No fewer than 20 members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are missing as a result of the Okrika shootings which left a policeman dead and about 50 persons seriously injured.
The Chairman of the party in Rivers State, Chief Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, disclosed this at a press briefing at the party’s secretariat, in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Ikanya, who condemned the series of attacks on APC members in the state, stated that over 11 members of the APC had so far been killed, while several persons had been injured, in addition to the destruction of APC billboards at Omoku, Ogoni, Andoni and Okrika, among others.
The APC chairman also disclosed that of the injured, over 20 members of the party have been discharged from hospitals, with several others still lying critically ill in hospitals.
The party called on the international community to come to its aid in view of several lives that have been lost and the helplessness of the security agencies to either protect its members or prosecute the perpetrators.
According to the APC, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led Federal Government was preventing the security agencies from carrying out their national assignment in accordance with the law.
The APC particularly accused the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan of being the mastermind of the disruption of the APC governorship campaign rally in Okrika, on Tuesday.
He said, it has come to a stage, where international community must come and assist APC members to ensure a Rivers State.
“The wife of the President, Dame Patience Jonathan has taken upon herself, with presidential might, that no political party, particularly APC will hold rally at the two Okrika-speaking local governments areas (Okrika/Ogu/Bolo) again.
“She has left instructions with the warlord, Comrade Ateke Tom and her Special Assistant, Hon. Evans Bipi, to ensure all APC rallies in the areas are disrupted, hence APC rally at Okrika last Tuesday was disrupted with gun shots and explosives, police officer was killed, several injured including a press man, and nothing was done by the police”.
He called on the security agencies to fast-track their investigations and bring to book the perpetrators and sponsors of the Okrika shootings and barbaric acts in the state.
Bipi, who is a member of the Rivers State House of Assembly, representing Ogu-Bolo constituency, has denied any involvement in the Okrika shootings.
Bipi said he was in Bayelsa State on the day of the incident, mourning the PDP women who died in a motor accident last Saturday along Ahoada/Elele section of the East-West Road in Rivers State on their return to Bayelsa State after seeing off Dame Jonathan to Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.
“I was not even in Okrika on Tuesday.
“Okrika is not even my constituency. I represent Ogu/Bolo in the Rivers State House of Assembly”, he said.
Meanwhile, barely 48 hours after unknown gunmen had unleashed mayhem on the All Progressives Congress (APC) supporters in Okrika Local Government Area of Rivers State, the party declared yesterday that it would still hold its governorship campaign in the volatile area.
The state APC Chairman, Dr. Davis Ikanya, who spoke with newsmen in Port Harcourt, explained that since Okrika was part of Port Harcourt, it was paramount for the party to speak to the people of the area about the programmes of its governorship candidate.
Ikanya pointed out that it was wrong to prevent other political parties other than the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from campaigning in Okrika, maintaining that the APC would not be intimidated and would campaign in the area.
It would be recalled that the Rivers State APC found it difficult to campaign in Okrika, the native home of the wife to the President, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, having been attacked by suspected political thugs on three occasions in its attempt to organize a rally in the area.
Ikanya expressed dissatisfaction over the continued attack on APC members despite the signing of a peace accord by the major political parties in the state.
The state APC chairman insisted that the Peoples Democratic Party was responsible for the political violence in the state, even as he called on the Independent National Electoral Commission to sanction the PDP for violating the agreement to embrace peace before, during and after the 2015 elections.
According to Ikanya, “Yes, the APC will still organise its campaign at Okrika. We cannot be intimidated because Okrika is part of Rivers State. If the Peoples Democratic Party can campaign in Okrika, why won’t the APC campaign in Okrika?
“The PDP is a lawless party. The PDP does not honour any agreement. The PDP has no pedigree or integrity. The PDP has a misguided approach to governance. Instead of allowing all political parties to campaign freely and let the electorate vote, they are shooting guns.
“Yes, we have signed two different peace accords with the PDP. Sadly, the PDP has violated all known agreements. The PDP is not fit to ask for anybody to vote for them. PDP attacked our members a day after we signed the first peace accord,” he said.
He, however, expressed regret that members of the party had always been attacked even with the repeated assurance of adequate protection by the police.
Ikanya stated that the police was under pressure from the Federal Government,and added that the APC was suffering because of the move by the police to balance the pressure from the central government.
Meanwhile, a former Governor of Rivers State, Chief Rufus Ada-George, has also condemned the Okrika incident, calling on Kirikese and law enforcement agencies to forstall a future occurrence of the acts in the area.
Regretting the “inhuman treatment meted out to prominent leaders of the APC, guests as well as indigenes and residents of Okrika community”, Chief Ada-George in a press statement, yesterday, said the “Okrika people are hospitable and law abiding citizens”.
The former governor, who is also the Peri Pelebo of Okrika, commiserated with the family of the slain policeman and all injured persons, including the Channels Television reporter who was reportedly stabbed during the incident.
He called on Rivers citizens, particularly politicians to shun violence and exhibit decency and decorum in their electoral campaigns.
Boye Salau & Enoch Epelle
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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