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NJC Erred On Agumagu’s Suspension, APC Insists

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Vice President Namadi Sambo (right), being decorated by the Chairman, Federal Civil Service Commission, Deaconess Joan Ayo, at the 60th Anniversary of  Nigerian Public Service and Presidential Lecture in Abuja, yesterday . Left is the Chairman of the  anniversary, Chief Emeka Anyaoku.

Vice President Namadi Sambo (right), being decorated by the Chairman, Federal Civil Service Commission, Deaconess Joan Ayo, at the 60th Anniversary of Nigerian Public Service and Presidential Lecture in Abuja, yesterday . Left is the Chairman of the anniversary, Chief Emeka Anyaoku.

The Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) says it has watched with amazement what it dubbed ‘macabre dance’ of the National Judicial Council (NJC) with regard to the appointment of Justice Peter N.C. Agumagu as the chief judge of Rivers State by the state government.
“The height of this was the suspension of Justice Agumagu by the NJC barely days after he was sworn-in as Rivers’ chief judge. The Rivers APC is convinced that the NJC erred seriously on this issue as due process was not followed in Justice Agumagu’s suspension, and we wish to request the revered NJC to reverse this decision in the interest of justice,” the party said in a press statement signed by Senior Special Assistant on Media and Public Affairs, Eze Chukwuemeka Eze.
According to the party, “going by the provisions of section 171 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and section 21 (d) part 1 of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution, it is clear that the powers of the National Judicial Council (NJC) have to do only with ‘recommending’ to both the president and state governors on the appointment and disciplining of justices and judges.
“It was in line with this that the NJC recommended to President Goodluck Jonathan the suspension of the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami. President Jonathan accepted the recommendation and suspended Justice Salami. After due investigation, Justice Salami was cleared of any wrongdoing. The NJC again recommended his reinstatement but President Jonathan did not accept the recommendation, hence Justice Salami was never reinstated,” the APC said.
With reference to Rivers State, APC noted that “there is a judgment of a competent court headed by Justice Lambo Akanbi of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, upon which the state House of Assembly and Governor Chibuike Amaechi acted in clearing and swearing in Justice Agumagu as the chief judge of Rivers State. In the said judgment, NJC was a party. NJC has a right of appeal but under part 1, section 21 (d) of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution, the NJC has no power to suspend Justice Agumagu. To make matters worse, NJC breached Agumagu’s fundamental right to fair hearing by suspending him without affording him the opportunity to be heard. The purported query should first have been given to him to defend himself before suspension, if found wanting. The NJC has certainly gone beyond its powers. NJC is totally partisan in this particular issue affecting Rivers State as it has clearly demonstrated in this case”.
The party admonished the NJC and any other interested parties that Justice Agumagu was duly approved by a court of competent jurisdiction and duly screened and cleared by the Rivers State House of Assembly.
“Due process was clearly followed in his appointment as the chief judge of Rivers State, and any act by anybody to malign the impeccable character and achievements of this great jurist is not welcome by the people of Rivers State”, the statement added.

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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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