well in providing security in Rivers State with NDDC benefiting from it.
He noted that Wike has become the strongest voice that has continued to speak truth to power at the risk of his political career.
“We say without fear of contradiction that you are the strongest voice in the Niger Delta region. You have always been courageous, even at the risk of your political career, to speak truth to power.”
“You have also advanced the interest of the people of the Niger Delta. That is why anybody visiting Niger Delta will have nothing but to come and see that courageous man that is bestriding the area like a colossus”, Nwaoboshi added.

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Traders, Landlords Lose Millions As Fire Razes Another Market, Houses

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There was uncontrollable wailing, yesterday, as traders and some residents woke up to the sad news that fire had destroyed the Timber Market at Marine Base in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area of Rivers State.
It was gathered that the fire gutted the popular market in the state around 11:30pm, last Wednesday and continued burning until the early hours of yesterday.
It was gathered that the mysterious fire razed the entire market and some residential buildings within the area.
A source in the area, who gave her name simply as Gift, narrated that activities had closed for the day before the fire engulfed the makeshift market.
Gift noted that they had called the state fire service when the incident started, but quickly added that the service’s response could not turn up because of lack of personnel.
She said, “There was heavy fire last night at Marine Base market. The fire burnt down the market. Traders in the market lost every of their goods.
“The fire started around 11:30pm, when the market had already closed. Nobody died in the incident but traders lost everything they had to the fire.
“When the fire started, we called fire service. They said they would come. After about 30 minutes, we called the line again; a lady picked the call but said they can’t come because their men were not on the ground. They have gone for another duty.
“People have lost goods worth millions of Naira. Some of the shop owners came in around 12:30am, and met their shops razed, while some came and saved few of their goods.”
Another victim, who was seen wailing over the loss of his merchandise, said, “Last night around 11:35pm, the fire started, and the fire is still raging this morning as you can see. There were series of calls put across to fire fighters, but none responded up to this moment (morning).
“The fire actually affected areas where we are selling planks for buildings. Even shops where they sell caskets were also affected by the fire.”
One of the victims, who simply gave his name as Onyema, said that he became hypertensive patient as a result of incessant fire outbreaks at the Timber Market.
Onyema noted that when he got calls from some of his colleagues about the fire, he refused to rush down due to his health condition.
Another victim, Chidi Ogbomma, who sells building materials said, “I was at home around 11:30pm to 12midnight when I was called that there was fire at the market.
“I don’t know where to start from,” Ogbomma lamented as his machines, industrial woods and finished products were completely consumed in the fire.
The Chairman, Marine Base Timber Market, Isaac Amaewhule, said he was called at about midnight that the market was on fire, but could not race down because he stays far away.
“When I came, the security told me that the fire started from the coffin (casket) side. They said they were very surprised to see such huge fire. They said they didn’t know what caused it.
“I am using this opportunity to call on the state government to help us because we are all Nigerians. Even people selling pure water, food, and so on, come here to sell and sustain themselves and their families,” Amaewhule pleaded.
Some of the traders lamented that they had suffered several fire disasters in the past, estimating the latest loss to over N300million.
They regretted that anytime fire outbreaks occur, they lose virtually all their property as rescue operations have always been difficult.
They appealed to the Rivers State Government to come to their aid in terms of financial assistance and construction of a befitting market for them to forestall future recurrence.
The cause of the fire outbreak could not be ascertained by the time of this report.
However, it was learnt that the fire started from the casket section of the market, even as those affected said no fire-fighters came to put out the inferno.
When The Tide visited the scene of the inferno about 7:30am, yesterday, it was observed that the fire was still raging in some parts of the wood section.
The incident occurred barely five days after a similar fire outbreak on February 20, razed property worth over N10million at the popular Mile 3 Market in the state capital.
The cause of the section of the Mile 3 Market fire incident, which mostly destroyed several shops, including cold rooms on the Bishop Okoye Line, is yet to be determined.
The second fire incident also occurred along Chief Odum Street in the Ogbumnabali area of Port Harcourt; where over 20 shanties were destroyed rendering hundreds of residents homeless.

 

Susan Serekara-Nwikhana

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PIB’ll Change Economic Fortunes Of Nigeria, Lawan Affirms

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The Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, yesterday, assured Nigerians that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which is before the National Assembly would change the fortune of the country by the time it becomes law.
“The PIB is going to be a piece of legislation that in our estimation will change the economic fortune of Nigeria and of course improve the earnings by our businesses who are here and we want to attract many more investments into the oil and gas industry in Nigeria,” Lawan said.
The Senate President spoke in his office while playing host to the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing.
Lawan said the Ninth Assembly would ensure the passage of the PIB as promised even though, he pointed out, that the bill had “suffered from a demonic influence” by refusing passage since 2008 when it was first introduced to the Sixth Assembly.
“We are so confident that we will be able to pass this bill by April. We want it signed into law by May and we want every stakeholder to be a winner,” Lawan said.
The Senate President was also upbeat about the passage of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill now being processed by the Assembly.
“I want to assure Nigerians that we have a target and we think it’s a realistic target. It’s doable and we have the determination and capacity to affect the amendment (to Electoral Act) before we go on summer break in June/July and our committee has done so much work,” Lawan said.
On the security situation in the country, Lawan said the government was doing everything possible to change the tide.
The Senate President referred to his recent meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in which “our discussion centred on ensuring that the two arms of government work closely to ensure that we win this war as quickly as possible.
“I’m of the view that because the raining season will be here in the next two, three months, we need to secure the whole environment because for the peasant Nigerian, what is crucial to him is to be alive and go to his farm.
“If the environment is not secured, farmers will not be able to go to farms and that will be a big challenge to us because it is not going to be easy for us to provide food for all the Nigerian peasant farmers.
“So, we are working together with the Executive arm of government and we are going to achieve a remarkable result.”
The Senate President also spoke on farmers/herders clashes and cautioned on religious or ethnic profiling.
“I believe in every society or community, we have criminals…In every ethnic group, you have good people, you have bad people. Therefore, as leaders, we shouldn’t allow ourselves to fall into the temptation of ethnic profiling because it doesn’t help the fight against criminality and we need every hand on deck, North, South, Christians Muslims, to fight criminality wherever it is in Nigeria,” Lawan said.
Earlier, the British High Commissioner, Catriona Laing commended President Buhari over the appointment of the new service chiefs, and urged the National Assembly to ensure the passage of the PIB and Electoral Amendment Bill.

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