Senator representing Rivers South-East Senatorial District, Magnus Ngei Abe has been flown abroad following injuries he sustained during a Police disruption of Save Rivers Movement rally yesterday in Port Harcourt.
As at 6.00pm yesterday when he was driven in an ambulance to be flown abroad under the orders of Governor Chibuike Amaechi, Senator Abe could not speak to reporters since he was not conscious at the Kelsey Harrison Hospital, Diobu, where he was rushed to after the incident at the College of Arts and Science, Rumuola.
A medical doctor attending to Senator Abe, Dr. Mekei Anyanwu said Abe was in shock when he was brought to the hospital.
He also said the Senator suffered from low blood pressure.
Dr. Anyanwu also said though Abe’s condition was critical , it would be stabilised.
“He came in a state of shock; he is not stable now because there is an issue of a blood impact on the left chest wall, an inhalation of fumes possibly from canisters. There is a blood trauma to the chest”.
The medical doctor further stated that there was an obvious swelling on Abe’s chest, saying that medical personnel would also carry out a scan on him to identify the areas of the chest affected by the Police teargas.
Perhaps in order to avert any health complications, The Tide reliably gathered that Governor Amaechi on getting the report ordered that the Senator be flown abroad immediately.
The governor’s order came barely two hours when medical personnel at the Prof. Kelsey Harrison Hospital, Diobu, disclosed that the Senator would be hospitalised for at least 48 hours pending the other investigations on him.
It would be recalled that Senator Abe was hit by a teargas canister on his chest during a Save Rivers Movement rally at the premises of the College of Arts and Science, Port Harcourt.
Trouble began when several teams of mobile policemen under the orders of the State Police Commissioner, Mbu Joseph Mbu directed that the rally be dispersed, claiming that there was no Police permission covering the occasion.
On getting to the venue of the rally, the Police shot rubber bullets and teargas sporadically at the participants and Senator Abe was among some of those hit by the rubber bullets at the rally.
Reacting to the development, State Coordinator of Save Rivers Movement. Hon. Igo Aguma, a former House of Representatives member disputed Police claim that there was no authorization for the Sunday rally.
He said, “we have always sought Police protection for all the rallies we have held so far. Virtually, every local government area has gone ahead and done their ward by ward inauguration and in all of them, they sought police protection and police granted”.
Aguma maintained that the body had written to the Police about the rally and got acknowledgement from them. “We are expecting as usual for police to come and give us protection.
You can see the protection that Police has given us today.
Police came to try to kill our spirit, to try to kill us as human beings”.
Also condemning the shooting, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Hon Dakuku Peterside, said the police in Rivers State had taken impunity to new heights, appealing to all men of goodwill to rise up to defend constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of association and freedom of movement.
Peterside condemned in totality the dispersing of an All Progressives Congress (APC) rally in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State yesterday.
He said the shooting of innocent citizens as well as use of tear-gas on APC members who gathered for legitimate party activities was bad.
The House Committee chairman said police in Rivers State were now the law of the land, and thus show no regard for the law of the land and the rights of citizens.
He said: “Mbu has lost every sense of civility and decency, and it is now obvious he has learnt nothing from history. Commissioner of Police, Mbu has shown by his action that the PDP-controlled Federal Government has no tolerance for opposition and liberty of Nigerians to make their own choices.
“Impunity is an integral part of governance for PDP and those at the apex of governance in the nation see nothing wrong with it as it serves their narrow political interest.”
The legislator called on all lovers of freedom and democracy to rise up and defend democracy as Rivers State is only a testing ground for those who want democracy destroyed at all cost.
Also speaking, Honourable Asita Honourable, a member of the House of Representatives, said it was a national embarrassment for the police to move into an arena to pull down canopies and equipment used for a rally, saying the Police had taken sides.
The Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) says it is shocked and shattered by the news of the unwarranted shooting yesterday of Senator Magnus Abe, the Senator representing Rivers South East zone and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream).
The APC, while condemning the shooting, also called for police explanation to the shooting of the Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt, Chief Tony Okocha, and the alleged killing of five children of Rivers State extraction by men of the Nigerian Police.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to APC, Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, said the Interim State Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, did not at first believe the news until he verified it because he, like any other right-thinking individual, could not understand why policemen paid with taxpayers’ money could turn their guns against the people, including prominent citizens who are well known to them – thus, ruling out the possibility of a mistake in the said shooting.
“We wish to unequivocally condemn this premeditated murder of our five children and attempted murder of two prominent and innocent Rivers citizens by the state police command, which seems happy to transform into an army of occupation instead of discharging its constitutional role of safeguarding lives and property. This is a declaration of war on Rivers State and its people.
“We are holding the state Police Commissioner, Mbu Joseph Mbu, responsible for the deaths of five innocent kids that maybe our future political leaders by agents of darkness and the attempted murder of Senator Abe and Chief Okocha since the shooting was carried out by a team of regular police and mobile policemen from MOPOL 19 on the orders of Mbu. Acting on Mbu’s orders, the trigger-happy policemen had stormed the APC rally organised by the Save Rivers Movement at the College of Arts and Science, Rumuola, Port Harcourt, and started shooting rubber bullets and teargas canisters to disperse the crowd.
Also reacting to the inciudence, the Personal Assistant and Information Officer, to Senator Abe Honour Siranwo said is now battling for his life in hospital following rubber bullets shot by officers of the Rivers State police command.
The Rivers State Governor, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi was expected at the event before the incident occurred.
In his reaction, Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt, Tony Okocha said the police wanted to militiarise the state.
Okocha, who was at the podium addressing the rally, preparatory for the arrival of the state Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, before the police swooped on the supporters, said the Save Rivers Movement had applied to the state police command for permission to hold the rally.
According to him, the Supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, orchestrated the attack.
He also alleged that Wike had bribed the state Police Commissioner, Mbu Joseph Mbu, to carry out the attack.
Our correspondent reports that the police shot sporadically and released tear-gas canisters to disperse the crowd.
But in a reaction, the Rivers Police Command yesterday denied allegations that its personnel shot and wounded a member of the National Assembly, Senator Magnus Abe.
Its spokesman, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Ahmad Muhammad, in Port Harcourt denied that the police dispensed any bullet while dispersing a rally by Save Rivers Movement, yesterday.
He said the group was at the Rivers State College of Arts and Science (RIVCAS) for the rally when they were dispersed because they did not obtain a police permit.
However, the Rivers State Commissioner for information and Communications, Mrs Ibim Semenitari, said the bullet was meant to kill the State Governor, Rt Hon. Chibuike Amaechi.
In a statement issued in Port Harcourt yesterday, Mrs Semenitari said, “the Rivers State government has it on good authority that Senator Abe took the bullet originally meant for Governor Chibuike Amaechi who was billed to be present at the event.
“This is disconcerting especially in the light of recent revelations that the Presidency may be training snipers ahead of the 2015 elections and that Governor Amaechi is top on the list of those to be eliminated.
“The Rivers State Government wishes to request the Federal Government and its agencies to respect the rules of democratic engagement in their misguided fight against the people of Rivers State and especially save our nation from the unnecessary chaos into which federal agents like Mbu want to plunge it ahead of the 2015 elections.”
She condemned the disruption of the Save Rivers Movement rally especially since the disruption was selective seeing that the police do not only allow members of the PDP Grass root Democratic Initiative (GDI) to hold rallies but indeed provides them with protection.
The commissioner pleaded with the Inspector General of Police, the Chairman of Police Service commission, the Chairman, Nigeria Human Rights Commission “and Mr. President on whose table the buck ends as Commander in Chief and the Nation’s Number One citizen to call Mr. Mbu to order and bring an end to this impunity in Rivers State, and restore the hope of Rivers people that they have not been marked as enemies and lamb for slaughter in their own country.”
The Press Secretary to Senator Abe, Mr Honour Sirawoo, said a rubber bullet hit Abe on the chest and was taken to a hospital in D/Line area of the state capital for treatment.
He said Abe had gone to supervise the preparations for the rally when the incident occurred at about 9.00 am yesterday.
John Bibor, Ike Wigodo & Beemene Taneh
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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