Eight governors from Lagos, Zamfara, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Imo, Ekiti and Nassarawa states yesterday shunned the National Economic Council meeting in Abuja to pay a solidarity visit on Governor of Rivers State and Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Rt Hon Chibuike Amaechi in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
The governors are Babatunde Fashola of Lagos, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola of Osun and Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun. Those from Zamfara, Nassarawa and Imo states were represented by their deputies.
The governors, who arrived around 11am, immediately went into a closed door meeting with Governor Amaechi and by 2pm, their spokesman, Dr. Fayemi addressed the press, saying their action was not to ‘’denigrate’’ the National Economic Council meeting, but to underscore the importance of security and felicitate with Amaechi over the crisis in Rivers State.
In the words of Governor Fayemi, “some of our colleagues were here a couple of days ago. We are here because insecurity for us is a far more major concern to the people of Nigeria. You may be aware that today is National Economic Council meeting we are supposed to be in Abuja, but our being here is not a denigration of that meeting in a way. It is just to stress the importance of our concern for the security of citizens of Rivers State’’.
The Ekiti State governor revealed that the governors have agreed for Amaechi to meet with President Goodluck Jonathan to brief him formally on the spate of insecurity in Rivers State. “ It is quite important for him to actually go and brief Mr President, who is our leader and the chief security officer of the country on the very challenging security situation here in Rivers State, and we believe that our brother and our chairman would give serious consideration to that concern that we have expressed to him,’ he said’
Fayemi, however, lambasted the police for compromising and urged the Inspector-General of Police to quickly investigate the matter with a view to restoring confidence in the state’s security apparatus.
Besides that, the governor said the Presidency also has a role to play in the matter emphasising, “ for us, we believe this is a matter that requires the moral authority of the president and it is about deepening democracy and ensuring that peace reigns, not just in Rivers State and the state of security in the entire country.’’
While condenming all the subversive tactics used by Amaechi’s opponents so far in the crises, Fayemi called on all parties to sheath their swords in order to help restore peace in the state.
Also speaking, Deputy Governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Muktar Anka said, “ we, being progressive governors, met with our chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Rivers State Governor. We are very happy that we met him in high spirit and it seems that he is popular and moving with his people. We are very happy with that.
We have resolved and we advised him that he should meet with the President so that we can find a way out of this crisis which is avoidable. We believe that through such meeting with Mr President, a solution to the crisis in Rivers State will be found and strengthen democracy in Nigeria,’’ he added.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Government says the security of Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi can no longer be guaranteed following the presence of strange security personnel around the governor.
Secretary to the State Government, Mr George Feyii, who said this in a statement made available to The Tide yesterday in Port Harcourt, explained that the government notes with distress what is now an apparent attack on the person of Governor Chibuike Amaechi”.
According to the statement, two policemen, one of whom is Inspector Bawa, had reported to the Rivers State Governor’s Lodge at Justice Mohammed Bello Street, Asokoro in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, claiming to have been posted by Nigeria Police Force Headquarters, to monitor the Rivers State Governor’s lodge.
“Earlier, four intelligence officers had been posted to the Government House, Port Harcourt by the Rivers State Police Command.
“These postings were done without any notification or reference to Governor Amaechi’, Feyii said, adding that the standard practice is that, an official reserves the right to pick the security personnel to whom he or she may entrust their safety.
“This is more so in the case of a state Governor, he added. The policemen, the SSG explained, had indicated that they had directives to remain at the gate of the Rivers State Governor’s lodge.
According to him, “ not only is the Rivers State Government uncertain of the true identity of these gentlemen, we are worried as to the true intent behind this latest posting”.
He argued that, this is more so, especially as recent events in Rivers State and especially around Governor Amaechi have been suggestive of deliberate non-chalance at best and complicity at worst in the security breaches that have occurred.
“We are worried that we can no longer gurantee the safety of Governor Chibuike Amaechi, and wish to reiterate our call on all relevant authorities to ensure the safety of Governor Amaechi and the peace and security of every one in Rivers State”, the SSG said.
In a related development, children from different parts of Rivers State have condemned the recent call by the Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike for his supporters to fight and disrupt government programmes in the state.
The children under the aegis of Rivers Teenage Parliament made the condemnation when they paid a visit to the Deputy Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Barr. Leyii Kwanee in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, last Wednesday.
An address presented by the spokesperson of the children, Miss. Soblachi Amadi condemned the unguarded utterance made by the minister urging his supporters to fight.
She said that Rivers State has known peace for sometime and to plunge the state into fight and war portends grave consequences particularly to the children and women.
“ Most victims of fight and war are we, children and our mummies, aunties, nieces and sisters. Uncle, minister consider us that we could be the victims of your recent call for fight”, Amadi noted.
She wondered what the minister could be teaching them to learn when they grow up.
She called on the minister to apologize to children and youths.
In his response, Deputy Speaker, Leyii Kwanee, assured that Governor Chibuike Amaechi will do everything within the law to ensure the protection of lives of citizens, especially children and mothers.
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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