Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi says his administration can account for the money it has received from the federal coffers since its inception.
He also said his tour of communities in the state was to appraise the impact of his administration and feel the pulse of the people, stressing that it was not a political campaign as wrongly conceived in some quarters.
Speaking at Mgbuesularu community (Okporo) during his tour of Wards in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, yesterday, Governor Amaechi, who covered six wards in Rumuomasi, Rumuobiakani, Woji, Elelenwo, Rumuokwurusi and Mgbuesularu, challenged Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike and other politicians in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to account for the contracts awarded to them before now.
“They should account for the 14 schools we awarded to them to build, and if really they love Obio/Akpor as they claim, why should they stop the appointment of another Obio/Akpor son as chief of staff?”
He further challenged them to tell the people how they have touched the lives of their people, stressing that there is no community in Rivers State that has not felt the impact of the administration.
The Rivers State chief executive maintained that politicians in the opposition were driven by greed and not service, insisting that he is ready for probe at anytime.
In the words of the governor,” our public schools do not compete with private schools. We beat them…very few schools are like that in Nigeria”.
He explained that government had decided to provide free education to cushion the pains of poor parent who are struggling to make a living considering the level of corruption that had denied the masses from benefitting from their resources.
He said, “Nigerian parents are suffering due to lack of water, power and roads so the responsibility of government to provide those schools.”
Reacting to a speech by Mrs Beatrice Ogunka at Rumuomasi Ward Eight, Amaechi promised to include them in the new power transmission line at Trans Amadi, revealing that state government has released N450 million to improve power in the industrial estate.
At Rumuobiakani Ward Four, Governor Amaechi pleaded on the people to provide land to build two primary schools, while urging the community to prevail on the Anglican Church to cede land to them.
Speaking at Woji Ward Six, he tasked the traditional ruler’s council to meet and select a new Eze Oha Evo as government is ready to recognize such person.
Amaechi while lauding the people of Elelenwo for supporting his administration, Amaechi assured that government will expand and construct their road and build another school for them.
He promised to complete the dualization of Rumuokwurusi-Igwuruta Road before the end of the administration.
Among the demands made by the various wards visited include the recognition of their traditional stools and provision of roads and power.
But at Ward Three Rumuokwurusi, spokesman for the area, Kingsley Ejekwu expressed appreciation to the governor, saying, “Your visit is historical. This is the first time a governor is visiting us since the creation of the state.”
Meanwhile, Governor Amaechi has elevated the stool of Nyeweli Mgbuesulari in Ward Three, Eze Ejike Wali to a second class status.
He said the recognition is in appreciation of Eze Wali’s support to the government, recalling that the traditional ruler has been a political ally since he was speaker of the state House of Assembly.
Similarly, the Rivers State Government has insisted that the tour of Local Government Areas by the state Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, was not a campaign strategy ahead of 2015.
The state’s Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, said in a statement yesterday that the tour was for the purpose of accountability and stock taking.
Semenitari was reacting to a statement credited to the state’s Commissioner of Police, Mr. Tunde Ogunsakin, warning the governor against campaigning during his tour of the council.
She explained that the town hall meeting or meet-the-people programme was not a strange exercise in the current administration, adding that the state government was worried about the tone of the statement from the state police boss.
The statement reads: “The attention of the Rivers State Government has been drawn to a statement credited to the Commissioner of Police warning the Governor of Rivers State about campaigning during his ward tours. The Rivers State Government is worried about the tone of the statement accredited to CP Tunde Johnson Ogunsakin and concerned about the implication of the same.
“For the purposes of clarification and emphasis, the administration of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi considers participation a key element of democratic rule and good governance. As a result, it has consistently embarked on stewardship accountability fora and stock taking since Governor Amaechi assumed office in October 2007. Town Hall meetings, meet-the-people tours and engagement with professional groups and other publics is neither novel nor strange with the Amaechi regime.
“The alleged comments of the CP appear curious especially coming on the heels of the overtly politically purported endorsement of Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike for governor by some members of the Rumuepirikom community and the political visit of the wife of the President to Local Government Areas in Rivers State.
“While the purpose of these obvious political gatherings of the PDP is campaign for 2015 CP Ogunsakin appears unable to see or hear any evil. The Rivers State Government is conscious of this but wishes to reassure CP Ogunsakin that it is neither a brigand nor an irresponsible government. Governor Amaechi has clearly stated that the purpose of his ward tours is to find out the impact of his numerous projects on the people at the grassroots and what gaps still exist to enable him cross all T’s and dot all the i’s as his administration finishes its last lap.
“We can state unequivocally that we will not disregard the rules of engagement and that when we are set for campaign, it will be clear not just to the Rivers State police command but to the entire world. We will not hid our glowing light under a bushel; however we would wish to respectfully request CP Ogunsakin to be even handed in his caution and ensure that what is sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander. Ultimately, the people are his employers and it is first to God, then to Nigeria and its citizens that he must owe his ultimate allegiance,” Semenitari 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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