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Wike Talks Tough, Moves To Recover Govt Properties …Inaugurates Tasks Force, Road Maintenance Agency, Today …Orders Contractors To Deliver Projects On Schedule

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike will, today, inaugurate the Task Force on the Recovery of Government Properties and the Road Maintenance Agency at the Executive Council Chambers of the Government House, Port Harcourt, by 11am.
A statement by the Special Assistant to the Governor on Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, yesterday, indicated that those to be inaugurated on the Task Force for the Recovery of Government Properties by the Rivers State governor include, the Head of Service, Rufus Godwins, as chairman; Permanent Secretary, Lands and Survey, Dumo Jack as member; Permanent Secretary, Housing, Dirokweni J. Amiofori as member; Chief Security Officer to the Rivers State Governor as member; Ejor Ngonwa, member; Elloka Tasie-Amadi, member; while Hanny Woko would serve as secretary.
Also to be inaugurated is the Road Maintenance Agency with Prince Timothy Nsirim as chairman; Chief Ogbams Ojimah, member; Mr Sunny Bekwanwa, member; Mr Destiny Nganibo, member; Mr Achinike Amadi, member; Mrs Stella Agada, member; Mr Boma Tamunoibi Jumbo, member; Engr Sam Kakoro, member; Madam Patience E. Ibiamu, member; Mr Chimezie Nwankwo, member; while Mr Fyneman Olungwe would serve as secretary.
The statement advised the listed appointees to be seated at the Executive Council Chambers of the Government House, Port Harcourt by 10.30am for the inauguration.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, last Friday, inspected ongoing projects, and ordered the contractors to ensure that they complete their work on schedule.
Accompanied by the Administrator of Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority, Amb Desmond Akawor, Wike inspected the ongoing construction of hostels at the newly-established Real Madrid Academy, Elekahia in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area.
Wike also inspected road projects in the Phase Two of the New Government Reserved Area (GRA) in Port Harcourt.
The governor, who defied the rains during the inspection, elicited commitment from the contractors that they would work within approved specifications.
It would be recalled that the governor had assured Rivers people that his second term projects’ delivery would surpass that of his first term.
However, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has disclosed plans by the state government to sponsor Rivers indigenes to study at the Ethiopian Aviation Academy, a subsidiary of the Ethiopian Airlines Group.
Speaking during his recent visit to the corporate headquarters of Ethiopian Airlines at Addis Ababa, Ethiopian, Wike said that the Rivers State Government would train her indigenes to become aviation professionals.
He said that as an emerging regional aviation hub, the Rivers State Government would groom professionals to drive the process, adding that the partnership entered into with Ethiopian Airlines would help the state meet the manpower needs for the new regional aviation hub.
“We are looking forward to partnering with Ethiopian Airlines on many fronts. First is for Ethiopian Airlines to fly permanently from Port Harcourt.
“The state government is also interested in training Rivers indigenes in the Ethiopian Aviation Academy as we work towards making Rivers State a regional aviation hub”, the governor said.
Wike also detailed his Executive Assistant (Research and Documentation), Dr Jacob Beredugo and a Rivers professional working with an international agency in Ethiopia, Prof Kaisirim Nwuke, to liaise with the management of Ethiopian Airlines to actualize the goals of the Rivers Government/Ethiopian Airlines partnership.
The Ethiopian Airlines Aviation Academy (EAA) is an IATA Regional Training Partner, ICAO designated Regional Training Centre of Excellence, and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approved Maintenance Training Organisation, Authorized Training Centre (ATC) and Accredited Training School (ATS) by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Approved Training Organization (ATO) by the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority.
Earlier, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike had returned to Port Harcourt, last Friday, after negotiating for permanent flights of Ethiopian Airlines to Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
Wike was in Addis Ababa on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss issues relating to permanent flights to Port Harcourt by Ethiopian Airlines.
Already, Turkish Airlines is plying the Port Harcourt route, courtesy of the Wike touch.
The governor said in Addis Ababa: “As we, therefore, consolidate on our achievements, we want to also focus on making Port Harcourt city a regional air transport hub through the private public partnership approach while leveraging on the existing aviation infrastructure and related market and other advantages of the state.”

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Wike Unveils N2bn Fund For Farmers, Fishermen … Inaugurates C’ttee To Distribute Foodstuffs To Rivers People

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In a move to ensure that Rivers people don’t suffer during this trying period, the Rivers State Government has set aside N2billion for the launch of the State Farmer/Fisherman Empowerment Programme to purchase and distribute foodstuffs to Rivers people.
In a press conference, yesterday, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, said that the committee would purchase all agricultural products produced in the state for distribution to the less privileged.
Wike said: “We are going a step further to ensure that no one complains of hunger in our state during this trying period.
“The state government has therefore set aside the sum of N2billion to buy off all agricultural products produced in the state from farmers and fishermen.
“Our goal is to ensure that no agricultural product like yam, garri, plantain, palm oil and fish leaves our state during this period.
“While the farmers and fishermen will make their profits, the less privileged will have enough food supply for their families.”
Wike said that the committee set up by his administration is to ensure effective implementation of the new policy.
He said: “To ensure that the appropriate logistics for effective implementation of this policy is carried out to the letter, government will set up a 33-man committee.
Members of the committee include, Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, as chairman; Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Fred Kpakol, as secretary; while members are Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim; Mrs Victoria Allison; Mrs Tina Woluchor; Mrs Meg Onumbu; Mrs Gloria Akor; Mr Erastus Awortu; Mrs Christiana Lawrence Amadioha; Mrs Kate Mbanah and chairmen of the 23 local government areas.
“This committee will be inaugurated tomorrow, Tuesday, April 7, 2020 at 12 noon at Government House, Port Harcourt.”
He said that the state government will always take measures to protect Rivers people.
“As a responsive government, we did not wait to record any index case before we set out proactive measures that helped us to contain the virus in our state.
“The diligence exhibited by our health professionals and security agencies have made us to record one index case.
“Our strategies of shutting down markets and our borders have, no doubt, brought hardship to our citizens,” he said.
While lamenting the politicisation of the fight against Coronavirus by the Federal Government, Wike said that all states of the federation deserve grants from the Federal Government.
He said the release of grants to states should not be tied to the number of confirmed cases, since states like Rivers are working to prevent the spread of the disease.
Wike said that funds for the state government’s intervention in COVID-19 are captured in the 2020 budget under contingency funds.
Earlier, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, had charged the Committee on Palliatives to cushion the hardship caused by strategies to contain the spread of Coronavirus in the state to ensure that the foodstuffs from the state government get to less privileged persons.
Inaugurating the committee, yesterday, at the Government House, Port Harcourt, Wike said that the committee must not consider party affiliations.
Wike said: “The distribution of these foodstuffs has nothing to do with party membership. It should get to all less privileged people.
“That is why we have clerics, security personnel and other people in the committee. There should be no application of sentiment in the sharing.”
The governor said that the committee will reach out to the 23 local government areas of the state, adding that all local government areas must exercise patience till it gets to them.
“We will reach out to the 23 local government areas of the state. No local government area will be exempted.
“But Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor local government areas where we have the concentration of Rivers people will get the first attention,” he said.
The governor directed the committee to ensure orphanages; security agencies and other groups get the palliatives.
He described the situation as a war, where the entire world is being decimated by the virus, stressing that the fight to defeat Coronavirus must be sustained.
Wike reiterated his condemnation of the Federal Government for politicizing the fight against Coronavirus.
He said the exclusion of 35 states in the Federal Government’s intervention is unnecessary.

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No More Petrol Subsidy, Says NNPC Govs Back FG’s Action

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Leveraging on the low price of crude oil and petroleum products, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Mele Kyari, yesterday, announced that the era of subsidizing the pump price of petrol was over.
He made the disclosure on the official Twitter handle of the NNPC after he appeared in a television interview.
Kyari said: “As at today, subsidy/under-recovery is zero. Going forward, there’ll be no resort to either subsidy or under-recovery of any nature. NNPC will just be another player in the market space. But we’ll be there for the country to sustain security of supply, at the cost of the market”.
As crude oil price slumped in the international market due to the rampaging COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government responded by reducing the pump price of petrol from N145/litre to N125/litre in March.
It further reduced the price to N123.50/litre on April 1, after monitoring developments in the international oil market.
On the possibility of suffering another round of petrol scarcity, he said; “Today, we have a very robust products supply and distribution mechanism; from the loading depots up to fuel stations nationwide.
“We also have very good understanding with our strategic partners: the governors, marketers, depot owners, PTD, etc. There are no issues whatsoever.”
On the current developments in the international market, the NNPC GMD said: “The key issue in crude oil business is market fundamentals of demand/supply. I believe COVID-19 will subside and countries will come back to life. I don’t see oil price going below the $20 we saw last week. I’m certain, all things being equal, oil price will bounce back”.
He pointed out that the desire of the national oil company was to grow Nigeria’s production to 3 million barrels per day.
“As at yesterday, our production has, for the first time in many years, risen to 2.3mbpd. We believe this will grow and the contribution of local companies in this regard will be meaningful.”
On gas, the NNPC boss said there were ongoing plans to aggressively expand the domestic gas footprint with the delivery of the Escravos-Lagos Pipeline System (ELPS) II to double capacity from 1.1billion standard cubic feet of gas (BSCF) to 2.2BSCF and the OB3 gas pipeline to connect East and the West.
The NNPC, he revealed, would commence the construction of the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano gas pipeline in the second quarter of 2020 to serve as an enabler to further boost the economic activities of the country.
Reacting to the news, governors of the 36 states in Nigeria have backed the Federal Government’s implementation of the petrol price modulation mechanism to eliminate petrol subsidy “permanently” in the country.
This decision was contained in a communique released in the early hours of yesterday by members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) after a meeting last Sunday to deliberate on the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
The communiqe, signed by Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, who is also the NGF chairman, also supported the unification of exchange rates into a single, market-determined window and the use of the market-determined exchange rate to calculate all revenues due to the federation.
The implementation of the new petrol price modulation mechanism means Nigerians will pay for petrol in line with the product’s prevailing price in the global market.
The Federal Government had announced a further reduction in petrol’s pump price to N123.50 per litre on April 1, 2020.
That was the second time it would be reducing the pump price of petrol in two weeks.
It had announced a reduction in the pump price on 18th March, 2020 from N145 to N125 following the fall in the price of crude oil in the international market.
At that time, the price of Nigeria’s Brent Crude was below $25 but it is now up to 33.24 as at today.
A statement by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA)’s Executive Secretary, Abdulkadir Saidu in Abuja had said: “PPPRA, in line with the government approval for a monthly review of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) pump price, hereby announces Guiding PMS pump price of N123.50 per Litre.
“The Guiding price which becomes effective 1st April, 2020, shall apply at all retail outlets nationwide for the month of April, 2020.
“PPPRA and other relevant regulatory Agencies shall continue to monitor compliance to extant regulations for a sustainable downstream petroleum sector. Members of the Public and all Oil Marketing Companies are to be guided accordingly.”
Fayemi also briefed State governors on ongoing coordination with the World Bank to mobilise support for states to mitigate the economic and social cost of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the ongoing plans include accelerated disbursement of existing and new financing for states under the State Fiscal, Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme-for-Results, and mitigation and recovery support for expenditures to protect livelihoods, support local economic activity and recovery over the next 18 months to two years.
The forum thanked the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID), set up by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), for their pledge to support states increase their capacity to mitigate the spread of the virus and care for confirmed cases through the construction of isolation centres and the distribution of personal protective equipment to states.
Members underscored the need for CACOVID to work directly with the States in the distribution of palliatives.
The forum lauded the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, and his team for the commitment in leading a national response to the COVID-19 pandemic after a briefing from him on the activities of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 which he chairs.
Members also stressed the need for stronger collaboration with states because they are best positioned to administer palliatives to mitigate the impact of the crisis, including the distribution of food and essential materials to households to help them cope with the expected loss of income and livelihoods.
The governors renewed the importance of cancelling all deductions and deferring or restructuring all commercial debt service payments on federal government and CBN-owned debts.

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Boko Haram: Surrender Or Die, Chad’s President Dares Shekau

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As the onslaught against Boko Haram terrorists continue, Chad’s President Idriss Deby has warned the sect’s factional leader, Abubakar Shekau, to surrender or risk being killed inside his Dikoa hideout.
Deby issued the warning in a state address to his countrymen shortly after leading his Army in an offensive against the terrorists that left about 100 killed.
According to the President, who spoke in French, Shekau has the chance to surrender now or risk being smoked out of his hideout in Dikoa and he would be killed the same say some of his commanders were killed.
Following a seven-hour ambush on Chadian troops by the terrorists that left 92 soldiers dead recently, Deby who said he would not accept defeat launched Operation Wrath of Bomo to avenge the death of his men.
Named after the town where the Chadian soldiers were killed, the operation, which commenced, last Thursday, saw the president leading his armed forces to battle at Kelkoua bank and Magumeri where they fired rockets and 12.5mm rounds of ammunition on the criminals.
The troops were said to have also destroyed several BHTs bunkers, recovered cache of arms and arrested a top BHT commander.
At Magumeri, a local government in the northern Borno State, the Chadian troops were alleged to have set free some Nigerian soldiers held captive by terrorists.

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