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FG, RSG Move To Resolve UNIPORT Impasse …Constitute Fact-Finding Panels

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L-R: PDP National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo, PDP National Chairman, Dr Ali Modu Sheriff, and Acting Chairman of PDP National Working Committee,  Uche Secondus, during the inauguration of PDP Special Committees for the coming National Convention in Abuja on Tuesday

L-R: PDP National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo, PDP National Chairman, Dr Ali Modu Sheriff, and Acting Chairman of PDP National Working Committee, Uche Secondus, during the inauguration of PDP Special Committees for the coming National Convention in Abuja on Tuesday

Following the recent spate of unrest in some tertiary institutions in the country, such as the University of Port-Harcourt (UNIPORT), University of Lagos (UNILAG), Benue State University, among others,  the office of the Special Assistant to the President on Youth and Students’ Affairs (OSAPYS), has reached out to major stakeholders towards resolving the problem.
Similarly, the Rivers State Government has taken pragmatic measures to liaise with authorities of the University of Port Harcourt to resolve the crisis which forced the institution to shut down following students’ protest over hike in fees last Monday.
The Special Assistant to the President on Youth and Students’ Affairs, Nasir Sa’idu Adhama, who made the disclosure, noted that his office has been in constant consultation with relevant stakeholders.
These include the institutions’ managements, students’ union leaders, the National Universities Commission (NUC), the Federal Ministry of Education, and the National Board for Technical Education.
The consultation it was learned was aimed at addressing the incidence of unstable power supply which had reduced water supply and caused a hike in transportation fares at these troubled institutions.
Adhama said: “In the Interim, a high powered fact finding team, is being constituted to work with relevant agencies and affected institutions to ascertain the immediate causes of the crises and proffer solutions for academic activities to be restored at these affected campuses.”
While expressing condolence and sympathy on the loss of lives in some of the protests, Adhama, however, appealed to Nigerian students to maintain law and order in the pursuit of their legitimate rights.
“The Federal Government remains committed to addressing the lingering power and energy challenges and needs the support and understanding of all Nigerians to achieve desired results,” he said.
Condemning destructions of public properties during some of the protests, he called on students to engage management in constant consultations as the best negotiating tool in addressing all current contentions arising from change in institution’s policies.”
A statement signed by Okpanachi Jacob, Technical Assistant (Students), OSAPYS, quoted the SSA to the President as saying, “I wish to draw our student leaders’ and students’ attention to the three Cs’ of Consultation, Consolidation and Confrontation which they are familiar with.
“Reports so far gathered confirm poor consultation between students’ leaders and institution’s management before adopting confrontation as a solution to the plights of students at our campuses,” it stated.
However, Governor Nyesom Wike said the government would intervene in the matter, when he received the national leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), who were in Government House, Port Harcourt, to brief him on the UNIPORT incident which led to the death of a student, Comrade Peter Ofurum and other casualties.
Wike, who was represented by his Deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, said the Rivers State Government regrets the unfortunate incident which led to the death of the final year student of the institution, and promised to liaise with other agencies to get to the root of the matter to forestall future occurrence.
The governor thanked the students’ leaders for their maturity in conduct, and enjoined them to continue to preach peace while assuring that the state government will ensure the release of all students arrested by the police in connection with the protest.
The state chief executive condoled the family of the late student who died in course of the protest and the entire Nigerian students, while assuring that the Rivers State Government will support in the burial arrangements of their late colleague.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation and Vice Chairman of the National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS), Comrade Ufuoma Victor Erharhine, had called on the state government to wade into the matter and set up an investigative panel to unravel the mystery surrounding the shooting of late Peter Ofurum.
The students’ leader demanded the immediate abolition of the ”no school fees, no examination policy” of the school as well as lift the ban on Student Union Government (SUG) activities in the institution, among other demands.
Ufuoma further commended the state governor for his show of love for students in the state, and appealed to him to ensure the release of some students who are still in the custody of the police.

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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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