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Saraki Dismisses Plot To Impeach Him …Says ‘I’m Not Losing Sleep’ …As NASS Panel On INEC’s Budget Resumes, Today

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The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, at the weekend, said he was not losing sleep over rumour of plans to impeach him following his defection from the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Saraki spoke when he visited Asaba, Delta State to consult with the state Governor, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa on his aspirations for the 2019 general elections.
Saraki, who came in company of other senators, including Dino Melaye and Peter Nwaoboshi, spent about 45 minutes in a closed door meeting with Okowa at the Government House, Asaba.
“I am not losing any sleep about impeachment, we have a country that a lot of Nigerians believe there must be rule of law, those who are talking about impeachment are engaging in cheap blackmail and I am not concerned about that,’’ Saraki said.
On why he left the All Progressives Congress (APC), Saraki said that he already had a four page statement on the issue.
“I have made a four page statement on why I left the APC and I made it very clear that the ideas and visions of what we expected, was not realised in the areas of democracy, justice, and so on.
“Those that followed the political terrain of the last three years can see that the people are not happy, it is not about me but about Nigerians and about the kind of country we want to build.
“It is the kind of democracy we want to practice and the kind of leadership we need, but, we have not been able to achieve any of this under the APC as much as we have tried,’’ Saraki said.
The Senate President, who addressed newsmen after the meeting, said he was in the state to consult with the governor, particularly now that he had rejoined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He described Okowa as a capable and competent colleague who worked closely with him in the senate for four years.
“I spent four years with a very capable and competent colleague (Okowa) in the Senate.
“We worked very closely together and I have come to spend some time with him and to hear his views now that I have rejoined the PDP.
“Governor Okowa is a very important party member, he is someone I truly respect and I have come to listen to him, hear his views and to consult with him,’’ Saraki said.
He commended the level of development going on in the state in the past three years, adding that the governor had impacted the people of the state through physical and manpower development programmes.
“There is a lot of development in the state and this is what we want to see in most of our states.’’
Meanwhile, the National Assembly has concluded plans to resume today, with speculations that it may cut the budget for the 2019 polls, due to duplication of line items by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Findings at the weekend showed that ahead of the resumed sitting of the Senate and House of Representatives Joint Committees on Electoral Matters today, members’ opinions tilted towards adopting INEC’s version of the budget, which is N189.2billion.
It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari’s version was N143billion.
Before the committees adjourned for the Sallah break, there was a deadlock on whether to pick the President’s version or INEC’s.
But, committee sources disclosed to newsmen in Abuja that the INEC version would be adopted, though it might be cut due to duplication of line items.
One senior official said that several duplications were identified, especially in the allocations which INEC made for the police and other security agencies.
The source observed that those items were also provided for in the 2018 national budget of N9.12trillion earlier passed by the National Assembly.
The source added that at the resumed sitting today, the committees would first iron out the duplications by getting the heads of the affected security agencies to appear and defend the fresh proposals by INEC.
The official spoke further, “We are trying to harmonise the President’s version and INEC’s version. But, it may not be that same figure (N189.2billion) because there are line items that we are going to follow one-by-one.
“There are duplications of some of the line items, which means that the funds allocated to them will be dropped.
“Again, the funds allocated to the security agencies, such as the N6billion to the police and others will also be cut.
“We will invite the police, the Department of State Services, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, and the Nigeria Immigration Service to appear, so that we can be sure that the funds we already approved for them in the national budget are not repeated in INEC’s elections budget.
“Remember that the National Assembly increased the national budget (N9.12trillion) by over N508billion. In that increment, the security agencies were given additional N20billion. Here, we have the INEC budget making provisions for the security agencies again.
“So, first, we will invite these security agencies so that they can come and defend these new provisions by INEC. In the process, any duplication that we identify will be removed.”
The official told newsmen that the heads of the security agencies would either appear today or a decision would be taken by the committees on when they would appear.
“The implication is that, the joint committee may or may not conclude its work on Monday. It depends on the speed with which the heads of the security agencies will come to defend these items.
“We must avoid a situation where we approve N6billion for the police in the INEC budget and there is another N6billion or more in another budget elsewhere.
“We have to remove all the duplications, which will ultimately affect the final size of the budget. This, we will do within the week, from Monday”, the source added.
When contacted for comments, the Chairman, House Committee on Legislative Budget and Research, Timothy Golu, confirmed that the joint committees, indeed, raised the issue of duplications and were set to resolve them today.
Golu, who is a member of the House Committee on Electoral and Political Party Matters, admitted that he was also aware that the heads of security agencies would be summoned.
“Yes, they are to appear over some duplications. However, I don’t know when the committees will require them to appear. A decision will have to be taken on Monday”, he stated.
Efforts to reach the Chairman of the House committee, Mrs. Aisha Dukku, failed.
Investigations further show that the work of the electoral committees would drag the possible reconvening date of the National Assembly into September.
One member explained, “The issue of reconvening the National Assembly doesn’t even arise here yet. These committees must first conclude their work and report to the Committee on Appropriations.”

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LG Boss Uncovers Bloodstained Army Uniform At ‘Cocaine Village’

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The newly inaugurated Chairman of Eleme Local Government Area, Obarilormate Ollor, has gone to ‘Cocaine village’ at Eleme Trailer Park to execute Governor Nyesom Wike’s quit order on residents of the illegal settlement when he made a shock discovery in one of the rooms.

Ollor had visited the area notorious for drugs and crimes, last Sunday, along with some security personnel to serve the quit notice on residents but met the area deserted—an indication that someone had alerted them about the visit.

Out of curiosity, the chairman opened one of the rooms in the ghetto-like settlement, and found the bloodstained uniform of a soldier, his knife and ATM card.

The chairman and his entourage had expressed suspicion that criminals in the area had killed the owner of the uniform and robbed him.

Ollor said, “Remember that a week ago, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, gave a directive that all illegal structures be removed. As the chief security officer of the local government, I am under that obligation.

 “What we are doing here today is to inform them in advance and to remind them that the ultimatum still holds. So, on or before June 26, they should move out.

“What we have here is a mixed population of criminals, armed robbers, drug dealers, and even those who allegedly trade in human parts. Right now, we just found the uniform of an Army man who probably may have been killed. His blood all over the room and uniform, his knife and ATM card, which we have given to the police.”

The Rivers State Police Command has reportedly swung into action to unravel the perpetrators of the alleged crime.

Spokesman of the police, SP Nnamdi Omoni, said that the command had received reports about criminal activities in the area, including the alleged killing of a soldier.

Omoni said, “We have gotten complaints and reports of drug traffickers, criminal elements, human organ dealers, kidnappers and more from there.

“Though we have been carrying out investigation into all of the reports but thank God, we now have a good lead and evidence.

“We have been mandated by the state government to carry out massive arrest within the environs to ensure we arrest and prosecute all those persons involved.”

Residents said that the ‘Cocaine village’ is a haven for drug dealers and users, adding that security operatives also patronize the area.

An aide of the Eleme LG chairman, who spoke off-the-record said, “The governor received an intelligence report that the slum harbours criminals and drug addicts who carry out series of crimes, human organ trafficking, abductions and many other criminal acts in the LGA and state at large.

“We learnt also that some security men troop in there off and on to buy drugs and indulge in one crime or the other.

 “The military uniform stained with blood, knife and motorcycle discovered were found in one of the rooms we opened.

“The badge of the military uniform was removed and there were heavy blood stains on the uniform.

“We went there with some police men as assigned to us by the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State Command, Eboka Friday”, he added.

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Insecurity Hasn’t Hindered Projects’ Execution In Rivers, Wike Affirms

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike says that his administration has fearlessly tackled insecurity headlong and created an enabling climate for smooth delivery of quality development projects.
Wike made the assertion at the inauguration of 16.2-kilometre long Omueze-Umuogba-Umuokpurukpu-Umueke-Umunju-Eberi Road project in Omuma Local Government Area of the state, yesterday.
The governor noted that while other states of the country were still struggling with issues of insecurity, Rivers State was witnessing harvest of development projects with the non-stop inauguration and flag-off ceremonies to their amazement.
“Don’t fight anybody that God has blessed. Don’t fight the state that God has blessed. People are talking about insecurity. We are talking about commissioning and flagging-off of projects. Is it easy? If it is easy, let them try it.”
Wike asserted that it is only states controlled by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) like Rivers that has created a peaceful climate for the citizens while the government delivers democratic dividends.
“Those who say they don’t like what PDP is doing, they have no choice but to like it. You can see what the party (PDP) is doing. We are flagging-off and commissioning projects. Whether they like it or not, we are in charge.”
The governor said it is obvious that Rivers State is no longer on the same level with states that cannot provide dividend of democracy to their people.
Wike said the performance of his administration has restored confidence in Rivers people and they can walk with their heads raised high.
“Rivers people, are you not proud of your state? If you’re a Rivers man, anywhere you go, raise your shoulder high and say that you’re a Rivers man and woman. “They (other parties) can only jealous us, but they cannot do anything. We are of different class. We are not on the same level with them.”
Speaking further, Wike commended the member representing Omuma State Constituency, Hon. KelechiNwogufor his loyalty to PDP.
He also extolled him for his commitment to the welfare of Omuma people and being a trusted ally to him.
At the behest of Nwogu, Wike promised Omuma people that his administration would reconstruct the Umuakali-Eberi Road in appreciation of their support to the PDP.
Inaugurating the project, former President of the Senate, Senator Adolphus Wabara, noted how Wike has redefined governance and broken the jinx of non-performance associated with second tenure governors.
According to him, the approach to development that the governor has adopted stands him out as a much sought-after leader who should be consulted in solving critical national issues related to governance.
“With my experience in elective politics, second terms of most governors are dull; some governors will just go to sleep because they don’t have anything to offer. But you are still commissioning projects, as if you’re not even going to leave.
“Your developmental approach, your developmental plans, and formula should make you an international consultant to the failing government. Because, quite frankly, the magic, I mean, nobody knows except you. You do it with ease, you do it with happiness.”
Providing the description of the project, Rivers State Commissioner for Works, EllokaTasie-Amadi said the Omueze-Umuogba-Umuokpurukpu-Umueke-Umunju-Eberi link road in Omuma Local Government Area was another genuine efforts of the Wike administration to ease the transportation difficulties experienced by rural dwellers in the Omuma.
“Many of these rural projects go unsung probably because the residents are not social media savvy, as in the case of Omuma, who are predominantly farmers, or probably because SM activities are not a part of their past times as it is with city dwellers.
“It may shock you to know that for every kilometre of road we have built in the city we have built 12kms or more in the rural areas. This is a conservative estimate I would like you to ponder upon when you get home.”
He further stated, “This project is a 16.2km long, 10.3m wide road project which has 4.3km of drains. The roads are marked and have a total of 27 road signs to aid driving and enhance public safety.”

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Wike Flags Off Abonnema/ Obonoma Sandfilling Project, Today

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All is now set for the flag-off of the Abonnema/Obonoma Sandfilling project in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State.
A statement signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, yesterday, said that, “the project will sandfill 42 hectares of land that will help expand Abonnema and Obonoma Towns.
“It is in fulfilment of the promise made by Governor Nyesom Wike during the commissioning of the Abonnema Ring Road”.
The statement further added that, “The rich culture and tradition of the Kalabaris will be fully on display at the event.
“Please, note that all Covid-19 protocols will be observed at the event”, it stressed.

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