Irked by the inherent danger posed by the deplorable state of the ever busy Aleto/Akpajo Bridge, along the East-West, in Rivers State, the senator representing rivers South-East Senatorial zone, Senator Barinada Mpigi, Monday, led members of the Rivers State caucus in the National Assembly on a peaceful protest at the bridge to draw Federal Government attention to the situation.
The lawmakers, who carried placards bearing different inscriptions during the protest include, member representing Khana/Gokana Federal Constituency, Hon Dumnamene Dekor, member representing Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency, Hon Kingsley Chinda and member representing Andoni-Opobo/Nkoro Federal Constituency, Hon Awaji Nombek Abiante.
Also on the protest were, member representing Port Harcourt Federal Constituency II, Hon Chinyere Igwe, member representing Okrika Ogu/Bolo Federal Constituency, Hon Gogo Bright and member representing Eleme in the state House of Assembly, Hon Igwe Afforji.
The lawmakers called on the Federal Government to carry out urgent rehabilitation work on the facility to save lives and the economy of the people of the area and the state.
The lawmakers, who marched on the bridge, displayed banners with several inscriptions during an assessment of the bridge, and described the bridge as a death trap, wondering if the state was still a part of the country.
Some of the inscriptions on the banners reads, ‘SOS, Eleme Bridge Collapse Imminent’, ‘Akpajo-Eleme Bridge leads to the backbone of Nigeria’s economy’, ‘Eleme Bridge, a threat to our lives’, ‘Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs (MNDA) where is our East-West Road?’ and ‘Rivers is part of Nigeria’, among others.
Addressing journalist at the scene of the protest, leader of the delegation and the Senator representing the Rivers South East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Barry Mpigi said that the Federal Government must immediately swing into action and carry out major rehabilitation of the bridge.
“We are here to draw attention of the federal government to the deplorable condition of this road and the bridge. You know that almost everything that Nigeria benefits from is within us here: two refineries, a petrochemical industry and of course, the oil and gas free zone.
“We’ve seen and you are also seeing what is happening here. It shows that we’ve been abandoned. The people of Rivers State have been abandoned. This is a federal government road and not a Rivers State government road.
“You see that the bridge is shaking and there is the tendency that any moment from now, the total life of people from this area will be cut off from this country.
“One question we must ask: Are we really part of this country or not part of Nigeria? Are we enjoying our tax payers’ money or we are not? The truth is that we have been abandoned and neglected.
“So the essence why we are here this morning is to stage a protest and tell Nigerians that we have been totally cut off from all we are supposed to gain from this country.
“Contract for this road had been awarded to RCC as we are aware. Just to execute. Just to release the fund meant for this road is like we have been abandoned. It’s not about increasing funding or not because there has been existing budget and allocation for this road for a long time.
“We want the job to begin immediately. Once that has been done, we as members of the National Assembly can come back and talk about appropriation because the contract has been awarded and work started but now at a halt.
“The value of the contract to our knowledge was over N2 billion within the Ogoni-Akwa Ibom axis up to the Eleme Junction, the value for now is not known”.
On his part, Hon. Kingsley Chinda, recalled with bitterness, that a motion on the floor of the House regarding the poor condition of infrastructures in Rivers State was not being honoured.
Chinda said, “Like our distinguished Senator has told us, those of us in the National Assembly have severally protested over the treatment of our people particularly concerning this bridge. We know that this place is the spine of this country. If the country is serious with oil and gas, then the importance of this bridge cannot be over emphasized.
“All the refineries, petrochemicals company, fertilizer company, they are all behind us here including Onne Sea Port and Naval Training School. To access these places, you need to go through this road.
“But because this is Rivers State, as usual there is graveside silence to issues that pertain to Rivers State. That is why, having brought motion on the floor of the National Assembly, members have supported that the Executive Arm should quickly ensure that this bridge is taken care of to forestall incidence that might occur that would lead to loss of lives of Nigerians. The Executive Arm is not sensitive to the resolution of the National Assembly.
“That is why we are now taking it to the court of public opinion. We are here to tell the people that we have been calling on the Executive Arm to take steps and we pray and hope, though they have been consistently insensitive to the yearnings of Nigerians. We pray and hope that this will sensitize them into action.
“We also want to assure all of us Nigerians that this is the beginning of the actions from members of the National Assembly from Rivers State. If the Executive Arm does nothing, we’ll take further steps but we’ll ensure that we continue to speak for our people like our distinguished Senator has said.
“I cannot give a time frame to the Federal Government because my leader is here. But the assurance is that we’ll take further steps if nothing is done after this discussion.
“Take note that Rivers people are not the main beneficiaries of this road. Nigerians State is the main beneficiary. What percentage do we get from the oil that we process here? How much percentage do we get from the Ports Authority that is here? We are not the main beneficiary, but rather suffer for all these.
“What we are saying is that the lives of our people are at risk. It’s not just the project. We are interested in what will happen if this bridge collapses and people are on it. Even now that we are on this bridge, anything could happen.
Victor Tew & Dennis Naku
SPDC, Belemaoil Resolve Dispute Over OML 25 …Resume Operations In 10 Days
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) with its joint venture partners, Shell Production Development Company, has resolved the protracted dispute with Belemaoil over the operation of Oil Mining Lease (OML) 25.
The feuding group at the signing of the dispute closure agreement in Abuja, yesterday, agreed that operations at the oil well would take off in the next 10 days.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Silva, while signing the agreement, thanked all the parties for their understanding, stressing that the step signified the beginning of a new chapter in the industry.
Silva said that the aim of the ministry was to ensure an oil industry that worked and operated in harmony and in unity.
“When I came into the office, the issue was one of the problems that came on the table; there were so many letters from communities complaining about the problem.
“I just decided to invite Shell to hear its own part of the story but fortunately, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari, had intervened in the matter.
“So, I have the honour now to thank him for this great intervention.
“And also thank Shell and Belemaoil for cooperating to ensure that there is closure on this matter that has bedevilled the industry for so long,” he said.
He said that one of the aims of the petroleum industry was to ensure zero loss in the industry and that production got to its destination.
He said that the biggest beneficiaries of the agreement were not the companies but the communities, especially those in Belema who had been suffering since the beginning of the dispute.
The minister commended the NNPC, Shell and the Belemaoil for agreeing to resolve the dispute.
Earlier, Kyari had said that the development was a big achievement for the corporation.
The NNPC boss said that the dispute around the OML 25 had been on for over two years, adding that the end result was that communities lacked peace.
“For us, the most important aspect of the dispute resolution is that, at least, the communities will have their peace restored.
“At the back of it, you are aware that there is a complete stoppage of petroleum operations around the OML 25 and adjoining blocks.
“What this means is shut down of production of over 35,000 barrel of oil every day in the last two years, and that is an enormous economic loss for all stakeholders, Nigeria and the communities.
“This is why we engaged all stakeholders and we are happy to announce today that the closure on the issue has been obtained”, he added.
He, therefore, directed SPDC to return to full operation of the OML 25 within the next 10 days, and urged the communities to cooperate with the government and SPDC to ensure that the benefits of crude oil production in the area get to all stakeholders, including the people.
Kwara Gov Appoints 26-Year-Old NYSC Member Commissioner
Kwara State Governor, Abdul Rahman Abdul Razaq has forwarded the names of four women to the State House of Assembly as commissioner-nominees, including a 26-year-old Joana Nnazua Kolo from Edu Local Government Area of the state.
Rafiu Ajakaye, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, made the announcement in a statement yesterday afternoon.
Abdul Razaq also nominated a former Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the FBN Mortgages Limited, a subsidiary of the First Bank, Mrs. Folashade Omoniyi, as the new Chairperson of the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KW-IRS). She would succeed Prof. Murtala Awodun whose tenure expires soon.
Omoniyi, who holds a bachelor of engineering from the University of Ilorin and Masters of Business Administration from Obafemi Awolowo University, has many years of leadership experience in the banking sector, marketing, information communication technology, and business management.
She has executive education in positive leadership from Michigan Ross Executive Education (USA); Market Driving Strategies from London Business School (UK); Strategic Uses of Information Technology from Stanford Business School (USA); and Senior Management Programme (SMP18) from the Lagos Business School (Nigeria).
Omoniyi is from Irepodun local government area of the state.
Miss Kolo, the youngest commissioner-nominee in the state’s history, is a 2018 graduate of Library Science from the Kwara State University (KWASU). A grassroots mobiliser, Miss Kolo is an ardent advocate of community development.
If confirmed, she would be Nigeria’s youngest commissioner, taking the trophy from Oyo State’s 27-year-old Oluwaseun Fakorede.
Miss Kolo is still participating in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC)programme in Jigawa, where she is teaching at Model Boarding Junior Secondary School Guri. Her screening for the cabinet seat would hold after she rounds off her NYSC service in the next two weeks.
The three other nominees are professionals and grassroots politicians: Mrs Sa’adatu Modibbo-Kawu; Arinola Fatimoh Lawal; and Aisha Ahman Pategi, according to a correspondence Abdul Razaq forwarded to the House and read at the Tuesday plenary by the Speaker, Rt. Honourable Salihu Yakubu Danladi.
A 1997 graduate of Economics from the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, Mrs Modibbo-Kawu also holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Ilorin and various certificates from Penn Foster Career School Scranton in the United States and Metropolitan School of Business and Management in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. A member of several professional bodies like the Institute of Chartered Economists of Nigeria and Nigeria Institute of Management, she is a co-founder of a number of schools and learning centres.
She is married to the Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission, Ishaq Modibbo-Kawu and would be representing Ilorin South in the cabinet if her nomination scales through the House of Assembly.
Arinola Fatimoh Lawal, a 1993 graduate of Catering and Hotel Management from the Kwara State Polytechnic, is a top-rated player in Nigeria’s hospitality industry with experience as chief executive officer of several firms including Batool Nigeria Limited, Mohbalamira Nigeria Limited and MirMira Enterprise.
Hajia Lawal, who was a member of the Kwara State Transition Committee in 2019, is a daughter of former Kwara State Governor Mohammed Lawal from Ilorin East local government. Her skills cover project management, tourism and hospitality, change management, and Risk Management. A grassroots mobiliser with effective leadership skills and emotional intelligence, the nominee is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress in Kwara State.
A scion of one of Kwara’s oldest political families, nominee Aisha Ahman-Pategi is a professional business manager with over 20 years’ experience in communication strategy, investment/financial consulting, and marketing and motivational leadership. She is a serial entrepreneur known for a contagious passion for excellence and innovation with great resource skills in research, government and relations.
Ms Ahman-Pategi was educated at the School of Remedial Studies and FASS-International Relations in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State in 1996; Agent and Broker License Barney Fletcher School, in Atlanta GA, USA in 2004; Capstone Institute of Mortgage Finance, also in Atlanta in 2006; Stanford University, Stanford California where she obtained a certificate in Political Science (Data Analysis) in 2013; Bachelor of Art – Mass Communication from Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma; and MBA Business Administration from American Inter-Continental University, Dunwoody GA.
Aisha was Sales Manager for J&S Auto Sales Decatur, GA 30082 before founding A-Line Realty SMYRNA, GA 30082 in 2004 as the President and Managing Broker. The agency serves more than 300 clients by providing financial planning, asset management, commercial and residential real estate transactions.
100 Days In Office: Wike Commissions GCDC, Seabed Model School
In line with his commitment to empower youths through vocational training, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has revived the Government Craft Development Centre, Port Harcourt, bringing the training facility back on stream as part of his first 100 days for his second term.
Commissioning the rebranded school, yesterday, in Port Harcourt, Wike said that technical and vocational training remains one of the surest ways of reaching out to thousands of Rivers youths.
Wike announced that the state government has contracted Julius Berger to construct standard training workshops for the education of the students.
“We must develop middle level manpower. That is why we have repositioned this school to groom technicians in the state.
“We have contracted Julius Berger to equip the workshops with standard training machines. Our children must get the best training facility”, he said.
He warned the principal against hiring out the school’s facilities to outsiders, explaining that the principal would be sanctioned.
The Mayor of Port Harcourt City Local Government Area, Hon Victor Ihunwo said the governor has performed exceptionally in the education sector.
He commended the Rivers State governor for reviving the dead institution and placing it on the platform to empower Rivers youths.
Principal of Government Craft Development Centre, Mr China Ameka appreciated the governor for considering it necessary to rebuild the centre into a standard institution for teaching and learning towards human capital development aimed at empowering the youths.
In his remarks, Deputy Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon Ehie Edison said Governor Nyesom Wike has continued to showcase Rivers State as the best in terms of infrastructural development.
He said the revived institution would help in reducing crime in the society as youths would be equipped with the right skills to be self-reliant.
Member representing Khana/Gokana Federal Constituency, Hon Dumnamene Dekor described the project as a quantum leap to give the best to Rivers youths.
He said Rivers State was the only state in the country where several projects have been rolled out for the first 100 days, adding that the governor has proved himself as a lover of Rivers people.
The Permanent Secretary of Rivers State Bureau of Special Projects, Sunny Okere, noted that the project was designed to ensure that Rivers youths get the best technical education.
He said all the key Workshops have been primed to train the youths in the right skills.
Similarly, in his commitment to the creation of access to quality basic education, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, last Monday, commissioned the reconstructed and remodeled Sea-Bed Model Primary School, Port Harcourt.
The school is one of the 253 schools upgraded and expanded by Wike in the last four years.
The Sea-Bed Model Primary School, Port Harcourt, was delivered as part of the governor’s first 100 days in office for his second term.
Commissioning the school, Wike assured Rivers people that he would continue to uplift the standard of education in the state through critical interventions.
He said: “We shall continue to engage in human capital development. And the best way to engage in human capital development is to fund educational development”.
Wike announced that the state government has awarded contracts for the construction of 69 primary and basic education schools across the state.
“We are awarding contracts for the construction of 69 primary and basic education schools for the expansion of the frontiers of education.
“These projects will be handled by people of Rivers State, who will be empowered in the process of executing the projects”, he said.
He said that the Rivers State Government would continue to develop the education sector as a way of securing the future of Rivers State.
The governor reiterated the abolition of fees and levies for all primary and secondary schools in the state.
He said: “We shall sanction any school administrator or principal that collects any type of fee. We have made provision for the funding of all schools in the state”.
Wike said that while other states celebrated their first 100 days through press conferences, the Rivers State Government has continued to deliver projects to the people.
In a project description, the Permanent Secretary of Bureau of Special Projects, Mr Sunny Okere said that the school was remodeled and expanded, adding that the new school now has computer laboratory, e-library, new classrooms and a generator house.
In his remarks, Chairman of Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board, Ven Fyneface Akah said that this was the first time the school was witnessing upgrade after 106 years of existence.
Mrs Inko-Tariah of Christ Church thanked the Rivers State governor for delivering on his promise to the church.
He said that the project is a testament that Wike was a man of his words.
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