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FG Appointing VCs To Rig Elections For APC, Wike Alleges

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The Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, says only compromised academics who are willing to submit names of politically exposed lecturers as returning officers to rig elections for the ruling party, are being appointed as Vice Chancellors of federal universities.
Wike, who warned vice chancellors and lecturers to be wary of attempts by some unscrupulous politicians to use them to manipulate elections, declared that those contemplating to rig elections in Rivers State will be treated as coup plotters.
He stated this during the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of 9,200-capacity ultra-modern convocation arena of the University of Port Harcourt by the Rivers State Government, yesterday.
Wike said it was worrisome that Nigeria has degenerated to the point where politicians now influence who becomes vice chancellor of a Federal Government-owned university for the purpose of rigging elections.
“Let me warn, not one person will dare to rig election in Rivers State. Not one person will dare it. I have told people, allow university community to produce those who will be leaders of this country. Don’t turn university community to be where you will have politicians who manipulate and change the mandate of the people. Anybody who does that, you know it is a coup and you know the punishment for coup plotters.”
The governor stressed that the reason why there is so much tussle these days on who becomes vice chancellor of federal universities, is because of political interference by extraneous forces.
He described as heartrending a situation whereby lecturers who are supposed to revered in society, wilfully compromise their integrity, just to become vice chancellor, who will afterwards be used to manipulate elections.
“These days, you see a lecturer, a PhD holder, a professor ready to soil his name, to allow himself to be kidnapped and taken somewhere to sign result and to declare somebody who did not win election winner.”
The governor enjoined desperate politicians in the ruling party not to dent the integrity of the university system because of their inordinate ambition.
Wike warned that any vice chancellor that allows himself to be used to rig election in Rivers State, should be prepared for the consequences of such hideous act.
“If you want to play politics with us, I will rub you mud. If you want to join us (politicians), openly come and join us. But if you want to hide under the university.”
The governor declared that 2023 general election will be completely different from the 2019 election which was manipulated by the ruling party, and insisted that attempts to prevent transmission to election results electronically will be resisted.
“INEC knows that they have to be prepared in 2023. And that is why we will resist any attempt for anybody to manipulate the amendment of the Electoral Act, to say that election results will not be transmitted electronically. That will not happen. If you want the vote of the people to count, the result must be transmitted electronically.”
Wike stated that as an alumnus of the University of Port Harcourt, his business is not to play politics in the university, but to see how he can contribute to the development of the institution.
He promised to complete a primary school building in the university that was abandoned by the previous administration for inexplicable reason.
The Acting Vice Chancellor of University of Port Harcourt, Prof Stephen Okodudu, commended Wike for consistently identifying with the ideals and aspiration of the university.
“You have continued to support the successive administrations of the university through donation of funds and provision of social infrastructure to give meaning to the lives of staff and students. I recall with nostalgia, that Your Excellency attracted then construction of the Faculties of Law and Social Sciences buildings while serving as the Hon. Minister of State for Education.”
The Chairman of the Governing Council of the University, Senator Andrew Uchendu, applauded Wike for laying the foundation for what will be the best, iconic convocation arena in West Africa.
Performing the inauguration of the new convocation arena, immediate past Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof Ndowa Lale said Wike decision to construct the new convocation arena was a further demonstration that he has a heart to add value to the institution.
He declared that history will be kind to Wike because he has deliberately worked conscientiously for public good.
Earlier, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Special Projects, George Kelly Alabo, had said 9,200-capacity convocation arena was going to have convertible compartments, offices, assembly hall, 750kva transformer, and would be completed in 14 months.
He further added, “This structure will not only be aesthetically pleasing, it will also be structurally sound.”

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Minister Blames Judiciary For Prisons’ Congestion

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The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has blamed the congestion in Nigeria’s correctional facilities on the country’s Judiciary, explaining that the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCOS) was not allowed by law to reject inmates sentenced to correctional centres or to release them.
Aregbesola, represented by Special Adviser on Nigerian Correctional Service, Suleiman Tala, stated this while delivering a paper at a policy advocacy conference entitled, “Decongestion of Correctional Centres: Status Quo”, organised as part of the 60th-anniversary celebration of the Order of The Knights of St Mulumba, Nigeria, Lagos Metropolitan Council, which was held in Lagos, adding that the primary responsibility of NCOS is to hold offenders pending the adjudication of their cases before a law court.
“It is important for the public to be aware that the NCOS and the Ministry of Interior are trying their best to tackle the issue from different angles as the length of time the inmates stay at the custodian centre is not determined by NCOS but by the justice system. I may not be able to reiterate exactly what the challenges are with the judiciary, however, as it affects the NCOS we are doing all we can not to compromise the traditional responsibility of the NCOS,” he stated.
Representing the Inspector General of Police, Baba Usman, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, accepted that the police contribute to the congestion but gave his reasons.
“Inconsistence of the appearance of police officers to give evidence at trials has been identified as one of the alleged causes of prolonging trial but the IGP has mandated officers must attend court cases as at when due. The police are being hampered by a high level of distrust between the citizens and their police institution,” he stated.
Also at the conference, Lagos State Catholic Archbishop, Alfred Adewale Martins, who was represented by Rev. Paschal Uwaezeapu, stated that decongestion of the prisons would continue to be a matter as long as the government has refused to fix the country.
“The prison would continue to be congested if we don’t fix the society. As long as our society is a place where everybody takes for himself without considering the neighbour then our prison would continue to be congested. If we need to fix the prison we need to fix the family. These prisoners come from a family. We need to fix the education system also. We need to promote justice, without all these, the prison will soon overflow,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the Lagos Metropolitan Grand Knight, KSM William Adebisi, urged the government to declare a state of emergency on the congestion of prisons.
“The government needs to take the matter seriously as it affects the health of the inmates, economy of the company and behavioural change of the inmates,” he stated.

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FG Seeks $3bn With Eurobond Offer

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The Federal Government has announced plans for a Eurobond issuance in the International Capital Market (ICM) to raise $3billion.
The Debt Management Office (DMO) said, yesterday, that Virtual meetings with investors have been scheduled for today, and September 20, 2021.
It said, “In order to avail local investors the opportunity to invest in the Eurobonds, meetings will also be held with local investors.
“This is the first time local investors will be included in the Roadshows, and this is one of the reasons why a Nigerian Bookrunner (Chapel Hill Denham Advisory Services Ltd) was appointed as one of the Transaction Advisers.
“Through the Eurobond issuance, Nigeria is expected to raise up to $3billion but no more than $6.2billion.”
According to the DMO, the issuance for which all statutory approvals have been received, would be to implement the New External Borrowing in the 2021 Appropriation Act and that “Proceeds are for the financing of various projects in the Act.”
The agency gave further insight, saying, “In addition to providing funding to part-finance the deficit in the 2021 Appropriation Act, the issuance of Eurobonds by Nigeria benefits the country in many other strategic ways; amongst which are: 1. It is an inflow of foreign exchange, leading to an increase in External Reserves.
“External Reserves help support the Naira Exchange Rate, and Nigeria’s sovereign rating.
“When Nigeria raises funds externally, through Eurobonds, it frees up space in the domestic market for private sector and sub-national borrowers. In effect, it helps the sovereign not to crowd out other borrowers in the domestic market.
“The issuance of Eurobonds by Nigeria has opened up opportunities for Nigeria’s corporate sector notably banks, to issue Eurobonds to raise capital in the ICM.
“By so doing, their capital base has been strengthened to provide banking services whilst also meeting regulatory requirements. Nigeria has a sovereign yield curve in the ICM, extending up to 30 years.
“The local listing of Nigeria’s Eurobonds on the Nigerian Exchange Ltd. and the FMDQ Securities Exchange Ltd., have increased the range of products on these two (2) exchanges and their respective market capitalization.
“Overall, Eurobond issuances by Nigeria and the investor meetings that precede the pricing have provided a strong global platform for Nigeria to tell its own story and opportunities available in Nigeria for investors.”
The Transaction Advisers appointed by Nigeria for the issuance were: International Bookrunners – JP Morgan, Citigroup Global Markets Limited; Joint Lead Managers -Standard Chartered Bank and Goldman Sachs; Nigerian Bookrunner – Chapel Hill Denham Advisory Services Ltd; Financial Adviser – FSDH Merchant Bank Ltd; while White & Case LLP, was appointed International Legal Adviser; and Banwo&Ighodalo would serve as Nigerian Legal Adviser.
The last time Nigeria accessed the ICM was November 2018.

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Insecurity: Put Nigeria First, FG Tells Media

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The Federal Government has tasked the media to put Nigeria first in the reportage of the country’s activities, particularly the fight against insecurity.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the call in Abuja during the ceremony of the renaming of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Headquarters Building after the former Managing Director and Board Chairman of NAN, late Wada Maida.
Mohammed said it may seem obvious and trite, but for any professional, including a journalist in Nigeria to be able to carry out his or her responsibility at all, the nation must first exist, in peace.
“In other words, if the country goes down, all professionals and everybody go down. It is that stark, and this is why I want to use this platform to appeal to our media to put Nigeria first”, Mohammed said.
Speaking further, the minister said if one picked up most newspapers, watched most television stations or listened to most radio stations in the country, one will be right to think Nigeria is a country at war.
While acknowledging that there were challenges in the country, especially in the area of security, Mohammed, however, said the Buhari administration had not only acknowledged the challenges, it is earnestly tackling the challenges.
“A good example is the decisive manner in which our gallant troops are tackling the banditry in the North-West or the way they are combating the terrorists in the North-East. Our security agencies have also successfully tackled the separatists in the South-East and South-West and the militants in the South-South. Unfortunately, these efforts have only been perfunctorily reflected in the reportage of the security challenges that we face. This is not only unfair, especially to those who are sacrificing their lives to keep us safe, it is unpatriotic.
“To illustrate the damage this non-acknowledgement of the efforts of the security agencies pose to the country, let me tell you what transpired when I recently hosted some members of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) UK Chapter, who visited me in my office here in Abuja. They said some of their colleagues who would have come to Nigeria for their programme tagged,‘A Week in and For Nigeria’ during the month of July, did not come out of fear of the security situation in Nigeria. However, those who made the trip said they travelled to their hometowns across the country and returned to Abuja safely. If Nigerians in the diaspora can be afraid to come to their country, imagine how foreigners, including investors and tourists, will feel about coming to the country.
“Whatever image problem Nigeria is suffering from today is mostly due to the unflattering portrayal of the country by the country’s media.
“Even when some media organisations report fake news, they never have the decency to retract such stories and apologise. They simply move on as if nothing has happened.
“We are not saying the media should not report on the security challenges we face. All we are saying is: Be fair and report accurately the efforts being made by the state and federal governments to tackle the challenges. Even if you don’t want to encourage the men and women in uniform fighting to keep us safe, please don’t discourage them with negative reporting. The security challenges we face today will be successfully tackled and Nigeria will not cease to exist, despite the antics of naysayers”, Mohammed added.
Mohammed congratulated the family, friends and associates of the late Maida for the great and much-deserved honour done to him.
He commended the management and staff of the NAN for coming up with the idea to immortalise the late Maida.
“The Federal Government’s decision to approve the proposal was not difficult, upon realising the role played by Alhaji Wada in making NAN the respectable agency that it is today. A man who was everything from Zonal Editor to Foreign Correspondent to Editor-in-Chief to Managing Director to Board Chairman, a man who built this glistening NAN headquarters edifice deserves to be immortalised by the organisation he served so well in his lifetime”, Mohammed stated.
Mohammed prayed that God will continue to comfort and strengthen the family of Maida, even as he prayed that the soul of the departed continues to rest in peace.

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