The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says the Federal Government has been playing politics with the Ogoni environment remediation programme recommended by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
He noted that Ogoni, having played a pivotal role in the economic development of Rivers State and the country, deserves more than what was currently being offered to the area.
Wike stated this during the commissioning of the 16.06kilometers dual carriage Saakpenwa-Bori Highway by the Governor of Enugu State, Dr. Ifeanyichukwu Ugwuanyi in Bori, Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State, yesterday.
The governor urged Ogoni people to stop believing those who use Ogoni clean-up exercise at the turn of election year to deceive them, and wondered why clean-up never happens when elections are over.
“I am not like the Federal Government. They promised you they will do Ogoni clean-up. Has it been cleaned? I promised you road, have I done it? So, you can see the difference between our party and their own party. The difference is clear.
“When election comes in 2023, they will start another clean-up. You people don’t even ask question. Why is it a year to election that Ogoni clean-up will always commence? Now, that there is no election, are they doing clean-up now? Watch from next year, they will start clean-up.”
Wike said it has remained undisputed that only the governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were delivering development projects to their people.
The governor challenged those who feel uncomfortable with his public declarations to also showcase their projects and invite persons of repute to commission them as he has done since December.
He stated that because of the existing mutual trust between his leadership team and the people, sufficient progress have been achieved in Ogoni land and in the entire state in terms of project delivery.
Wike announced the commencement of the phase two of the newly commissioned road, which will now be from Bori to Kono, adding that contract for the project would be awarded to the same construction firm, CCECC, which handled the first phase.
“Let me tell you, I will dualise from here, Bori to Kono. It will be handled by the same contractor to maintain the same standard.
“So, when I finish and go, I will tell Ogoni people that it was in my tenure that you got road; dualised road, from Saakpenwa to Kono with streetlights.
“This is what we call development. You can leave Port Harcourt and come back home any day, any time. This is what makes a city.
“When I say Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors are doing well, people are angry. If they are doing well, let them call us. Is it hidden?
“PDP governors, we are challenging others, tell us what you’re doing. It is not to take money to go and buy one governor. That’s not it. We are talking about governors that are interested in the development of their people. We are commissioning projects.”
Wike said he promised and within the specified period, he had delivered to them what he promised to demonstrate that his party was different from others associated with failed promises.
The governor further directed the chairman of Khana Local Government Area to ensure that the installed streetlights were switched on every night to improve the security situation in the area.
In his remarks, the Enugu State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyichukwu Ugwuanyi, acknowledged that many projects have been inaugurated by Governor Wike, including the Saakpenwa-Bori Road, which was a campaign promise that has been fulfilled.
“Today’s event is significant as it epitomises the desirable fellowship among colleague governors while providing opportunity for experience sharing and other discourses on service delivery.
“I congratulate His Excellency, Governor Nyesom Wike on the accomplishment of this infrastructural milestone, among many others, which will undoubtedly make life more meaningful for the people of Ogoni land.
“I understand that this strategic road project was a campaign promise that has been truthfully fulfilled. Expectedly, it gladdens the hearts of Ogoni people and reinforces their faith in our constitutional democracy.
“I enjoin the good people of Ogoni land and entire Rivers State to continue to support Governor Wike with their prayers and wise counsel as he takes Rivers State to the next level.”
In their goodwill messages, former President of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Barrister Ledum Mitee, said several governors used the road as point of political campaigns, but all failed to fulfil such promises.
He said if the money wasted on the abandoned monorail by the immediate past administration was properly channelled, more flyovers and roads would have been achieved in the state.
Similarly, the President of KAGOTE, Hon Emma Deeyaah, said Governor Nyesom Wike has wiped away their tears and solved the nightmare situation that the road caused the people.
President of Gbokabari, Senator Ben Birabi, noted that such quality of roads was hardly delivered in Ogoni land, and said the governor has re-energised the spirit of freedom in the state and performed above expectations despite the lean financial resources.
Also speaking, the Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Hon Elloka Tasie-Amadi, said again, the Wike-led administration has demonstrated commitment in delivering long-term service projects that would enhance the socio-economic life of the people.
“This project is a 16.06km dual carriage way, with a 2m wide concrete median, an overall road width of 22.3m, drainage network of 12.02km, 480 double arm streetlight poles complete with transformers and generators to power the streetlights.
“It used to be a deplorable 7.3m wide road but what we have today is three times wider than it was then. If we were to stretch this road into a single carriage way, it would stretch from here all the way to Kono, a distance of about 36km from Saapkenwa. This is excluding the added mileage we would achieve by converting the concrete median and street lighting to asphalt pavement”, he added.
Court Orders FG To Pay Rivers $1,114,551,610; A’Ibom $2,258,411,586
The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja and presided over by Hon. Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo has ordered the Federal Government to pay Rivers State $1,114,551,610.00 and Akwa Ibom State $2,258,411,586.00, respectively.
The money is entitlements of Rivers and Akwa Ibom states, based on the subsisting decision of the Supreme Court over production sharing contracts arising from the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts.
Taiwo delivered the judgment in Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/174/2021filed by the Attorney General of Rivers State and Attorney General of Akwa Ibom State against the Attorney General of the Federation.
It would be recalled that in 2016, Rivers, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom states, through their Attorneys-General, had sued the Federal Government, represented by the Attorney General of the Federation at the Supreme Court in Suit No: SC.964/2016, seeking a declaration that there is a statutory obligation imposed on the Defendant (the Federal Government) pursuant to Section 16(1) of the Deep Offshore Inland Basin Production Sharing Act, Cap.D3 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, to adjust the share of the Federation in the additional revenue accruing under the Production Sharing Contracts if the price of crude oil at any time exceeds $20.00 per barrel.
The states had asked the court to declare that the failure of the Defendant to accordingly adjust the share of the Government of the Federation in the additional revenue in the Production Sharing Contracts (variously approved by the Defendant) following the increase of price of crude oil in excess of 20.00 per barrel in real terms, constitute a breach of the said Section 16(1) of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act, and has therefore, affected the total revenue accruing to the Federation, and consequently, the total statutory allocation accruing to the Plaintiffs by virtue of the provisions of Section 162 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.
The three oil producing states further prayed the court to issue a consequential order compelling the Defendant to adjust the share of the Government of the Federation in the additional revenue under all the Production Sharing Contracts in Nigeria’s oil industry within the Inland Water Basin Deep Offshore areas as approved by the Defendant from the respective times the price of crude oil exceeded $20.00 per barrel in real terms and to calculate in arrears with effect from August, 2003, and recover and pay immediately all outstanding statutory allocations due and payable to the Plaintiffs arising from the said adjustments.
It would be recalled that at the Supreme Court, the Attorney-General of the Federation opted for an out of court settlement, and consequently, terms of settlement were duly drawn up by the parties and entered as the judgment of the court.
The judgment specifically stated that the reliefs in the amended Originating Summons relating to the larger interest of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the entire citizenry of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be diligently implemented.
It was also agreed that the Attorney General of the Federation, working jointly with the Plaintiffs should undertake to immediately set up a body and the necessary mechanism for recovery of all lost revenue accruing to the Federation Account in the past and up till the date of full recovery and accruing in future or an acceptable instalmental payments thereof within 90 days next from the date of execution of these presents or its being made judgment of the court.
Following the judgment of the Supreme Court and in compliance therewith the Attorney General of the Federation, the Defendant, constituted a body to determine the respective liabilities including the amount due to oil mineral producing states as derivation proceeds.
The report of that body stated among others that Rivers and Akwa Ibom states were entitled to $1,114,551,610.00 and $2,258,411,586.00, respectively, as derivation proceeds.
However, Attorney General of the Federation, without recourse to the governments of Rivers and Akwa Ibom states, unilaterally claimed to have settled with International Oil Companies (IOCs).
It was gathered that this unilateral action on the part of the Attorney General of the Federation as the Defendant in the judgment of the Supreme Court that led Rivers and Akwa Ibom states, to fill the suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Based on the suit filed by the state, the Federal High Court presided over by Hon. Justice Taiwo Taiwo, declared that Rivers and Akwa Ibom states were entitled to $1,114,551,610.00 and $2,258,411,586.00, respectively, as derivation proceeds.
The court also awarded a post judgment interest of 10 per cent in favour of the Plaintiffs until the final liquidation of the judgment.
Declare State Of Emergency On National Assets, Experts Tell Buhari
Against the backdrop of challenges facing national assets across the country, the Association of Facilities Management Practitioners of Nigeria (AFMPN), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari, to declare state of emergency on public infrastructure.
The call was made by AFMPN President, Collins Osayamwen, in an interview with newsmen, while speaking on the new vista his leadership has opened for the association to play a strategic and critical role as a professional body charged with the responsibility of maintaining and managing public infrastructure if the bill at the National Assembly was passed into law and assented to by Buhari in order for Nigerians to enjoy public assets.
However, Osayamwen pointed out that public infrastructure has not been given the desired attention over the years as a result of not giving recognition to professional facilities managers who government needs to collaborate with to maintain critical national assets worth billions of Naira.
He said, “It is evidently clear that our public infrastructure is in a state of emergency and the government needs to declare a state of emergency in order to rescue our public infrastructure from total collapse.
“The reason for lack of maintenance of our infrastructure is not far-fetched.
“It is because, in Nigeria, the profession that is saddled with the responsibility of looking after the built environment does not exist in the list of professionals that constitute the building team.
“We are seriously concerned about the deplorable state and deficit of public infrastructure in Nigeria. In 2012, the Infrastructure Council of Regulatory Commission (ICRC), alluded that $12billion to $15billion was required annually for the next five to six years to bridge the infrastructure deficit gaps in Nigeria.
“It is worthy of note that if these figures are anything to go by, the situation should have become worse by now, nine years later.”
He also explained that in the built environment, architects are responsible for conceptualisation, design and supervision of the project; the Structural, Mechanical and Electrical Engineers and even the IT engineers are responsible for design and construction of the building systems; the building engineer carries out the physical construction of the building.
“Now, let’s examine the role of these professionals. They all perform a certain function and they leave the site once their assignment is completed. Not even one of the professions listed above is trained to look after the building. Once the building is commissioned, they all leave the site for a new project.
“Unfortunately, all the activities carried out in the building up till the stage of completion is less than 20 per cent of the life cycle cost.
“The remaining on-going activities and cost of over 80 per cent is operations and maintenance cost and activities.
“This critical stage in a building life cycle is often neglected, hence, the poor state of our infrastructure. I cannot overemphasize the role of the facilities management practitioners in managing our built environment,” he stated.
According to him, the main reason Nigeria has not been able to maintain her infrastructure is because “the profession responsible for maintenance is not yet recognised for its strategic role in Nigeria as a profession and Facility Management profession is not recognised as a member of the built environment practitioners.
“Maintenance starts from the design stage of a facility. It requires painstaking planning, scheduling, budgeting, sustainable programme management and implementation of maintenance technologies, and others.
“It takes more than culture to effectively and efficiently maintain a facility. It requires time, money, and experience to maintain infrastructure,” he added.
Flood Ravages NASS As Senate Confirms New COAS
There was a downpour in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, yesterday morning, leaving several parts of the National Assembly Complex flooded.
The central lobby at the ‘White House’ section of the building, which adjoins the Senate and House of Representatives chambers, was flooded.
Other areas affected include the third and last gate to the premises as well as the road linking the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to the National Assembly.
The Senate had resumed plenary, yesterday, while the House is to resume on June 28, 2021, as the National Assembly returns from a mid-term break.
At the lobby, workers of the two private firms engaged for cleaning services at the complex were busy mopping the floor while it rained.
Water could be seen dropping from several points on the famous green roof.
Some senators watched as the workers struggle to keep the floor dry.
During the plenary, the Senate confirmed the appointment of Maj-Gen Farouk Yahaya as the new Chief of Army Staff.
The Red Chamber took the decision after the consideration of the report of its Joint Committee on Defence and Army led by Senators Aliyu Wamakko and Ali Ndume.
Earlier, the President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, had on June 2, referred the request of President Muhammadu Buhari for Yahaya’s confirmation to the committee.
The Defence Committee, which is chaired by Wamakko, was mandated to be the lead panel to screen the newly appointed Army chief.
Yahaya was appointed to replace Lt-Gen Ibrahim Attahiru, who died in a plane crash with 10 other military officers while on an official trip to Kaduna State, last month.
Until his appointment, Yayaha was the Theatre Commander of Operation Hadin Kai, the counter-insurgency operation in the North-East.
Meanwhile, at the House, the downpour delayed legislative activities as several committees which had scheduled the meetings and hearings for the morning were forced to delay the events, as several workers and guests were said to have been trapped in their vehicles.
For instance, the House Committee on Disabilities, which was to begin an investigative hearing on ‘The Need to Investigate the Alleged Violation of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act by the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria and Private Airline Operators’ at 11am had to commence the event at about 12:15pm.
Also, the House Committees on Communications; Justice; Information and Culture; and National Security and Intelligence, which were to hold an investigative hearing on the recent ban placed on Twitter by the Federal Government shifted the event from 10am to 1pm.
By: Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja
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