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‘Don’t Allow Politicians Corrupt Judiciary’ …Banigo Hails New CJ

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Following the recommendation of the National Judicial Council (NJC), and the approval of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Governor Nyesom Wike, yesterday, swore in Justice Adama Iye Iyayi-Lamikanra as the substantive Chief Judge, with a charge not to allow greedy politicians to hijack and corrupt the Judiciary in the state.
Wike, who advised the new chief judge not to allow the judiciary to be influenced by the antics of politicians, said that they must uphold the rule of law at all times.
Performing the swearing-in of Justice Iyayi-Lamikanra, who is an indigene of Edo State, Wike charged judges of the Rivers State Judiciary to be courageous in their dispensation of justice in line with the tenets of the law.
The governor assured the Judiciary that he will continue to support the arm of government to dutifully serve the people of Rivers State.
He noted that he worked towards the emergence of the substantive chief judge on the premise of laid down precedents and traditions, despite the petitions by some persons against Justice Iyayi-Lamikanra on the basis that she is not an indigene of the state.
Wike said: “Judges should not allow politicians to manipulate them to cause crisis in the judiciary,” explaining that he had sworn to oath of office to always do what is right.
He said: “They claimed that this administration does not allow non-indigenes to breath. They said if we are voted in, we will chase non-indigenes away. But I believe in laid down precedent and the promotion of the best practices in governance.”
The governor said those opposed to the emergence of Justice Iyayi-Lamikanra on the premise that she is not an indigene of Rivers State, must realise that she was appointed Magistrate and Judge in the state without anyone raising questions on her state of origin.
He added that though the arms of government must work independently, there must be cooperation for the development of the state.
Wike urged Justice Iyayi-Lamikanra to carry her brother-judges along for stability in the judiciary.
Responding, the newly sworn-in substantive Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Adama Iye Iyayi-Lamikanra, assured the people of Rivers State that she would dispense justice in line with the law.
The chief judge said that she will ensure that the Rivers State Judiciary develops to the envy of others in the country.
Meanwhile, Deputy Governor of Rivers State,  Dr. Ipalibo Harry-Banigo has described the confirmation of the appointment of Justice A. I. Iyayi-Lamikanra as the substantive Chief Judge of Rivers State by the Rivers State House of Assembly and her eventual swearing-in by the Executive Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike as a good political radiance that marks as a landmark in the judicial system.
Banigo, in a statement through her Press Secretary, Paul Damgbor, said  Justice Iyayi-Lamikanra, has displayed administrative dexterity and professionalism in handling of Judicial functions during her acting period, which has further strengthened and stabilized the Judicial process in the state in particular and Nigeria as a whole.
The Deputy Governor congratulated the new Chief Judge, urging her to ensure that the peace and stability existing in the state judiciary are not only maintained but improved upon to justify the confidence reposed in women by the Governor.
She noted that Governor Wike has demonstrated obedience to rule of law, by his compliance to laid down principles of the constitution.
The deputy governor opined that the peaceful transition has again positioned Rivers State as a reference point in judicial issues, pointing out that the state government has lived up to its promise of reviving and respecting the independence of the judiciary and legislative arms of government as enshrined in the constitution under the principle of separation of powers.
It would be recalled that Justice Iyayi-Lamikanra succeeded Justice Daisy Okocha who retired on January 14, 2016, as Chief Judge of Rivers State after her statutory years in service.

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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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