Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo gave a tacit endorsement of the Rivers Monorail project after briefly inspecting the site yesterday in Port Harcourt.
Chief Obasanjo, who spoke to newsmen at the Port Harcourt International Airport,Omagwa as he ended his two-day visit and commissioning of projects executed by Governor Chibuike Amaechi administration, said many people would not appreciate the worth of the monorail now until it was completed.
The ex-president noted that the project was a landmark and reference point. Considering the improved power provision status of the state, he held that, “the only state that can do that now with the visible power that they have is Rivers State because they generate well over 700 megawatts of electricity with what I commissioned yesterday.
The former president said that only Rivers State has the capacity to operate a mono rail project, stressing that with the state generating about 700megawatts of electricity, 200megawatts can be allocated to the monorail project.
Asked of his assessment of the administration, Obasanjo opined that so far he was satisfied with what he had seen but was of the view that most of the project need to be sustained after the exit of the governor.
He had on Monday after unveiling the Nne Kurubo Model Secondary School at Eleme said, “I am really proud over the infrastructure and particularly road network’’.
Obasanjo also said of Amaechi projects, “I am here to see development and acknowledge development, and so far I have seen indeed”.
He observed that the new model secondary schools could be compared to any educational facility anywhere in the world, adding that the best foundation for leaders of tomorrow was to give them a solid education.
At the Rivers Songhai farm project, the former president described the project as first of its kind in the country, noting that for the project to be sustained, the Rivers State Government must fashion agriculture in a way that it will add value to the system.
According to him, the governor must create access to the market, ensure that trainees remain on the farm as well as acquire more land for expansion.
The former president also harvested bunch of banana at the banana farm project in Khana Local Government Area before moving to commission the multi-billion naira Afam power project.
Commissioning the Buguma Fish farm yesterday before his departure, Chief Obasanjo lauded Governor Amaechi for the project but advocated a processing and preservation facility at the farm to ensure constant fish supply all year round.
Later on, Governor Amaechi said the farm was built to generate employment and create wealth.
The governor revealed that the fish farm would close the shortfall in the nation’s fish demand as it would produce about 1.8 million tons of fish yearly.
Chairman of Asari-Toru Local Government Area, Hon. Ojukaye Flagg-Amachree explained that the project symbolizes the occupation of the people and would add value to them, since a lot of the indigenes would be trained in modern fishing methods.
However, Obasanjo has admitting that he played a role in scuttling the governorship ambition of Chibuike Amaechi in 2007, but quickly added that the Supreme Court has addressed the matter and indirectly straightened the ‘k-leg’ controversy.
Speaking at the Ambassador Nne Kurubo Model Secondary School, Eleme, as part of two-day visit to the state, Obasanjo observed that apart from addressing the matter, Governor Amaechi has equally contested election and won with a landslide.
He said such feat should have cleared any controversy that may have arisen from the ‘K-leg’ matter which he had coined to stop Amaechi from contesting the elections at that time.
Obasanjo said he had felt ‘awkward’ when he heard of the Supreme Court judgement, which ordered that Amaechi be sworn-in as governor even without contesting elections, but commended him for his courage and for seeking legal redress.
With the victory of the governor at the Supreme Court, the former president affirmed that the matter was over.
Obasanjo, however, urged the governor to throw the past behind him, saying, “There must be something you must learn from me. I am older and more experienced and if experience goes with wisdom, then I am wiser.’’
Meanwhile, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has described the Rivers State Governor, Rt Hon Chubuike Amaechi as visionary leader who understands the needs of his people.
The former president, who made this declaration yesterday at the commissioning of the Buguma Fish Farm in the Asari-Toru Local Government Area, said that in every nation, there are persons who understand what the people want, adding that that is transformational leadership.
He said that as a former president and a farmer, he has seen development projects in Rivers State, and advised the state governor to think of ways of consolidating on the various projects across the state.
Obasanjo charged Governor Amaechi to continue with his good works for the people of the state despite the antics of the opposition.
Answering question from newsmen at the Port Harcourt International Airport before departure, Obasanjo said that good things always attract reactions from the public.
The former president commissioned some projects which include the dualized Chief G. U. Ake Road, dualized Okporo Road, Elekahia-Rumuomasi Road, Ken Saro-Wiwa Road, Model Primary Health Centre Akpajo, Ambassador Nne Kurubo Model Secondary School, Eleme, the Songhai Farm at Bunu Tai, Afam Power Station and Model Primary School Ban-Ogoi, Tai.
Other projects commissioned were the mini football pitch at Niger Street/Bendel Streets, Basketball pitch, volley ball court, St Andrew’s primary school, mile One Diobu and Professor Kelsey Harrison Hospital, Emenike Street, Diobu, Port Harcourt
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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