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Rivers Crisis: We’ll Ask Our Supporters To Protect Themselves – APC …As Senators Warn Against Declaring Seats Vacant

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The All Progressives Congress has said it may have no alternative than to ask its members in Rivers State to take steps to protect themselves if the perceived impunity in the state continues.
The party, yesterday, said it has reached a point where it will ask its members to react in the face of alleged police bias in the political crisis in Rivers State.
Rising from its National Executive Committee meeting in Abuja, the party listed what it considered several infractions against it and its members in Rivers State, especially Governor Rotimi Amaechi, by the police.
It said the police in the state was being used by the Peoples Democratic Party to unleash terror on its members.
The communique, made available to the press by the Interim National Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated in part: “The National Executive Committee of the APC has now resolved that if this acts of impunity and lawlessness continue unabated and the Police persists in being as an enforcement arm of the PDP to the detriment of our members, it will have no alternative than to ask our teeming members all over the country and especially in Rivers State to take whatever steps that are necessary to protect their lives and property.”
The APC NEC meeting, which had in attendance retired General Muhammadu Buhari, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, the Governors of Rivers, Lagos, Edo, Nasarawa, Kwara, Borno, Adamawa, Yobe, Sokoto, Ekiti, and Ogun States and the Deputy Governors of Oyo, Imo, Kano and Zamfara States and other party leaders, was chaired by the Interim National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande.
It was also attended  by all members of the Interim National Executive Committee along with the leadership of the APC in the two chambers of the National Assembly.
Mohammed said further in the communique: “The National Executive Committee of the APC commended the courage, maturity and political sagacity of Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State in the face of serial unprovoked and unwarranted assaults on his person, his constitutional rights and those of the Government and People of Rivers State. The conduct of Governor Amaechi represents our Party’s maturity and compliance with the rule of law in response to escalating impunity. The APC is very proud of him.
“Any cursory observer of events in Rivers State since February, 2013 will be left in no doubt as to the culture of lawlessness and impunity being promoted and supported by the Presidency, and executed by the State Commissioner of Police Joseph Mbu, who has become the defacto military Governor of Rivers State and sole administrator of the PDP in the State.
“A few instances of the brazen lawlessness and violations of the Constitution will suffice here – the forceful dispersal of 13,201 newly recruited teachers in the Port Harcourt Stadium using tear gas; blockading the entrance to the Government House in Port Harcourt and forcing the State Governor to use another entrance; preventing an aircraft chartered by the State Governor from taking off, alleging that the Governor was trying to smuggle out a legislator wanted by the Police, no apology was offered to the Governor, the disruption of a peaceful rally during which Senator Magnus Abe was shot with intent to kill; the several disruptions of Save Rivers Group rallies, and the unlawful detention of anybody perceived to be a sympathizer of Governor Rotimi Amaechi, while allowing pro-Jonathan, an Anti-Amaechi groups, to organize rallies unmolested.
“The National Executive Committee of the APC has now resolved that if this acts of impunity and lawlessness continue unabated and the Police persists in being as an enforcement arm of the PDP to the detriment of our members, it will have no alternative than to ask our teeming members all over the country and especially in Rivers State to take whatever steps that are necessary to protect their lives and property.
“Following on the forgoing and in view of the joint resolutions of the National Assembly on Rivers State, and other constitutional breaches by the Presidency, the APC hereby directs its members in the National Assembly to block all legislative proposals including the 2014 Budget and confirmation of all nominees to military and civilian positions to public office until the rule of law and constitutionalism is restored in Rivers State in particular and Nigeria in general.”
Meanwhile, Fifty-two members of the Senate, nearly half of its membership of 109, have written to the leadership of the National Assembly to express their objection to any attempts to declare vacant the seat of any member of the Upper House who defects to another political party.
In the letter, dated January 20, 2014, the Senators warned that such vacancies should be declared only through a process of recall by the relevant constituents or by the pronouncement of a court of competent and final jurisdiction, rather than what they called ‘politics of intimidation, harassment and or comment that could jeopardize the peaceful co-existence and unity of Nigeria.’
The Senators, citing the crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which has resulted in some Senators planning to defect to other political parties, stressed the need to forestall imminent crisis in the polity.
Urging the Senate to continue to accommodate all legislators irrespective of their views, they said Nigeria could only make progress when they tolerate and respect one another and the rule of law.
According to them, “having reaffirmed our confidence in the National Assembly as the only institution empowered by the Constitution to protect and defend the collective interest and yearnings of Nigerians, we are however, concerned about some comments, statements and threats in the print and electronic media credited to some elected and unelected persons threatening to declare vacant, the seats of some Senators who are the representatives of the Nigerian people in the National Assembly.”
They stressed that they view such threats with serious concern as they are mischievous and capable of undermining the independence of the legislature and taking away the mandate given to such Senators as the representatives of the Nigerian people.
The Senators further drew attention to a pending legal matter at the Federal High Court in Abuja on the same subject matter, pointing out that it is the practice of the Senate that where a matter is pending in a law court, it cannot be a subject of discussion or debate on the floor of Senate.
“We hereby note that this is not the first experience in the Senate where some Senators have moved to political parties of their choice as a result of one reason or the other, whereas, such has not caused any political tension or intimidation,” the letter cautioned.
“It is our resolve that the Senate should maintain and sustain this principle and precedence,” they added.

President Goodluck Jonathan speaking at the World Economic Summit in Davos, Switzerland, yesterday

President Goodluck Jonathan speaking at the World Economic Summit in Davos, Switzerland, 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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