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Experts probe plastic bottles’ chemical link to ill-health



There is growing concern over the use of plastics for food and water packaging following studies linking plastic container’s chemical, Bisphenol-A (BPA), to degenerative diseases. More worrisome is the call for a ban on the use of plastic containers containing the chemical. CHUKWUMA MUANYA reports.

IN recent times there have been several reports on the effect on health of a chemical used in making plastic bottles, especially baby feeding bottles.

The chemical, Bisphenol-A (BPA), shown to be a hormone disrupter has been linked to serious health problems like breast cancer, reproductive and neurological abnormalities.

Indeed, BPA is widely used to make polycarbonate plastics such as those in the baby bottles, water bottles and compact discs resistant to shattering, and is an ingredient in the resins used to line food cans. The chemical has been shown to leach into food or water, however, and a number of studies, mostly on rodents, have linked it to disruptions of the hormonal and nervous systems.

Research has shown, however, that the chemical mimics the hormone estrogens in the body, and studies have implicated it in reproductive and developmental defects, including abnormalities of the brain and prostate. The United States (U.S.) National Institutes of Health has also expressed concern BPA might lead to behavioural changes in children and infants.

A school of thought argues that most of the studies were conducted in animal models and trace amount of the chemical is not harmful, put recent researches suggest that the same effect is possible in humans even in trace quantity.

In the first direct evidence that BPA can be harmful to primates, the chemical was observed to produce neurological problems in monkeys. Researchers in a study conducted by researchers from Yale School of Medicine, United States, and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences write: “Our findings suggest that exposure to low-dose BPA may have widespread effects on brain structure and function.”

These recent findings have put food regulatory agencies around the world on alert. The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration (NAFDAC), when contacted by The Guardian said it is on alert and is monitoring the situation.

NAFDAC’s Director of Enforcement, Alhaji Hashim Ubale Yusuf told The Guardian: “We are working with the Federal Ministry of Environment at the moment and we are going to come out with a joint statement. We are on alert on BPA containing plastics and we are keeping a data base.”

According to the Associated Press report, the California State Senate has voted for the second year in a row to ban the manufacturing, sale or distribution of children’s food and drink containers that contain the chemical BPA.

Lawmakers voted 21-16 last Tuesday to approve a bill by Democratic Sens. Fran Pavley of Agoura Hills and Carol Liu of Pasadena. A similar measure passed the Senate last year but died in the Assembly.

The proposal would prohibit the use of more than a trace amount of BPA in food and drink containers designed for children age three and under. BPA is commonly used in making plastics and resins.

Animal studies indicate it interferes with infant hormone levels. The FDA has found that trace amounts of the chemical are not dangerous.

Also, the U.S. state of Connecticut has signed into law a bill banning the use of BPA from baby bottles and infant food containers.

The law, passed late last week and due to go in to effect in October 2011, received bi-partisan support in the state legislature in the wake mounting concern over inclusion of the chemical in food packaging, particularly for babies and children. The legislation also outlawed BPA use in reusable food and beverage containers.

Opponents of BPA say it can act as an endocrine disruptor and has been linked to a range of illnesses including heart disease and cancer.

However, the move was condemned by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), which said the ban was imposed in the face of what the body described as “worldwide consensus among regulatory agencies that BPA can be safely used in food contact products”.

The ACC said: “The law does not promote health or safety. It hurts Connecticut businesses that can no longer manufacture these highly valued products and Connecticut consumers who will no longer find them on store shelves.”

In the most current study, researchers exposed monkeys to BPA levels that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ruled safe for humans. “Our goal was to more closely mimic the slow and continuous conditions under which humans would normally be exposed to BPA,” researcher Csaba Leranth said.

The monkeys went on to develop mood disorders and irregular brain function. The U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Toxicology Programme recently reaffirmed its findings that current research supports concerns over BPA’s effects on the developing brains and endocrine systems of infants and children.

The National Toxicology Programme has no ability to regulate the chemical, however, and can only make recommendations to the EPA and United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA continues to classify BPA as safe, basing its ruling only on the findings of two industry-funded studies.

“Unfortunately the regulatory agency charged with protecting the public health continues to rely on industry-based research to arrive at its conclusions, rather than examining the totality of scientific evidence,” said Rep. John D. Dingell, chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is investigating the FDA’s treatment of the BPA issue.

The Washington Post reports that after years of insisting BPA posed no threat to the health of babies, six larger manufacturers of baby bottles have announced they will stop shipping new baby bottles made with the chemical. According to the report, no existing baby bottles are being recalled, however. Nor are they being taken off the shelves of retailers.

Critics insist that the baby bottles being purchased and used by babies right now still contain BPA. But the American Chemistry Council, an industry group representing the business interests of chemical companies, insists that BPA is perfectly safe for infants and babies.

According to another new study conducted by researchers from the University of Rochester and published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, BPA remains in the body significantly longer than scientists had previously believed.

Scientists have known for some time that the chemical accumulates in the body, but had believed that it was water soluble and passed out quickly through the urine.

In the current study, researchers tested urine levels of bisphenol A among 1,469 adults after fasts of different lengths to determine if this was really the case.

The researchers found roughly similar levels of the chemical in the urine of those who had been fasting for 8.5 hours as in those who had been fasting for 24. This suggests that either the participant were ingesting bisphenol A from a non-dietary source or that the chemical remains in the body longer than previously thought, perhaps in the fat cells.

The findings raise significant new health concerns about the chemical, researcher Richard Stahlhut noted. “If it leaves the body quickly, then it reduces the amount of time when it can cause problems. If it does cause problems, obviously if it stays around much longer, then that changes the game,” he said.

Prior research has found a correlation between a high body burden of bisphenol A and a higher risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and liver problems.

Researchers say prolonged exposure to BPA may affect the brain’s ability to create neurological connections needed for learning and memory. A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that low doses of BPA impaired the creation of synapses in the brain, affecting neurons’ ability to communicate.

A biomedical professor at the University of Guelph, Neil MacLusky, said: “The ability of the brain to remain plastic and to respond to things by changing its connection is a critical part of brain function, it’s important for learning and memory, it’s important for mood swings, for depression. It dramatically impairs the formation of synapses in the regions of the brain where such processes take place.”

The use of bisphenol A in plastic bottles, baby bottles and plastic toys came under scrutiny a few months ago, after Health Canada found it to be dangerous to babies and the environment.

But this study focuses on the effect of bisphenol A on adults. The researchers exposed African green monkeys to a daily dose of 50 micrograms per kilogramme, an amount declared safe for humans by the FDA, over a month-long period.

“This is the very first study to look at a primate exposure over a long period of time,” said MacLusky. “One of the biggest surprises of the study is how powerful BPA is.”

In the study, synaptic activity was diminished when BPA was introduced in primates, who were also given estrogen, a hormone that normally boosts synaptic processes. Even at low levels, BPA reduced the density of synaptic activity taking place in the brain.

Although the actual exposure of humans in Canada is “much lower than the daily amount,” the study is a reminder of the implications of continuous exposure.

“What is the effect of having this around for your whole life? We don’t know that yet,” MacLusky said. “Governments should really be looking more carefully at what the safe daily limits are, and it is probably wise to not include BPA in things that people are going to eat from and drink from.”

Canada is reported to be the first country in the world to take action on BPA, thanks to their Chemicals Management Plan. This Plan was introduced in 2006 to review the safety of widely-used chemicals that have been in the marketplace for many years, and to update their knowledge and understanding of these chemicals.

A Fact Sheet on BPA by the Canadian government reads: “The current research tells us the general public need not be concerned. In general, most Canadians are exposed to very low levels of BPA, therefore, it does not pose a health risk.

“Our focus now is on the health of newborns and infants under 18 months. Science tells us that exposure levels are below those that could cause health effects; however, due to the uncertainty raised in some studies relating to the potential effects of low levels of BPA, the Government of Canada is taking action to enhance the protection of infants and young children.

“Studies have shown the main sources of exposure for newborns and infants are from bisphenol A migrating from the lining of cans into liquid infant formula and migrating from the polycarbonate baby bottles into the liquid inside following the addition of boiling water.

“Therefore, the Government of Canada will continue to ensure that levels of BPA in infant formula are kept at the lowest levels achievable by carefully reviewing pre-market submissions of infant formula and continuing to work with the food packaging industry to reduce levels of BPA in infant formula to the lowest levels possible. We will also evaluate alternatives to BPA for infant formula can linings on a priority basis. The Government of Canada is also moving forward with legislation to ban the importation, sale and advertising of polycarbonate baby bottles.”

On environmental concerns, the Fact Sheet reads: “Science shows that bisphenol A is entering the environment through wastewaters, washing residues and has been found in some leachate from landfills. It also breaks down slowly in the environment when there is a lack of oxygen. The combination of the slow break down of bisphenol A and its wide use in Canada means that over time, this chemical could build up in our waters and harm fish and other organisms.

“As a precautionary measure, Environment Canada is considering a regulation that would set a limit for the maximum concentration of bisphenol A that can be released in effluent to the environment. The regulation would also require facilities using bisphenol A to implement best management practices to ensure that it is handled and disposed of safely. These actions will keep the levels of bisphenol A being released to the environment at safe concentrations for fish and other aquatic life.”

The document noted that Bisphenol A does not pose a risk to the general population, including adults, teenagers and children.

“Consumers can continue to use polycarbonate water bottles and

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We Have Funded, Completed 21 Road Projects-Fubara



Being a full text of the first 100 days in office broadcast of Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State on Wednesday, September 6, 2023.

My fellow people of Rivers State.
It is my pleasure to formally mark the first 100 days of our government in office, a compelling milestone for us to reflect on the activities and achievements of the Government so far since we took the oath of office on the 29th of May 2023.
In my inaugural speech, we promised to consolidate and continue the new Rivers Vision by committing to sustaining the momentum of development set by our immediate past Governor, and now Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, *His Excellency, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike*.
We also called on our people to work with me to implement our blueprint on security, infrastructure, education, healthcare, economic growth, job creation, and many more, and take our lovely State to greater heights of sustainable progress and human security.
Now, after 100 days, I am proud and humbled to report that we have not wavered from this course. Taking one step at a time, we have kept our eyes focused on this goal, made steady gains, and delivered on every one of the bold promises we made on the campaign trail despite the economic challenges of the times.
As a government, our priority is to secure the lives and property of our people and we have kept faith in this responsibility by working with the security agencies to keep Rivers State relatively peaceful, safe, and secure for lives, businesses, and property.
We are up to date in the payment of salaries and pensions to civil servants. We have also continued to gradually clear the backlogs of gratuities to beneficiaries and restore water in the State Secretariat complex.
On 17 July 2023, we flagged off the construction of the single largest infrastructure project by a State Government in this country – the Port Harcourt Ring Road project as part of our comprehensive infrastructure development master plan for the State.
The 50.15 km dual carriage ring road, when completed in a record three years, will connect and strengthen economic progress and integration in not less than six local government areas and open a vast gateway for new local and foreign direct investments in real estate, agriculture, hospitality, and industrial ventures into the State, transform the communities on and around its alignments, into thriving cities and create jobs and economic opportunities for so many of our citizens.
Since we took over, the wheels of progress have never stopped turning in our State. After 100 days, we have funded, completed, and delivered 21 road projects the many we inherited from the previous administration, and added approximately 68 kilometres to the State’s Road network.
Consequently, the following completed road projects across eight Local Government Areas of the State will be commissioned from tomorrow 7th September 2023 as part of activities to mark our 100 days in office:
• Oyigbo – Okoloama Road in Oyigbo Local Government Area;
• Alode – Onne Road in Eleme Local Government Area;
• Botem-Gbene – nu-Horo road in Tai Local Government Area;
• Mgbuodohia internal Roads in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area;
• Ogbo – Ihugbogo in Ahoada East Local Government Area;
• Odiemudie Road in Ahoada East Local Government Area;
• Omoku – Aligwu – Kreigani Road in Ogba/Egbma/Ndoni Local Government Area;
• Eneka internal Roads in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area;
• Ogbakiri internal Roads in Emohua Local Government Area; and
• Omagwa internal Roads in Ikwerre Local Government Area.
Furthermore, having prioritized road construction as part of our strategy to accelerate socio-economic growth and development, we have awarded contracts and concluded plans to flag-off the construction of the following roads spread across five local government areas of the State as part of our 100 days in office activities:
• Omuakali – Eberi Road in Omuma Local Government Area;
• Aleto-Ebubu-Eteo road in Eleme Local Government Area
• Igbu-Ehuda internal Roads in Ahoada East Local Government Area;
• Elelenwo internal Roads in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area;
• Bori City internal Roads in Khana Local Government Area; and
• Emohua – Ogbakiri Road in Emohua Local Government Area.
To improve the quality of basic education we have in the last 100 days completed the acquisition of over a million copies of relevant educational resource materials, including basic textbooks, dictionaries, and encyclopedias, to be distributed to all primary and secondary schools across the State to enrich their libraries and improve the standards of teaching and learning experience in our school system.
Also, besides paying WAEC and NECO fees for students in all public schools, we have within this timeline, completed the reconstruction and furnishing of six secondary schools with 124 classrooms, modern furniture, science laboratories, ICT, library, administrative block, assembly halls, dormitories and staff quarters spread across six local government areas of the State: These are:
• Government Comprehensive Secondary School, Borikiri, Port Harcourt Local Government Area;
• Government Secondary School, Eneka, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area;
• Government Secondary School, Emohua, Emohua Local Government Area;
• Government Secondary School, Okehi, Etche Local Government Area;
• Comprehensive Secondary School, Alesa-Eleme, Eleme Local Government Area; and
• Government Secondary School, Ataba, Andoni Local Government Area.
As promised, we have started implementing our agenda to improve access to quality healthcare delivery in the State. In the last 100 days, we have given a marching order to the Primary Healthcare Management Board to step up efforts to revamp and ensure effective access to primary healthcare services in all our communities.
In response, the Board has renovated not less than ten primary healthcare centres across the three senatorial districts of the State located at Elekahia, Rumuodomaya, Okehi, Oyigbo, Gokana, Opobo, Ahoada, Mina-ama, Okwuzi, and Okochiri communities.
On our part, we have completed the reconstruction, upgrading, and equipping of two secondary healthcare hospitals: the Kelsey Harrison Memorial Hospital and the Dental, Maxillofacial, ENT, and Ophthalmology Hospital, to further strengthen the State’s capacity for the provision of affordable and quality healthcare services to all residents.
These important hospitals with a combined 150-bed spaces and state-of-the-art equipment are due to reopen their doors to provide quality healthcare services to the public soon after they are inaugurated in a few days.
Additionally, the Dental, Maxillofacial, ENT, and Ophthalmology hospital has been designated as an annex of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital and used for medical research and the training of medical students at Rivers State University.
Under the Ministry of Special Projects, we have delivered the 10,000-seating capacity convocation arena for the University of Port Harcourt.
This is one-of-a-kind physical edifice that will provide academic and social services to the University community and the public, which aligns with our commitment to support all federal institutions in the State as much as we can to enable them to deliver effective and efficient services to our people, who are the primary beneficiaries of their services.
It is for this reason that we recently acquired and donated a firefighting truck for the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria to enhance and restore to operations of international flights at the Port Harcourt International Airport.
Over these first 100 days, we have taken quality steps to advance the well-being of our people in the face of the economic hardship caused the sudden withdrawal of fuel subsidies, unemployment, and rising inflation.
We are happy to note the palliatory effect of the free bus transport scheme we have put in place since July to cushion the high cost of living for ordinary citizens. I assure you of our intention to sustain these and other mitigating measures, including the distribution of food to the vulnerable population, for a considerable time.
I also wish to inform residents that we have since set up an intergovernmental flood management committee with the responsibility to respond proactively to the looming flooding that may affect the inhabitants of the lowlands and flood plains of our State as predicted by the National Emergency Management Agency.
With the launching of the flood mitigation road map, I can assure all residents that we are on red alert to respond to any imminent flood challenge in the State and provide safety and relief to those who will be affected.
I, therefore, appeal to corporate bodies, well-meaning individuals, and non-governmental organizations to be ready to materially support the Committee to succeed in this critical assignment to rescue our vulnerable people.
To stimulate economic growth, enhance job creation, and reduce poverty we have concluded plans to create a four billion (¦ 4,000,000,000.00) naira Enterprise Fund in partnership with the Bank of Industry to facilitate the development of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the State.
With this Fund, owners and intending MSME entrepreneurs will have ready access to credit to fund or start their enterprises at single-digit interest rates with a maximum of a five-year repayment period.
In addition, we are also making efforts to establish the Youth Entrepreneurship Development Trust Fund to help create an enterprise culture and stimulate sustainable interest in entrepreneurial activities among our youths to advance self-employment and job creation.
We have concluded plans to establish the State’s Investment Promotion Agency to advance local and foreign investments and the industrialization of the State.
For us, as we move to the next 100 days and beyond, there is nothing more compelling to our government than to continue to focus on protecting our people, growing our economy to provide a high standard of living, investing in human capital development to uplift the youths, and building our infrastructure to attract investments and create jobs.
As we can see, we have already accomplished a lot in our first 100 days and we are determined to achieve much more in the weeks, months, and years ahead.
I thank every citizen, including our traditional rulers, chiefs, elders, men, women and youths the business community, civil society organizations, professional groups, and the religious community for your support, cooperation, and prayers, which have sustained us through the last 100 days of our administration.
I thank the security agencies for their commitment and sacrifice to protecting lives and keeping Rivers State safe and secure for everyone. I assure you we will not relent in our commitment to support you in discharging your security responsibilities to our State and the nation.
I also thank the State House of Assembly for their cooperation and support in passing the supplementary appropriation law, which enabled us to secure the funds for the Port Harcourt Ring Road project.
Finally, we recommit to working with all stakeholders to transform our State and advance the well-being of our people with good governance and responsive leadership.
Thank you and may God bless our dear State.

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Fubara’s First 100 Days: quando principium est bonum 



It was a rainy day. But the terraces of the Yakubu Gowon stadium, Elekohia, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, were packed to the rafters. People of all walks of life defied the downpour and human, and vehicular traffic to witness the swearing-in of Sir Siminalayi Fubara as the sixth civilian governor of Rivers State on May 29, 2023.
The mammoth crowd was not there just to witness history unfold before their eyes, but to hear the man to whom they had entrusted their destinies for four years, reel out his vision and programmes for the state. To them, it was worth the sacrifice, as Sir Siminalayi Fubara gallantly took over the reins of power and delivered what was clearly an epochal defining speech on his vision for the state. A speech that would form the basis of his assessment, going forward.
It has been 100 days since that momentous day when Sir Fubara took the oath of office before thousands of elated Rivers people at the stadium and millions who viewed from the comfort of their homes. The people’s expectations knew no bounds with expectations of breathtaking accomplishments.
But like pundits and others would argue, what is so significant about first 100 days in office to warrant an assessment or even rolling out the drums to celebrate. However, a different school of thought thinks otherwise. The fact is that, over the years, especially since the days of the 32nd President of the United States of America, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who came to power on the 4th of March 1933, and pioneered the “100 days in office” concept, the world has adopted it as a standard. In one fireside chat, Roosevelt noted how busy and important his first 100 days had been. The term stuck. And over time, the idea has been used to measure the success or failure of governments.
However, some opinion leaders and writers believe that the first 100 days should not be the ideal yardstick to establish whether a government would perform creditably or not. Their argument hinges on the fact that by “no stretch of imagination is it a reasonable amount of time for a person to learn a new job, to be successful at it or to be productive with any certainty, leaving behind a legacy that an entire state can be proud of going forward”.
In spite of this, in most democratic governments around the globe, it has become an important barometer, indeed symbolic marker when citizens consider how a governor’s administration is doing. It is used as a basis to consider the functionality and effectiveness of a young administration as it gives an indication of a leader’s management style, priorities and speed in implementing campaign promises.
One undisputed fact about Governor Fubara and which he has brought to governance is his cool, calm, calculated approach. Indeed, it would not be out of place to suggest that those who coined the cliche had him in mind, as his calmness has become in the words of Donald Atman, “the magic elixir that creates a place of balance, harmony and peace” in his service to the state.
A man with a quiet mien, respectable carriage, calm disposition and ever-smiling exterior, who believes that it is rain that grows flowers and not thunder, and that “calmness is the cradle of power”, has through his approach harnessed the power of intuition, experience, maturity and wisdom to become effective in service to the state. When the need arises, he has also displayed that his calmness is an asset that can never be taken for granted.
On assumption of office on May 29, 2023, Governor Fubara hit the ground running, having laid out his continuity and consolidation agenda at his inauguration, where he outlined purposeful leadership, infrastructural development, healthcare, education, job creation, security and welfare of citizens, as top priorities.
Just like the 32nd President of the United States of America, Franklin D. Roosevelt did, Governor Fubara in his first few days in office pushed through the legislature a major supplementary bill to enable him kick-start his legacy project, the Port Harcourt Ring Road. He also submitted his first list of Commissioners which was approved. Major cabinet members of the previous administration were retained to ensure continuity in governance.
While his contemporaries were still trying to find their feet, Governor Fubara showed seriousness and readiness for the job. Key positions with clear functions were filled and the administration was up and running.
In Nigeria, history has shown that when a new government is formed to replace an incumbent, there is a penchant of jettisoning on-going projects, programmes and policies. Some are ridiculed and terminated. Oftentimes, public policies, regardless of their merits and positive impacts on society are needlessly reversed. This is mostly done because the new comers also want to have their ideas implemented. Rivers State had its fair share of these anomalies in the past.
Governor Fubara is clearly not cut out for such wastages. For him, the hallmark of good governance is continuity in policies and programmes, especially those that are progressive, developmental and geared towards improving the lives of the citizenry. Continuity in governance ensures effective resource management, which is key to good governance (efficiency in public sector management, accountability and transparency).
Not surprising therefore, Governor Fubara has within his first 100 days completed some of the road projects inherited from the previous administration. These include- the Omagwa internal roads in Ikwerre Local Government Area, Emohua and Ogbakiri internal roads in Emohua Local Government Area, the 10.3 kilometers Indorama-Agbonchia-Ogale-Ebubu-East/West Link Road, in Eleme Local Government Area, the 19.1 kilometers Oyigbo-Okoloma(Afam) Road in Oyigbo Local Government Area, the Botem-Gbene-nu-Horo Road in the Ogoni axis, the Omoku-Egbema Road dualisation project in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area, the Ogbo-Ihugbogo Road and the Odiemudie Road in Ahoada-East Local Government Area and the 5.1 kilometers Mgbuodohia Road in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area.
The biggest of the road infrastructure project is the massive Port Harcourt Ring Road, described as the largest single project embarked upon by any state government in Nigeria. It is the legacy project of the Governor Fubara’s administration.
The project which costs about N200 billion and was flagged off by the immediate past governor of the state and Nigeria’s Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Chief Nyesom Wike, is a 50.15 km dual carriageway and would have six flyovers, one river crossing bridge, and 19 rotary intersections and roundabouts. The project cuts across six local government areas and in the words of the Governor Fubara, the Port Harcourt Ring Road will further unite the people of the state, apart from other economic benefits. It would also lead to the development of new cities and decongest Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor LGAs.
It has been proven over time that ring roads play huge roles in the development of large metropolitan areas. “Their impact on the urban spatial structure is mainly through inciting radial development patterns and the setting of commercial, residential and industrial activities near highway interchanges”. Central areas decrease in dynamism when peripheral centres emerge, having gained from improved accessibility. This is what the Governor Fubara’s administration aims to achieve with the Port Harcourt Ring Road project.
Aside road infrastructure, Governor Fubara’s first 100 days has also made huge and remarkable impact in the area of education. His commitment to introducing smart schools and classrooms to provide world-class learning experiences and make Rivers State a knowledge hub is on course with the completion of reconstruction work at Government Secondary School, Okehi in Etche LGA, Government Secondary School, Emohua in Emohua LGA and Government Comprehensive Secondary School, Borikiri in Port Harcourt LGA.
The new state-of-the-art Convocation Arena of the University of Port Harcourt built by the Rivers State Government and completed within the 100 days in office of Governor Fubara, is a beauty to behold. There is none like it in Nigeria. And as stated by Governor Fubara during an inspection visit to the complex, the infrastructure will add to the uniqueness of the currently ranked number one university in Nigeria.
Welfare of the citizenry has been a prominent feature of the first 100 days in office of Governor Fubara. With the removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government early in June, Governor Fubara was the first to roll out palliative to help cushion the high cost of transportation. The state government rolled out free luxury buses to commute people round the city. In the last three months, thousands of people have benefited from the free bus rides.
For Civil Servants and teachers under the UBE who are also special beneficiaries of the free bus rides, life has never been this cosy as it is today. For the first time in nearly a decade, promotion letters have been released, some staff gaining as much as three new levels in one swoop. It is unprecedented and the financial benefits of their new status has increased their spending power and changed lives for good. Salaries, of course, have continued to be paid as and when due. Indeed, Governor Fubara’s visit to the state secretariat complex in the first few days of his administration underscores the importance he attaches to the engine room of government.
Retirees of the state are not left out. For the first time in so many years, they are enrolled into the pension scheme and paid within two months of completing biometrics capture. A lot of them have benefitted in Governor Fubara’s first 100 days in office.
As one of its primary duties, the Rivers State Government under Sir Fubara has continued to support the Nigeria Police and other security agencies in the protection of lives and properties of the citizenry and maintainance of law and order to ensure that people go about their businesses.
In his first 100 days in office, Governor Fubara has spoken out and challenged the authorities, especially the Federal Government and its agencies over matters that pertain to the welfare of Rivers people. He has spoken about the unending matters of the deplorable state of the East-West Road, the deceptive tool of the Ogoniland remediation, police brutality, among others. He has lived up to expectation in raising a voice for the people and pointed out that the Federal Government has been unfair to Rivers people.
Indeed, what Governor Fubara has achieved in his first 100 days in office is a clear pointer to the fact that Rivers State is in safe hands and that the journey will be smooth. As they will say in Latin, quando principium est bonum (when the beginning is good), then expectations are high that the end would be better.
Governor Fubara has in his first 100 days in office proven that Rivers people made a wise choice by electing him to pilot the ship of state. His consistent implementation of the continuity and consolidation agenda of the administration is paying off and the state is reaping the benefits. Truth be told, even the worst of blind partisan critics would find it difficult not to agree that Governor Fubara has surpassed their expectations.
However, even as we clink glasses as Rivers people to celebrate a successful, inspiring first 100 days in office of Governor Fubara, the truth remains that much still needs to be done. As stated by one time President of the United States of America, John F. Kennedy, at his 1961 inauguration ceremony, “All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1000 days, nor in the life of this administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin”. Governor Fubara has begun and very well too. This first 100 days tells it all.
By: Celestine Ogolo
Celestine Ogolo is a member of the Rivers Equity Group.

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Fifth Columnists And Battle For The Soul Of NDDC



Desperation drives irrational thoughts and actions, even as some analysts see it as the raw material of drastic change. One thing is certain though, never underestimate the desperation of people bound by a common ulterior motive as they will stop at nothing to achieve their aim.
It is sad and heart rending to observe the desperation being exhibited by some acclaimed elders from the Niger Delta region, apparently in a morbid quest to destroy the hard-earned reputation and character of a shining light in a most wicked attempt to take control of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
In a stretch of a miserable link associating the futile plot for the balkanisation of the Commission to the highest political leadership of the South-South region, it becomes gloomy for the region to be subjected to the whims and caprices of one man who has arrogated supreme powers to himself just because providence has placed him in a position of leadership in the South-South region.
In the last two weeks, the news media has been awash with reports of a purported petition to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, by a self-styled group under the aegis of the Niger Delta Elders for Good Governance (NDEGG), calling for the removal of Chief Samuel Ogbuku ( PhD) current Managing Director of the NDDC.
The presumed leader of the pseudo group which has no known address, His Royal Highness, Chief Donald Ewere, in the said petition spewed inanities and absolute falsehood against Dr Ogbuku, thinking in their deceitful minds that the Presidency will be swayed by their untruth.
In a failed effort to dent the image of Dr Ogbuku, the group went as far as trampling on his goodwill and reputation to prove that he is a corrupt and bad person. The petitioner threw caution to the wind in a bid to so deceive and outlandishly alleged that Dr Ogbuku has mismanaged the sum of Three Hundred and Fifty Billion (N350billion) Naira.
Chief Ogbuku only assumed duties as the Managing Director of the NDDC, on January 5th, 2023, he has barely been in office for about seven months. The records at the commission shows that the Commission has not received such amount as claimed by the group.
By speculating that there is a rift between the Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio, Secretary to Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume and the Chief of Staff to the President, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamala, over the position of the Managing Director of the commission, the group is only attempting to sow a seed of discord between the government functionaries.
Over the years, Senator Akpabio has been embroiled in the affairs of the NDDC in a negative way. Senator George Akume may be taking the wrong step if he aligns with Senator Akpabio to fight against the reappointment of Dr Ogbuku into the incoming Board of the NDDC. The ground swell of opinion holds that the current MD is doing extremely well and should be allowed to continue as the Managing Director of the commission.
To every discerning mind, it is trite law that the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation, reserved the right to appoint persons that will work with him, there is a clear divide between the functions of the Executive and Legislative arms.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu can never abdicate his responsibility by according the Senate President the right to absolutely decide who gets appointments in the South-South region as canvassed by the group being the number three citizen and leader of the Niger Delta region even as the Constitution is very clear on the powers of the President of the country.
It is a height of disrespect to the office of the Present of the Federation for the leadership of the group to assume the function of Mr. President and presume an anger and frustration against President Tinubu for ignoring their call for the removal of Dr Samuel Ogbuku and institute an interim government which the people of the region has consistently rejected.

By: Nsoyoh Okokon

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