The All Progressives Congress (APC) has told the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that President Goodluck Jonathan is not the first minority to rule Nigeria and will not be the last, hence the frequent resort to his minority ethnicity is nothing but a poorly-veiled attempt to cover up his blatant incompetence, poor leadership and sheer cluelessness.
In a statement issued in Ibadan yesterday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the PDP’s claim that the Boko Haram insurgency and other internecine crises in the country were being sponsored by the opposition because the president hails from a minority group is totally irresponsible and not grounded in fact.
It said First Republic Prime Minister, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (Sayewa) and military heads of state, Yakubu Gowon (Angas) and Sani Abacha (Kanuri) were also from minority ethnic groups, a fact that is lost on the trifling PDP.
“The PDP has recently been making outlandish statements and accusations that are capable of destabilizing Nigeria. In its new found proclivity for issuing frivolous press statements, the party has forgotten that facts are sacred and cannot be manipulated. But even by its low standard, the PDP has plumbed the depth of irresponsibility with its latest claim.
“President Jonathan’s woes have nothing to do with his minority ethnicity, but the manifestation of his incompetence, cluelessness and inferiority complex, and the fact that he is backed by a greedy, visionless and crooked cabal, both within his government and his party,” the APC said.
The party said, if indeed, the PDP believes the opposition is sponsoring Boko Haram to stop President Jonathan from realizing his so-called Transformation Agenda, what prevents the PDP-led Federal Government from instituting a probe into all the incidences so far, and to unravel the sources of the sect’s weapons, as demanded recently by Governor Murtala Nyako?
APC said just like ethno-religious crises in Nigeria predate President Jonathan’s assumption of office, the Boko Haram insurgency started in 2002 during the former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime, even though it became aggravated in 2009 when then President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua ordered a joint security operation, following the killing of over a dozen policemen, and the failure of police action to curb the crisis.
APC said the usual recourse to President Jonathan’s ethnic origin to cover his glaring non-performance does not impress Nigerians, who are aware that as a minority, Jonathan could not have become president without the votes of the country’s majority ethnic groups – Hausa/Fulani, Igbo and Yorubal
APC said a country that has no discernible counter-terrorism strategy that will clearly identify the multiple means for preventing, responding and defeating terrorist groups, including the alignment of political, military, social and economic instruments and objectives, cannot expect to successfully battle any insurgency.
“We have continued to offer suggestions to this government on how it can tackle the insurgency that is now ravaging a part of the country. We have called for improved intelligence gathering, the aligning of military and political solutions, the need to de-radicalize the affected areas as well as to invest in research that will give more insight into the different aspects of Boko Haram, including its ideology, leadership structure, profile of members, internal organization, sources of funding and weapons and links to Diaspora.
“We have stressed the need to widen the scope of our response to include the sub-regional bloc ECOWAS and the continental body African Union, especially since Boko Haram has assumed a regional dimension. We have called for a Marshall Plan of sorts for the North-east, not the paltry N2billion which the Federal Government provided as recovery fund to the six North-East states, at least, four of which are worse-hit by the insurgency.
“We have called for an end to inter-agency rivalries that have weakened the fight against the terrorists, and we have advocated the need to lift the morale of our gallant men and women in uniform who are battling the insurgency, instead of the huge funds allocated for the purpose of upgrading their equipment ending in the deep pockets of fat cats.
“If and when these and other recommendations are taken seriously by the government, instead of resorting to ethnic and religious excuses, then it will begin to seriously address the insurgency,” the party said.
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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