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APC, PDP In War Of Words Over Anti-Ebola Success

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) has asked President Goodluck Jonathan and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), to stop taking credit for the country’s successful containment of the Ebola, saying it amounts to sheer dishonesty for the duo to turn what was a collective effort to a PDP campaign issue.
In a statement issued in London yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said President Jonathan and his party were wrong to have appropriated the credit for the successful containment of the Ebola virus disease without giving due credit to the real heroes of the successful battle: Dr. Stella Adadevoh and her colleagues at the First Consultant Hospital; officials of the ministries of health in Lagos and Rivers states and the patriotic Nigerian volunteers, among others.
It described as a cheap shot and a shameless venture the President’s decision to make the Ebola success story a campaign issue during a PDP rally in Benin, giving the impression that only the PDP deserves the credit for the successful containment of the disease.
APC said that while Health Minister, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu exhibited the kind of professionalism and purposefulness that are not common with the Jonathan administration during the battle against Ebola, it will be uncharitable for the PDP-led Federal Government to pretend as if the government of the two affected states did nothing.
The party reminded President Jonathan that the two states hit by Ebola, Lagos and Rivers, are APC states, and that the promptness, purposefulness, doggedness and determination shown by the governors of the states contributed largely to the successful containment of the virulent disease.
It said, “The cities of Lagos and Port Harcourt are perhaps the largest metropolis to have ever been hit by the Ebola since the first outbreak was recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo almost 40 years ago, and any mishandling of the disease could have spelt disaster not just for the cities but for the country as a whole.
“But the ever-dogged and determined Governors Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State and Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers States employed the same winning strategies that have stood their states out of the pack and quickly rose to the occasion, putting in place measures that ensured a quick curtailing of the Ebola spread.
“The measures include painstaking contact-tracing, unrelenting follow-up and creative treatment of infected patients even without access to the experimental drug Zmapp.
“There is no doubt that Nigeria is fortunate that the Ebola outbreaks were recorded in those two states. It is a measure of the high premium that the chief executives of both states placed on human life, a testimony to the strong health systems they are building and an indication of their purposeful approach to governance that they successfully contained the disease, thus earning Nigeria a rare accolade from the global community.
“Unlike the President and the PDP, we will also like to give credit to the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, for acting out of character with the do-nothing Jonathan Administration.
“We hope President Jonathan and his party will stop making the Ebola success story in which opposition states were the main actors a fulcrum of their campaign for the 2015 general elections. They cannot and should not take credit for the containment of Ebola in Nigeria.”
The party also advised President Jonathan not to use the Ebola containment effort as another tool to divide Nigerians along party lines.
“President Jonathan is the most divisive President in Nigeria’s history. He inherited a united Nigeria, but has divided the country along ethnic and religious lines on the altar of selfish personal ambition and short-term opportunism. It will amount to a monumental tragedy if the President will again use the Ebola success story, which has earned Nigeria a rare acclamation from the global community, as a tool to further divide Nigerians,” it said.
Meanwhile, the leadership of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) has lambasted the All Progressives Congress (APC) for what it described as yet another failed attempt to discredit the PDP-led Federal Government and relegate its efforts in the containment of the Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, in a statement in Abuja yesterday, said the APC was frustrated and unhappy because Nigerians are happy with the PDP-led Federal Government for “the speed and energy with which it tackled the scourge and brought it under control.”
“We know that the APC prefers that the Ebola scourge continued unabated in Nigeria so as to have what to blame the PDP-led government for. Now that it has been contained, the APC is frustrated because the people are happy with President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP-led Federal Government for the proactive manner with which the disease was confronted and overcame,” the party said.
The PDP insisted that the national success recorded on Ebola was because President Goodluck Jonathan refused to politicise the issue but took the bull by the horns through an aggressive multi-sectoral approach for treatment, awareness and control to the admiration of all Nigerians and the international community.
Metuh observed that it was public knowledge that immediately the disease surfaced in the country, the PDP-led Federal Government swung into action and co-ordinated intervention efforts with the Lagos State Government, Nigerian medical personnel and international health organizations to bring it under control.
He said, “The PDP makes bold to state that the multi-sectoral approach deployed by the Federal Government with the concerted collaboration of the federal ministries of health, aviation, information, education, transport and other relevant agencies such as the Nigerian Immigration Service for intensive screening, quarantine and treatment efforts as well as the massive awareness which ended the spread of the disease and resulted in its containment in our country.
“We are also amused by the contradictions in the APC’s statement in which it also commended the roles played by the Honorable Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu in the containment effort.
“We ask, is the minister not appointed and supervised by President Goodluck Jonathan? Is he not of the PDP? Or is the APC now trying to appropriate him?
“Apart from concerted collaborations using the Federal Ministry of Health, it is on record that President Jonathan released N200 million each to Lagos and Rivers states to help in fighting the disease, including improvement of health facilities and public enlightenment across board.
“At every point, the President recognized the efforts of all Nigerians especially the medical personnel including the brave and courageous Dr. Ameyo Stella Adedavoh and all the doctors and nurses who made sacrifices in containing the virus. It is also on record that at no time did the PDP or the President relegate the contributions of the Lagos state government on Ebola.”
Metuh added that the President acknowledged the Nigerian spirit which he said made the citizens to put their religious, political and ethnic differences aside in fighting this common enemy.

Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs Ibim Semenitari (left), with former Rivers State Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs Emmanuela Izunwa, during the recently-concluded Port Harcourt International Fashion Week in Port Harcourt. Photo: Egberi Sampson

Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs Ibim Semenitari (left), with former Rivers State Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs Emmanuela Izunwa, during the recently-concluded Port Harcourt International Fashion Week in Port Harcourt. Photo: Egberi Sampson

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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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