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RVHA Crisis: Rivers People, Lagos Assembly Hail NASS Intervention

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Eminent lawyers and other stakeholders across Rivers State have welcomed the resolution by the Federal House of Representatives to takeover the functions of the Rivers State House of Assembly.
A cross section of stakeholders, who spoke to The Tide in an opinion poll also welcomed the resolution, urging the Inspector General of Police  to redeploy the state commissioner of police, Mr Mbu Joseph Mbu.
Barrister Chijioke Agi, a Port Harcourt-based legal practitioner said that the resolution was in order following the factionalisation of the House.
According to him, for purposes of averting further crisis, it is constitutional that the National Assembly wade into the matter.
He said that within the period the resolution will last, it is expected that both factions of the Rivers State House of Assembly would learn their lessons with a view to giving peace a chance in the state.
On the issue of the removal of the Police Commissioner, Barrister Agi said that since the working relationship between the police commissioner and the governor has broken down, it is proper he be redeployed.
Also Speaking, Barrister Forgiven Amachree said that the resolution is good for the state as the situation was getting chaotic by the day.
Barrister Amachree, who is also the secretary of the Rivers State Leadership Advancement Foundation (RIVLEAF) further said that Rivers people  have lost confidence in the state commissioner of police, as the police were seen giving protection to five legislators.
He argued that to forestall further breakdown of law and order, it was constitutionally  incumbent on the National Assembly to pass the resolution.
Barrister Amachree also urged the Inspector General  of Police, Mohammed Abubakar to obey the House resolution on the redeployment of the commissioner.
Mr Egerton Egerton, an applicant said that the development will check further crisis in the state but noted that Rivers people need to pray for peace for the state.
In his remarks, factional leader of Rivers Youth Movement (RYM), Prince Fyneface Amaechi also condemned the fracas in the House of Assembly and commended the Federal House of Representatives for its resolution.
Lawmakers in Lagos State have lauded the National Assembly (NASS) for resolving to take over the Rivers State House of Assembly (RSHA) following Tuesday’s free-for-all among the state’s lawmakers.
The commendation was sequel to a motion, which the Leader of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr Ajibayo Adeyeye, moved under matters of urgent public importance.
Adeyeye noted that the prompt intervention of the NASS in the crisis would help to resolve it  and sustain democracy in Rivers.
“It is saddening where hoodlums would take over the Assembly to the detriment of peace in the state (Rivers),’’ he said.
Contributing, Mr Sanai Agunbiade (ACN-Ikorodu I), said that although the Constitution provided for the removal of the Speaker of a House of Assembly, lawmakers ought to follow laid-down procedures.
“This ‘abracadabra’ going on in Rivers State poses great danger to our democracy, which we all fought for.
“We have suffered for the emergence of democracy in this country; it should not be allowed to be truncated.
“It is a wrong signal to the upcoming 2015 general elections,’’ he warned.
Also contributing, Mr Segun Olulade (ACN-Epe II), described the fracas as an offshoot of the recent Nigerian Governors’ Forum election, which caused the body to break into two.
Olulade warned that unless adequate measures were introduced to check the crisis, it would  escalate.
Another lawmaker, Abiodun Tobun (ACN-Epe I), suggested that the CP in Rivers, should be sacked rather than replaced, describing his action as a dereliction of duty.
And according to Mrs Adebimpe Akinsola (ACN-Ikorodu II), the development has justified the call for state police.
She noted that the Rivers Governor,Chibuike Amaechi, had “remained powerless’’, in spite of being the state’s chief security officer.
The Chief Whip, Mr Razaq Balogun, urged that the House of Representatives be commended for taking the step it took to save the situation from degenerating any further.
Balogun urged that if the crisis persisted, state Houses of Assembly nationwide should down tools in solidarity with their counterparts in Rivers.
However, the Speaker of the House, Mr Adeyemi Ikuforiji,  appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan to intervene in the crisis in line with constitutional provisions.
The lawmakers urged the IG, Muhammad Abubakar, to replace the CP, Mr Joseph Mbu, with an “unbiased officer’’.

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90% Of Money Laundered Via Real Estate, EFCC Reveals

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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.”

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We’ve Spent N9bn To Upgrade RSUTH, Wike Confirms

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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.

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Power Generation Falls 23% To 3,172MW

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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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