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We’re Behind You, Ogbakor Ikwerre, Reps Tell Amaechi

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President Goodluck Jonathan (left), receiving the report of the Presidential Monitoring Committee (PMC) on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) from the chairman, Chief Isaac Jamide, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja yesterday.

The Ogbakor Ikwerre Cultural Organisation has  commended the sterling leadership and enormous achievements of Rivers State Governor, Rt Hon Chibuike Amaechi even as the Rivers State caucus in the House of Representatives has expressed satisfaction with the level of projects implementation in the state by Governor Amaechi.

Both groups made their commendations during separate solidarity visits to the Rivers State Governor  last Monday at Government House, Port Harcourt.

Speaking on behalf of the Ogbakor Ikwerre Cultural Organisation, its President-General, Prof Augustine Onyeozu said, “the former national executive led by Chief S. A. Agbaru briefed the convention fully on your audible, laudable programmes and landmark achievements as Governor of Rivers State since you assumed office.  The incontrovertible fact is that your performance and achievements are superlative and excellent.  You have brought pride and honour to us.  We are indeed very proud of you.  We will further urge you to ensure that in all your conduct and activities in government, you give every ethnic group in this state adequate and appropriate sense of belonging”.

The Ogbakor Ikwerre equally thanked the people of Rivers State for their continued support and loyalty to Governor Amaechi.

“The people of Ikwerre ethnic nationality with every sense of responsibility appreciate all the ethnic groups in Rivers State for the support and loyalty they have given to His Excellency’s administration.  It is our fervent prayer that in due season, we shall reciprocate this love the Rivers people have shown to you, our son and to us”.

The group however urged Governor Amaechi to disregard negative comments coming from people who unjustly misinterpreted his government policies and remain focused, courageous and objective to deliver on his mandate. They also pledged their support and loyalty to him.

“His Excellency in recent times we have observed the misinterpretations being given to some of your executive actions. As your parents, we know you keep your words and that you mean what you say. In our clime unfortunately, not many appreciate being told the truth and very many prefer those who deceive them.  Remain focused, courageous and objective in all your undertakings.

“We want to assure His Excellency that the Ikwerre people will stand by you in any and all actions you may take to uphold the spirit and letters of the oath of office you swore to.  Deliver on your mandate.  Delivering on your mandate is non-negotiable.  We are proud to say to you today we are very proud of your scorecard as the executive Governor of Rivers State. We wish you continued success in office and God’s eternal blessing”, they said.

Responding, the Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi thanked members of the national executive of Ogbakor Ikwerre Cultural Organisation for the visit.

“Let me thank you for this visit and welcome you to the Government House of the Rivers State Government and say to you that this in Ikwerre tradition reminds me of a wrestling match.  When two groups are matched for a wrestling match, each leader of the group continues to use a cane to wipe on the back of the expert who is wrestling to ensure that he is motivated and does not allow the other man to bring him down.  I liken this visit to that”.

Amaechi said his administration has equitably distributed projects in the state and integrated all Rivers people in his government. He equally appealed to the people of Rivers State to love one another and work together in common pursuit for the state’s progress.

“We must work together as Rivers people.  We must love each other.  We must know that just as the rest of Rivers people have said an Ikwerre man must be governor, Ikwerre people must also participate in saying ‘another ethnic group should be governor’.  When it goes from there, it goes to somewhere else and somewhere else and somewhere else until it gets back to the Ikwerre people again.  We must not misuse our majority. We can use the majority to participate but we must not abuse the majority. I must thank you on behalf of cabinet for the unalloyed support you have promised.  Ikwerre people must be ready to be part of the progress of Rivers State by using their votes”, he said.

The Governor promised to construct more internal roads and complete all ongoing projects in the state.

Leader of the Rivers Representatives, Hon Asita O. Asita, the lawmaker representing Ahoada-West and Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Federal Constituency spoke on behalf of other members of the caucus.

While expressing satisfaction with the level of projects implementation in the state, the Rivers Caucus congratulated Governor Amaechi for his courage in giving the state a face lift and speedy development.

“We are here to express and declare our support and appreciation to you, on how you have successfully and wonderfully managed the affairs of the state. In the past five years and four months, we are satisfied with the level of implementation and vision that you have shown, we are satisfied and indeed thankful to God for giving you to our state at such a time as this, and wish to congratulate you for the show of uncommon courage and statesmanship in the face of uncovered hostilities towards your person as governor”, Asita said.

On issues concerning the East-West road construction, Hon. Asita said, as primary beneficiaries of the road traversing the state and their different constituencies, the Rivers Caucus should be seen as stakeholders and interested parties in the execution of the project which should be taken seriously.

“At different times Your Excellency, notable personalities in this region have expressed fear and concern over the slow and unserious nature of the execution of the East-West road construction project, we are happy that you agree no less with us, and challenge detractors of the Niger Delta people who suffered so much loss on this road to show proof to the contrary, but we are still worried that the road is still very deplorable and nothing significant has been done before and after you made those harmless rather patriotic comments that attracted unnecessary political interpretations”, Asita said.

The Rivers Caucus further maintained that they will continue to deploy the instrumentality of the National Assembly to focus on East-West road construction project with the expectation that the road when completed will enhance the economy of the Niger Delta region.

The delegation equally urged Governor Amaechi to challenge the unwholesome attempt to cede Rivers territory to other states, and also thank him for taking steps to defend the territory that make up the different constituencies which he (Amaechi) declared to protect on assumption of office as Governor of Rivers State.

“We encourage you to be steadfast, especially at times like this, so that one does not go to bed a citizen of Rives State, and wake up the following morning, a citizen of another state, or have our land ceded because of oil, we join all other well-meaning indigenes of the state to say no resources should be spared in this pursuit”, Asita said.

On this part, Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi thanked the show of support by the Rivers State Caucus in the House of Representatives, saying that he will continue to discharge his responsibilities and also defend the Rivers territory which has a geographical location in the country’s constitution.

“We must as a people work together, your responsibilities as Federal Lawmakers is to watch out for those issues that will tamper with our resources, so that you can speak out”, Amaechi said.

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Again, RSG Begins Unveiling, Flag-Off Of Nine Key Projects, ’Morrow

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The Rivers State Government has rolled out the drums to herald another phase of official commissioning of key projects embarked upon by the Governor Nyesom Wike-led administration in the state.
A statement by the state government said that the process is in continuation of the commissioning and flag-off of projects by Governor Nyesom Wike.
It indicated that Rumuola flyover would be commissioned tomorrow, while the GRA flyover would be commissioned on Saturday.
The also stated that the government would commission the Ezimgbu Road on Monday, December 13, 2021; with another commissioning of Tombia Road Extension scheduled for Tuesday, December 14, 2021.
The statement said that the governor would commission the Safe Home, Borikiri, Port Harcourt on Wednesday, December 15; while on Thursday, December 16, 2021, the governor would commission the Odokwu internal roads.
Also, the governor would continue the flag-off of key infrastructure projects with Chokocho-Igbodo Road slated for Monday, December 20, 2021; Oyigbo-Okoloma Road on Wednesday, December 22, 2021; and Magistrates’ Court Complex, Port Harcourt on Thursday, December 23, 2021.

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Wike Justifies N7bn Libel Suit Against THISDAY

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, yesterday, appeared before the state High Court in Port Harcourt, to testify as a witness in an N7billion libel suit against THISDAY Newspaper.
Wike said he was in court to seek justice and clear his name as a person from the malicious publication by THISDAY Newspaper, which portrayed him as deceitful, untrustworthy person, who exerts subterranean influences on judicial matters and over court sittings in Port Harcourt.
It would be recalled that Wike had in August, 2020, slammed a N7billion suit being damages for libel written and published in THISDAY’s Tuesday, June 23, 2020 edition captioned, “With Wike, Obaseki Meets His PDP’s Waterloo; Almost.”
The defendants in the suit are THISDAY Newspapers Limited, Leaders and Company Limited, Davidson Iriekpan, Chuks Okocha and Adibe Emenyonu.
Wike, while testifying as witness in suit No. PHC/1505/CS/2020 before the court presided over by Justice A. Enebeli, asserted that the defendants maliciously and falsely portrayed him as an unreliable friend/person.
“When you say somebody cannot be trusted; that cannot be a fair comment. When you say somebody is influencing the Judiciary, that cannot be a fair comment”, the governor said.
In his written statement on oath, Wike had stated that the defendants had accused him of influencing the decision of the court sitting in Port Harcourt that granted an injunction restraining Godwin Obaseki from participating in the primaries of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State in 2020.
He stated that the defendants maliciously accused him of undemocratically exerting influence on the primaries process of PDP in Edo State in aid of his ally, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, who was the beneficiary of the court order restraining Obaseki from participating in the PDP primaries.
The governor, who told the court that he was not even aware of the aforementioned suit by Ogbeide-Ihama against Obaseki, said the publication was reckless, false and without regards for the truth.
According to him, contrary to well-known journalistic tradition and practices, the defendants did not investigate properly to ensure the information they relied on was accurate.
“They did not seek to verify the facts from me or in any manner oblige me with the opportunity to state my own side of the story before proceeding to make the false publication” the governor argued.
Wike stated that the defendants further denigrated him before the entire world as a fake democrat, who engages in meddling in the internal affairs of All Progressives Congress (APC) in order to get at his political foe, Chibuike Amaechi.
The governor explained that he was not a member of the APC and has had no hand in the internal crisis which has bedevilled the party both in Rivers State and all over Nigeria.
“By the letter of Messrs E.C. Ukala and Co., Solicitors, under the hand of Emmanuel C. Ukala, SAN, dated 23rd June, 2020, the defendants were given opportunity to retract, and recant the publication as well as to offer apology for the false publication but the defendants spurned the opportunity and ignored the letter completely.”
The governor, while responding to claim by lawyer to the defendants, Turudu Ede, SAN, that the essence of the lawsuit was to intimidate and harass his clients, said the whole essence of the suit was to get justice and clear his name as a man of substantial character, honour and repute.
“The essence of the suit is to get justice since they (defendants) refused to retract the publication or apologise. So, I sued them to clear my name.”
Speaking to journalists outside the court, one of the lawyers to Wike, Mr. Mark Agwu said his client was in court to seek legal redress.
“To challenge him as a person, it means you have made him untrustworthy, a deceit, a cheat, an influencer of the court, because the publication they made was that he had a role to play in influencing the outcome of that Federal High Court case. Nobody will take that lightly, and especially for a man who believes in the rule of law”, Agwu added.
The court adjourned the matter for further hearing to 12th, 13th and 14th of January, 2022.

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$130m Fraud: Rivers Sues Saipem SPA, Saipem Contracting Firm, Others

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The Rivers State Government has charged two construction firms, Saipem SPA and Saipem Contracting Nigeria Ltd, to court over an alleged conspiracy to cheat and with intent to defraud the state of the sum of $130million, being advanced payment for the construction of the OCGT power plant in Port Harcourt.
In a 16-count criminal charge filed by the Director of Public Prosecution, C.F. Amadi for the Rivers State Attorney General, the state alleged that after collecting the said sum as advanced payment between 2011 and 2018, the defendants have not kept their obligation under the contract.
Others charged alongside the companies were Walter Peviana; Kelechi Sinteh Chinakwe; Giandomenico Zingali; Vitto Testaguzza and Davide Anelli, who are directors and officers of the companies.
The defendants are charged with various offences ranging from conspiracy, cheating and obtaining credit by false pretence, contrary to Section 518 (6) and (7) and punishable under Section 518 of the Criminal Code, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999, section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b) of the Criminal Code, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State, amongst others.
Already, the Rivers State Government has issued a fiat to the law firm of Godwin Obla (SAN) to prosecute the matter before the state High court.
The defendants are equally charged for the offence of false Statements by Officials of Companies contrary to and punishable under Section 436 (b).
The prosecution specifically accused the defendants of obtaining credit of $130million by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); obtaining credit of $20,467,942.00 by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b), obtaining credit of N7,000,000,000.00 only by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b).
They are charged for obtaining credit of N318,640,173.54, by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); attempt to cheat $97million contrary to Section 508 and punishable under Section 509; attempt to cheat $15million contrary to Section 508 and punishable under Section 509; conspiracy to receive a credit of $97million by false pretences contrary to Section 518 (6) and punishable under Section 518; cheating $11million contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating N110, 097, 416.51 contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating by collecting sums attributable to shared facilities already paid for in AFAM Phase I in AFAM Phase II contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421.
Obtaining N20, 467, 942 contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; obtaining credit of $60,168,936.00 by false pretences or other fraud, contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); obtaining credit of $1,512,034.00 by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b) all of the Criminal Code Law of Rivers State, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria 1999.
According to the Proof of Evidence attached to the charge and the statement made by the Head, Power Generation/Mechanical of the Rivers State Ministry of Power, one Mr Temple Azunda M., the facts constituting the case in hand are as follows:
Saipem SPA and Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited and other officers of the duo, herein the Defendants, are Italian companies which services have been retained by the Rivers State Government, herein RSG, in several projects, prominent amongst which is the AFAM Phase II Power Plant Project.
By an initial tripartite agreement made on the January 20, 2010, the RSG under the auspices of the Rivers State Ministry of Power entered a contract with Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited, Saipem SPA for the construction of the OGCT power plant in Port Harcourt at a total cost of $119million consequent upon which the Rivers State Government made advance payments, in instalments, to Saipem Contracting Nigeria Ltd and Saipem SPA amounting in total to a sum of $130million in all which the Defendants have acknowledged receipt of.
The Defendants were to be given an initial mobilization of 20per cent of the total contract sum which the RSG paid.
It was part of the initial agreement – and indeed a condition sine qua non – that, to access the 2nd tranche of payment of 25per cent from the Rivers State Government, the Defendants would mandatorily have installed the Gas Turbine into the foundations as referenced in ATTACHMENT 1 to VO 007 which states that:
CONTRACTOR shall be entitled to a payment corresponding to 20per cent of the VO No. 007 LS PRICE upon mobilisation to site and commencement of bush clearing activities at SITE.
Upon commencement of bush clearing activities at the site, the contractor shall issue the invoice relevant to the above payment and the owner shall pay such invoice within 14 days from its issuance.
The parties agree that no deduction for recovery of advance payment shall apply on the payment due to the contractor for invoices issued by the contractor in accordance with this paragraph.

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