The Rivers State House of Assembly, yesterday, passed and approved the state’s Medium Term Expenditure Framework 2021 to 2023.
It also announced formal plans by the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, to present the 2021 budget, today.
This follows a letter from the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, to the House for the approval of the MTEF 2021 to 2023.
The Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Martin Amaewhule, who led the debate on the floor of the House, said the state Medium Term Expenditure Framework 2021 to 2023 was in line with the state’s Fiscal Responsibility Law of 2010.
The Speaker, Rt. Hon Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, in his submission, said the MTEF would have positive impact in the state.
As part of plans to present the state’s 2021 Appropriation Bill to the House, the Rivers State Executive Council had after a meeting, last Monday, approved a budget proposal of N478, 660, 773, 476 for 2021 fiscal year.
The Commissioner for Finance, Hon Isaac Kamalu, who briefed journalists after the meeting, at the Banquet Hall of Government House, Port Harcourt, said the proposed budgetary estimate would help government to accomplish all ongoing projects in the state, and also enable the government to make life better for the people.
Kamalu, who is also supervises the state Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, said the council further approved the Medium Term Expenditure Framework for the state for 2021-2023.
Also addressing the journalists, the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, said that the council further approved a budget for the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC).
The budget would enable the state electoral umpire to conduct the 2021 Local Government Elections tentatively in April.
According to him, a total sum of N2, 747, 351, 405.13 was approved for RSIEC, which is expected to conduct the local government election in line with 1999 Constitution.
Nsirim further said that the council also approved the construction of a new motor park within the precinct of the newly commissioned Rebisi Flyover, which is intended to curb activities of illegal park operators in that axis.
“This is in line with the urban renewal vision of His Excellency. Recall that the new Rebisi Flyover Bridge that was commissioned a few weeks ago has changed the landscape and skyline in that vicinity.
“And to ensure that the illegal motor parks around the flyover do not deface the aesthetics that have been achieved, government is acquiring land near the flyover bridge to build a befitting motor park for them”, he added.
Nkanga’s Death Has Left A Void In N’Delta, Wike Laments
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike says the untimely death of Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) Chairman, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (rtd) has dealt a severe blow to Niger Delta struggle.
Wike made this assertion when he visited the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Emmanuel Udom at the Government House, Uyo, yesterday, to commiserate with him over the death of Nkanga and the state Chairman of PDP, Udo Ekpenyong.
The Rivers State governor said the death of the PANDEF chairman has created a deep void in the agitation for restructuring of Nigeria in line with the principle of true federalism.
“The PANDEF chairman stood for the struggle of the Niger Delta, restructuring of this country. As Rivers people, we are all from Niger Delta. We face the same problems. So, if anything happens to Akwa Ibom State, it also affects Rivers State. We have lost a voice. Whether anybody likes it or not. We have lost a voice.”
Wike, who described the death of both the PANDEF and PDP chairmen as painful, urged Udom and the people of Akwa Ibom State to take solace in God over the death of these two great sons of the state.
In appreciation of the immense contribution of the late PANDEF chairman to the Niger Delta struggle, Wike said Rivers State Government will collaborate with Akwa Ibom State Government to support his family and accord him a befitting funeral.
“My brother, we will support you to sustain the family. We will support you for the burial of the late PANDEF chairman. Rivers State Government will want to be fully involved in whatever it takes to give him a befitting burial.”
Wike, also lamented the abrupt death of Ekpenyong who was just recently elected chairman of the party in the state.
In his response, the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Emmanuel Udom, thanked Wike and Rivers State delegation for standing by the people of Akwa Ibom in their moment of grief.
Udom said the death of Nkanga, who was the Director General of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s Divine Mandate Campaign organisation 2015 and 2019, was emotionally devastating to him and the people of the state.
“He was my DG for both first term and second term. For somebody who had been your director general for first and second term, you know the man must have proven that high level of loyalty and integrity.
“What he doesn’t say in front of you, he will never say it behind you. He was that man at that level of integrity, character.”
He urged the governors of the South-South states to collaborate with the Akwa Ibom Government to give Nkanga a befitting funeral next month.
Udom, who described death as a mystery that only God understands, said he was saddened about the death of his state party chairman, who according to him epitomizes loyalty.
“In fact, my party chairman when they are introducing him, they use to call him Mr Loyalty. He was that loyal to our party. He had served the party at the national level; he started serving the party at the state level. If you want any definition for loyalty, just look for Udo Ekpenyong.”
NSCDC Uncovers 119 Gallons Of Adulterated AGO In Rivers
The Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Rivers State, Commandant Muktar Lawal says the command has uncovered an illegal dump of 119 25-liter gallons of adulterated AGO, and arrested one suspect, saying that the Special Anti-Vandal Team which specialised in identifying illegal dumps in the state, was responsible for the discovery and arrest.
A statement signed by the spokesperson of the command, Assistant Commandant Oguntuase Michael, and made available to The Tide said that at about 1500hrs on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, the anti-vandal team arrested a suspect, one Mr. Ezike Shoke, with a Volkswagen Jetta car loaded with suspected illegally-refined AGO, in gallons (25liters), 56 in number at an illegal dump situated at number 34 Arochukwu Street, Rumumasi in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state.
According to the statement, the illegal dump where the suspected products were seized was situated at a residential area making it unacceptable and dangerous for residents of the area due to the adverse health effects it poses to the people.
The statement also said that 57 empty gallons found at the crime scene were seized while investigation is ongoing to arrest all the fleeing gang members who are connected to the dastardly act.
He said that when they are arrested, they would be charged to court.
RSG Orders Civil Servants To Stay-At-Home
The Rivers State Government has directed civil servants on salary grade levels 01 to 13 to stay-at-home to check the spread of a spike in the second wave of the novel Covid-19 pandemic.
The state government’s position was made clear in a statement signed by the state Head of Service, Barrister Rufus Godwins, in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The statement, copied to the Secretary to the State Government, the Chief of Staff, Rivers State Government House, all honourable commissioners, all chairmen of commissions, all permanent secretaries, the accountant general, the auditors-general of state and local government, the surveyor-general, all special advisers and senior special assistants, all heads of non-ministerial and extra-ministerial departments, the clerk, Rivers State House of Assembly, and the Rivers State Liaison officers, Lagos and Abuja, with reference number: A.779/Vol.11/156, and dated January 19, 2021, was titled, “Stay-At-Home Directive for Officers on Salary Grade Levels 01 – 13 due to Covid-19 Pandemic Second Wave”.
The statement reads, “Following the current hike in the incidence of the Covid-19 pandemic due to the second wave of the virus, the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, has directed all civil servants on salary grade levels 01 -13, except those on indispensable essential duties to stay away from duty forthwith, while officers from grade levels 14 and above should be on duty, and assume full responsibilities for their offices until further notice.
“Accordingly, all permanent secretaries, and heads of extra-ministerial officers should ensure compliance with this directive within the strict context of the Covid-19 Protocols. This directive, which takes effect from Wednesday, January 20, 2021, shall remain in force until His Excellency, directs otherwise, please.”
By: Susan Serekara-Nwikhana
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