More condemnation have trailed last Wednesday attack by the State Police Command on 13,000 teachers who had assembled at the Elekahia Stadium for collection of their letters of postings.
Media reports said the affected teachers were attacked with teargas canmsters, resulting in a stampede which occasioned bodily harm to their victims.
Rivers State Police Commissioner, Mbu Joseph Mbu was quoted as saying that those assembled at the Stadium were hoodlums and miscreants engaged by the state government to cause a breach of the peace.
Reacting to that claim yesterday, the Chief of Staff, Rivers State Government House, Sir Tony Okocha described as very misleading, Mbu’s account of the unfortunate incident.
Okocha said the claim by Rivers State Police Commissioner, Mbu Joseph Mbu that the 13,000 teachers asked to converge at the Liberation Stadium last Wednesday for the collection of their posting letters were hired touts and miscreants engaged to embark on protest, was concocted by the police to mislead the public.
The State Commissioner of Police, Mbu Joseph Mbu, had at a press briefing yesterday displayed placards allegedly carried by the 13,000 teachers, whom he described as miscreants.
But Okocha described the action of Mbu as a ploy to mislead the public through lies and fabrication, adding that the Rivers State Government did not have to bandy words with the state police command whose stock-in-trade was to concoct lies at every instance to justify its nefarious actions.
“ Mr Mbu Joseph Mbu, and indeed, the state police command are known to be pathological liars. The case of Archbishop Ignatius Kattey, the Dean of the Anglican Church, whom they claimed to have secured his release from his abductors was a ready example.
“ Mr Mbu is a bad taste, and we urge Rivers people not to be distracted by his many deafening lies,” Sir Okocha remarked.
The chief of staff explained that, “for the records, the 13,000 teachers converged at the Liberation Stadium, Elekahia, to collect their letters of posting to their various duty posts. This fact can be verified by any objective mind”.
In the same token, the action by the men of the Rivers State Police Command which stopped over 13,000 newly recruited teachers from collecting their letters of postings from the Ministry of Education at the Liberation Stadium, Elekahia, Port Harcourt has been condemned.
A statement issued in Port Harcourt by Hon. Dr. Sokonte H. Davies, representing Degema/Bonny Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, described the Police action as shameful and an infringement on the civic rights of the people.
The lawmaker said it was wrong for the police authority in the state to misinterpret activities of the government, adding that such negative actions readily give the impression of a state under siege.
Hon. Davies, who wondered why the police took such an unprogressive step after several announcements by the authority concerned on the exercise, called on the Inspector-General of Police to wade into the matter and take appropriate action.
The statement maintained that the present administration under Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi means well for the people of the state and would continue to advance policies and programmes that would promote the development of the state.
It would be recalled that last Wednesday, the state Education Ministry had directed the newly recruited 13,201 teachers to report to the stadium for their posting letters.
As of 7.30am, most of the teachers were already seated at the stadium waiting for the programme to kick-start by 11am only to be chased out of the stadium by men of the Nigeria Police Force, Rivers State Command.
The new teachers who were chased out of the stadium by the men in uniform lamented seriously over the situation.
One of the teachers, who spoke on condition of anonymity said they were surprised over the attitude of the Nigerian Police.
He stated that the Police would not deter them from appreciating the good works of the Governor of the state, Rt. Hon.Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi that employed them.
The new teachers stated that the political hustlers in the state were trying to destabilise the entire system by trying to undermine the job opportunity provided by the governor of the state.
But in a quick reaction, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Dr. Richard Ofuru said that the reason for using the Liberation Stadium was because of the huge crowd involved in the exercise. Dr.Ofuru while speaking to newsmen in his office, said that the exercise did not have a political motive, as politicians were not part of the gathering.
He stated that the ministry even handled more than 16,000 applicants during the interview of the new teachers, stressing his surprise for the barricading of the Liberation Stadium by the police.
The permanent secretary noted that the event was purely a civil service exercise. “You are aware that this recruitment of teachers has been going through processes. There was the first examination, there was an interview, the next stage was the boards clearing them, ensuring that their credentials were authentic. The last stage was what was supposed to take place last Wednesday today.
“There were to get their postings into the various primary, junior secondary and senior secondary schools and knowing the crowd of 13,000 plus was not what some body could gather in the ministry or UBE Board and the Senior Secondary School Board.
“We needed a large space to enable us to finish everything about posting today. You can agree with me that the schools resumed over one week ago and we needed these teachers to go and start their jobs. So we wanted an open ground where they can be segmented into different local government areas and treated once, and for all and the first place we thought about was the Liberation Stadium, that has the capacity to accommodate everybody but unfortunately I was told that police dispersed everybody”, he 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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