President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday regretted that members of the Boko Haram sect have been diverting people’s attention from his administration’s numerous achievements with their violent activities in parts of the country.
He, has however, assured Nigerians that the Federal Government would soon end the insurgency.
Jonathan who spoke when he paid a courtesy visit to the Emir of Bauchi, Alhaji Rilwan Adamu, was in the state in continuation of the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential rallies.
He said his administration had worked hard to justify the massive support he got from the people during the 2011 general elections and promised that if re-elected, he would work with Bauchi leaders to develop the mineral resources in the state as part of measures to diversify the country’s economy away from crude oil.
The President said, “When we moved round in 2011, we got massive support from you and since then, we have been working hard to justify your support. Insha Allahu, we will also succeed this time.
“The unfortunate Boko Haram excesses are taking attention away from our numerous achievements.
“Everybody wants security, everybody wants to be safe and to be able to move freely. I am therefore assuring you that we will bring the situation to a reasonable degree and will eventually end it very soon. “We have worked very hard to improve agriculture and ended decades of fertilizer scam. We want Nigerian farmers to crop three times a year.
“We are thinking of different options to fully diversify our economy due to the fall in the global price of oil and Bauchi is one of the states we will tap into its solid mineral potentials,” he added.
The emir commended government’s efforts at ending insurgency and rescuing the over 200 abducted Chibok girls and also lauded the present administration’s commitment to free and fair elections.
The monarch urged Jonathan to bear in mind that only God gives power to people anytime He desires.
He said, “Only God gives power anytime He wishes. I urge you and other candidates for different offices to bear this in mind in your campaigns.”Politicians should work towards making Nigeria a stronger regional and sub-regional force.
“I encourage and commend you on the efforts you are making on the issue of insecurity and we are hoping and praying that our Chibok girls will be out soon. “We also appreciate your expressed commitment to free and fair elections and the signing of the Abuja peace accord as it will encourage our people to embrace peace instead of acrimony,”he added.
In a related development, Six months after key stakeholders in various sectors of the Nigerian economy pledged over N50billion to help support victims of insurgency across the country, about 70 per cent of the pledges have not been redeemed.
Specifically, the largest sectoral donors, banking and oil/gas sectors, at the fund raising, which was held at the Presidential Villa, had yet to pay anything out of the billions of Naira they pledged.
It was gathered that of the over N50billion pledged at the event, the Presidential Committee on Victims Support Fund had received only N15billion.
A member of the committee told journalists in Abuja that the N15billion so far redeemed was garnered from the donors since August, 2014.
The official, who pleaded not to be named because he was not authorised to speak on the subject, spoke on the sidelines of an event organised by an NGO, budget, where it presented a report on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation Fund.
Asked to state how much was realised after the pledges and how the fund was used, the official said, “It’s about N15billion as of August; we are going to publish our account very soon and it will be made available to the press. But in the meantime, we are trying as much as possible to ensure that individuals redeem their pledges, including members of the oil and gas sector as well as members in the financial sector. “We are appealing to them and we are hoping that they redeem their pledges.”
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allinson-Maduekwe, had led representatives of the oil and gas community in Nigeria to announce their donation of a whopping N17billion during the event.
Operators in the banking sector pledged in billions when the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, announced a donation of N15billion on their behalf.
When asked to state how the N15billion so far realised by the committee was spent, the official said, “At the moment, we are setting up blueprints. We have tried to take a census of the people that have been displaced in terms of military victims, police victims, women, children and all that.
“So, there has really not been any disbursement so far except for the intervention that we have done in the three states and Abuja. “Apart from these interventions, there had not been much expenditure so far. But we had the take-off at Waru here in Abuja and we have been to Borno, Adamawa and Gombe states,” the officials added.
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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