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Wike Bans ‘Sorting’ In RSU – Commissions Faculty Buildings – As Minister, Forum Endorse Him For 2019

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike yesterday proscribed sorting and other academic frauds being perpetrated at the Rivers State University (RSU).
The governor also warned the Vice Chancellor, Prof Blessing Didia and the governing council of the institution to take the proscription seriously or face serious sanctions from the state government, if the trend continues unabated in the university.
Wike also approved the release of N500million for the building of infrastructure at the College of Medical Sciences at the institution.
The state governor made these pronouncements while commissioning faculties of Management and Environmental Sciences buildings undertaken by the state government at the institution, yesterday.
He warned lecturers, who indulge in sorting and intimidating students with failure if they fail to comply, to stop forthwith or be ready to pay the price, adding that providing qualitative education cannot be achieved without the provision of adequate learning environment and necessary infrastructure.
The governor berated the past administration for not doing enough for the institution, especially in the two faculties.
According to him, his administration was committed to ensuring the development of infrastructure in the institution, and called on those entrusted with public offices to ensure they do something for their people, adding that there would be a day of stewardship.
“You must do something for your people, not by giving excuses, there is a day you will give account, not by carrying military and SARS officials”, he added.
He used the opportunity to commend the management and the governing council of the institution for delivering on the projects, adding that he was impressed with the quality of work done on the two projects.
The governor, who was impressed by the quality of job done on the two buildings, announced the immediate release of N250million being part of the initial N1billion promised the institution, out of which N750million has already been released.
Also speaking, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council, Justice Iche Ndu (rtd) lauded the state governor for his untiring efforts in the development of the institution, adding that the commissioning of the two faculties has added another milestone to the litany of achievements by the Wike-led administration in the state.
He urged the governor not to relent in his efforts in improving on the pace of the development of the institution by doing more, especially now that more faculties and courses have been approved for the university by the National Universities Commission (NUC).
Earlier in his welcome address, the Vice Chancellor of the Rivers State University, Prof Blessing Didia, had said that with the completion of the two faculty buildings, the university has overcome the office challenges facing it.
Didia added that the university was now ready to face any accreditation panel both nationally and internationally, even as it was set to revive the proscribed post-graduate degree programme in Business Administration occasioned by lack of building space in the Faculty of Management Sciences.
He thanked the governor for providing the needed funds that led to the completion of the projects, even as he assured the institution’s support in his quest to take the state to greater heights.
“The two faculty buildings are a three-storey complex made up of large conference rooms, class-rooms, offices and associated conveniences. The buildings are serviced with its own water and dedicated electricity line, to ensure regular power and water supply. Although, there will be the need in the future to provide a power generating plant for each of the buildings, and also adequately furnish them,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung has endorsed the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike for a second term, declaring that the outstanding achievements of the governor have earned him the approval rating.
Dalung stated that the Rivers State governor has lived up to the expectations of his people, hence, the need to be rewarded with an additional term in office.
The minister spoke at the Alfred Diete-Spiff Civic Centre, Port Harcourt, last Monday, during the opening ceremony for the Governor Nyesom Wike National Wrestling Championship organised by the Nigerian Wrestling Federation.
He said that the 2019 general elections would be a time for all political leaders to give an account of their stewardship, pointing out, “that only performing leaders like Wike would be successful at the polls”.
Commenting on the Governor Nyesom Wike National Wrestling Championship, Dalung said that the Rivers State governor has made history as the first governor to sponsor the championship.
“This National Wrestling Championship is setting an agenda for Nigeria to compete in the continental championship”, he said.
Declaring the Governor Wike National Wrestling Championship open, Wike assured the wrestling community that the Rivers State Government will also sponsor the 2018 event.
He said that Rivers State was a destination of choice for events, sports and conferences because his administration has invested in peace and security.
The governor said: “If Rivers State is not peaceful, people will not be trooping to the state every day. The propaganda of the enemies of the state has failed”.
Wike assured the athletes of their safety, saying that they will not regret coming to the state.
“We will continue to live up to the expectations of the people of Rivers State. We will never disappoint them”.
President of the Nigerian Wrestling Federation, Daniel Igali stated that the championship was a milestone in the development of the game.
Highpoint of the opening ceremony was the unveiling of the Logo/Mascot for the 2018 African Wrestling Championship.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has lauded the Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung for his commitment to the development of a united Nigeria, irrespective of party affiliation.
Speaking during a courtesy visit by Dalung at the Government House, Port Harcourt, last Monday, Wike said the minister has shown uncommon courage in allowing Rivers State to host the national wrestling championship and the African Wrestling Championship in 2018.
He said: “If we have ministers like you, nobody will be talking about political parties. People like you work well for Mr President. People like you are the ones Mr President needs to move the country forward.
“What you have done for Rivers State is not what money can buy. You have by this action introduced a positive for Rivers State. You are telling the world that Rivers State is peaceful and a place to invest”.
Wike also praised the President of the Nigerian Wrestling Federation, Daniel Igali for his decision to promote the hosting of the championship in Rivers State.
In his remarks, Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung said that wrestling was traditional to Nigeria, hence, the country will continue to excel in the sport.
He commended Wike for his investments in the development of sports, noting that the facilities put in place for the competition were world class.
The minister said that over 700 athletes, 300 officials, 24 states and 12 wrestling clubs were participating in the Governor Wike National Wrestling Championship.
He said while most states have neglected sports, Rivers State governor is promoting sports, thereby enhancing social cohesion.
Similiarly, in appreciation of the quality projects and programmes executed by the Rivers State Government, the Kengema Unity Forum (KUF) has endorsed Governor Nyesom Wike for a second term.
The group, on a solidarity visit to the governor at Government House, Port Harcourt, last Monday evening, declared that its members would work diligently for the re-election of Wike in 2019.
Leader of Kengema Unity Forum (KUF), Sobomabo Jackreece, who led thousands of KUF members on the solidarity visit, declared that the performance of the governor has endeared him to all development-loving people of Rivers State.
He said that the governor, aside diligent execution of projects, has exhibited love for all sections of the state through political patronage.
“Come 2019, the KUF will work for the re-election of Wike because he has used the mandate to improve the lives of the people.
“Our members across the state will work for the re-election of the Rivers State governor because we have seen his handiwork. We urge Wike to continue to carry the KUF along in all appointments”, Jackreece said.
Responding, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike assured the leader and members of the Kengema Unity Forum that he will sustain the development projects being executed across the state.
Wike said that he has a covenant with Rivers people to perform, noting that he will always keep his own side of the bargain.
He said: “The KUF supported us during the campaigns for 2015, and I have also reciprocated by ensuring execution of projects and appointments within available resources.
“I am happy that you have endorsed me for a second term. Be rest assured that I will continue to work hard to justify your trust. Projects like the Buguma internal roads, Degema internal roads, land reclamation, Abonnema Ring Road and Degema Zonal Hospital will be completed, among other ongoing projects in Kalabari land”, he said.
He charged the leader and members of KUF to continue with their peaceful mobilisation for his re-election, noting that their efforts will promote the interest of the people.

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Encourage States To Harness Own Resources For Dev, Wike Tasks FG

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has said Nigeria must encourage federating states to harness their resources and generate revenues, including Value Added Tax (VAT) to advance their development.
He also stressed that it was baffling to note that Rivers State was not included among states to benefit from any of the projects to be executed with the fresh loan that the Federal Government was seeking to obtain from the World Bank.
Wike made the observation when the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the SUN (Newspaper) Publishing Limited, Mr Onuoha Ukeh, led a delegation to present letter of nomination to him as the SUN Man of the Year 2020 Award at Government House, Port Harcourt, last Monday.
The Rivers State governor observed that there were mounted attempts to frustrate federating states like Rivers, to actualise the constitutional provisions that empower them to harness their resources and revenues, particularly VAT.
The governor decried the situation where the legality of states collecting VAT was not considered on the merit of the law by some public commentators, including state executives, rather, they were politicising it and looking at it from prism of ethnicity and religion.
According to Wike, what the FIRS was doing was illegal, and could be likened to robbing some states to pay others.
“You don’t even need to be a lawyer to know that VAT is not in Items 58 and 59 of the Second Schedule of the 1999 Constitution as amended. Everybody knows that. It is not even in the Concurrent List. Therefore, it falls under the Residual List. It is not arguable. That yesterday, nothing happened, does not mean that today, nothing will happen or tomorrow, something will not happen.
“Nigeria should encourage states to be strong enough to have resources to develop themselves. We are in a federal system where we are practicing unitary system. Everybody at the end of the month will run to Abuja to share money. Nobody comes back to the state to think, how do I develop my state.”
He explained that the contest against the collection of Valued Added Tax (VAT) was started by Lagos State, which had sued the Federal Government at the Supreme Court.
According to him, Rivers State only avoided their pitfall by suing the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), which is an agency of the Federal Government that was illegally collecting the tax in the state.
“The issue of VAT did not start from Rivers State. It started in Lagos State when Lagos State challenged it in Supreme Court. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court said you (Lagos) shouldn’t have sued the Federal Government. All you would have done was to sue the agency.”
The governor observed that rather than commend Rivers State Government for seeking to entrench fiscal federalism and constitutionalism, a particular state governor had threatened that the judgement of the court that declared that states, and not FIRS, are entitled to collect VAT within their jurisdiction, will not stand.
He urged those demanding for a brothers’ keeper consideration to first, appreciate the position of the law and situate it rightly.
“Some people say, ‘be your brother’s keeper’. I have no problem in being my brother’s keeper, but why not come out and say, let us tell ourselves the simple truth: as it is provided in the law, who is the person responsible to collect the VAT?
“When you agree to that, that it is the state, then, we can sit down to look at the different problems of states. And not to say ‘be your brother’s keeper’ while you’re doing an illegal thing, in disobeying what the law says you should not do.”
Wike stated that it was sheer act of discrimination for the Federal Government not to include Rivers State as one of the states that will benefit from projects for which it was seeking fresh foreign loans to execute.
“Look at the money that Federal Government has gone to borrow from the World Bank. Of all the projects, in all the states, Federal Government did not include Rivers State.
“Look at the list of projects that states will benefit from this money they’re borrowing from the World Bank that they have sent to National Assembly for approval, the only state that is not benefitting is Rivers State”.
He further noted, “It is the prerogative of Mr President; if he says he does not like Rivers State, if the ruling party says they don’t like Rivers State, I won’t kill myself. But leave the one that the law says I should be the one to collect so that I will be able to develop my own state.”
Speaking further, Wike explained that beyond the provision of infrastructure, his administration was seeking a law that would provide comfortable accommodation for judicial officers on retirement.
The reason, he said, was to ensure that, while in service, the judicial officers can concentrate on their jobs without cutting corners, and avoid corrupt practices.
In his remarks, the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the SUN (Newspaper) Publishing Limited, Mr Onuoha Ukeh, said the SUN Man of the Year 2020 Award was the flagship of award the company.
According to him, Wike was unanimously selected for his remarkable contributions to the socio-economic development of Nigeria and promotion of fiscal federalism with his position on VAT, which would help in the restructuring of Nigeria.
“Today, His Excellency has guided Nigeria to true federalism with the issue of VAT. Knowing what fiscal federalism should be, His Excellency went to court to challenge the collection of VAT, and the court stated that actually the states should collect VAT. And that is laying the foundation for true federalism and fiscal federalism”, he said.
Ukeh commended Wike for his sterling performance in office and infrastructural revolution taking place in Rivers State.

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Buhari Seeks NASS’ Amendment Of PIA …Wants NNPC, EFCC Boards’ Confirmation

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President Muhammadu Buhari has written to the Senate, seeking an amendment to the recently signed Petroleum Industry Act, PIA.
President Muhammadu Buhari also sought the House of Representatives’ amendments to the Petroleum Industry Act, including removal of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning from the boards of the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority.
In the letter, Buhari wants an amendment to the new Act to allow for the removal of the Ministers of Petroleum and Finance from the board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), saying that they can continue to perform their functions without necessarily being members of the board.
In the letter read, yesterday, during plenary by the President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, Buhari is also seeking for the amendment to allow the Non-Executive Members to be increased from two to six in the national interest.
The President, in three other letters to the Senate, asked for the confirmation of nominees into the boards of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, Upstream Regulatory Commission and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The three confirmation letters from the President were read in yesterday’s plenary by Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan.
In a letter dated September 16, 2021, Buhari stated that the request to confirm the chairman, chief executive and executive directors for the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority was being made in accordance with the provision of Section 34(3) of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021.
The nominees for confirmation into the Nigerian Petroleum Regulatory Board are: Idaere Gogo Ogan (chairman); Engr. Sarki Auwalu (chief executive); Abiodun A. Adeniji (executive director, Finance and Accounts); and Ogbugo Ukoha (executive director, Distributions Systems, Storage and Retail Infrastructure).
In another letter also dated September 16, 2021, the President while relying on the provision of Section 11(3) of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, requested the Senate to confirm the appointment of four nominees as chairman, chief executive and executive commissioners to the Board of the Upstream Regulatory Commission.
The nominees are: Isa Ibrahim Modibo (chairman); Engr. Gbenga Komolafe (chief executive); Hassan Gambo (executive commissioner, Finance and Accounts); and Ms Rose Ndong (executive commissioner, Exploration and Acreage Management).
According to the President, requests for the confirmation of the board’s membership were made “in order to fast track the process for the establishment of the commission”.
In the third letter dated September 17, 2021, Buhari requested the upper legislative chamber to confirm the appointment of the secretary and board members of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He explained that the request for the confirmation of the nominees was in accordance with the provision of Section 2(1) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004.
Those to be confirmed include George Abbah Ekpungu, secretary (Cross River); Luqman Muhammed (Edo); Anumba Adaeze (Enugu); Alhaji Kola Raheem Adesina (Kwara); and Alhaji Yahaya Muhammad (Yobe).
At the House of Representatives, the Speaker, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, read the cover letter attached to an executive bill presented to the House by Buhari at the opening of plenary, yesterday.
The proposals also include the appointment of non-executive board members; removal of the ministries from the boards of the two institutions; and appointment of executive directors to the boards.
The President’s requests to the House of Representatives are a rehearsal of the same demands he made to the Senate.
It would be recalled that the joint National Assembly committees that worked on the PIB had proposed five per cent equity share for the development of the host communities but the Senate-led the campaign for its reduction to three per cent while the House of Representatives approved the panel’s recommendation.
The conference committee set up by the presiding officers of both chambers in their recommendation, fixed the equity share at three per cent and was invariably approved by the National Assembly.
The development generated into controversy with senators from the South-South geopolitical zone kicking against it and asked Buhari to resolve the impasse by seeking amendment to increase the equity share to five per cent.
However, the new amendments proposed by the President did not address the concerns of the South-South stakeholders.
Rather, Buhari’s fresh request centred basically on the need to review the administrative structure of the Upstream Regulatory Commission and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority.
Buhari is seeking the senators’ approval to increase the numbers of the non-executive board members of each of the regulatory agencies from two to six, in order to capture the six geopolitical zones.
He said, “The Petroleum Industry Act 2021 provided for the appointment of two non-executive members for the board of the two regulatory institutions.
“I am of the view that this membership limitation has not addressed the principle of balanced geopolitical representation of the country.
“Therefore, I pray for the intervention of the 9th Assembly to correct this oversight in the interest of our national unity.
“Needless to add that this amendment will provide a sense of participation and inclusion to almost every section of the country in the decision making of strategic institutions such as oil industry.
“If this amendment is approved, it will now increase the number of the non-executive members from two to six that is one person from each of the six geopolitical zones of the country”.
The President also removed the Ministers of Finance and Petroleum Resources from the board of the two agencies.
He said the two ministers already have constitutional responsibilities of either supervision or inter-governmental relations.
He said, “They can continue to perform such roles without being in the board.
“It is also important to note that administratively, the representatives of the ministries in the board will be directors – being the same rank with the directors in the institution
“This may bring some complications in some decision making, especially on issues of staff related matters.”
Buhari added that the appointments of the executive directors who would be in charge of the seven departments in the NMDPRA should not be subjected to Senate confirmation since they are civil servants who were promoted in the course of their career.
He said, “The Act has made provision for seven departmental heads in the Authority to be known as executive directors.
“Their appointment (according to the PIA) will also be subjected to Senate confirmation. These category of officers are civil servants and not political appointees.
“The Senate is invited to note the need to exempt serving public officers from the established confirmation process for political appointments.
“This will ensure effective management of the regulatory institutions through uniform implementation of public service rules for employees of the authority.
“In the future, these positions will obviously be filled by the workers in the authority.
Buhari said the proposed amendment would also increase the membership of the board from nine to 13 members that is representing 44 per cent expansion of the board site.
He said, “This composition would strengthen the institutions and guarantee national spread and also achieve the expected policy contributions”.

By: Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja

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Emohua, Three Kalabari LGAs Partner On Joint Security

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The Chairman of Emohua Local Government Area, Dr Chidi Lloyd, has met with his counterparts from the three Kalabari-speaking local government areas; Degema, Asari-Toru and Akuku-Toru, to review the security situation along the Emohua-Kalabari Road, and plan strategies for a joint network to checkmate any infractions in the security of the LGs.
The meeting, which was held at the instance of Lloyd at the headquarters of Emohua Local Government Area, followed the recent abduction of an expatriate attached to Lubrik Construction Company; the contractor handling the construction of Trans-Kalabari Road by yet to be identified gunmen.
The chairmen of Akuku-Toru, Degema, and Asari-Toru LGAs, Hon Roland Sekibo, Hon Michael John Williams, and Hon Onengiyeofori George; respectively, in their separate remarks, commended Lloyd for initiating the process for a partnership to improve the security of lives and property along the Emohua-Kalabari Road, which presently calls for concern.
Speaking after a closed-door meeting which lasted for hours, Lloyd said the meeting condemned the abduction of the expatriate staff, who was supervising the construction work being executed by the Rivers State Government on Trans-Kalabari Road.
The council chairmen also demanded the immediate and unconditional release of the expatriate by his abductors, as well as the apprehension of the masterminds of the reprehensible act by security agencies.
The meeting further agreed to set up a local security outfit with members drawn from the four local government areas to support the security agencies in providing effective security along the Emohua-Kalabari Road.
Lloyd said the meeting was also expected to be hosted concurrently amongst the four local government areas, with a view to strengthening the relationship between the LGAs as well as the promotion of the socio-economic development of the area.
The chairmen also appointed Hon Lolo Ibiene to serve as their rapporteur.

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