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RSG Biometric Capture 44,435 Workers …Drags 5,342 Firms, 101,500 Individuals Into Tax Net …As Wike Uses ICT To Boost Service Delivery, Create Jobs

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Two years after deployment, the Rivers State Government developed online portal, ‘Rivers State Public Service Management Information System (RivPuSMiS)’, has successfully captured 44,435 public servants across 79 ministries, departments and agencies.
The portal, which works as a platform to capture the biometrics of public servants and their employment history in order to plan and monitor the public service system, also identified 1,031 civil servants as having retired between January and May this year.
The government further said that the essence of the platform was to build an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) backbone to boost service delivery and create jobs for teeming unemployed youth in the state.
The media consultant working on the project, Maple Dappa, who disclosed this to newsmen in Port Harcourt, added that the scheme was a conscious and deliberate effort geared towards creating a knowledge-based economy, designed to improve service delivery, create jobs and opportunities for the teeming youth population.
Dappa said these investments have basically centred on the development and deployment of database management and administration system in the areas of public service, tax collection, the education sector, court-related processes and activities as well as the development and deployment of an employment portal.
He said ICT has long been identified as having the potential to better the lots of developing countries like Nigeria, if fully maximized, especially in driving business opportunities, pushing for inclusion, fostering transparency, and impacting areas like healthcare, the financial sector, agriculture, and manufacturing.
Dappa named the tax collection system in the Rivers State Internal Revenue Service (RIRS) as a major area of breakthrough where maximum impact has so far been achieved.
He said the RIRS was about managing most of its tax processes and tax clearance certificate process online.
According to him, “For years, Rivers State was plagued with stories of multiple taxation, tax evasion and avoidance, tax refunds, poor tax administration.
“To tackle this, the government introduced the Rivers State Tax Management Information System (RivTaMiS), an online platform that provides taxpayers and tax administrators a convenient and effective means of paying and managing taxes and tax information.
“It also enables task payers to own and have their task records.
“Set up as a collaboration between the Rivers State ICT Department and the Rivers State Internal Revenue Service (RSIRS), by May this year, the platform had registered 5,342 tax-paying organizations and 101, 500 individual taxpayers.
“Out of this number of paying organizations, 2,800 have filed annual returns and 408 making tax clearance certificates via the RivTaMiS platform”, Dappa said.
On ghost worker syndrome that has bedevilled the system over the decades, Dappa said: “The government developed an online portal called, ‘Rivers State Public Service Management Information System (RivPuSMiS)’. The portal works as a platform to capture the biometrics of public servants and their employment history in order to plan and monitor the public service system.
“Since it came into effect two years ago, the system has successfully captured 44,435 public servants across 79 ministries and 1,031 of them identified as retired between January and May this year”, Dappa says.
Dappa said the ICT scheme has also helped to change the narrative of the creeks of the state.
“Riv-TechCreek is poised to deliver quality ICT innovations (products and services) through learning, creating and connection in the Niger Delta region and beyond,” says Dappa.
Dappa says since last year, TechCreek has trained over 4,000 people in total, including children during holidays, young adults, teachers, young professionals and civil servants. Training focuses on areas such as database administration, coding, animation, designs, robotics, as well as third-party trainings hosted at the TechCreek facility housed inside the Rivers ICT department building in Port Harcourt.
In education, the Rivers State Education Information Management System (RivEMiS) was set up to remove a hitherto existing manual system that made the management of the sector rigorous, the government said.
The Senior Special Assistant to Governor Nyesom Wike on ICT, Ibifuro Asawo, said, “At present, RivEMis is used to manage the procedures for registering a new school, renewing existing registrations, schools’ inspection and approvals, transfer certificates, registration for state-wide examinations like the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and certificate printing. Beyond that, it tracks the registration of private and public schools, enrolment of pupils and students in both private and public schools”.
According to him, “the result has been the tracking of 4,335 schools, with 2,618 being private schools while 1,717 are public.
“About 67,523 candidates who have registered for state’s 2019 Basic Education Certificate Examination in 867 private and public schools across the 23 local governments of the state have been captured using the system.”
He talked about employment scalability, adding that over 19,000 job seekers were trained.
The state’s ICT team created RivsJobs, an online portal that serves as a convergence for employers of labour and jobseekers.
“Upon appropriate research and findings, the Rivers State Jobs (RivJobs) website was developed and deployed as an online platform that connects job seekers with prospective employers.
“The key agenda is to create a robust online portal that connects employers to talents and serves as the dashboard for monitoring job creation and employment activities in the state.
“The RivJobs portal enables employers and companies to register and advertise for available jobs while allowing job seekers to find suitable opportunities for employment. To further improve the chances of getting job seekers their preferred jobs, various employability trainings were conducted for registered jobseekers,” says Asawo.
Asawo, added that digital developments underway to be deployed include: Rivers State Health Management Information System (RivHMiS), Rivers State Court Management Information System for the judiciary (RivCoMiS), Rivers State Integrated Lands, Urban and Housing Management Information system (RivILUHMiS), a state website, portal and a digital application for information dissemination, a policy to oversee the use of ICT in the state and a ‘Linkage and Partnerships’ initiative that would basically work to partner with technology giants like Google, Facebook and Microsoft on ways to empower youths and create opportunities.

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PH Law School Campus’ll Be Best, Chiroma Confirms

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Director General, Nigerian Law School, Prof Isa Hayatu Chiroma, has expressed optimism that the new Port Harcourt campus of the institution would be the best in the country.
Chiroma made the assertion when he paid a working visit to inspect ongoing civil construction work at the Nabo Bekinbo Graham-Douglas Campus of the Nigerian Law School in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The director general was accompanied the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, to assess progress of work at both the Nabo Graham Douglas Campus, Rumueme and staff quarters at New Government Residential Area, Port Harcourt.
He expressed gratitude to the state government for the intervention to build and deliver the Port Harcourt campus in order to help address the challenge of inadequate lecture and accommodation space for the ever-increasing number of students seeking to acquire vocational legal training at the current campuses of the Nigerian Law School in the country.
“The last time we were here was when the ground-breaking ceremony took place, and today, there is massive construction going on, and there is progress. I want to thank the governor and the good people of Rivers State for this progress.”
Chiroma, who observed that the teeming rainy season in Rivers State has slowed down the pace of work, noted that the amazing aspect of the project is that the quality of materials used for the raft foundation at the Nabo Bekinbo Graham-Douglas campus is world class.
“The kind of materials used with what we have seen on ground, it is unimaginable, it is excellent. I can assure you that the problem we will be having is about our students, who will prefer to be posted to this place with what I have seen.
“That is the battle we are going to be faced with. But, I can assure you that all our Law School Campus are the same, but with the development going on here, it is going to be a problem for us to decide who comes to Port Harcourt. From what I have seen it is going to be the best.”
Facilities under construction at the Port Harcourt campus will comprise 14 structures, including 1,500-capacity classroom blocks, hostel blocks, students’ multipurpose hall, 16 units’ 3-bedroom flat staff quarters with swimming pool, gymnasium and lawn tennis court.
Other facilities are, library, moot court/law clinic building, sick bay, administrative block, cafeteria and sporting facilities for students.

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Nigeria, Suffering From Leadership Failure, Wike Affirms

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has said that it was regrettable that 61 years after Independence, Nigeria was still grappling with leadership challenge.
The governor pointed out that because of such leadership failure, Nigeria was now at a point in its history needing God more than ever.
Wike made the assertion at the Interdenominational Church Service organised in commemoration of the 61st Independence Anniversary of Nigeria at the St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The governor stated that there was hardly anything for Nigerians to celebrate as the country marks 61st Independence anniversary because its leadership continues to entrench hatred, mediocrity, promote ethnicity and religion.
“This is the time that Nigeria needs God more. The country is gone. Insecurity everywhere! Everyone needs to say God; we need you because man’s leadership has failed this country.”
The governor noted that, perhaps, the only thing Nigerians can boast of celebrating was the existence of the name, Nigeria.
“At 61 years, Nigeria is full of enmity, full of divisions, hatred, and ethnicity: A country that cannot put itself together.
“Everybody has responsibility; so, ask yourself questions, have I done my own part?”
Wike also observed the sorry state of Nigeria, and said at 61, it was far removed from being a country that can compete favourably with prosperous countries of the world, given its abundant resources.
The governor bemoaned what has become of the nation’s Legislature that continues to approve anything for the Presidency, and not minding the consequences.
He also decried how the nation’s Judiciary has succumbed to intimidation because its judges have abandoned their responsibilities out of fear, and wondered what fate Nigerians would have under such seeming tyrannical atmosphere.
“We cannot do the right things. Other countries are talking about how their elections will be transparent; we are talking about how we will rig the election in 2023.
“Simple thing, transmit election results electronically to show transparency, that really that the person you’re declaring won the election but we are afraid.”
“Where is the Legislature? A Legislature that cannot think, a Legislature, anything they bring is right, a Legislature that cannot say that Nigeria has nothing to regret from conducting free and fair election.
“A Legislature that you’ll close your eyes, anything they bring, about borrowing, you say borrow. A Legislature that cannot say that this money we are borrowing, where is it? Where are you applying it? You have no confidence to ask questions.
“The courts have been intimidated. The judges have abandoned their responsibilities out of fear. You’re seeing something that is wrong, but because you will be summoned in the night, you abandoned your responsibility.”
Wike also blamed the woes the country has suffered on all Nigerians who have refused to do the right things, but rather allowed the wrong things to be perpetrated in all facets of the society.
He noted how ascendancy to leadership was no longer by merit but by ethnic affinity and religious consideration, even when such persons do not have the capacity required to function in such offices.
Speaking further, Wike berated the church leadership over the inordinate dressing of a young man that he saw in the church, and attributed such sight to lack of enforcement of discipline in the church.
In his sermon, Bishop of the Diocese of Niger Delta North, Rt. Rev. Wisdom Ihunwo, noted that only foolish people despise God and attribute their successes in life to personal efforts and ingenuity.
Ihunwo said such foolish people abound in Nigeria because they have hearts of corruption, treat humanity with disdain and delight in doing abominable things and divert public funds for personal use.
According to Ihunwo, it was baffling that despite having leadership over the country, there was unabated spree of killings, a seemingly thriving kidnapping business with some officers of the military killed without drastic measures taken to return Nigeria to the path of sanity.
While charging the church to rise to speak courageously against wickedness in the land, Ihunwo declared the judgement of God upon the sponsors of such killings and kidnapping that have put Nigeria in a pitiable state that its people cannot celebrate independence of the country at 61 years.
Special prayers were said at the service for God’s favour and grace upon Nigeria and its leaders, Rivers State Executive Council, Judiciary and the Legislature, for the governor and his family, as well as the church and its leaders.

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Dreams To Achieve Peace, Dev In N’Delta Achieved, FG Boasts

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The Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col. Milland Dixon Dikio, has said that the Federal Government has achieved its dream of moving the Niger Delta from incessant protest to peace and development.
Dikio said this, last weekend, when an ex-militant, High Chief Biobopere Ajube, was conferred with a chieftaincy title in Arogbo Ijaw Ibe, Beleukoriwei (Pathfinder) by the Paramount Ruler of the kingdom, Pere Zaccheaus Doubara Ebgunu, in his palace in Arogbo, Ondo State.
According to him, the present administration has succeeded in curtailing the restiveness in the region through engagements with the ex-militants.
He assured them that government would not renege in its promises to ensure that the region and its people are developed.
Dikio called on ex-agitators to emulate the disposition of Ajube in peace and entrepreneurship.
He lauded Ajube for leading the charge for a peaceful and prosperous Niger Delta, noting that he was the face of what can happen in the region.
According to him, “with the likes of Ajube, who had undertaken the task of having 400 ex-agitators trained in his Bradama facility under the PAP’s Train, Employ and Mentor (TEM) model, the dream of moving the Niger Delta from incessant protest to peace and development is achievable.
“We’re here to tell this community and indeed the world what Ajube means to us. He is very special and we’re excited that he bought into our vision in PAP which is tailored to change the narrative in the region.
“He took the lead of our Train, Employ and Mentor initiative and has pledged to have 400 of our people trained in his facility.
“He is the face of what can happen in the region and there is no doubt that with people like him, the Niger Delta can truly be the place to live and do business”
Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, who was represented by his Deputy, Hon Lucky Aiyedatiwa, described Ajube as a proud son of Ondo, who had made a tremendous impact in the lives of his people.
He said the honour was a testament of all he had been doing for his people, and urged him not to relent but extend similar gestures to other parts of the state.
“We’re gathered here to celebrate a man who through self-development and engagement is where he is today. We’re proud of him as a true son of Ondo State. All he thinks about is development, peace and empowerment which is a good thing”.
Also speaking, former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Timi Alaibe said Ajube, during the height of militancy in the Niger Delta, was grossly misunderstood by the Federal Government but as head of the Amnesty Programme, he stood firmly by his side, to explain that he meant well.
He said, “This honour is well deserved. The story and struggle of the emancipation and dealing with the issues in the Niger Delta will not be complete without the mention of High Chief Bibopere Ajube. The story is deep for some of us.
“So, I’m proud that we’re gathered here to celebrate peace, excellence, leadership, strive for sustainable development, honest, and sincere man that loves his God. I know him when he had nothing. He is a man that has the interest of his people in his heart”.
The Traditional Ruler of Arogbo Ijaw Ibe, Pere Zaccheaus Doubara Ebgunu, said it was not a mistake that Ajube was honoured with the highest title, noting that the kingdom has been blessed by him and decided to display that by conferring the prestigious title on him.

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