The Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim has said that those saying the state was not safe were trying to cause capital flight for businesses to relocate from the state, arguing that Governor Nyesm Wike, as a good product, was doing fantastically better than his peers in the country.
Nsirim stated this during an interview with the members of Editorial Board of The Tide in Port Harcourt, last Friday, shortly after addressing staff of the corporation and those of the Rivers State Printing Press in continuation of his familiarisation tour of parastatals under his ministry.
He said cases of insecurity, experienced in the state were not different from what go on in Lagos, Kaduna, Abuja, Sokoto, Zamfara, and other cities in the country, saying that such unguarded criticisms were part of the negative perception being sold out to the public.
He further said that it was in the light of such negative narrative that his ministry initiated ‘Our State, Our Responsibility’ campaign to change such negative views, and called on the media to assist in promoting the state government’s policies and programmes.
“You see, that is the negative perception that has been sold out there, and that is why those of us in the media need to join hands with the government to change that negative narrative. And that is why we are involved in the ‘Our State, Our Responsibility’ campaign.
“The truth of the matter is that the de-marketing that is ongoing is a deliberate strategy by those who understand the potentials of our state to deny us our God-given rights. They know that if Rivers State is de-marketed, there will be capital flight.
“Businesses will move away from here, so, we don’t become that industrial hub that we are supposed to be. So, the insecurity that people talk about in Rivers State is not different from what happens in Lagos, it is not different from what happens in Kaduna, from what happens in Kano, Abuja and other major city centres of this country.
“But those who understand the political economy of news have leveraged on it to ensure that they spread deliberate falsehood all the time about our state. You and I live and do business here. There are people who call and ask: how are you managing in Port Harcourt? They ask those questions, and make it look like there are bullets flying all over.
“That is why all of us need to join hands to change that negative narrative. Of course, there is a political economy to it that people are pursuing, and they have involved a section of the media to do that to the state, which we all need to stand up and correct.”
While noting that his appointment was a call to greater service, the commissioner used the forum to list some of his plans as commissioner, including building partnerships with media stakeholders.
“We are going to build a strategic plan, and also build a strategic partnership with major stakeholders who have something to do with the media in the propagation of government policies and programmes,” Nsirim stated.
Speaking with The Tide, General Manager of the RSNC, Mr. Vincent Ake, re-echoed the charge given by the commissioner, and called on staff of the corporation to be ready for more work.
“The commissioner has come, and he has charged us to work harder. He has said we should roll up our sleeves, and do the much we can to ensure that the newspaper is sustained. And everybody should be ready to work because there is no food for a lazy man.
“Everybody should be innovative in whichever area you are. I am open to innovation. All we need is let the ideas come in, and we will implement them,” Ake stated, and assured staff that the management would organise training and retraining programmes to sharpen their skills and competences for greater productivity.
He explained that the welfare initiatives of the present dispensation were part of a deliberate policy to motivate staff to put in their best to fast-track the capacity and ability of the corporation to break even and step into an era of profitability.
Ake, therefore, thanked the commissioner for coming, just as he reminded him that The Tide was his home, and he should be free to visit anytime.
See pp. 16, 17.
RSG Restates Readiness To Empower Farmers, Fishermen
The Rivers State Government has urged all farmers and fishermen in the state to gather whatever produce they have to their respective local government chairmen at the centres designated by their chairmen for immediate purchase.
The Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, stated this shortly after the inaugural meeting of the Committee to Purchase Food Stuffs from Farmers and Fishermen for Distribution to the Rivers State people at the Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
According to Danagogo, who is the chairman of the committee, the essence is to make sure that our farmers and fishermen are empowered and encouraged to continue to produce what they are producing and to stockpile enough food stuff to enable us win the war against COVID-19 and looming starvation.
Danagogo, who disclosed that his committee has started work immediately, said all the local government chairmen are expected to go back to their LGAs to start the process of engaging the farmers and fishermen to sensitize them to bring their products for purchase and onward distribution to the citizens and residents of the state.
In his remarks, the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, said the initiative of Governor Nyesom Wike was primarily designed to ensure that nobody complains of hunger during this trying period.
He pleaded with the farmers and fishermen, who would be approached at the various local government areas that this was a time for sacrifice and selfless service and not a time for racketeering and hoarding of produce, stressing that the state government would pay for all the products produce by the farmers and fishermen.
Also speaking, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Fred Kpakol said farmers and fishermen in the state should redouble their efforts to produce more, noting that agriculture remains a major policy thrust of the present administration in the state.
Buhari’s Subsidy Regime, Monumental Fraud -PDP
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the fuel subsidy regime under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration as a monumental fraud and an unpardonable scam against the Nigerian state.
The party stated this, yesterday, in a statement signed by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondoyan, and made available to newsmen in Abuja.
This is even as the party counselled officials of APC-led government to “stop lying to Nigerians and tell the truth of how trillions of naira, claimed to have been paid as a subsidy, was cornered by APC leaders and members of the cabal in the Buhari Presidency.”
The PDP also described last Monday’s declaration by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari, that there will be no more subsidy and under-recovery as dramatic.
The statement read in part: “Our party notes that if the Federal Government is running away from its subsidy policy, the substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources, President Buhari or his Minister of State, Timipre Sylva, should muster the courage to announce this to Nigerians through a policy statement.
“Our party holds that this sudden announcement of an end to fuel subsidy and commencement of a deregulation regime of the oil sector is a desperate step by the Buhari administration to stave off an investigation into the siphoning of trillions of naira by APC leaders using phoney subsidy claims.
“The PDP invites Nigerians to note how President Buhari set the stage for unprecedented subsidy looting under his regime.
“It would be recalled that in his bid to smear the PDP, President Buhari, while leading the agitation against the decision by the PDP administration to deregulate the oil sector in 2012, declared that fuel subsidy does not exist. He had called the subsidy regime and its operators a fraud.
“Rather than riding on this declaration on the assumption of office, the Buhari Presidency provided official cover for the cabal and APC leaders to use his ascendancy to power to engage in underhand dealings, plunder our nation’s subsidy resources, pillaged trillions of naira from the oil cashbox, only to now turn around to announce an end to a subsidy, seeing that there is nothing left to steal with the current international price crash.”
While chiding President Buhari for alleged lack of openness in the handling of petroleum subsidy since he assumed power in 2015; the PDP said nothing but an alleged scam on the part of APC leaders was responsible for the first citizen’s inability to speak up on the issue.
“We ask, could this be the reason behind Mr. President’s inability to make any concrete statement on the exposed subsidy scam under his administration in the last five years?
“Could it also be the reason the oil subsidy, which Nigerians where enjoying under the PDP, was adjudged a fraud but suddenly ceased to be a fraud from 2015 till Monday, even when Nigerians no longer enjoyed any benefit from the payout within this period?
“Nigerians now know the reason the APC administration had refused to allow for an independent inquest into the alleged N1.4trillion oil subsidy sleaze through which certain APC leaders were benefiting from alleged N58 hidden toll per litre which Nigerians were forced to bear for years after fuel price was increased by the APC administration from PDP’s subsidized cost of N87 to N145 per litre.
“It is now clear to all why the APC administration had resorted to muddling up oil revenue transactions, refused to open up on federation equity of crude while frustrating free flow of information on product exchange and revenue remittances, and why they have been promoting reports on imaginary pipeline losses as well as other opaque and non-transparent transaction in a sector that is directly under the supervision of Mr. President.
“This is in addition to the over N14trillion stolen through various shady oil subsidy contracts, including the stolen N9trillion detailed by the leaked NNPC memo and the N1.1trillion worth of crude stolen with 18 unregistered vessels linked to APC interests, all of which the Buhari Presidency had refused to investigate despite demands by Nigerians.
“The PDP, therefore, insists that the decision of the APC-led administration to embrace subsidy now that oil price had crashed cannot foreclose the irretrievable demand for a forensic audit of all the fraudulent under-recoveries, through which funds meant for subsidy was diverted to private pockets of APC leaders.
“The PDP is also demanding a forensic audit of over-bloated 60 million litres of petrol that NNPC claimed it was importing under its former GMD, Dr. Maikanti Baru, to justify the fraudulent subsidy payout.
“The PDP urges the National Assembly to stand on the side of Nigerians, expose all those involved, who got what in this huge scam against our nation as well as take steps to recover the over N14trillion stolen by the cabal and certain APC leaders and channel same for the welfare of Nigerians especially at this critical time.”
COVID-19: RSG Distributes Foodstuffs To Vulnerable People
In order to cushion the effect of the stay-at-home directive to Rivers people to check the spread of coronavirus, the Rivers State Government, yesterday, commenced the distribution of foodstuffs to the downtrodden.
The Rivers State COVID-19 Palliative Committee set up by the governor, yesterday, distributed foodstuffs to the Home of the Elderly, Port Harcourt Children Home, Port Harcourt Remand Home and Cheshire Home.
Chairman of the Committee, Amb Desmond Akawor while speaking at some of the homes visited said that the distribution has nothing to do with politics.
He stated that all sections of the state would be reached.
He said “As you can see the members of the committee, we have the clergy men, security agencies and civil servants. These are people who will not want to associate themselves with the politics of the day.
“It is not in anyway to be political. Hunger does not know political parties. So, these materials are going to our people and whatever we do with God on our side we will ensure it gets to the targeted population.”
Inmates and managers of the homes that received the COVID-19 Palliatives of the Rivers State Government thanked Wike for remembering them at this point..
Matron, Port Harcourt Children Home, Mrs Gift Eke, thanked the government for remembering the children in the home at this trying time, and prayed for more wisdom for the governor.
The Matron, Cheshire Home, Mrs Stella Gbobo, appreciated the governor, and prayed that God should bless Rivers State Government and most, especially the governor who is in charge of the mandate for remembering the physical challenged.
Also speaking, the Matron, Home of the Elderly, Rev Sister MaryJane Raphael, appreciated the governor and his team, prayed God to give them gracious old age.
Mr. Omubo Gillis Harry, Warden, Port Harcourt Remand Home lauded the Rivers State Government for taking care of the less privileged.
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