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Accept Defeat, Wike Urges Amaechi, APC

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Members of Justice Monima Danagogo -led Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the violence/killings of March 19th Rerun Election in Port Harcourt taking oath of office before Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State in Port Harcourt on Wednesday

Members of Justice Monima Danagogo -led Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the violence/killings of March 19th Rerun Election in Port Harcourt taking oath of office before Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State in Port Harcourt on Wednesday

The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has advised former governor of the state and Transportation Minister, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, to accept the reality that his political party lost the rerun elections and allow the state government focus on the rebuilding of the state.
Wike said that the responsibility of reviving the state after the immediate past administration failed to use the N3trillion that accrued to the state under its watch was enormous.
Declaring open a retreat on strengthening capacity, efficiency and service delivery for sustainable development for top government officials at Onne Multi-Purpose Centre, yesterday, Wike said that the administration has deployed resources and expertise to correct the failures of the former administration.
He said: “I call on the former governor and leader of the APC in the state to accept the reality that the re-run elections has woefully been lost by his party, and that Rivers people have, again, overwhelmingly re-affirmed their confidence, trust and preference for the PDP.
“Therefore, spare us the agony of unnecessary hostility and allow Rivers State to move forward in peace and security. We expect you to use your high office and connections to attract meaningful development projects to the state as I did during my time; not senseless and unpatriotic distractions. Enough is enough.
“All of us are aware of the sorry state of things in Rivers State before May 29, 2015. Between October 25, 2007, and May 28, 2015, over N3trillion accrued from all revenue sources to the state. Yet, they did nothing tangible with that money to develop the state. Instead, they squandered and diverted most of this money into private pockets through bogus and ill-fated projects,” Wike pointed out.
The governor noted that all key projects initiated by the former administration were either abandoned or not executed at all.
He said: “Let’s briefly look at the records since they live in denial. The visible projects initiated by former Governor Amaechi during his eight years in office include: the Karibi Whyte Mega Hospital project, the Greater Port Harcourt City Project, the new Rivers State University of Science and Technology project; the Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency overseas scholarship scheme; the mosquitos eradication scheme, the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium project, the 500 primary schools project, the 23 mega secondary schools project, the ill-fated less than 1.5kms monorail project, and the dualization of some inner city roads.
“However, none of these projects was realised before they left office despite spending billions and billions of naira on them. For example, the Karibi Whyte Hospital was not just abandoned at the foundation stage, it turned out to be a big scam on Rivers people. The Greater Port Harcourt project existed mainly on paper without any tangible progress. The Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium was abandoned half-completed, while not even a stone was laid for the proposed new Rivers State University.
“Furthermore, the mosquito eradication project was another huge scam, just as the secondary school and overseas scholarship scheme were misconceived, fraudulent and unsustainable. In addition, they sold off three of the state’s four independent power plants initiated by the Governor Peter Odili administration to cronies and diverted the proceeds to private ends.
“The narrative is not different in their much-flaunted education and health projects. Their own project audit before they left office reveals that out of 498 primary schools they initiated, only 116 were completed, and the rest abandoned.
“Similarly, out of the 23-mega secondary schools they initiated, only one was completed, the rest abandoned. Throughout the eight years, no public secondary school was rehabilitated, while all the general hospitals were wilfully abandoned to rot and decay. I challenge the former governor to controvert these facts in a public debate,” the governor emphasised.
He said despite inheriting a badly governed state, his administration hit the ground running, initiating critical projects and programmes that have revived the economy of the state to the benefit of the people.
The governor said: “I made it clear from our first day in office that we didn’t run for the office of governor for the fun of it. We ran to restore hope to our people; provide first-class public infrastructure, tackle insecurity and make Rivers State a preferred destination for local and foreign entrepreneurs.
“We promised to build a new Rivers State where our people will be secure in a well-managed government that cares about how we serve our people; secure in a justice system that protects the rule of law and delivers equitable justice; secure in a prospering economy that works for everyone; a Rivers State where our children have equal access to first-rate education regardless of background; a Rivers State that is secure in a healthcare system that is accessible, qualitative and affordable for everyone.”
He pledged that his administration will continue to work for the benefit of the people translating the New Rivers Vision into reality within the specified time.
The governor noted that his administration will sustain sound development principles and the pro-people accountable application of resources to enhance the development of the state.
He said: “Let me re-affirm the determination of our government to make Rivers State secure, peaceful and prosperous through public and private sector participation. Although the glorious fruits of the transformative process we have started would take some time to fully manifest, there is no doubt that we are making steady progress with the lean resources at our disposal, despite the disruptive distractions from the bizarre opposition that has taken partisan politics to the point of terror.”
In his opening remarks, Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Chief Kenneth Kobani, stated that the retreat was organised to equip top government officials with knowledge to assist the governor achieve his development goals.
The retreat had as resource persons, Prof Ibrahim Gambari, Prof A.O. Afolabi, Prof Bob Osaze, Ambassador S.M. Taribo, Dr Ita Ekpeyong, Mr Emeka Ezeh, Ambassador John Gana, Prof Christiana Okoji, Dr Egem Odey, and Ferdinand Agu .
The governor, his Deputy, Dr Ipalibo Harry Banigo, commissioners, special advisers, special assistants, permanent secretaries, members of boards and commissions are participants at the retreat.

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Again, RSG Begins Unveiling, Flag-Off Of Nine Key Projects, ’Morrow

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The Rivers State Government has rolled out the drums to herald another phase of official commissioning of key projects embarked upon by the Governor Nyesom Wike-led administration in the state.
A statement by the state government said that the process is in continuation of the commissioning and flag-off of projects by Governor Nyesom Wike.
It indicated that Rumuola flyover would be commissioned tomorrow, while the GRA flyover would be commissioned on Saturday.
The also stated that the government would commission the Ezimgbu Road on Monday, December 13, 2021; with another commissioning of Tombia Road Extension scheduled for Tuesday, December 14, 2021.
The statement said that the governor would commission the Safe Home, Borikiri, Port Harcourt on Wednesday, December 15; while on Thursday, December 16, 2021, the governor would commission the Odokwu internal roads.
Also, the governor would continue the flag-off of key infrastructure projects with Chokocho-Igbodo Road slated for Monday, December 20, 2021; Oyigbo-Okoloma Road on Wednesday, December 22, 2021; and Magistrates’ Court Complex, Port Harcourt on Thursday, December 23, 2021.

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Wike Justifies N7bn Libel Suit Against THISDAY

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, yesterday, appeared before the state High Court in Port Harcourt, to testify as a witness in an N7billion libel suit against THISDAY Newspaper.
Wike said he was in court to seek justice and clear his name as a person from the malicious publication by THISDAY Newspaper, which portrayed him as deceitful, untrustworthy person, who exerts subterranean influences on judicial matters and over court sittings in Port Harcourt.
It would be recalled that Wike had in August, 2020, slammed a N7billion suit being damages for libel written and published in THISDAY’s Tuesday, June 23, 2020 edition captioned, “With Wike, Obaseki Meets His PDP’s Waterloo; Almost.”
The defendants in the suit are THISDAY Newspapers Limited, Leaders and Company Limited, Davidson Iriekpan, Chuks Okocha and Adibe Emenyonu.
Wike, while testifying as witness in suit No. PHC/1505/CS/2020 before the court presided over by Justice A. Enebeli, asserted that the defendants maliciously and falsely portrayed him as an unreliable friend/person.
“When you say somebody cannot be trusted; that cannot be a fair comment. When you say somebody is influencing the Judiciary, that cannot be a fair comment”, the governor said.
In his written statement on oath, Wike had stated that the defendants had accused him of influencing the decision of the court sitting in Port Harcourt that granted an injunction restraining Godwin Obaseki from participating in the primaries of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State in 2020.
He stated that the defendants maliciously accused him of undemocratically exerting influence on the primaries process of PDP in Edo State in aid of his ally, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, who was the beneficiary of the court order restraining Obaseki from participating in the PDP primaries.
The governor, who told the court that he was not even aware of the aforementioned suit by Ogbeide-Ihama against Obaseki, said the publication was reckless, false and without regards for the truth.
According to him, contrary to well-known journalistic tradition and practices, the defendants did not investigate properly to ensure the information they relied on was accurate.
“They did not seek to verify the facts from me or in any manner oblige me with the opportunity to state my own side of the story before proceeding to make the false publication” the governor argued.
Wike stated that the defendants further denigrated him before the entire world as a fake democrat, who engages in meddling in the internal affairs of All Progressives Congress (APC) in order to get at his political foe, Chibuike Amaechi.
The governor explained that he was not a member of the APC and has had no hand in the internal crisis which has bedevilled the party both in Rivers State and all over Nigeria.
“By the letter of Messrs E.C. Ukala and Co., Solicitors, under the hand of Emmanuel C. Ukala, SAN, dated 23rd June, 2020, the defendants were given opportunity to retract, and recant the publication as well as to offer apology for the false publication but the defendants spurned the opportunity and ignored the letter completely.”
The governor, while responding to claim by lawyer to the defendants, Turudu Ede, SAN, that the essence of the lawsuit was to intimidate and harass his clients, said the whole essence of the suit was to get justice and clear his name as a man of substantial character, honour and repute.
“The essence of the suit is to get justice since they (defendants) refused to retract the publication or apologise. So, I sued them to clear my name.”
Speaking to journalists outside the court, one of the lawyers to Wike, Mr. Mark Agwu said his client was in court to seek legal redress.
“To challenge him as a person, it means you have made him untrustworthy, a deceit, a cheat, an influencer of the court, because the publication they made was that he had a role to play in influencing the outcome of that Federal High Court case. Nobody will take that lightly, and especially for a man who believes in the rule of law”, Agwu added.
The court adjourned the matter for further hearing to 12th, 13th and 14th of January, 2022.

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$130m Fraud: Rivers Sues Saipem SPA, Saipem Contracting Firm, Others

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The Rivers State Government has charged two construction firms, Saipem SPA and Saipem Contracting Nigeria Ltd, to court over an alleged conspiracy to cheat and with intent to defraud the state of the sum of $130million, being advanced payment for the construction of the OCGT power plant in Port Harcourt.
In a 16-count criminal charge filed by the Director of Public Prosecution, C.F. Amadi for the Rivers State Attorney General, the state alleged that after collecting the said sum as advanced payment between 2011 and 2018, the defendants have not kept their obligation under the contract.
Others charged alongside the companies were Walter Peviana; Kelechi Sinteh Chinakwe; Giandomenico Zingali; Vitto Testaguzza and Davide Anelli, who are directors and officers of the companies.
The defendants are charged with various offences ranging from conspiracy, cheating and obtaining credit by false pretence, contrary to Section 518 (6) and (7) and punishable under Section 518 of the Criminal Code, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999, section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b) of the Criminal Code, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State, amongst others.
Already, the Rivers State Government has issued a fiat to the law firm of Godwin Obla (SAN) to prosecute the matter before the state High court.
The defendants are equally charged for the offence of false Statements by Officials of Companies contrary to and punishable under Section 436 (b).
The prosecution specifically accused the defendants of obtaining credit of $130million by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); obtaining credit of $20,467,942.00 by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b), obtaining credit of N7,000,000,000.00 only by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b).
They are charged for obtaining credit of N318,640,173.54, by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); attempt to cheat $97million contrary to Section 508 and punishable under Section 509; attempt to cheat $15million contrary to Section 508 and punishable under Section 509; conspiracy to receive a credit of $97million by false pretences contrary to Section 518 (6) and punishable under Section 518; cheating $11million contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating N110, 097, 416.51 contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating by collecting sums attributable to shared facilities already paid for in AFAM Phase I in AFAM Phase II contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421.
Obtaining N20, 467, 942 contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; obtaining credit of $60,168,936.00 by false pretences or other fraud, contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); obtaining credit of $1,512,034.00 by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b) all of the Criminal Code Law of Rivers State, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria 1999.
According to the Proof of Evidence attached to the charge and the statement made by the Head, Power Generation/Mechanical of the Rivers State Ministry of Power, one Mr Temple Azunda M., the facts constituting the case in hand are as follows:
Saipem SPA and Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited and other officers of the duo, herein the Defendants, are Italian companies which services have been retained by the Rivers State Government, herein RSG, in several projects, prominent amongst which is the AFAM Phase II Power Plant Project.
By an initial tripartite agreement made on the January 20, 2010, the RSG under the auspices of the Rivers State Ministry of Power entered a contract with Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited, Saipem SPA for the construction of the OGCT power plant in Port Harcourt at a total cost of $119million consequent upon which the Rivers State Government made advance payments, in instalments, to Saipem Contracting Nigeria Ltd and Saipem SPA amounting in total to a sum of $130million in all which the Defendants have acknowledged receipt of.
The Defendants were to be given an initial mobilization of 20per cent of the total contract sum which the RSG paid.
It was part of the initial agreement – and indeed a condition sine qua non – that, to access the 2nd tranche of payment of 25per cent from the Rivers State Government, the Defendants would mandatorily have installed the Gas Turbine into the foundations as referenced in ATTACHMENT 1 to VO 007 which states that:
CONTRACTOR shall be entitled to a payment corresponding to 20per cent of the VO No. 007 LS PRICE upon mobilisation to site and commencement of bush clearing activities at SITE.
Upon commencement of bush clearing activities at the site, the contractor shall issue the invoice relevant to the above payment and the owner shall pay such invoice within 14 days from its issuance.
The parties agree that no deduction for recovery of advance payment shall apply on the payment due to the contractor for invoices issued by the contractor in accordance with this paragraph.

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