Last week was the busiest in the Rivers State Government House since the inception of the Governor Nyesom Wike’s second term in office, going by the volume of activities in the Brick House.
The management of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) paid a courtesy visit to Governor Nyesom Wike in Government House last Wednesday to congratulate the Governor on his reelection and his contribution to the development of the company.
The Managing Director, Engr Tony Attah, who led the delegation, informed that the company was set to commence the Train seven (7) project with the capacity to provide between 10, 000 and 15,000 job opportunities for indigenes of the State.
The MD also announced that the company has worked out modalities to deliver cooking gas to the State instead of routing it through Lagos, as well as the investment of the firm on community health insurance scheme and eradication of malaria in Bonny.
Attah appealed to the governor to assist NLNG in dredging the Iwofe Waterway to enable the company actualise the projects.
Responding, the state Governor, declared that the state government would support the Train seven (7) project which has the capacity to create between 10,000 and 25,000 employment opportunities for the state.
He equally commended the company for its health and power project and promised that the state government would dredge the Iwofe waterway for actualisation of the company’s laudable programmes.
He charged other companies operating in the state to emulate NLNG’s community development projects.
Governor Wike is set for another prestigious award as the Nigerian Academy of Education (NAE) has nominated him as the Honorary Fellow of the academy.
Secretary – General of NAE, Prof Elizabeth Okeke, announced this last Thursday when a delegation of the academy paid the governor a courtesy visit in Government House, Port Harcourt.
Okeke said that Wike, who is first out of three persons to be honoured got the nomination because of his exceptional contributions in the educational sector.
The NAE Scribe said the essence of the visit was among other things to intimate the governor on the 34th congress of the body scheduled to hold in University of Port Harcourt and appealed for the support of the governor to make the event the best congress ever organised by the academy.
In his reelection response, Wike commended the body for deciding to hold the congress in the state and noted that the event would attract people from all parts of the country.
According to the governor, the delegates who would come would have first hand knowledge of the security situation of Port Harcourt as against the wrong impression by political propagandist that Port Harcourt is not safe.
He assured the delegation of strong support of the state government to make the event successful.
A chief in Eleme Local Government Area, Chief Appolus Chu was cautioned by Governor Wike for speaking on behalf of the Rivers State Traditional Rulers Council, even when he is not a government recognised traditional ruler in the state.
Wike also warned Chu to stop parading himself as the One- eh Eta Ogale. The governor issued the warning during a meeting he had with traditional rulers in Eleme last Wednesday in Government House, Port Harcourt.
He explained that nobody has the authority to dethrone a government recognised traditional ruler stressing that should the circumstance arise to remove any government recognised traditional ruler, they must follow the processes provided by law.
Also in the week under review, Wike restated the need for clergymen to continue to pray for Rivers State in the face of sustained attack by enemies of the state.
He made the call last Thursday when the General Overseer of The Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Revival Ministry, Pastor Lazarus Muoka led a delegation of the church on a courtesy visit to the governor in Government House.
Muoka who commended the governor on his reelection victory prayed for the state and the administration of Wike to achieve more during the second term.
Wike commended him for coming and urged the church to continue to pray for the state.
He assured the church of the state government’s support in its crusade billed to hold in Port Harcourt.
Gov Wike received the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo last Friday when he came to commission the Port Harcourt Dockyard Liquid Waste Treatment Plant built by African Circle Pollution Management Limited.
Wike used the opportunity to draw the attention of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) neglect to Rivers state.
He told Mr Vice President that NPA entered into agreement to reconstruct the road leading to the Industry Road and that the Federal agency reneged on paying her own part of the counterpart fund but is only interested in collecting rents from tenants .
He called on NPA to dredge Rivers Ports Waterway to increase economic activities at the port and create employment opportunities in the state.
Wike also lauded African Circle Pollution Management Limited for cleaning up environment and Rivers Waterways through the facility.
Gov Wike held a meeting with the management of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, Belemaoil Limited, host community leaders, and security Service Commanders in Government House on Saturday on how to reopen the disputed OML 25.
Huge Cost Of NASS Maintenance Worries TUC
Rivers State chapter of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), has called on the Federal Government to reduce the costs of governance in the country, noting that it cost the country billions of Naira to maintain the National Assembly alone.
The State TUC, chairman, Austin Jonah who spoke when he appeared as guest on a live Radio programme in Port Harcourt monitored by The Tide stated that the cost of governance in Nigeria is very expensive and not attainable.
Jonah further said the federal government will have enough funds to pay the minimum wage when they reduce the salaries and allowances of political office holders.
“Look at the welcome pack of the National Assembly members. N4.6 plus billion for accommodation and furniture. A Senator is going home with about N10million, while the member of House of Representatives is taking N9million plus.
“If you calculate with 360 persons in the House of Reps, plus 109 in the Senate, that is about 469 people and they have severance gratuity. They have so many things they are going home with plus their salary. You see, if you look at governance and cut down expenditure in governance this money, they have already taken the money that are talking about.
“They have taken it in the sense that they want to increase communication tax, such as that every call you make you pay tax, sms you pay tax, data you pay tax and even cable Television,” Jonah lamented
The State TUC chairman said what the labour union negotiated with the Federal Government was not the minimum wage but consequential adjustment.
“What we were negotiating was the consequential adjustment. Now from N18, 000 to N30, 000, the difference is N12, 000, which is 66 per cent. That 66 per cent was what we negotiated. By right we are not supposed to negotiate.
“If you trace the history of minimum wage in Nigeria, it started in 1981 during the Alhaji Shehu Shagari Government. Whenever you finish with minimum wage, the consequential adjustment is based on the percentage of the difference.
“The first minimum wage presented by the NLC was N300, but at the end of the day N125 was agreed,” he said.
NASS Promises Better Funding For Nigerian Army
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume and his House of Representatives counterpart, Mr Abdulrazak Namdas, have promised to ensure adequate funding for the Nigerian Army in the 2020 budget.
They made the promise on Saturday in an interview with newsmen during the Passing Out Parade (POP) of 78 Regular Recruits Intake at the Depot Nigerian Army, Zaria, Kaduna State.
They said that the army needed to be adequately funded to be able to effectively tackle the prevailing security threats in the country.
Ndume, who agreed that the N100 billion proposed for the defence in 2020 budget was inadequate, said that the committee on army was looking at how to help to enhance the funding.
He said that the national assembly was aware of needs of the army that needed to be provided to enable its personnel to perform their duties effectively.
“We are going to do something despite the fact that the resources are scarce but security is first and everybody has agreed to that.
“We are looking at the budget critically to place our priorities right so that the right things will be done first.”
Namdas said that the joint committee had embark on fact finding tour to army formations across the country and realised that the army had challenges.
According to him, they are really on ground, they have done so much and now that the National Assembly is considering the budget we can appropriate for the army.
“We will see how we can be able to adjust and see how that can be able to cope with the challenges at hand,” he said.
Namdas also disclosed that a motion to provide for special funding for the armed forces was currently being considered on the floor of the House of Representatives.
He added that the armed forces could not be adequately funded only by the budget, adding that there was need to look beyond the budget to finance the operations of the armed forces.
“That motion has been taken and we are looking to it and by the special grace of God, even after the budget we will look for special funding for the armed forces generally,” he said.
The Depot Nigerian Army on Saturday graduated a total of 4832 regular recruits who would be deployed to various formations of the army.
Similarly, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, urged the graduating soldiers to always uphold the oath of allegiance they had taken to defend the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
Olonisakin also tasked them to display total loyalty while pledging that the prevailing security challenges would soon be over through the commitment of the military.
APC, Party For Notorious Liars – Ayade
Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State has described the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a group of persons notorious for lies, especially in his state.
He said the assertions credited to the APC chairman in the state, John Ochala, over his return to school to pursue a Master’s degree in law at UNICAL were as laughable and pathetic as the party itself in the state, adding “the party in the state is notorious for lies.”
Ochala is reported to have said that Governor Ayade returned to school because of idleness and laziness and that he (Ayade) lacked ideas on how to govern the state.
But the Governor in a statement by Mr. Christian Ita, his chief media adviser, said it was “funny that a party like APC which prides itself as a major opposition cannot engage the Governor on governance issues but chooses to lie to score cheap political points.
“If they didn’t see anything wrong with Governor Malam Nasir el-Rufai returning to school in 2017 in faraway Netherlands for his PhD, what,then is wrong if Governor Ayade returns to school to add to his numerous degrees within Calabar, the state capital?” he asked.
The statement reminded the APC that Chief Whip of the Senate and member of the APC, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu was an undergraduate student while serving as Abia State governor.
“The timing of Governor Ayade’s decision to return to school is unequivocally perfect. Unlike APC members, the governor, despite all the resources at his disposal didn’t choose any foreign university, he decided to do it locally thereby boosting the reputation of Nigerian universities at a time tertiary institutions in West Africa are under attack,” he said. Ayade said to attack his quest for more academic degrees shows that APC in the state was weak as opposition party and could not be able to distract him.
Friday Nwagbara, Calabar
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