The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has lauded his Benue State counterpart, Governor Samuel Ortom, for standing firmly to defend his people against terrorist herdsmen and dismiss claims he was leaving the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Wike maintained that nothing depicts failure of governance than the inability of any government saddled with responsibility of protecting lives and property to do so.
He stated this during the commissioning of some the road projects constructed by Ortom in Makurdi and Guma local government areas of Benue State, yesterday.
Wike said he was not surprised that Ortom was fulfilling his pledge to provide dividends of democracy like the 41-kilometer road linking Makurdi and Guma LGAs, to the people of Benue State despite efforts by terrorists plot to destabilise the state.
“We must fight against injustice in the country. Ortom is not one of those governors who will shy away from standing for the truth. Ortom stood firm when his people were being killed. The major cardinal of governance is protection of life and property. If you cannot protect life of your people and property, governance is zero.”
Wike stated that because Ortom stood firm to speak against abandonment of his people by the Federal Government, he was bullied and intimidated by his former party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Rivers State governor used the occasion to dismiss insinuation that Ortom was on the verge of defecting from the Peoples Democratic Party to the APC.
“Today, in this country, there is total insecurity and then people are telling you Ortom is moving. To where he nearly died? Who digs his grave? Does any man dig his grave? God brought him out of the wilderness. When he was longing, seeking for shelter and water to drink and God provided him a platform. And after he had suffered and brought his people back from the wilderness, then some people are coming to say he is coming backing. Coming back to where?”
Wike described Ortom as a man of character who had passed through difficulties in his political career in a bid to defend and protect his people, which is the essence of governance.
“I knew what happened, and you stood firm to show that this is the type of leadership we need in this country and that is why your people can come back today to start rebuilding where the terrorists came to destroy.
“My coming here to support you is not only because we are friends, but because I cannot stand injustice. Whether anybody likes it or not, I will continue in my life to fight injustice because nobody is a third class citizen of this county. All of us have equal rights in this country, so, let nobody be deceived that there are people who are born to be first class and there are people who were born to be third class.”
On his part, Governor Samuel Ortom explained that at a very critical moment in Benue history, Wike demonstrated friendship by speaking out against the neglect of the state, and donated N200million to support internally displaced persons.
“When we were attacked by terrorist herdsmen and militia groups coming to invade our land and to take over in the name of cattle rearing and we saw it and stood up against it. Governor Wike, was with us. He spoke out when others shied away from speaking the truth and speaking against the injustice that was being meted out against us. Governor Wike stood against the injustice.
“When eventually we have IDPS and were crying every day, looking for food to give them, looking for shelter, looking for medication and other needs, Governor Wike stood up. He could have sent someone, but he came here, in Benue state and donated the sum of N200 million. For him to spare N200million to support IDPS in Benue State in distress, it a thing we will never forget.”
The governor said all those who share in the same aspiration of fighting against injustice; fighting for equity, transparency and fairness must come together to save the country.
“Security is a challenge, the economy is a problem to every one of us and we are all affected. Politically, nothing is defined in such a way that we can sleep with our two eyes closed and trust each other. It is unfortunate that we have gotten ourselves to where we are. But, God will not come from heaven and turn around things. It is we, Nigerians that must find a way of solving the problems we have, and that is why some of us will continue to say that there is need for a kind of dialogue.
“There is a need for Nigerians to sit together and look at where we are and see what can be done to correct the imbalance that we have today in our economy, in our security and political. Something is wrong. There is no doubt about that and we must find a way of correcting that.”
Ortom lauded Wike for coming to his rescue when he was in distress in the APC.
He explained that the Rivers State governor stood by him, and persuaded the stakeholders in Benue PDP to accommodate him.
“When I was in distress in my former political party, I did not what to do and I went to him he stood with me and rose up and spoke to the stakeholders to say look this young man must not be abandoned because he stood for his people. Wike came here himself with leaders of PDP, discussed with stakeholders of the party in Benue State and brought me into the PDP and today I am a governor.”
Trans-Kalabari Road: Banigo, Stakeholders Condemn Abduction Of Expatriate
Kalabari traditional rulers and stakeholders have condemned the recent abduction of an expatriate staff of Lubric Construction Company working on the Trans-Kalabari Road.
Speaking at a meeting at the Government House in Port Harcourt, last Friday, Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo said she was deeply pained by the unfortunate incident carried out by unknown miscreants.
According to the deputy governor, who said that the State Chief Executive Officer, Nyesom Wike, was desirous to bring more development projects to Kalabari Kingdom, regretted that this act was capable of discouraging him.
“I want to reiterate that our governor is very desirous to do more developmental projects in our communities, there are many more things he has in the card to do for us, and if we allow this ugly thing to surface, that attitude will discourage him”, the deputy governor noted.
Banigo, who said that perpetrators of the heinous crime did not drop from the sky, insisted that they were community people, and must be fished out and dealt with decisively, while calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the abductee.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority, Chief Ferdinand Alabraba, expressed regrets that a project as important as the Trans-Kalabari Road would be tampered with by persons who do not mean well for the Kalabari people.
“If their intention is to run down the good works of our dear governor, over a project which the Kalabari people have been yearning for over the years, then, I am sure God Almighty will not allow them to get away with this dastardly act of kidnapping one expatriate”, Alabraba stressed.
Alabraba further said, “It is important that we talk to ourselves and ensure that everything possible is done to ensure immediate release of the victim, and ensure that measures are put in place to forestall this type of thing in the future”.
Presenting a seven-point communique, Amanyanabo of Minama, King Iboroma Talbot Pokubo, who represented the Amanyanabo of Abonnema, King Disreal Gbobo Bobmanuel, demanded for the immediate and unconditional release of the expatriate, and reassured Governor Wike of their unwavering support for the governor.
Buhari Approves Incorporation Of NNPC, Appoints Board Members
President Muhammadu Buhari, has directed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited be incorporated.
He also approved the appointment of the Board and Management of the NNPC Limited with Senator Ifeanyi Ararume as chairman.
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Mele Kyari, was appointed chief executive officer.
This was contained in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, saying that the president acted in accordance with the Petroleum Industry Act 2021.
The statement read, “President Muhammadu Buhari, in his capacity as Minister of Petroleum Resources, has directed the incorporation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited.
“This is in consonance with Section 53(1) of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, which requires the Minister of Petroleum Resources to cause for the incorporation of the NNPC Limited within six months of commencement of the Act in consultation with the Minister of Finance on the nominal shares of the company.
“The Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr Mele Kolo Kyari, has, therefore, been directed to take necessary steps to ensure that the incorporation of the NNPC Limited is consistent with the provisions of the PIA 2021.
“Also, by the power vested in him under Section 59(2) of the PIA 2021, President Buhari has approved the appointment of the Board and Management of the NNPC Limited, with effect from the date of incorporation of the company.
“Chairman of the board is Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, while Mele Kolo Kyari and Umar I. Ajiya are chief executive officer, and chief financial officer, respectively.
“Other board members are; Dr Tajudeen Umar (North-East); Mrs Lami O. Ahmed (North-Central); Mallam Mohammed Lawal (North-West); Senator Margaret Chuba Okadigbo (South-East), Barrister Constance Harry Marshal (South-South); and Chief Pius Akinyelure (South-West).”
Reject Buhari’s Fresh Loan Request, SERAP Tells NASS
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan; and Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila; to reject the fresh request by President Muhammadu Buhari, to borrow $4billion and €710million.
SERAP said if such request must be granted, the Federal Government should publish details of spending of all loans obtained since May 29, 2015.
The group also expressed fear that if the fresh request is granted, it may take Nigeria’s to over N35trillion.
Buhari recently sought the approval of the National Assembly to borrow $4,054,476,863 and €710million, on the grounds of “emerging needs.”
The request was contained in a letter dated August 24, 2021.
In an open letter dated September 18, 2021, and signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation expressed “concerns about the growing debt crisis, the lack of transparency and accountability in the spending of loans that have been obtained, and the perceived unwillingness or inability of the National Assembly to vigorously exercise its constitutional duties to check the apparently indiscriminate borrowing by the government.”
SERAP said, “The National Assembly should not allow the government to accumulate unsustainable levels of debt, and use the country’s scarce resources for staggering and crippling debt service payments rather than for improved access of poor and vulnerable Nigerians to basic public services and human rights.
“The country’s public debt has mushroomed with no end in sight. The growing national debt is clearly not sustainable. There has been no serious attempt by the government to cut the cost of governance. The leadership of the National Assembly ought to stand up for Nigerians by asserting the body’s constitutional powers to ensure limits on national debt and deficits.
“Should the National Assembly and its leadership fail to rein in government borrowing, and to ensure transparency and accountability in the spending of public loans, SERAP would consider appropriate legal action to compel the National Assembly to discharge its constitutional duties.
“SERAP notes that if approved, the country’s debts will exceed N35trillion. The government is also reportedly pushing the maturity of currently-secured loans to between 10 and 30 years. N11.679trillion is reportedly committed into debt servicing, while only N8.31trillion was expended on capital/development expenditure between 2015 and 2020.
“Ensuring transparency and accountability in the spending of loans by the government and cutting the cost of governance would address the onerous debt servicing, and improve the ability of the government to meet the country’s international obligations to use maximum available resources to ensure the enjoyment of basic economic and social rights, such as quality healthcare and education”, SERAP added.
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