The Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has challenged the State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to provide proof that the APC Government in the State inflated the cost of the Automated Road Analyser (ARAN) commissioned on July 18 by Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
“We are shocked that instead of joining the rest of Rivers people to celebrate the purchase of this scientific device to be used in monitoring road quality so as to ensure that dubious contractors do not rip off the State, PDP leaders are questioning this wise investment by the visionary government of Rt. Hon. Amaechi,” APC said in a statement issued Friday in Port Harcourt by the state Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya.
The party said that by opposing the purchase of the road analyser, PDP has left no one in doubt that it is a party of blind critics and enemies of progress.
“Contrary to PDP’s claims, the purchase of the road analyser by the Rivers State Government was done in a transparent manner and followed due process. Each of the two machines cost N109 million, making a total of N218 million for the two machines. The figure was not inflated in any way and any right-thinking person would appreciate this wise investment which will not only ensure better road quality but also save the State hundreds of millions of naira,” APC said.
The party challenged PDP leaders to provide proof that the cost of the machines was inflated “as it is not enough to make wild allegations in a failed bid to tarnish the image of a transparent administration.”
APC insisted that “Governor Amaechi, instead of being criticised, should be commended and congratulated for ensuing that our funds are judiciously utilised and that contractors do not defraud the State by means of poor quality road projects.”
The party advised Rivers PDP Chairman, Felix Obuah and his spokesman, Jerry Nedam to stop ridiculing themselves through frivolous allegations that cast them in the mould of blind critics and present PDP as a party of jokers and unserious minds.
“This does not in any way do any good to PDP in its doomed mission to gain a foothold in Rivers State as we count down to the 2015 general elections, at which PDP will be totally rejected by Rivers people,” APC said in the statement.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has debunked allegations by the People Democratic Party in the state that its Chairman, Chris Oruge has been suspended.
In a statement yesterday, the NLC called the PDP allegation as the handiwork of lazy politicians, who do not have anything to offer Rivers people.
The statement reads in part: The attention of the Rivers State Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress has been drawn to a publication by National Network, a local tabloid in Rivers State dated July 23 -29 ,2014, and some other media reports that its state Chairman, Comrade Chris Oruge has been suspended from labour activities, and so cannot act as the chairman of the congress.
“We categorically state that the reports making the rounds are untrue, baseless, unfounded and characterized with malicious tendencies and falsehood.
“The congress reaffirms that Comrade Chris Oruge remains the chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Rivers State council, and will continue to pilot the affairs of the council until the end of his tenure in April, next year.
“The congress further states that the misunderstanding between Comrade Oruge and his union, the Nigeria Union of Teachers(NUT) is an internal affair of the NUT and does not have anything to do with his leadership of the NLC.
“Labour perceives the rumours as tacit demonstration of some politicians who are trying to drag NLC into politics in order to be relevant and gain cheap popularity.
“It will be recalled that Comrade Chris Oruge served as the chairman of NUT from March 2001 to May 2009 and there was no indictment either financially or administratively on him. So, it is surprising to about fraud when he is no longer the chairman.
“Consequently, the general public should disregard the baseless and unfounded story,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, considering its current quest to empower women and widows in the State, Wife of Rivers State Governor, Dame Judith Amaechi says the All Progressives Congress (APC) is on the path to victory in 2015.
Speaking at an empowerment programme and donation of skill equipment to over 250 women by the Obio/Akpor Local Government Caretaker Committee, yesterday at Rumuola in Port Harcourt, Dame Amaechi said the party has demonstrated God’s hands in its pursuit to win Rivers State in next year’s elections.
In her words, “In 2015, we shall deliver … No matter the storm, we shall deliver as far as Jesus is in the boat”.
The governor’s wife said she was deeply moved by the party’s interest in the plight of women, adding “ I have come to this local government area up to five times, and all of them are for empowerment.. I’am moved by what I see”.
She observed that the hand of God was in the present government led by her husband, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, and therefore implored party faithful to support the administration.
For her, faith, honesty and commitment are fundamental since they provide the right foundation for success, just as she enjoined the women not to be mislead by money and corrupt politician, urging them to stand up for the truth.
Counseling the beneficiaries to use their skills and equipment for betterment of their families and society, Dame Amaechi noted, “no matter how hard a project is, with resourcefulness, you can go places”.
Earlier, Chief of Staff, Government House, Sir Tony Okocha, had said the scheme is one sure way to improve on the lives of the people, and pledged government’s support to the scheme.
Sir Okocha expressed the hope that beneficiaries will utlise the equipment to improve on their businesses, assuring that all those who were trained in the skills acquisition will be given an equipment to assist them.
Chairman of Obio/Akpor Caretaker Committee, Dr. Lawrence Chuku said that empowerment is part and parcel of the Council’s policy to change lives in the area, adding “we will not be tied to empower our people until our people are fully empowered”.
Dr. Chuku said that apart from the skills empowerment, the council has acquired about 22 transformers to boost power provision in all the wards in the area.
State Secretary of APC, Mr. Emeka Beke said the party has come to stay in Obio/Akpor considering its activities so far, stressing that the mission of the party is to bring about change in 2015.
Mr.Beke added, “No amount of intimidation, no amount of army will make us not to win the elections next year”.
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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