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Bayelsa Mourns As Crash Claims 12 PDP Women

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The Bayelsa State Government has suspended all official engagements for three days, following the tragic death of Mrs Elizabeth Allison-Oguru, wife of the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Edmond Allison-Oguru and 11 other Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) women in a multiple ghastly motor accident on Saturday.
The tragedy, which has thrown the entire state into grief and mourning, occurred along Ahoada/Elele section of the East-West Road in Rivers State.
The Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Iwariso-Markson, expressed deep pains, shock and grief over the sudden death of Mrs Elizabeth and 11 other women.
Dickson described the incident as “tragic, monumental and painful loss to the state”.
Among the dead, The Tide learnt, were former member of the Bayelsa State of Assembly from Brass Local Government and Special Adviser to Governor Dickson, Mrs Ruby Benjamin; former commissioner for women affairs under the administration of Governor Timipre Sylva, Gimbra Panowei; a woman leader from Otuoke community in Ogbia Local Government Area of the state, Madam Consider Amadi, and wife of the proprietor of a popular Montessori School known as Ayakpo International Schools, Mrs Inamamu Ayakpor.
Others are Mrs Ayakura Otolo, wife of the axccountant, Radio Bayelsa as well as a retired permanent secretary, Mrs Acha Pere Kalama.
Earlier reports had claimed that the accident claimed the lives of all the 20 women involved.
But reliable sources told The Tide that eight persons were still alive as at the time of filling this report, and were receiving treatment in hospitals.
A former Bayelse State commissioner and first vice president, National Council for Women Society (NCWS), Mrs Edisenimi Ayabowei is said to be among the eight survivors.
The women, who were members of Mrs Patience Goodluck Jonathan’s female wing of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) known as Women for Change Initiatives, were said to be returning to Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, after seeing off the First Lady to the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.
The women had earlier visited Mrs Jonathan in her country home, Okrika community in Rivers State, where they had held a meeting to restrategise on the way forward for the forthcoming elections.
It was learnt that tragedy struck when the tyre of a Toyota Siena burst and rammed into the bus carrying the women.
The bus, which, according to eye witness, bore the inscription of the Peoples Democratic Party’s Women for Change Initiatives, immediately went up in flames, leaving nine persons burnt to ashes and three others dead without being burnt.
A preliminary report issued by the Bayelsa State Commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Mr. Vincent Jack, said 29 passengers in three separate vehicles were involved in the accident, and 18 persons were reportedly injured, while 11 others were burnt beyond recognition.
The three vehicles involved were identified as a Toyota Hiace bus with registration number ABU 640 AE and Toyota Highlander Jeep with Registration number YEN371RJ.
The FRSC attributed the accident to a tyre burst, adding that, “the injured were taken to Madonna Hospital in Elele by the police who first came to the scene. The corpse of one dead woman was deposited at Depdem Mortuary in Ahoada while the police took another corpse to Rumuji. Nine others were burnt beyond recognition”.
It was, however, a lucky escape for former Commissioner for Transport, Mrs. Marie Ebikake, who was recently sacked by Governor Dickson for alleged disloyalty to his administration.
The Tide learnt that Mrs Ebikake was part of the delegation that visited the First Lady in Okrika, but reportedly drove back to Yenagoa in a separate vehicle.
Our correspondent, who visited the scene of the accident, reports that the charred remains of the victims have been evacuated.
In a statement last night in Abuja, the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, commiserated with the Government and people of Bayelsa State over the death of some of prominent women leaders from the state in a road accident in Rivers State.
The First Lady said that she received the news of the tragic incident with shock, adding that the accident was unfortunate and highly  regretable.
She said that her prayers go to the families of the deceased women, and noted that they had died in active service to the democratic transformation of the state and the nation.

Amanyanabo of Opobo Kingdom, King Dandeson Douglas-Jaja blessing the APC governorship candidate in Rivers State, Dr Dakuku Peterside, during a courtesy visit, recently.

Amanyanabo of Opobo Kingdom, King Dandeson Douglas-Jaja blessing the APC governorship candidate in Rivers State, Dr Dakuku Peterside, during a courtesy visit, recently.

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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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