The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says construction of eight flyover bridges in Port Harcourt, alongside other critical infrastructure projects executed, are a mark of appreciation to Rivers people who steadfastly resisted attempts to use the Army and other security agencies to rig his government out of power in 2019.
Wike stated this at the flag-off of the 802meters’ long Orochiri/Wurukwo flyover bridge, made up of a deck span of 315meters, north and south side ramps of 238meters and 249meters, respectively in Port Harcourt, last Saturday.
“Why we are doing this is because you too played a role in bringing us to government. We also have to pay you back. Remember during the last election, how the Army and other security agencies tried to rig us out in that election. All of you here came out and resisted that. So, for us, having given us that privilege, we have no other choice but to give you good infrastructure.”
He explained that the construction of the Orochiri-Wurukwo flyover bridge at the intersection of Olu-Obasanjo Road and Port Harcourt-Aba Expressway junction was intended to address traffic jam that would arise when the construction work on the Rumuola and GRA Junction flyovers are completed.
Wike said that the reason why the eight flyover bridges have been awarded to construction giant, Julius Berger, was because of the company’s proven integrity, and his administration’s conviction that Rivers people deserve the best infrastructure.
He noted that people often complain about Julius Berger projects being expensive, but added that on the contrary, it was not so.
“I know a road that Julius Berger bided for, and one other company bided for that road. Julius Berger’s bid for that road was N14billion, and then, the other company, which I will not mention, bided for N6billion. Now, we said well, let’s give it to the company that offered a bid of N6billion. And we did not give Julius Berger. That was not my administration, but I was in the administration then. At the end of the day, we spent over N20billion in doing that work. So, from onset, if we had given it to Julius Berger, it would have been better for us, and that road is what we call Obiri Ikwerre Road.”
He appealed to motorists and commuters to bear the inconvenience they would experience throughout the duration of the construction of the eighth flyover.
Paris Club Refund: Suspicious N159bn Judgment Debts Worry NGF
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has engaged Femi Falana, SAN, to challenge the judgments awarding some “consultants and contractors” humongous shares of the Paris and London Club refunds received from the Federal Government by the various states and their local governments.
Falana, in a letter dated April 19, 2021, written to the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, on behalf of the NGF, requested that the plan to issue promissory notes to the purported creditors be suspended, in deference to the legal steps being taken to appeal against the judgments.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria’s letter is sequel to an earlier correspondence dated April 8 sent to the finance minister by a law firm, Ikechukwu Ezechukwu, SAN & Co, on behalf of one of the creditors, Ted Iseghoghi-Edwards.
Investigations on the controversial judgment debts have revealed that Iseghoghi-Edwards is laying claim to $159million for providing consultancy services to the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) to secure the Paris Club refund.
Findings show that a total of $418million judgment debts (about N159billion at the exchange rate of $1 to N380.5) has already been cleared for payment by influential officials of President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
It was gathered that those behind the desperate push for the payment are Chief of Staff, Prof Ibrahim Gambari, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and the finance minister.
They have concluded on paying the six creditors through the issuance of promissory notes to be funded from state governments’ allocations for 10 years.
It was learnt that the officials are pushing for the payment despite Mr President’s directive suspending it after the NGF raised an objection to it, and called for a forensic audit of the whole indebtedness.
The Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) has, on different occasions, written to the AGF, querying the claims by Iseghoghi-Edwards and a firm, Riok Nigeria Limited.
RSG Seeks Improved Media Partnership On Projects Delivery
The Rivers State Government has restated its commitment to partner with the media at all times in order to consolidate on the delivery of infrastructural development and good governance.
The state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim stated this, last Monday, in a keynote address at the 2021 Media Day, organised by the Rotary Club of Port Harcourt, District 9141 in Port Harcourt, with the theme, ‘Developing Media Infrastructure for Good Governance’.
“Using the various media infrastructure in which a wide range of debates take place and variety of viewpoints represented, the Rivers State Government led by Governor Nyesom Wike has continued to deliver projects that impact positively for the betterment of Rivers State and her people.
“Between last year and the whole of the first quarter of 2021, Rivers State was on the global map as eminent citizens of Nigeria joined the Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, to commission projects in eleven local government areas of the state.
“This unprecedented development coming at a time when most leaders were hiding under the cover of the Covid-19 pandemic to cover their ineptitude will surely remain legendary,” he noted.
Nsirim asserted that many social commentators across the country have opined with convictions that the only person who can realistically beat the impressive record is Governor Nyesom Wike himself, especially when the next phase of projects commissioning would commence, “which will unveil some of the most amazing and marvelous legacy infrastructural projects ever seen in Rivers State.
“Project commissioning has become synonymous with the Governor Wike’s administration in the last five years and even against the backdrop of the noisome buzzing of a jobless, fragmented and confused opposition in the state,” he said.
No Reasonable Govt’ll Allow Pantami In Cabinet, Wike Mocks Buhari
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, should resign from office, irrespective of his recent volte-face on his previous support for extremist groups.
The governor noted that in an ideal society, an allegation that the United States of America has placed a serving minister on its watch list as regards to terrorism, should jolt any government into action.
He stated this during an interview with the African Independent Television (AIT) in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, yesterday.
“If it was really where a government is working, if an American government says your minister is on a watch list, it calls for concern for you say look there is a problem. The moment a high government official is on a watch list as to regards to terrorism, no government can fold its hands and allow it.”
Wike, said the minister ought to have resigned from the government immediately the information about his extremist views in support of terror groups became a matter of public discourse.
The governor described as worrisome the decision of the Federal Government to remain mute amidst the raging controversy about the minister’s sympathy for global terrorist groups.
“I don’t understand why a reasonable government will allow such a person to be in the cabinet.”
The governor noted that the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government was known for its proclivity to shield persons of questionable characters, even when the country’s secret service presents overwhelming evidence against such individuals.
“But you were here when DSS wrote a report against (Ibrahim) Magu. What happened? Look, I have never seen a country that your secret service wrote a report about the nominee of Mr President, questioning his character and the rest, and that he is not appointable. What happened? So, what are you talking about? What removed Magu is power play.”
Wike also took a swipe at the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for not taking stern disciplinary action against former Governor of Niger State, Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, who recently claimed he conspired with others to ensure that President Goodluck Jonathan lost the 2015 presidential election.
“If I was the leadership of the party, I would have suspended Aliyu for that comment he made. But, you see nothing will happen. The National Working Committee will not do anything. Why? They need Aliyu to support them.
“I cannot understand why you are a leader; so, to speak, you come out and tell the world why you fought your party. I have never seen a thing like that in my life. Assuming you did it, you now want to rub it on them, and that nothing will happen.”
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