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Rivers People Committed To Nigeria’s Unity -Wike …Appoints Yibo Koko DG, Rivers Tourism Agency

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has declared that Rivers people will always work for the unity of the country.
Speaking at the 2020 Rivers State New Year Banquet at the Government House, Port Harcourt, on Wednesday night, the Governor said the State is central to national unity, noting that Rivers State and her people will continue to defend the unity of the country.
According to the Governor, “Rivers State has been a key to the unity of the country. We believe in the unity of Nigeria. In believing in the unity of the country, always give us our right.”
Noting that the state passed through political challenges in 2019, he recalled that Rivers people stood up to defend their mandate.
“Rivers people stood up and said they will not allow darkness to take over light. We couldn’t have succeeded without the support of the people, the Legislature and the Judiciary “, he said.
He continued that no arm of government can do it alone without the support of other arms of government.
“The Executive must work harmoniously with the Legislature and Judiciary for the development of the country “, he said, adding that “the truth must be told at all times because that is the only way the society will develop”.
Rivers State is a Christian State, he reiterated, noting that security is improving in the State because God has intervened in the affairs of the State.
While promising that he will never mortgage the interest of the state, the Governor said he will continue to advance state-wide development, emphasizing that no Local Government Area (LGA) has been neglected by his administration.
“When your conscience is clear and you are convinced you are doing the right thing, just go ahead.
“I have no grudge against any LGA. Every LGA gave me support. All those carrying ethnic wars cannot succeed. I was not elected on the strength of ethnicity.
“If you must be Governor of Rivers State, show our people that you have the capacity and that you can work for Rivers people “, he said.
Noting that His administration has projects in all the 23 LGAs, Wike stated that the facts on ground prove that he has worked diligently for Rivers people, and called on Rivers people to unite and promote the interest of Rivers State.
“In 2020, we should work together as a people. Those who don’t believe in this state are the people who want to raise unnecessary sentiments”, he said.
Governor Wike said that contrary to claims by some opposition politicians, he has deliberately invested in the empowerment of Rivers people. He, however, expressed regret that most people mismanage empowerment funds.
According to the Governor, his administration released N4billion as business Grants to Rivers women and young entrepreneurs, but beneficiaries of the grants failed to repay the revolving loans.
He stated further that the State Government released N500 million as loans to private medical professionals who own hospitals, but that the scheme could not be sustained, because the doctors didn’t repay their loans.
He noted that all the building contracts under the State Universal Basic Education Board, amounting to over N3billion were handled by Rivers contractors, assuring that he will continue with the development of all parts of Rivers State in 2020.
Also speaking, Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, said working with the Rivers State Governor, they will continue to deepen the friendship between Rivers and Sokoto States.
Tambuwal commended Rivers people for standing firm to defend their mandate, in the face of plots to rig the election in the State.
“We commend the good people of Rivers State for standing firm in 2019 to defend their mandate. You stood for democracy and you stood for Rivers State.
“We monitored what happened. We took note of how Rivers people collectively stood for democracy “, he said.
Tambuwal said the same Major Mustapha who attempted to rig Rivers election was exported to Sokoto State after the election was declared inclusive, but he also failed, noting that Nigeria will continue to wax stronger as long as leaders remain committed to good governance.
“When you talk about governance and performance across the country, the name of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike continues to come up”, he said.
Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed said the government and people of Bauchi State always come to show solidarity to the Rivers State Governor because of his contributions to national development and good governance.
“He is kind and has always provided the rallying point for people of this generation to discuss the development of this country “, he said.
According to him, “the Rivers State Governor has become the new face of leadership in Nigeria. Rivers State is lucky to have Governor Wike at this time of its history”.
The Bauchi State Governor noted that Governor Wike represents the best in terms of leadership in the country.
Senator Mohammed also said the Niger Delta is critical to balance of power, saying that the zone that lays the golden egg is a key to the development of the country.
“We cannot play with the Niger Delta because it is the goose that lays the golden egg. It is important to the politics of the country “, he said.

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RSHA Donates One-Month Salary To Fight COVID-19 …As FG, Govs Agree On More Palliatives For Nigerians

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Members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, yesterday, resolved to collectively donate their one-month salary to assist the state government fight the spread of the novel Coronavirus pandemic in the state.
In a press conference in Port Harcourt, yesterday, the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, said that the members arrived at the decision after an interface with officials of the Ministry of Health on the concerted fight against Coronavirus.
He said: “Based on this feedback so far received from the joint committee on the proactive and preventive measures put in place by the State Security Council headed by the Rivers State governor, and bearing in mind that as responsible representatives of our various constituencies, we resolved that one month salary of all members of the Rivers State House of Assembly be deducted by the Ministry of Finance and remitted to the committee set up to fight Coronavirus in the state.
“This sacrifice by members is not to the exclusion of other individual contributions of members in their respective constituencies to ameliorate the shocks associated with the pandemic.
“We restate our commitment to the fight against Coronavirus pandemic and our full support of all efforts and actions taken by the Rivers State Government to keep our people safe and healthy.”
The speaker further added that members took the decision bearing in mind that as responsive and responsible representatives, they cannot turn their back on the yearnings of the people.
He also clarified that the decision was based on the feedback from Standing Committees on Health and Information mandated to interface with the Ministry of Health and other agencies set up by the state government.
Ikuinyi-Owaji was flanked by principal officers of the House, including the Deputy Speaker, Hon Edison Ehie, and other prominent members at the briefing.
Meanwhile, the Special Committee of the National Economic Council on COVID-19 has its second meeting as it continues its task of coordinating the federal and state governments’ responses to the impact of COVID-19 on Nigerians.
The NEÇ Committee meeting, presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, agreed to finalise its work towards developing additional measures to alleviate the challenges being faced by Nigerians because of the implications of the global pandemic in the country.
Present alongside the Vice President at the meeting held via videoconference anchored from the Presidential Villa are Governors Kayode Fayemi, Ekiti; Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, Kaduna; Abdullahi Sule, Nasarawa; Mohammed Abubakar, Jigawa; Godwin Obaseki, Edo; David Umahi, Ebonyi; Dapo Abiodun, Ogun; and Atiku Bagudu, Kebbi.
According to the VP’s Spokesman, Laolu Akande, the meeting was also attended by the Finance Minister, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed; and the Director-General of the Budget Office, Mr. Ben Akabueze; among several other top officials.
The NEC Committee received the report of its Technical Working Group which proposed an array of policy options and recommendations on how federal, state and local governments can bring relief to the people and take other adequate measures in containing and responding to the adverse economic effects of the pandemic.
Speaking at the meeting, the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, emphasized the importance of the assignment and the urgency required, asking that public enlightenment and sensitization on the seriousness of the pandemic should be further intensified at all government levels so that more and more Nigerians would become aware of the compelling and critical dimensions of the situation.
He assured the governors that the Federal Government is already packaging further resources for a comprehensive economic response to alleviate the challenges of the pandemic, support the states and provide succour to Nigerians in a timely and effective manner.
He disclosed that the newly created Economic Sustainability Committee (ESW), constituted by the President will also be meeting this week to start its work and respond to the situation appropriately.

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IPMAN Kicks Against Fuel Price Reduction To N123.50

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The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association (IPMAN), yesterday, kicked against the N123.50 new fuel pump price announced by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) effective April 1, saying that its members would not comply with the adjustment until they have exhausted their old stocks.
This was as it says that its members incurred losses to the tune of N5.5billion from the N125.50 price adjustment from N145 per litre barely two weeks ago.
The Chairman, Kano branch of IPMAN, Alhaji Bashir Danmalam, stated this while speaking with newsmen in the state on the development of the new N123.50 pump price.
It would be recalled that the Federal Government reduced the price from N145 to N125 and now to N123.50, yesterday.
Danmalam said, “the last time the Federal Government reduced the pump price of the product from N145 per litre to N125 per litre, our members nationwide lost over N5.5billion as a result of the sudden reduction.
“We called on the government to compensate or support our members who incurred the huge losses due to the sudden reduction in fuel pump price but nothing was given to us.
“But to our surprise, the private depot’s owners were paid but none of our members was supported to cushion the losses they incurred. This time around we will not sell our product at that price until the old stocks are exhausted. We will not continue to operate at loss.
“Apart from the Federal Government, IPMAN is the largest employer of labour in the country and we cannot afford to continue to support the government at this trying time while as business people we are operating at loss.
“Even though we are happy with the new development and the Federal Government should be commended for the gesture but the government should consider the fact that no sane marketer or businessman will continue operating his/her business at loss.
“Before the last announcement, many of our members have already bought and loaded their vehicles with the product at old prices from Lagos, Port Harcourt and Warri and we spend five to seven days before reaching our destinations. So, we are not going to sell the product at the new price until we sell the old stocks.
“The management of the PPPRA should be accused of trying to sabotage the Federal Government’s efforts to ensure sustained fuel supply and distribution across the country through some policies that could plunge the sector into a serious crisis.
“We would not hesitate to ask our members to withdraw their services should any filling station of its member is closed for not selling at the new pump price of N123.50 per litre.
“We hope the Federal Government will see reason and come to the aid of our members as it supported private depots because our members will not continue to operate at loss,” Danmalam stated.
Earlier, the Federal Government, had further slashed the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, to N123.50 per litre, with effect from April 1, 2020, from N125 per litre. The new price, which would last throughout the month of April, was coming on the back of a continuous decline in the price of crude oil in the international market.
In a statement in Abuja, Tuesday night, Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Mr. Abdulkadir Saidu, stated that the new price was in line with the approval of the Federal Government for a monthly review of the price of petrol.
He 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.”
The Federal Government had on March 18, announced a reduction in the price of fuel from N145 per litre to N125 per litre.
Hours after the announcement of the reduction, the PPPRA explained that there is the possibility of a new price regime for the commodity from April 1, noting that the new N125 per litre pump price would last till the end of March, 2020.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, Executive Secretary, PPPRA, Mr. Abdulkadir Saidu, had stated that the agency would be undertaking a review of PMS price, and would announce a new price for the commodity, April 1, 2020, if there is a change in the parameters used in determining the current price.
He noted that the price announced Wednesday, March 18, 2020, would apply till March 31, 2020, and a new price might come into effect after the review, adding that henceforth, PPPRA would be undertaking a review of petroleum products prices on a monthly basis.

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We Won’t Allow COVID-19 Spread Into Prisons -FG

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The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has assured that the ministry is doing everything necessary to see to it that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) does not spread into Nigerian prisons.
He also explained the reason for the disruption at the Kaduna State Prison on Tuesday, assuring that it was effectively managed and that it would not repeat itself in the system.
The noted that while making efforts to keep people in detention safe from the disease, government was also being careful not to resort to a measure that might put the larger society in danger, specifically speaking about the suggestion being made that the custodial centres be decongested.
”The congested custodial facilities are in some of our urban centres – not all urban centres though – they are in areas where you have a huge population of people and understandably those who have the cause to be detained are more than the facilities we have, particularly the awaiting-trial persons.
“I can assure you that all efforts, all actions required to ensure that there’s no occurrence or spread of COVID-19 in any of those custodial centres, are being made.
“I spoke about Kaduna yesterday (Tuesday); there was a mild disturbance in Kaduna yesterday (Tuesday) and it was put under control. It happened because the inmates in the condemned section were anxious to know the outcome of our efforts to decongest some of the centres and they became agitated.
“It was put down without any casualty and I want to believe that, having been handled, information has gone round the commands to appraise the inmates of the efforts we are making, to see that the approval given by the president is effected very soon.
“I must add that what we are trying to do cannot be done by us as the Federal Government alone. More than 80% of the inmates in the awaiting trial group are from the states; they are state offenders.
“We are, therefore, working with the state governments, along with our own system, to break down the profile basis of incarceration in terms of detention and several other factors to ensure that if at all people will be released, they will be released without jeopardising the security of the nation. We are, therefore, careful and sensitive on the steps we take, even with the threats of COVID-19.
“I must add this because it is important, the NJC has been of tremendous help. By the middle of last week, NJC issued a directive to all courts in Nigeria to suspend trials that could lead to any detention in the custodial service.
“I must equally commend the directive from the IGP to all police formations in the country to release offenders or suspects detained on minor offences and that will go a long way in ensuring social distancing and reduction of detainees in those centres so as to ensure that occurrence of COVID-19 infection and the spread will be reduced, if not eliminated.”
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, while addressing some questions raised by journalists, said the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) had directed all cable television service providers to leave all local channels as free service to their subscribers, even when subscriptions had yet to be renewed during this period. He said this was meant to make the public adequately informed.
He also said he had been informed, after consultations with coordinators of bankers services, that all banks had been permitted to open for services across the country while the restrictions last.
On the operations of construction companies, he said the Minister of Works and Housing had approved the suspension of all ongoing construction works across the country till April 20th, explaining that the suspension was meant to allow for social distancing.

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