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NLC Condemns Fresh Attacks On Oil Pipelines In N’Delta

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The Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC) yesterday in Abuja condemned the renewed blowing-up of major oil and gas pipelines by suspected militants in the Niger Delta region.
NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba told newsmen that the issue of national security should not be taken lightly. “Pipeline vandalism is highly condemnable; this should not be allowed to happen in a civilized society,’’ he said.
According to him, oil and gas pipeline vandalism will contribute largely to the air and water pollution of the region and reduce the revenue base of the country.
Wabba said that pipeline vandalism was a threat to national security; therefore, the issue should not be taken lightly. He advised the Niger Delta militants to engage in dialogue with the Federal Government rather than confrontation in resolving issues.
He urged the Federal Government to sustain the amnesty programme as it would serve as a means of addressing some of the challenges in the region.
“I hope that the renewed blowing-up of major oil and gas pipelines is not as a result of the ongoing probe of some political leaders in the region.
‘ Our call is that the government should remain focused in its fight against corruption and it should not be tired by whatever pressure.
“We also want to appreciate what the security agencies have been able to do in terms of protecting the pipelines in the region, they should put in more efforts to contain the crisis, ”Wabba said.
He assured Nigerians that the NLC would give its support to the Federal Government to protect important installations in the region and the country at large.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), yesterday in Abuja advised the Federal Government to map out policies and programmes that would revive Nigeria’s economy.
The NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba,  told journalists that well-defined policies should be formulated to address the various economic challenges confronting the nation.
“The challenge in the economy is obviously monumental, if you look at all the indices in the economy, you will know that we are actually in for difficult time.
“The continuous depreciation of the currency in recent times at the parallel market and the downward trend in the global oil price, call for re-think. “I think it is time for us to be determined as a people, and I think it is important for our political leaders to look at other options of how to respond to these issues.
“We need very sound economic policies that will address the country’s challenges, and part of it is to diversify our sources of revenue.’’ Wabba urged the government to fashion out ways of boosting internal revenue, adding that it should include payment of tax for any goods purchased.
“I have said on different occasions that it is only Nigerian workers that are paying the correct taxes to government coffers.
“The multinational companies and the political leaders who are making billions of naira are not paying the correct taxes. “I think it is time for government to take the issue of taxation seriously, if you have stocked monies in the banks, you need to pay taxes on the monies.
“W need to pay all manner of taxes just like in some other parts of the world, where people are paying tax on everything purchased because it will generate revenue internally.’’
He, however, said that there were a lot of loop holes in the process of tax collection in the country, which needed to be corrected. The NLC president said that the importation of unnecessary products into the country had put pressure on the country’s currency. “This is because we need dollars to import such products and this has put high demand on foreign exchange.
“I think, we need to prioritise what we need to import as a country in the economic policy of government. “Anything we can produce in Nigeria, there is no need to import it but rather encourage our local manufacturing companies to produce it instead of relying solely on importation.
“This is going to reduce pressure on the demand for foreign currency, including the issue of the importation of refined oil products.
“This is because one area that takes the large chunk of our foreign exchange is the continuous importation of refined oil products.’’
Wabba urged the government to accord priority to agriculture as well as exploit solid minerals that were in abundance in the country. He said this would create market opportunities for some of the products to be exported, as well as boost the nation’s economy.

L-R: General Overseer, Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike and his wife, Justice Suzzette,  during the Holy Ghost Rally in Port Harcourt, yesterday.

L-R: General Overseer, Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike and his wife, Justice Suzzette, during the Holy Ghost Rally in Port Harcourt, yesterday.

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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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