A detachment of police officers, led by the DPO of Asokoro police division yesterday stormed the Kano State Government Lodge in Abuja and held at least five factional PDP governors as well as others hostage.
According to our correspondent, the five trapped governors are members of the splinter faction of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who have refused to accept Bamanga Tukur as their chairman.
It was reported that there was initial tension when the security aides of the governors had denied to the DPO and his team entrance.
Meanwhile, the splinter group of the People’s Democratic Party, otherwise known as New PDP, has explained it has not commenced official discussion on alliance with the opposition All Progressive Congress (APC).
According to the faction, the ongoing meeting between aggrieved PDP governors and leaders of the APC, was only meant to extend invitation to the governors.
The nPDP maintained that the discussions should not be seen as confirmation that its members are now in the APC.
Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, its National Publicity Secretary in an interview with newsmen, however, said that President Goodluck Jonathan will be the greatest loser when the nPDP leaders finally make up their minds on what to do, should the peace talks fail.
It would be recalled that last Thursday, the APC leaders were in Kano and Jigawa States, to formally invite the governors, Musa Kwankwaso and Sule Lamido.
Those on the train included former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, interim National Chairman of the APC, Bisi Akande, Interim Deputy National Chairman, Aminu Masari, and a former EFCC Chairman, Nuhu Ribadu.
APC governors on the delegation were Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Babatunde Fashola (Lagos) and Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti).
Former Borno State Governor, Ali Modu Sheriff; former Labour Minister, Musa Gwadabe; a former National Chairman of the defunct All Peoples Party, (APP) Yusuf Garba Ali; former Borno State PDP gubernatorial candidate, Kashim Imam; and some serving and former legislators were also part of the trip.
The APC had last Wednesday, after the foundation laying ceremony of the Sokoto State University, held a closed door meeting with Governor Aliyu Wamakko.
But sources say the leadership of the nPDP and its governors were skeptical about defection to the opposition party.
They G7, for instance, fear that their political relevance may be jeopardized if they declared for the APC and the ruling party eventually wins the 2015 presidential election.
Also, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar is said to be wary of a political alliance with the APC based on his stint at the defunct Action Congress (AC), the platform he ran under in 2007 presidential election.
He is believed to be championing the strategy of ‘fight from within’ as this would see the governors call the shots, if they survive the ongoing battle with the Bamanga Tukur-led executive.
Atiku is insisting that the nPDP governors stay put in the PDP and take control of their respective states.
Eze, reacting to the recent development declared that while the nPDP is keen on resolving the crisis, it would consider other options if forced out.
“As loyalist of PDP and members who do not want the party dead, we conceded that the issue be resolved amicably and this was the reason why we took the matter to our leaders, real National leaders like former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the BOT Chairman, Chief Tony Anenih who took up the matter with President Jonathan, he said.
“You will bear me witness that our demands which are still constant, that pronouncement of suspension of Governor Rotimi Amaechi be rescinded, the return of party state structure in Adamawa state to line of justice and the stoppage of presidential recognition to Governor Jona Jang as Chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum be stopped, is yet to be adhered to.
“The Presidency, one can conveniently say, is playing pranks. We asked that in the true spirit of justice, let Tukur step aside, but they are not taking us serious.
“The implication is that they are saying we are not important. The Insult is enough. But sincerely we’ve not taken any decision on what party to join if the last talk we are to have breaks down.
“I hope the President realise in time that we are the beautiful bride of Nigerian politics. We are being looked for all over, suitors are coming for us. It is left for us to look for how rich and handsome they are.
“Currently, we are just being courted, but we will soon be coming to the family to consult and take decision on whom to marry. But as beautiful as we are, we won’t relate with those who don’t have the desire to produce the president in 2015.
“Whoever refused to dance to our tune won’t get the key to Aso rock. Tukur and the rest who are deceiving the president, do not have the key.
“When you talk of commanders, in Nigerian politics, you should talk of states like Kano, Adamawa, Niger, Sokoto, Rivers and the rest who are with us.
“Anyone who wants to be President in 2015 will associate with us, I repeat. So, we are going to the next reconciliation meeting with an open mind, we want the issue resolved because we built PDP, but if Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and his people do not want President Jonathan to achieve his next dream, we will officially take a decision which I’m sure will turn PDP to a walking corpse.”
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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