Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has declared that Rivers people overwhelmingly voted for him during the 2019 governorship election because of his outstanding performance and projects delivery.
In a response to false allegations made by the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi during his appearance on Channels Television Sunrise Daily yesterday, Governor Wike said that the former Rivers State Governor failed in his quest to truncate his second term because Rivers people are happy with his work.
He said he wouldn’t have responded to the falsehood being peddled by the Minister of Transportation, but that he owes the public the duty to set the record straight.
He said: “It is unfortunate. I extended the olive branch and I meant every word of it. It was on that basis that the State Attorney General filed a nolle prosequi to withdraw the charge against Ojukaye Flag- Amachree.
”If I did not do well in my first term, PDP wouldn’t have given me the party’s flag to fly. In 2015, the same man vowed that over his dead body would I emerge victorious.
”I have done well for my people . It is for the people of Rivers State to decide. It is not in the place of Amaechi to decide.
”We have over 6million people and over 3million registered voters. Therefore, Amaechi cannot say I cannot go for a second term. He has only one vote.
”In the past, he said an Ikwerre man cannot succeed another Ikwerre man. Today, he is saying his grouse is that I cannot go for a second term. At every step, he has one story or the other”.
Governor Wike said contrary to the story that Amaechi peddled whilst he was on Channels Television, kidnapping raged during his tenure. He said it was so bad that the State Chairman of Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission under Amaechi was kidnapped.
The Governor noted that despite the national high rate of insecurity, Rivers State is relatively peaceful, with very high ratings.
”Our internally Generated Revenue has improved due to the peace and security in the state”.
Governor Wike said that the political misfortune that befell the APC during the last general elections in Rivers State was principally due to the impunity of Amaechi .
He said: “It is because of this impunity that his party was not on the ballot. Because of this impunity, he has denied so many people their political future “.
He said that the plots by Amaechi to manipulate the Tribunal will fail like other previous plots. The Governor noted that Amaechi’s boast that he appointed the members of the tribunal and they would work for him remains one of his empty boasts.
Governor Wike said that Amaechi’s plot to use the police to illegally certify fake results as he did for Rivers East Senatorial District during the rerun elections tribunal would fail.
”The game he played in Rivers East of using the police to certify fake results will not work. During the rerun, the police certified fake results. That game will not work again. We have gone beyond that . We are waiting for the police to certify fake results for Amaechi “.
He stated that there was no way that the defeated AAC Governorship Candidate, Engr Awara would have been coasting home to victory when he neither campaigned nor printed posters.
He said: “Awara ran for the PDP councillorship in 2018 and lost. For this election, he did not campaign and never printed posters.
”Look at that kind of impunity. He brought a man that the people of Rivers State never knew three days to the election.
”The AAC had no House of Assembly candidates, they had no House of Representatives candidates and no Senate candidates for the elections. There is no way that such a party would have been coasting home to victory “.
He added that the AAC Governorship candidate couldn’t have been coasting home to victory and still approach the Federal High Court for the cancellation of the governorship election results.
On the allegation that the INEC Chairman , Prof. Mahmood Yakubu influenced the suspension of the collation process because he worked under him at the Federal Ministry of Education, the Rivers State Governor said that the position of Amaechi was baseless. He said that at the Ministry of Education, he superintended basic education, while the INEC Chairman served as TETFUND Executive Secretary under the Minister of Education. He said that the INEC Chairman was appointed by the APC-led Federal Government and since his appointment, there has been no links
Governor Wike said despite the evil machinations of the Minister of Transportation, he was unable to deliver 25 percent of votes for President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 and 2019
”In 2015, as a sitting Governor, he failed to deliver 25percent of votes for President Buhari. He claimed that Jonathan helped us. In 2019, with all the security agencies, he still couldn’t deliver 25percent for President Buhari.
”He sang war songs, but couldn’t deliver 25 percent of votes for the President “, he said.
On the incident at Obio/Akpor LGA Secretariat, Governor Wike said that the GOC of the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Jamil Sarhem sent soldiers to invade the Collation Centre and cart away results .
”I went there to stop the Army from carting away results from my Local Government Area “, he said.
Governor Wike said that the illegal activities of the Nigerian Army all through the governorship election were well documented by the media and the International community. He said that the videos of the Army invading the Rivers State Governorship Election Collation Centre has since gone viral.
He said that even the Rivers State Commander of F-SARs has since written him a congratulatory letter on his well deserved victory.
He said that his Administration continues to fund all security agencies in the state, including providing needed logistics. He said that the Israelis that Amaechi introduced were only used to siphon State resources .
He wondered why Amaechi finds Pleasure in de-marketing Rivers State, when the State made him Speaker, Governor and Minister of the Federal Republic.
Governor Wike said after four years as a Minister, Amaechi cannot boast of attracting a single project to Rivers State. He noted that as Minister of State for Education, he attracted several projects to the state.
He denied attempting to bribe the GOC, saying that he has never met him at any point. He said by Amaechi’s logic, it means that the Minister bribed the GOC 6 Division to subvert the electoral process.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has declared that any kidnapper or cultist arrested by law enforcement agencies would face the full weight of the law.
Wike stated that his administration has taken steps to plug all loopholes that negate the prosecution of suspected cultists and kidnappers in the state.
He spoke at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday, during a congratulatory visit by the Akuku-Toru Council of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs.
Wike said: “We should do well by ensuring that our children turn a new leaf. Once any cultist or kidnapper is caught, the law will be applied.
“We will apply the big stick. If any person is caught, the person should forget it. The period they go to the Ministry of Justice to stop them being charged to court is over”.
The governor said that his administration would support different communities to scale up peace efforts to discourage cultism and kidnapping.
He appealed to parents to talk to their children to shun cultism and kidnapping for the stability and development of the state.
Wike commended the Akuku-Toru Council of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs for working towards the enthronement of peace in the area, and approved the setting up of peace and security committee for the local government area.
He noted that peace would enhance the creation of job opportunities for the teeming youths of the state.
In his remarks, the Amanyanabo of Abonnema, King Disrael Bob-Manuel congratulated the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, on his re-election.
He commended Wike for standing with the good people of Akuku-Toru Local Government Area during their time of despair after the military invasion of the area during the Presidential election.
Bob-Manuel said the people of the area have sworn that the kind of bloodletting that took place in the area during the last elections would not re-occur.
He appealed to the Rivers State governor to approve a peace and security committee for the area.
He added that the people were also working to improve employment opportunities through enhanced relationship with the private sector.
Earlier, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, had declared war against cultism and kidnapping in the state, threatening to depose any traditional ruler in whose domain such criminalities have become prevalent.
He also declared that communities that encourage criminality would not benefit from projects’ award by the state government, adding that any ongoing projects in such communities would be stopped.
The governor stated this during a special security meeting held, last Monday, at the banquet hall of the Government House, Port Harcourt.
The governor lamented the negative implications of kidnapping and cultism, saying they were driving away investors from the state.
He promised to award more projects to local government areas where insecurity was not prevalent.
“But LGAs where cultism and kidnapping have become entrenched, the state government will depart.
“For communities where cultism and kidnapping are encouraged, their traditional rulers will be deposed. We will not allow crisis in our communities. If you don’t want to take the war to them, we will take the war to you”, he warned.
The security meeting had in attendance the Commissioner of Police, Usman Belel, Director, Department of State Security (DSS), Tosin Ajayi, Commander, SOG 115 Nigeria Air Force, Air Commander E.O.E. Ebiowei, Commander, NNS Pathfinder, Commodore S.J. Bura, and state Commander of Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, M. L. Haruna.
Others in attendance were the local government chairmen, traditional rulers, community development committees in the state, and youth leaders.
He said all youth groups found to be involved in cultism would be dissolved by the state government, stressing that under the present dispensation, government and the people of the state would take their fate in their hands by collectively addressing the security challenges.
The governor urged stakeholders to work with security agencies in tackling issues of cultism and kidnapping, stressing that the only way to encourage investors was by ensuring that the state was safe for them and their investments.
Wike said: “Enough is enough. Nobody arrested by security agencies over cultism will see the light of the day. If you say we will not sleep, you also will not sleep”, noting that every logistics have been provided for security agencies to tackle insecurity in the state.
He warned that any top government official caught trying to work towards releasing suspected cultists or kidnappers would face the full weight of the law.
The governor directed council chairmen to clear bushes along the major highways in their respective areas to allow for clear view, explaining that such bushes provide shield to the criminals.
In his on response, the state Commissioner of Police, Usman Belel assured that the security agencies would fight to reduce crime to the barest minimum, stressing that the police would adopt community policing approach.
Belel called on community stakeholders and the entire people of the state to support the police in its renewed determination to tackle cultism, kidnapping and fake news.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, King Dandeson Douglas-Jaja, stressed the need for the security agencies to take traditional rulers into confidence as they carry out their responsibility.
Douglas-Jaja, who is also the Amayanabo of Opobo, disclosed that there are situations were security agencies divulge information passed to them by traditional rulers to criminals thereby endangering the lives of the traditional rulers.
He also accused some local government chairmen of not carrying his members along in their security arrangements.
Douglas-Jaja assured that the traditional rulers would collaboration with other stakeholders in the fight against cultism, kidnapping and other criminalities in the state.
Some of the youth leaders who spoke to our correspondent after the meeting commended the governor for declaring war against cultism.
They said it would not only promote peace, but boost agriculture as farmers would feel safe in their farming operation.
774,000 Jobs: FG Pays N24bn To 413,630 Beneficiaries
THE Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, SAN, yesterday, said that about N24,000, 817,800.00 have been paid out to beneficiaries under the 774,000 special public works scheme as at June 24, 2021.
Keyamo also said that 413,630 Nigerians drawn from rural communities and mostly itinerant workers in different local government areas have received their payments from the social work job.
The minister disclosed this during a media briefing coordinated by the Presidential Media Communications Team, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He explained that the initial delays that greeted the programme had to do with discrepancies noticed during the registration phase, especially with bank verification numbers.
He said despite his attempts to ensure due diligence in the implementation of the programme, he uncovered that some fraudulent Nigerians opened multiple bank accounts under a single BVN.
According to him, efforts to separate genuine applicants from those trying to fleece the scheme of its resources accounted for initial delays recorded in the kick off of the programme.
He also told State House Correspondents that the lockdown occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic temporarily stalled the implementation process, but also led to President Muhammadu Buhari expanding the programme to enable those in the lowest cadre of economic strata to benefit.
The minister said that Buhari deserved commendation because it was the first time that itinerant workers were benefitting from a Federal Government social intervention scheme, as beneficiaries were drawn through a multi-sectoral approach.
According to him, “When we wanted to introduce the special social works scheme here in Nigeria, the President first approved the pilot scheme, because he thought, perhaps we needed to test run it to see what we can apply here. So, the first thing the President approved was that we should do eight states at that time. And not all the local governments just five, in selected states originally, that was in late 2019, then, I just became minister.
“So, we started implementation in January, 2020, in eight states, we just started one month into the implementation when Covid-19 struck. So, we could not actually complete at that time, the Federal Government released one month stipends at that time to pay in those eight states.
“So, during the lockdown, we discovered that at that time, small businesses suffered the most, so many people could not go out to eke a living, especially those who depend on daily pay. The people that were worst hit by the Covid-19 lockdown was the people who go out daily to market or bricklayers among others.
“So, the President was very concerned about this kind of people during the lockdown. He thought that if people don’t receive money daily, there’ll be a revolution. We had to quickly react and find them something to do. So, he said, look, this pilot scheme should be expanded. Let it cover all the states and all the local governments now quickly, it was a quick response by the President. He was also audacious about it.
“The President said 1,000 per local government not 500 not 100, but 1,000 persons per local government, which comes to 774, 000, just so you know.”
He further said, “So far, those we have paid have received their N60,000 for the three months, we saved so many lives across the country by this payment, some use their own to buy grinding machine, I just discovered a grinding machine costs about N45, 000.
“Because of this, I begged my people to give more women than men because women are caregivers, they will manage this money well. They will buy grinding machine for instance, everyday they will making an average of N5,000 or N10,000 grinding tomatoes, pepper beans, for people, part of which they will use to pay school fees or to feed the family. But the men will go on drinking spree.
“We have helped saved so many lives because we discovered that some people in villages, they go around looking for a loan of N25,000 for weeks, nobody will give them to add to their small businesses. Don’t forget that we’re not talking about our graduates here; we are talking of itinerant workers. This is surely going to reflate the economy.
“We have paid 413,630 persons out of the 774, 000. So we’ve achieved about 60 percents of the success rate and this are those who have received N60,000 each. And the total amount we have paid out is N24 billion, actual monies given to Nigerians to put in their pockets for them to cushion the effects of post Covid-19”.
Keyamo also lashed out to critics in the opposition party, saying that the ‘You Win’ social intervention programme under the Goodluck Jonathan’s government was only meant for political cronies, hence could not achieve its aims and objectives.
He noted that one of the magnanimity of Buhari was that he ensured all Nigerians benefit from social intervention schemes irrespective of their political affiliations.
He alleged that “You Win” was executed under secrecy because; it ensured that the beneficiaries must be party members who will pay back through electoral patronage.
“They are complaining that they were not getting enough slots in this scheme, during the ‘You Win’ programme did we even hear anything about it not to talk of benefitting, they were giving it to their party members for political patronage,” the minister claimed.
We’re Not Borrowing To Finance Projects, Wike Clarifies
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has declared that his administration takes great care in executing its several development projects to completion stage without being indebted to any financial institution.
Speaking at the flag-off ceremony for the construction of Trans-Kalabari Road Phase 1 in Degema Local Government Area, yesterday, Wike reminded the people that even the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has attested to that position.
Wike stated that he is not borrowing to fund any project in the state and will definitely not do so to complete the Trans-Kalabari Road that is connecting Krakrama, Omekwe-ama, Angula-ama, Mina-ama and other communities in the Kalabari area.
“People are asking: where am I getting the money from? People are saying I’m borrowing money. If I borrow money to develop my place (state) is there any offense there? They that borrow, did they do the road? If I’m borrowing and doing the work, have I not done well?
“But in any case, I am not borrowing money. It is a matter of how you manage the resources of the people.
“So, I’m not owing any bank! I challenge any bank to say Rivers State Government is indebted to them. The only money we took for agriculture, which Central Bank gave us, N5billion, as I speak to you, we have not touched one Naira. The money is still in there.”
Wike recalled how in 2009, the previous administration in the state implemented a payment module that clearly showed its lack of interest in either constructing or completing the Trans-Kalabari Road that it awarded then.
According to Wike, no longer will anybody come to hoodwink Kalabari people with the promise of constructing Trans-Kalabari Road in the name of politics, because the phase one of the project will be completed in 2022.
“We have not only awarded the contract, we have awarded it in such a way that they (contractor) have nothing to do with us about funding.
“We have signed an irrevocable standing order where every month the contractor collects from the bank N1billion. So, as this month is ending, that’ll be the third billion they’ve collected.
“I’ve told you here that we’ve instructed the banks, take N1billion off from our IGR account every month and give to the contractor to do the project. So, we are not borrowing money from any bank.”
The governor expressed regrets that the previous administration in the state that received, at different times, N100billion and N46billion, was not well meaning and committed to executing the project.
According to Wike, what matters to his administration is what can be done with the privilege that the people have given to them.
The Chairman of Greater Port Harcourt Development Authority, Chief Ferdinand Anabraba, who performed the flag-off, said after a meeting with the governor, leaders of Kalabari nationality met at home and decided the road mapping of the phase one of Trans-Kalabari Road project.
“We are here with our heads raised her high, gathered here for a moments event. This laudable project was conceived 15yesrs ago, and it remained strong desire and aspiration. Luckily you came in and our dreams have come through.
“Although, this is just a flag-off, but with your style of project execution, we can go home believing that it is as good as completed.”
In his remarks, the Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Elloka Tasie-Amadi, said the Trans-Kalabari Road Phase 1 is a 13.599km road project, and it features one bridge and will connect several island communities to the mainland of the state via the existing Buguma/Degema/Abonemma Road.
“It will provide an economically viable alternative to marine transportation and further stimulate other developments in and around the area by easing the movement of goods, services and persons.”
FG, States, LGs Share N605.95bn In May
The Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) has said that it shared a total of N605.958billion as May, 2021, revenue to the Federal, States and Local Governments as well as other relevant agencies.
The Director, Information, Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mr Charles Nwodo, in a statement in Abuja, said the amount was shared during a virtual conference of the committee.
The committee, in a communique, noted that the N605.958billion shared included cost of collection to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
The committee also stated that the Federal Government received N242.120billion, the states got N194.195billion while the LGs received N143.742billion.
It added that the oil producing states received N26.901billion as derivation (13 per cent of mineral revenue).
According to the committee, the Gross Revenue available from the Value Added Tax (VAT) for May, 2021, was N181.078billion as against N176.710billion distributed in the preceding month of April, 2021.
This resulted in an increase of N4.368billion.
It said, “The distribution is as follows; Federal Government got N25.260billion, the states received N84.202billion, and Local Government Councils got N58.941billion.
“The distributed Statutory Revenue of N428.198billion received for the month was lower than the N497.385billion received for the previous month by N69.197billion, from which the Federal Government received N175.541billion, states got N89.037billion, LGs got N69.644billion, and Derivation (13 per cent Mineral Revenue) got N24.666billion.”
The committee also revealed that Companies Income Tax (CIT), and Oil and Gas Royalties, Import and Excise Duty recorded decreases, while only VAT increased, although, marginally.
It said the total revenue distributable for the current month was inclusive of Gross Statutory Revenue of N357.888billion, VAT of N168.403billion, Solid Mineral Revenue of N7.940billion, Exchange Gain of N1.727billion and an augmentation from Non-Oil of N50billion and N20billion.
The committee said this brought the total distributable revenue to N605.958billion.
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