Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, has said that he will not succumb to pressure to relinquish the chairmanship of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum to his Plateau State counterpart, Governor Jonah Jang.
The Nigeria Governors’Forum chairman, who was recently re-elected, was at the NGF secretariat in Abuja yesterday to reassure the staff that the crisis would not affect the regular payment of their salaries.
Amaechi said: “I think that as a secretariat you should forget the internal dynamics of the politics of NGF.“We are colleagues.
When we talk among ourselves, you will understand that there are underlining factors that are making them to behave the way they are behaving that you cannot take away.
“It is usually things that happen sometime.
“It is beyond the control of the chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum.
“But either way, be rest assured of your salaries.”
Amaechi called on members of Governor Jang’s faction to return to the fold, insisting that there can never be two secretariats of the NGF.
Asked if he would surrender the second term mandate, Governor Amaechi retorted: “No, no, no.
“That is a mandate that was freely given and I will stick to that mandate.
“The election has come and gone.
“Like I said after the election….
“It was a test for democracy and democracy won at the end of the day.
“All we can do as democrats that were elected by the people is to uphold democracy and stand by democracy.
“I honestly do not know why the disagreement.
“I don’t know why.
“I believe that my brothers and colleagues will see reason why we should stop distracting the country and get the country united to focus on development because at the end of the day, it is about legacy, it is about what we will leave behind for the people.”
Amaechi also warned politicians to be careful so that the ongoing crisis does not affect the 2015 election, insisting that Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State voted during the controversial election.
Noting that Nigeria should be able to manage its democracy and election process, he warned that care should be taken to ensure that what was happening now did not affect the stand of Nigerians towards the 2015 general election.
He said, “Again, tell my brother, Mimiko, that he voted.
“If he still says he did not vote, I am willing to go with him to his church, Redeemed Church, we kneel on the alter and say it before God.”
Amechi also said: “I want to urge Jang, because he said he is Christian, to know that God watches over everybody and whatever you say, say it according to God because beyond NGF, you and I know that there is heaven and you can’t go to heaven if you don’t tell the truth and stand by the truth.
“I am not saying he is not saying the truth, I am not saying he is not standing by the truth, I am just saying that nobody can go to heaven when he is not saying the truth.
“There is no special benefit that the Nigeria Governors’ Forum chairman is getting.
“I don’t see why there is this disagreement.
“When I read them saying I am desperate, desperate for what?
“I am only proving a point that Nigerians are allowed to run for any post they want to run.
“And when they do and they are elected, they should stick to their mandates.
“That is the only point.
“My brothers, who are complaining now about the election, should come back and let’s work together.
“They must be willing, just as we are willing, to accept.
“It is not really a battle.
“It is about God.
“I usually tell people, don’t win the battle and lose the war.
“I think all of us should come together and work for the interest of the nation and for the interest of the poor masses.
“We should not allow our personal interest to override that of the nation.
“It is important we consider the interest of the nation.”
While restating his respect for President Goodluck Jonathan, the NGF chairman, however, insisted that only the governors that gave him the mandate could ask him to step aside.
He said, “when we say President, it is because he is the President of the country and all of us must be loyal to him.
“But my employers are the governors.
“If they wake up tomorrow and say chairman, you have to go, then I will go.
“But they must wake up and say so.
Meanwhile, the National Chairman, Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), Alhaji Balarabe Musa, has decried the idea of a consensus candidate for the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).
“The important thing is that Nigerian governors had an election and the results of the election were announced, the election was voluntary and conducted in a free, fair and cordial atmosphere.
“Every reasonable person should abide by the outcome; for the sake of democracy, they should let the result be.”
He said that the leadership should not have allowed the crisis in the NGF to happen, to make the forum relevant in the political development of the country.
“With this development, there will be two governors’ fora, one led by Gov. Jonah Jang, the other by Gov. Chibuike Amaechi; this tends to make NGF irrelevant.”
He urged PDP stakeholders to allow justice to take its rightful place in the course of finding lasting solution to the crisis.
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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