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‘No Going Back On Merger With APC’ …Deputy Speaker, Others Back Amaechi …Rivers Stakeholders Hail Decision

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The Abubakar Baraje faction that last Tuesday merged with the All Progressives Congress (APC) alongside five erstwhile Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors has declared that there was no going back on the agreement.
According to the group, the agreement was a done deal because a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in respect of the merger had been duly signed by the two parties.
Still smarting from the loss of five of its governors and some leading lights to the APC, the Bamanga Tukur led PDP on Thursday congratulated the merging parties for their action.
A statement by the spokesman of the Baraje group, Chukwuemeka Eze said:“the MoU between us and the APC has been duly signed by both the nPDP national chairman, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, and the national chairman of the APC, Chief Bisi Akande. In this regard, the general public should disregard any statement from whatever source which tries to give the impression that the merger between us and APC is in danger. The truth is that the merger is waxing stronger by the day and that our resolve to save our fledgling democracy is unshakable.
“President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP leadership should come to terms with the fact that PDP is now an opposition political party and Jonathan should start writing his handover notes as APC is fully set to take over the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in 2015 so as to give Nigerians the dividends of democracy they have been yearning for,” he added.
Eze assured PDP members in the National Assembly intending to move to the APC of security of their tenure, saying their seats were guaranteed by relevant provisions of the Nigerian Constitution and the Electoral Act.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Leyii Kwanee has lauded the Governor for his defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In an interview with The Tide yesterday, the Deputy Speaker said the governor’s decision was in the best interest of the state pointing out that if the governor had not defected it would have been a disservice to Rivers people.
Kwanee reminded Rivers people that the governor was pushed to the wall stating that he endured all the while because the president comes from his extraction.
A chieftain of the APC in the state and former Commissioner for Special Duties, Chief Davies Ibiamu Ikanya said that Governor Amaechi and the four PDP governors who moved to APC have displayed courage, as the new party was ready to welcome them into its fold.
Chairman of Port Harcourt City Council, Hon Chimbiko Akarolo dismissed views that the development would lead to political upheavals, “there is no political dilemma in Rivers State. The decision has been taken and the leader has spoken that we need a platform to express ourselves and deliver the dividends of democracy. And APC has popped us that opportunity.”
For Chairman of Bonny Local Government Area, Barrister Edward Pepple all the local government chairmen were with the governor. He argued that the move was best for democracy.
Chairman of Degema Local Government Area, Hon Ibigoni Daddy Pokima said the move was the death knell for the PDP in Rivers State, “I’m telling you that APC is going to win this state… We will make sure that we put up our flags in the various local government areas”.
Also speaking with The Tide, the National Coordinator of Fans and Supporters of Governor Amaechi, Barrister Ibiene Amachree said they support and would continue to back Governor Chibuike Amaechi in his actions.

 

Pro-Chancellor of Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Hon Justice Adolphus Karibi Whyte (right), exchanging views with Prof G. O. O. Tasie, during the First RSUST Corporate Society Day, in Port Harcourt, last Tuesday.Photo: Obinna Prince Dele

Pro-Chancellor of Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Hon Justice Adolphus Karibi Whyte (right), exchanging views with Prof G. O. O. Tasie, during the First RSUST Corporate Society Day, in Port Harcourt, last Tuesday. Photo: Obinna Prince Dele

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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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