The Rivers State House of Assembly, for the second time, barked but could not bike after four persons subpoenaed by the legislators could not show up at the seating last Monday.
The House, in its seating penultimate Tuesday, had threatened to issue warrant of arrest to government officials who refused to honour the House’s invitation, but surprisingly, the legislators could not act as they threatened after five out of the nine they invited could not show up last Monday.
Four commissioners, Hon Augustine Wokocha, Emmanuel Chinda, Victor Tambari Giadom and Mrs Ibim Semenitari and the Chairperson of the state Internal Revenue Service, Mrs Obele Ochoko Osila responded to the invitation.
But the Commissioner for Finance, Dr Chamberlain Peterside, Health, Sampson T.Parker, Transport, Hon George Tolofari, the Accountant General, and the chairman, Assembly Service Commission,Omubo Pricewill could not make it to the House, seating on Monday.
Earlier, the Leader of the House, Hon Chidi Julius Lloyd had informed the House that the Accountant General, the Commissioner for Finance and Health Commissioner, sent words to the leadership that they were in Abuja attending state assignments.
Hon Lloyd also regretted that those invited had last week submitted their briefs but were unable to make them available to members due to their crowded engagements.
The commissioners were, however, requested to give highlights of how they spent funds allocated to their various ministries.
Addressing the House, the Commissioner for Power, Hon Augustine Wokocha said the ministry was on a mission to stabilize power supply in the state, stating that the power sector in the state has been positioned.
He noted that the ministry was able to build more sub stations and power lines in the state.
According to him, ‘’ we delivered Afam power station and built three transmission stations at Afam, Rumuosi and Elelenwo’’, to service those areas.
He disclosed that N70 billion was earmarked for the project but the ministry received only 30billion.
‘’ Eight sub stations were built and 200 transformers were installed in different parts of the state capital’’, he said.
The Chairman of the Internal Revenue Service, Mrs Obele Ochoko Osila, in her submission, said the commission was able to create foundation and built system that will continue to generate revenue for the state.
She noted that people now pay taxes due to the power given to the service, as she commended the legislators for granting the service autonomy.
The Commissioner for Works, Hon Victor Giadom, explained that the ministry constructed 306 roads between 2011 and now.
He said out of the 306, the ministry was able to complete 118 roads while the rest are at different stages of completion.
According to him, ‘’ The ministry was able to complete 22 dual carriage roads which have helped ease off traffic in the city of Port Harcourt.
The Commissioner of Agriculture, Emmanuel Chinda, informed the House that the ministry’s mandate was to ensure food production and security in the state.
While explaining reasons some persons from Khana Local Government Area were yet to get their agricultural loan, Chinda said the ministry has egibility criteria to access the loans.
According to him, “They have loans and grants given to the people within the past years”.
In her submission, the Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mrs Ibim Semenitari said that her ministry was a service ministry and not project-driven, , explaining that the ministry had to collaborate with the Nigeria Union of Journalists to build a Press Centre for the Union.
She noted that the Press Centre would also House a Resource Centre, adding that the ministry was able to purchase modern Rotary Machine for the Rivers State Newspaper Corporation, Publishers of The Tide Newspapers, procured Outstation Van for Radio Rivers, but could not carry out similar project for Rivers State Television due to lack of funds.
Meanwhile, the Assembly has set up a committee to wind down the 7th Assembly, preparatory to the official handover to the 8th Assembly on the 29th May.
The Speaker, who announced the committee, noted that the idea was to ensure smooth and peaceful transition as required by law.
The Deputy Speaker, Hon Leyii Kwanee, who presided over the seating on Monday announced Okechukwu Akara as the chairman of the valedictory session, Hon Onari Brown will head the strategy committee while Hon Golden Chioma will serve as the chairman of winding down committee.
Kwanee also announced the Deputy Leader, Hon Ewor Nname Robson as the chairman who will coordinate all the committees to ensure that everything was in placed.
Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity
Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.
The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).
Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.
It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.
Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.
Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.
Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments
President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.
The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.
According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.
He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.
Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.
The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.
He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.
On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.
He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.
“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.
“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.
“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.
”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.
“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.
“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.
On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.
On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.
According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.
The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”
Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari
Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.
The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.
Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.
He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.
He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.
“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.
“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.
“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”
He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.
This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.
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