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‘N’ Delta Sacrificed $5.1bn For Electricity Under Jonathan’

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Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Aviation, Hajia Binta Bello (middle), speaking with the rescue team at the scene of Wednesday's crashed helicopter, as two more bodies were recovered at Oworoshoki in Lagos, yesterday

Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Aviation, Hajia Binta Bello (middle), speaking with the rescue team at the scene of Wednesday’s crashed helicopter, as two more bodies were recovered at Oworoshoki in Lagos, yesterday

The Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, yesterday lamented the worsening state of the country’s power sector.
Speaking in support of a motion moved by Senate Majority Leader, Ali Ndume, regarding the disconnection of Maiduguri from the national grid and general power generation in Nigeria,  Akpabio said the oil producing states in Nigeria contributed about $5.1 billion to the development of the power sector in 2011, but nothing tangible came out of that gesture.
“In 2011, when I was governor, we from the oil producing states decided to forgo about $5.1 billion to the Federal Government for the development of electricity. But it is sad today we are here still where we are, and celebrating generating only 4, 600 megawatts,” he said.
Akpabio expressed sadness over the closure of businesses in the country owing to electricity challenges, urging the Senate to adopt a definite and holistic approach to solving the problem instead of always “looking at the government (executive).”
After a brief debate on Ndume’s motion, the senate directed the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to immediately reconnect Maiduguri to the national grid.
It also set up an ad-hoc committee on power to carry out a holistic investigation on the management of funds appropriated to the power sector since 1999, and the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
Akpabio, therefore, urged the senate to do all within its power to assist the Federal Government in bringing an end to the problem.
In a unanimous adoption of the motion, the lawmakers expressed concern that Nigeria with a population of over 150 million people produced only 4, 600 megawatts of electricity.
They said that the situation in the country was in contrast with South Africa, which with population of about 40 million people produced 40,000 megawatts.
They observed that disconnection from the national grid and low generation of power supply across the country had affected economic activities, including collapse of many industries.
They added that it was disheartening that South Korea with no fewer than 35 million people generated about 60,000 mega watts of electricity.
The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, said that the inadequate power supply in the country was affecting economic growth.
He stressed that besides corruption, lack of power supply had plunged the country into further hardship.
“ We thought that with the Power Reform Act and unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), we will begin to see a relief with regard to power supply but unfortunately it is not so.
“The ad hoc committee we will set up should look at the activities of the DISCOS and what is preventing Nigerians from benefitting from the unbundling of the PHCN,’’ he said.
After the resolution, the senate constituted a 13-member ad hoc committee headed by Sen. Abubakar Kyari (APC-Borno North) to take a look at irregularities in the power sector.
The committee was mandated to carry out a holistic investigation into the management of funds appropriated to the power sector since 1999 and the unbundling of the TCN.
It was directed to conclude its assignment and submit report in two weeks.
Chaired by Abubakar Kiri (Borno North), the committee was given four weeks to submit its report. Olusola Adeyeye (Osun), Dino Melaye (Kogi) and Akpabio are members of the committee.

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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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