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Why We Joined APC – Gov Amaechi

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Governor Chibuike Amaechi has confirmed his final move to the All Progressive, Congress (APC).
Governor Amaechi shortly after arriving from Abuja at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa yesterday told newsmen, “yes, I have moved to APC this morning after the meeting we had with Buhari, Tinubu and Interim National Chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande.”
On the prospects of the reconciliatory meeting between President Jonathan and the G-7 governors, Amaechi responded, “I can’t answer because if you look at the press release by Niger State governor, he said he will join us after a meeting with the President. I don’t know whether we are qualified for the meeting anymore. I agree with him that we were supposed to have gone for the meeting because the meeting was supposed to be last Sunday but the President said he was indisposed. So the governors met on Monday and decided to meet with the APC leadership today (Tuesday). And the position we took if you look at the press release was to better democracy and ensure that Nigeria moves forward.”
“We can’t continue the way we are. The picture painted by the PDP is as if we were begging to come back to the PDP and the issues raised were not being looked into and so it’s important that we resolve it one way or the other. What has happened is that those of us in the new PDP have decided to move into the APC with our supporters, to position ourselves for the next elections”, he said.
Asked of his message to Rivers people and his teeming supporters the governor replied, “they must know that I am no longer a child. For me to have taken that decision, I had looked at the general interest of Rivers people. I am not elected to lead Nigeria. I am elected to lead Rivers State. And I have looked at the interest of Rivers people and seen that it is not being protected by the PDP. I had seen the fact that we were losing our oil wells both in Etche and in Kalabari areas, and the more we continue to bicker over these things, the more we continue to lose our wealth. At the last time we were third, but before we used to be the first in the country. So we can’t continue in that kind of situation.”
When asked if he consulted widely before taking the decision, Governor Amaechi said, “I did. I reached out to as many persons as possible and I continue to let them know that there is no way out of this situation than to move out of the PDP because we have seen the point where we were losing. I had said to everybody (points to the airport) look at the airport. Just look at the airport. How many developments have you seen the PDP execute in Rivers State?”
Former Vice-President Abubabar Atiku said the defection of the Peoples Democratic Party governors to the All Progressives Congress was a positive step.
Atiku, in a statement in Abuja, said, “I believe in a true democracy based on freedom of association as guaranteed in the Nigerian constitution.
“I also long for a day where we celebrate a multi-party system where political parties make improving the lives of Nigerians their top priority, instead of our current politics of corrupt cronyism and personal destruction. Today’s news is a positive step in both directions.”
On whether the PDP has collapsed in Rivers State following his movement to the APC, the governor responded, “I don’t know about that. Rivers people would choose in 2015.”
The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) also stated that he does not have any personal grouse with President Jonathan as painted in most quarters, however said, “what the issues were, affect Rivers people and we are part of Nigeria. I am a Nigerian and I have to address those issues.”
While expressing respect for the office of the President, Amaechi said as an elected governor of Rivers State, I have the responsibility of leading Rivers people till 2015” and added that the development will allow him concentrate on the development and governance of Rivers State which is paramount to him now.
Speaking on the issue, the member representing Andoni/Opobo/Nkoro Federal Constituency, Hon. Dakuku Peterside described the development as a watershed in our nation’s democratic journey, adding that “the beneficiary is the Nigerian people and democracy and democratic culture can never be the same again. “Our democratic institutions will be strengthened by implication and never again will the people be taken for granted,” he said.
The PDP governors and other members of Alhaji Kawu Baraje’s led new PDP had merged with the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Acting National Chairman of the new PDP, Alhaji Abubakar Baraje had announced the decision after their meeting with APC leadership which was held at Kano Governor’s Lodge in Abuja.
A statement to this effect was read by the National Chairman of the nPDP, Alhaji Kawu Baraje, after talks between the faction and APC leaders.
The statement signed by the National Chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande and Alhaji Baraje reads: “A meeting of the leadership of APC and the New PDP met this morning at the residence of the Kano State Governor, Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, in Abuja. After exhaustive deliberations, the two parties agreed to merge in order to rescue our fledgling democracy.”
Reacting, the Presidency said that it was not threatened by the defection of the splinter group to the opposition party, APC.
The Special Adviser to the President on Political Affair, Ahmed Gulak, said yesterday, when he spoke with the State House Correspondence at the Presidential Villa.
“The presidency does not feel threatened and the PDP does not feel threatened. PDP is the party to beat. We have had it before even people who had occupied higher offices left the party and came back. Outside there, there is nothing, it is empty. PDP is the only party,” he said.
He added that the party and the presidency welcomed the development because it would end the distractions that had been going on.
Gulak said, “For a long time, I have said it that their hearts have not been in PDP. It is good that they have told the world that they have taken a stand so that PDP will not be distracted. PDP as a party will be focused to build our party because a lot of people are waiting for this moment. “A lot of people in the APC have contacted me severally that they want to come back to PDP. They said they were just waiting for what happened today to happen, and to us, it is a good development.
Gulak, however, said if the group decided to return to the PDP fold, they would be welcomed back.
“We are talking about peace and reconciliation is an ongoing process. If they go outside there like those that went there before them and taste that the outside there is empty they are always welcomed back home like we did before,” he said.

L-R: Acting Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission, Dr. Christy Atako, representative of the Rivers State Comptroller of Immigration, Mr Garba Gabriel, Director, Human Resources Management, Office of the Secretary to the Government of Federation, Mr. Sonnice Aruya and Permanent Secretary, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Linus Awute, during an interactive session with federal civil servants in Port Harcourt, yesterday.

L-R: Acting Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission, Dr. Christy Atako, representative of the Rivers State Comptroller of Immigration, Mr Garba Gabriel, Director, Human Resources Management, Office of the Secretary to the Government of Federation, Mr. Sonnice Aruya and Permanent Secretary, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Linus Awute, during an interactive session with federal civil servants in Port Harcourt, yesterday.

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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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