Rivers State Government has condemned the threat by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state to forcefully enter the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt, for its presidential rally.
The state government had reportedly refused to approve the state PDP’s application to be allowed to use the stadium for the event, maintaining that the facility was still under construction.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state and the PDP have been at daggers drawn over the opposition party’s insistence that it must use the stadium for its rally.
PDP had argued that since the APC had used the stadium for its (APC) presidential campaign, nothing should stop the state government from approving its (PDP) application.
But a statement by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari in Port Harcourt yesterday indicated that the stadium was still under construction.
Semenitari explained that the contractor handling the project, had moved out of site before the APC could hold its rally on December 6, 2014, adding that the contractor had since gone back to work.
Explaining that the stadium was currently unsafe for use, she warned that the state government would not joke with the responsibility to guarantee the safety of lives and property of the people irrespective of the person that was involved.
The statement read, “The attention of the Rivers State Government has been drawn to the statement credited to the Peoples Democratic Party that it will force its way into the Rivers State Government-owned Adokiye Amiesimaka Sports Complex to hold its Rivers State presidential rally.”
She said, “At a different time and under different circumstances, the Rivers State Government would have ignored the PDP’s ranting. But with the party’s penchant for violence and its recent bombings of people and property all over the state, it is pertinent that the Rivers State Government raises this alert and sounds a note of warning to the PDP that the Rivers State Government will not trifle with its responsibility to guarantee the safety of lives and property irrespective of whom is affected.
“The matter of the Adokiye Amiesimaka Sports Complex is a simple one. The complex is still under construction. As a work site, it is an unsafe environment for use at this time. The PDP makes reference to the fact that the APC had held its rally at the same venue. What they failed to mention is that the contractor was moved out of site during the time the APC rally held and remobilised to site right after that rally,” she added.
She pointed out that the Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi administration was working towards ensuring the completion of its projects within the next five months, adding that the state government would not be able to move the contractors out of site.
According to her, the state government has been magnanimous enough to approve for the PDP in the state the use of the Liberation Stadium, Elekahia for its presidential rally.
Semenitari observed that the state PDP’s resolve to unlawfully break into the stadium was a “clear” determination to cause the breakdown of law and order so as to fulfill the threat by some of its members to set the facility ablaze.
“Unlike the PDP that has consistently refused the APC the use of stadia and other facilities in Abuja and other states, where it is in control, the Rivers State Government has magnanimously offered the PDP the use of the Liberation Stadium, Elekahia, which is also a state facility.
“The resolve of the PDP to unlawfully break into the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium is therefore a clear determination to create chaos, cause breakdown of law and order, and perhaps, fulfill the threat issued by some of its members that they will burn down the complex,” she stated.
Also reacting, Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Chief Davies Ikanya said that the Adokiye Amesimaka Sports Complex was still under construction as the state governor was determined to complete it before leaving office.
Reacting to claims by the Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Hon. Ibiba Walter, that the All Progressives Congress (APC) was yet to come out with a reasonable excuse for denying the PDP the use of the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Ikanya said that on occasions when the APC used the new stadium for its rallies, the contractor had gone on break, and advised the PDP to re-apply for permission to use the stadium, which he said, might be considered by the state government.
He said, “There are venues for rallies. They have not used that place before. When the contractors were on holidays, they did not apply for the place. Now that the contractors are fully back, they are just applying.
The APC chairman said, “The Executive Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi wants to complete that stadium and hand it over before he leaves office. Now, the PDP is threatening that the governor must obey them. You see, they have now turned themselves to governor of Rivers State.
“If you apply for something, it is either it is approved or not. You cannot take laws into your hands. This is why we are saying that the PDP is living above the law. If they have applied for it and it was not approved, the proper thing to do is to re-apply,” the APC said.
In a reaction, the state Chairman of the PDP, Hon. Felix Obuah had argued that the stadium was built with public funds.
He warned that if the state government failed to voluntarily release the venue, the PDP might use force to secure the Adokiye Amiesimaka Sports Complex for its presidential rally.
Obuah said, “Rivers State money was used to build it. It is not meant for Buhari’s campaign manager (Amaechi). It is not his personal property. They have used it for their own rally and their celebration. We have applied to use it for our own rally come 28th of this month but the governor, in his impunity, has refused us to use that place.
“We dare him, come 28th, we are going to use that place. I have made official complaint to the police, the DSS and all the law enforcing agents. I also want all the citizenry of Rivers State to be aware of this. They have used this same property two times without any problem. We are saying for peace to reign, he (Amaechi) has to release that stadium,”? the PDP chairman had threatened.
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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