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Stop Chasing Shadows, New PDP Tells Tukur …As Kaduna Gets State Chapter

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L-R: Managing Director, Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, Mr Babs Omotowa, Country Director, British Council, Nigeria, Connie Price and Centre Manager, British Council, Nigeria, Ijeoma Arguba, during  the presentation of scholarship awards  Post Graduate Students  in Port Harcourt, yesterday

L-R: Managing Director, Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, Mr Babs Omotowa, Country Director, British Council, Nigeria, Connie Price and Centre Manager, British Council, Nigeria, Ijeoma Arguba, during the presentation of scholarship awards Post Graduate Students in Port Harcourt, yesterday

The Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje-led national executive of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has advised embattled old PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, to leave bona fide members of the party alone and stop chasing shadows.
The party in a statement issued yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze berated Tukur for allegedly spreading lies about chieftains of the party.
The statement listed those being blackmailed to include former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State.
Eze urged Tukur to stop making inflammatory statements about respected members of the party, and strive to pave way for the return of peace in the party.
In the statement, the party said, “we have read some of the utterances of the Bamanga Tukur-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and found most of them to be exasperating, disgusting, unacceptable and very unfortunate.
According to the statement, “to the Tukur group, Governor Amaechi is a traitor for standing firm on his rights. We consider some of these statements unbecoming of a leader of Tukur’s stature.
“By these acts, Tukur has demonstrated that he is intolerant, undemocratic and incapable of leading a democratic party like PDP. We urge him and members of his cabinet to stop making inflammatory statements capable of derailing the efforts of the Olusegun Obasanjo-led Elders Committee of the party to restore normalcy and unity amongst PDP members.
Meanwhile, Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo was last Monday put under intense political pressure as numerous pioneer members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in his home state of Kaduna declared for the splinter group led by Abubakar Kawu Baraje.
They also declared Sambo incompetent, adding that he lacked the wherewithal to lead the state.
Before Monday’s formal declaration of a parallel PDP, Mr. Sambo had been engaged in a series of power tussles with Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, a former governor of Kaduna State and a current Senator.
The formation of a Kaduna State chapter of the new PDP was announced by the faction’s Chairman, Audi Yaro Makama, who had also chaired the state party from 2001 to 2007, and the Secretary, Gideon Morik, who had served in the Kaduna State House of Assembly from 1999 to 2007.
The new PDP, in a statement said that Morik was also a former local government chairman in the state.
According to the new party, “in the last few weeks, a political tsunami was unleashed on the nation with the emergence of a new leadership to pilot the affairs of our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The decision of the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and seven governors elected on the platform of the party, is not only worthy of commendation but worthy of emulation,” the statement noted.
It said, “Specifically, Governors Babangida Aliyu, Niger, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Kano; and Sule Lamido, Jigawa; including Aliyu Magatakarda Wammako, Sokoto; as well as Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Rivers; Murtala Nyako, Adamawa; and Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, Kwara, took the necessary step of saving the PDP from the hands of nihilists.
“The revolutionary decision to sack the erstwhile leadership under Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and replace it with the current one led by Alhaji Kawu Baraje needs to be replicated in all state chapters of the party, especially Kaduna State where the support base of the party has been shrinking since 2007 when Namadi Sambo became governor and decided to rubbish the party and its supporters to no end.
“The PDP in Kaduna State, therefore, proudly and wholeheartedly identifies with the new leadership of the party, under Alhaji Kawu Baraje and follows in the footsteps of its sister chapters of Adamawa, Jigawa and Taraba States in setting up new leadership to give our party a new lease of life.
“We are also reassuring our teeming supporters that they truly own the party, and not those with little or no inkling about PDP’s founding ideals, who do not have the passion for the party’s interest and growth.”
Declaring Sambo incompetent, the new PDP said, “fundamentally, this decision has been taken after deep reflections on happenings in Kaduna State since the elevation of Architect Namadi Sambo as Vice President.
It is instructive that since his elevation, the fortunes and prestige of the party in the state have been declining rather than improving, because he has been incapable of rallying the people under its umbrella.
Although this is hardly surprising since he lacks the political wherewithal and the requisite structure to preside over the politics of the state, but it was expected that he would come to terms with his inadequacies and enlist the support of established political actors.
This expectation has been a forlorn hope because the Vice President has surrounded himself with political paperweights. These hangers-on drive Sambo’s vehicle of political exclusionism by hunting for enemies even where they don’t exist.

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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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