Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has announced the elevation of Omagwa and Apani traditional stools as he ended his two-day Meet-The-People-Tour of Ikwerre Local Government Area on Wednesday.
While announcing plans to separate the Apani traditional stool from that of Omerelu, he urged the people of Elele to present an acceptable chieftaincy stool to be recognized, stressing that their stool will not be given a first class status.
Speaking during a reception at Omagwa Town, the governor remarked that the Omagwa stool was due for elevation.
The governor said at Omagwa, “I want the Omagwa chief to be addressed as His Highness from today. I will finish the documentation when I get back to Government House.”
Amaechi reminded the people that one fight he has been contending with since the inception of his administration has been to protect Omagwa land from being annexed by greedy politicians.
The governor, therefore, warned the people to ensure they continue to support government as support to the opposition will lead to loss of their property.
He assured them that they were incorporated into Greater Port Harcourt City as a way of providing employment and transforming their area.
He promised to complete the Agwawirie-Omagwa Road and build a model primary school for the community and also fund education projects in the area.
Earlier in his address, Chief Kpalukwu remarked that the community was among the numerous clans in the state that have benefited from the Amaechi-led administration.
“In sequence too, you have remembered Omagwa by making her a full beneficiary of an ultra-modern healthcare centre. You have also given the town a facelift by awarding contracts for the building of roads. We are aware of the difficulties you are passing through in the state and the nation at large. We are assuring you that we have taken a positive stand to be with you come what may,” he said.
Amaechi was later given a chieftaincy title of Ome-Kwa-eli of Omagwa by the Omagwa Chief Council because of his good deeds.
At Apani Town, the governor announced that the state government will create a new chieftaincy stool in the community separate from that of Omerelu.
Amaechi said it was high time the community’s traditional stool was separated from its neighbours, while stating that government has done a lot for the community, and thanked them for their support.
Spokesman for the community and member of the state House of Assembly representing Ikwerre Constituency, Hon. Azubuike Wajoku said the community will ever remain grateful to the governor, adding, “this is a community of not more than 8,000 people but has three primary schools…and we are the first in Ikwerre after Elele to have our internal roads done.”
The governor had earlier visited Aluu Town where he promised to ensure that one of their sons is given the caretaker committee chairman since they have been marginalized over the years.
His words, “We, the Ikwerres have been unfair to Aluu people. The only promise I can make to you is that when Ikenga serves out his term, we will look for an Aluu son to make the chairman.”
On projects, he reasoned that the community needs more schools and health centres considering the population, and promised that the road from Rumuekini to the Airport will be completed to improve access routes.
Representative of Aluu community, Gershon Benson congratulated the governor for his forthrightness, vision and courage which has made him an advocate of transparent governance in the country.
Benson, however, lamented that the community has been sidelined despite its huge voters strength of over 50,000 registered persons.
He lauded the governor for completing the new Mrs. Matilda Nnodim Road and resurfacing of the road that links the town with the University of Port Harcourt.
Amaechi received a rousing reception at Adanta-Isiopko, the headquarters of the area, saying, “this is the biggest meeting I have attended so far. This is also the second meeting I have attended since yesterday that the microphone is working.”
The Rivers State governor disclosed plans for the repair and expansion of the Isiokpo-Omagwa Road billed to cost N7billion but said government needs to review the project to reduce cost.
While thanking the people for their support, he urged them to fully participate in the voters registration and collection of permanent voter’s card.
He equally visited Elele Town, where he said government has executed various projects, just as he nonetheless promised to build more schools in the area due to its population, stating that transformers will be donated to boost power supply.
In his address earlier, Eze Jonathan Amadi commended the governor for appointing their sons and daughters into positions of trust.
Amadi also lauded the construction of the Elele-Owerri Road as it has boosted trade and communication in the area, and pleaded that the traditional stool of the community be elevated to first class, considering their position as the cradle of Ikwerre race.
Meanwhile, The Rivers State Government has pledged to maintain the present 100 per cent Financial autonomy for local government councils in the state.
The Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Mr. Samuel Eyiba, who disclosed this yesterday in Port Harcourt while declaring open a two-day workshop for members of Caretaker Committees of the 23 Local government Councils and other top personnel of local government administration, said that the state government will not tamper with allocations to local government councils.
The Commissioner, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of local Government Affairs, Mrs Justinah Jumbo, however, charged the councils to ensure that people in their respective communities enjoyed the dividends of democracy and good governance.
He also charged the Heads of Local Government Administrations and other civil servants in the councils cooperate with their political leaders by giving them useful advice that could aid good governance.
Mr. Eyiba said that the workshop was coming at a time when the various caretaker committees in the local government areas were settling down for the task of governing their councils.
In his address, the Chairman of the local Government Service Commission, Chief Nnamdi Wokekoro, said that the workshop will enhance the performances and productivity of the various councils.
“I am optimistic that training such as this will put the key players in a vantage position to perform their duties effectively and impact positively on the rural populace to justify the existence of the third tier government and the resources accruing to them”.
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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