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.
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.
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