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More Troubles For Aviation Minister

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The American National Centre for Education Statistics has confirmed that the Pacific Christian University, Glendale, which Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, claimed awarded her a doctorate degree, does not exist.
This confirms that the minister’s purported honorary Ph.D is fake.
The National Centre for Education Statistics is an agency under the United States’ Department of Education.
Responding to an inquiry by newsmen, the spokesperson for the agency, which maintains a comprehensive and up-to-date database of all American public and private educational institutions, said, “thank you for your inquiry. I do not see a university in our database that is Pacific Christian University in Glendale”.
She, however, suggested that the closest to Pacific Christian University in the database might be Hope International University in Fullerton, which she believed used to be known as Pacific Christian College.
Contacted, Ever Delarosa of the registrar’s office at Hope International University confirmed that the institution used to be known as Pacific Christian College and not Pacific Christian University as Stella Oduah indicated in her resume.
Even at that, Ms. Delarosa insisted that Stella Oduah could not be referring to Hope University because the institution changed its name from Pacific Christian College in 1997 while Mrs Oduah claimed she was awarded a doctorate in Business Administration 1998.
The Hope University official also explained that the institution, even when it was known as Pacific Christian College, had never had a campus in Glendale, but was based in Long Beach City at the time.
According to her, “we do not have any records of any candidate by the name Stella Oduah or related names,” Ms. Delarosa said, after pouring through the university record.
“Whether now that we are Hope University or in the past when we were Pacific Christian College, we did not give any such person a degree here”.
It would be recalled that the aviation minister had lied on oath to the Senate, by claiming that the Pacific Christian University awarded her an honorary doctorate degree in 1998.
Oduah had made the claim in a 7-page resume she distributed to the 109 senators during her confirmation hearing on July 2, 2011.
On page four of the document, the minister claimed the university, which she said was based in Glendale, awarded her an honorary doctorate in Business Administration.
But investigations indicate that no university called Pacific Christian University existed in the United States.
The US Department of Education, through its National Centre for Education Statistics, keeps an up-to-date database of all public libraries and educational institutions in the country – public, private and colleges.
However, a search by state (California), city (Glendale) and name of institution (Pacific Christian University), could neither track Stella Oduah, nor the honorary doctorate degree she claimed to have obtained.
According to the database, there are six colleges (universities) in Glendale, a city of 191,719 inhabitants in Los Angeles County, in the state of California.
The colleges are American Medical Sciences Centre, Brand College, Glendale Career College, Glendale Community, and North-West College, a search that confirmed that there is no such university known as Christian Pacific College as claimed by the minister.
Efforts by to get the comments of the spokespersons for the minister were unsuccessful, as her Special Assistant on Media, Joe Obi, neither answered nor returned calls put across to his phone.
Although spokesperson for the aviation agencies, Yakubu Datti, did pick the call but immediately said he would call back.
But as at the time of going to press, he was yet to respond to our enquiries.
Investigations show that Stella Oduah, and her associates have been cleaning up her biographies on the Internet, since the allegations emerged that she lied about her academic qualifications.
The minister had claimed she obtained Bachelor and Masters degrees from St. Paul’s College.
But after it became clear she might not have earned a Masters from that institution, Mrs. Oduah edited her biography on the website of the Ministry of Aviation, and removed the references to St. Paul’s College.
The Wikipedia page of the minister was also edited and it now has no reference to the university Mrs. Oduah attended, with the last edit on the Wikipedia page done at 14:41 p.m. Nigerian time on Tuesday.
All links and reference materials on the Wikipedia page capable of linking the minister to the university were also deleted.
Even the minister’s personal website was reviewed to remove any reference to St. Paul’s College.
Mrs. Oduah had since October been enmeshed in a N255 million armoured cars scandal in which she was accused of compelling the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), to buy her two exotic bulletproof cars at clearly inflated prices.
The purchase of the cars generated outrage for weeks because its cost was inflated, and it was neither listed in the government-approved budget nor did it comply with the public procurement law.
The House of Representatives has since asked President Goodluck Jonathan to sack the minister but the president has failed to act, even as a panel he set up to probe the purchase has since submitted its report.

Chairman, Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, Gbenemene Tai Kingdom, King Godwin N.K. Gininwo (right) in a hand shake with the Crown Prince, Dr Leslie Frank Eke, during a condolence visit  in honour of Late Dr Frank Eke, yesterday. Photo Chris Monynanga

Chairman, Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, Gbenemene Tai Kingdom, King Godwin N.K. Gininwo (right) in a hand shake with the Crown Prince, Dr Leslie Frank Eke, during a condolence visit in honour of Late Dr Frank Eke, yesterday. Photo Chris Monynanga

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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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