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Work Against Petro Act Dep Senate President –Amaechi

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Rivers State Governor, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has urged the National Assembly not to allow the new Petroleum Act before it to succeed, because it will further deepen the injustice already done to the people of the Niger Delta.

Governor Amaechi made the call on Monday while declaring open the 40th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) African region Conference at the Rivers State House of Assembly complex, Port Harcourt

The governor, who described the new bill as anti- Niger Delta, said it seeks to take away the total royalty of the people of the area without recourse to the environmental hazard suffered by them, adding that such intention would not in anyway represent justice, but impunity.

He advised that in considering the bill, both chambers of the National Assembly should rise above social and ethnic interests to ask the question, “ is the Niger Delta fairly treated in the content of this bill”?

Governor Amaechi lamented that instead of allowing the National Assembly consider the 5%, 25% and 70% allocated to the community, state and Federal Government, respectively as contained in the oil bill earlier submitted to it, a new one which seeks to erode all benefits to host community and states is now under consideration.

The crisis of the Niger Delta, he said, would only be resolved in the parliament, no where else, not even in court, it is only the parliament that can forget ethnicism and solve the problems of the Niger Delta”, Governor Amaechi stressed, and called on the National Assembly to protect the Niger Delta people “from the impunity and marginalisation of the majority, protect us from oppression and suppression of our right’, by enacting legislations that will protect the weak from the strong.

“ I do not support violence, Never!, he noted while emphasising that since the oil was for the common good of all Nigerians, management of the proceeds should be in such a way that communities and states who bear the direct brunt of these exploration should have something to show for it.

The governor recalled that even in the constitution of Boards of management of the oil industry, not one Niger Delta person was involved, noting that such actions were further promoting the under-development of the region and called on those involved to beat a retreat.

He congratulated parliamentarians from the African Region and the Commonwealth for coming in their numbers to deliberate on better ways of bringing the interest of their people to the fabric of their legislature, adding, the success or failure of a democracy rests in the two most important arms of government i.e the legislature and the judiciary ‘, and called for all hands to be on deck in efforts geared towards reversing most of the conflicts in Africa through people-centred legislations.

Also speaking, the outgone chairman of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, African zone, Rt Hon Amusaa Mwananwambwa had commended the Rivers State Government for being a good host for the event.

Hon Mwanamwambwa, who is also the Speaker of the National Assembly of Zambia said the 39th Conference of CPA in Cape Town, South Africa, deliberated on a number of issues, cardinal among which were strings of resolutions and urged members to give quality thoughts to the deliberation in course of the meeting.

Earlier in his welcome speech, Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Tonye Harry said the event was duty call to all parliamentarians and thanked Governor Amaechi for the support the state legislature needed to host a successful conference and wished parliamentarians well.

More than 1,000 parliamentarians and support staff from the commonwealth nations are attending the confab in Port Harcourt.

Meanwhile, Deputy Senate President, Hon Ike Ekweremadu says the reactions trailing the new Petroleum act before the National Assembly from people of the Niger Delta region was “uncalled for”.

According to him, it was wrong for people of the region to express the belief that the original petroleum bill presented to the national assembly has been withdrawn and substituted with a new one, explaining that no new bill has been introduced to that effect.

‘I have told the Rivers State Governor, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi that no bill was withdrawn, saying that the bill being considered by the national assembly is still the original one sent to them.

Hon Ekweremadu stated this yesterday while addressing newsmen shortly after delivering a lecture titled ‘ the global Economic Crisis: Implications for Africa” at the on-going 40th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Africa region, holding at the Rivers State House of Assembly, Port Harcourt.

He gave the assurance that the National Assembly would organise a public hearing on the bill where all Nigerians, including the people of the Niger Delta would come to explain their own view in respect of the bill”.

Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu (right) listening to member of Parliament and CPW Representative, Prof Shiela Tlow during the opening ceremony of the 40th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Africa Region Conference, in Port Harcourt, last Monday. Photo: Chris Monyanga.

Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu (right) listening to member of Parliament and CPW Representative, Prof Shiela Tlow during the opening ceremony of the 40th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Africa Region Conference, in Port Harcourt, last Monday. Photo: Chris Monyanga.

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NIMASA Delivers Marine, Transport Building To Port Harcourt Varsity

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The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has handed over the complex housing the Institute of Marine and Transport Technology to the University of Port Harcourt, in Rivers State.
A statement from the agency indicated that the building was initiated by its previous leadership.
“The initiative dated back to 2012/2013 when the former Director-General of the agency, Dr Dakuku Peterside, decided to build a maritime training institute.
“The initiative is not peculiar to the University of Port Harcourt. It is present in all the six geopolitical zones of the country.
“Any investment in education is definitely worthwhile. Research has shown that lack of education is relatively responsible for maritime crimes in the Niger Delta Region.
“We hope beneficiaries of this Maritime institute will be instrumental in making Nigeria a major maritime nation,” the statement said.
It quoted the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Abraham Georgewill, who was represented by the VC Administration, Prof. Clifford Ofurum, as thanking NIMASA for selecting the university as the location for the maritime institute.
Ofurum assured NIMASA that the university would provide adequate faculty to ensure courses were accredited and recognised globally.

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Wigwe’s Family Announces Burial Plan

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The family of Herbert Wigwe has announced the burial plans for the Wigwes.
Wigwe, alongside his wife, Chizoba, and son, Chizi, died in an helicopter crash in the United States on February 9.
The crash also claimed the lives of a former Chairman of the Nigerian Exchange Group Plc, Abimbola Ogunbanjo, and two crew members.
According to the plan, the funeral ceremony will commence on Monday, March 4, 2024.
Meanwhile, the Redeemed Christian Church of God, City of David, where Herbert used to be a staunch member before his demise, was conspicuously missing from the list of churches scheduled to host two of the programmes.
According to the funeral plans, on Thursday, March 7, a combined Service of Songs will take place at RCCG, Ressurection Parish at Jakande Estate, Lekki, Lagos State while a combined funeral service will be held on Saturday, March 9, at RCCG, Lion of Judah Parish, Isiokpo, Rivers State.
The absence of the City of David parish on the list has, however, raised concerns despite the acknowledgement of the late Wigwe’s immense contribution to the parish while he was alive.
The Pastor in Charge of the parish, Idowu Iluyomade, had paid glowing tributes to the late bank chief while reacting to his sudden demise.
Iluyomade, who described the deceased as God’s general, added that he donated generously to the church.
Speaking during a service titled: “Barrier Shattering Thanksgiving (Sunshine Service)” on Sunday, February 11, the clergyman recalled how Wigwe spent about N500m for God Children’s Great Talent Project and how he adopted some children.
He said, “Wigwe was the Chairman of the Finance Committee with Pastor Siju, and I remember when we wanted to start the fundraising, he took us to Eko Atlantic, he put a marquee there, he brought people from America to come and see, and in that event, we raised about N600m. One would have thought he would sit back; he kept going. He told me we’ll do it.
“When this place was ground zero, he paid five years rent for a branch when there was nothing, just to assist. Then later, he said ‘I’ll give you two branches – one on the left, one on the right,’ and he paid five years each (10 years). Nobody would support a Greenfield, if you’ve built, yes, you can go. One of his purposes was to assist us.”
However, while friends and families of the deceased were still mourning, Iluyomade’s wife, Siju, threw a lavish 60th birthday party.
The lawyer, pastor and founder of the Arise Women Foundation held the birthday on Sunday, February 18, 2024.
Distinguished guests, including billionaires and monarchs, were on hand to rejoice with her at the party, which took place at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island Lagos. Also present at the event was popular singer, Chinedu Okoli, better known by his stage name Flavour N’abania.
Some Nigerians, however, expressed their displeasure at the celebrant for holding a party barely weeks after the tragic deaths of prominent members of the church.
This also fuelled insinuations about a seeming connection between the development and the decision of the family not to have considered the parish in the burial plans.

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Economy: I Take Full Responsibility, Nigeria ’ll Recover-Tinubu

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President Bola Tinubu, on Wednesday, appealed for patience from Nigerians over the current economic hardship in the country, giving the assurance that there was light at the end of the tunnel.
The President said he was fully aware and took responsibility for the difficulties Nigerians had been subjected to on account of government policies.
He said he would not complain but welcome all criticisms since he was the one who asked to be Nigeria’s President.
The President spoke in Akure, the Ondo State capital, during his visit to the leader of the pan-Yoruba sociopolitical organisation, Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti.
He also paid a condolence visit to the family of the late former Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, who passed on in December following a protracted battle with cancer.
The fuel subsidy removal and other economic reforms instituted by Tinubu have attracted public censure following the high costs of living, food inflation and other side effects.
The situation compelled the Nigeria Labour Congress to hold a nationwide protest on Tuesday.
The congress also threatened further mass action if the government failed to address the economic crunch within two weeks.
However, addressing public concerns over his economic policies, the President said, “Nigeria will survive the current economic challenges. There is light at the end of the tunnel. I requested the job, and I am not complaining about it. I take full responsibility.”
This was contained in a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, titled, ‘President Tinubu: I take full responsibility for the nation; we are building an efficient Nigeria that is inclusive and fair to all Nigerians.’’
Tinubu emphasised his commitment to leading Nigeria towards economic and social prosperity, saying, “We are meeting our obligations to the international community. To lenders, we have not defaulted, and we are not going to default. We are navigating the twists and bends on the road to Nigeria’s prosperity.”
On reforming Nigeria, the President said his task would be to ensure fiscal and true federalism, as well as the broad-based manifestation of the philosophy of “what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.”
He acknowledged the understanding and support of all Nigerians in the face of the harsh but temporary economic conditions, assuring them that their patience and perseverance will not be fruitless.
“But, through perseverance, Lagos emerged as the fifth largest economy in the entire continent of Africa. We must manage this moment with wisdom and grow Nigeria responsibly.
“I campaigned for this office to serve Nigeria’s interests and I was elected. Some said I would not last in the tribunal and came up with all sorts of predictions, but even when in court, I remained focused.
“We cannot allow Nigeria’s economy to be exploited. We cannot abandon our economy to marauders. I am determined to re-engineer our finances and curb selfish interests permanently,” he stated.
Speaking on behalf of Afenifere, Pa Olu Falae, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, who read the address of Pa Fasoranti, commended Tinubu for his commitment to Nigeria’s progress and expressed support for his administration’s efforts.
“You have kept your word to return to this place where we all prayed for you, and this shows that you are a man of your word,” the elder statesman stated.
Pa Fasoranti asked President Tinubu to be fair and courageous, declaring that such traits were the hallmark of the Afenifere family.
“Today, you are carrying our flag. We are noted for integrity, competence, fairness, and courage. Your performance so far has shown that you understand the full gravity of your mandate, which is to show the Nigerian people that a good government is possible,” he said.
Fasoranti also charged the President on institutional reforms, saying, “Mr President, please also seek institutional reforms that would strengthen our federation and make Nigeria safer and more prosperous. Try and balance the budget and execute capital projects that would create more employment. We thank you for welcoming the idea of state policing.’’
He added, “We want each of the geopolitical zones to have greater responsibilities for security, food production and infrastructural development. Since the removal of fuel subsidy, which was costing Nigeria $10bn yearly, the state governments have been receiving hefty allocations from the Federation account.
“Mr President should persuade the governors to allow this change of fortune for the states to reflect at the grassroots so that life can be better for our people. They should not just buy rice and yams for the people. They should create employment, improve education and build new infrastructures. Today, life is truly challenging for most people and the state governments have an important role to play to transform society.”
Fasoranti received the President in the company of some Afenifere leaders, who included a former governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, Chief Sehinde Arogbofa, Deji of Akure, Oba Aladelusi Aladetoyinbo; Chief Kole Omololu, among others
Earlier, the President had paid a condolence visit to Akeredolu’s family in Owo and also visited the palace of the Olowo of Owo Kingdom, Oba Ajibade Gbadegesin Ogunoye III.
Speaking at the palace of the monarch, Tinubu eulogised the late Akeredolu as a statesman and a distinguished legal luminary who served his people with unwavering dedication.
“We lost an illustrious son. Akeredolu was very close to me and an ally. He was a son of the soil, and I have come to pay homage,” the President said.
He extended his prayers for the good health, progress, and prosperity of the traditional ruler and the community and thanked the people of Owo for their support to the bereaved family.
Accompanied by the Governor of Ondo State, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, Tinubu also commiserated with the Akeredolu’s widow, Betty, the children, and other family members.
Addressing the widow and the family members, Tinubu said, “God will be with you. Your children will do well in life. May you all end well. May God be with you and uphold you,”
The wife of the late governor expressed appreciation for the President’s visit, describing Tinubu as a good friend and brother to her late husband.
She also thanked the South-West governors for their contributions to the burial of the late governor. She particularly thanked Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for single-handedly repatriating the remains of Akeredolu back to Nigeria.
She said, “On behalf of my family, I appreciate Mr. President. We understood he couldn’t attend the burial ceremony due to the dictate of Yoruba culture. He couldn’t have attended the burial of his younger brother.
“Coming today (Wednesday ) is a big deal because we are in a better atmosphere. I also express my profound gratitude to the southern governors for their immense financial contributions to the burial, most especially, Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who singlehandedly brought Aketi’s remains back to Nigeria. We appreciate this huge show of love and we are grateful and forever indebted to him.
“I requested that Mr President see where Aketi has been laid to rest and he followed me. We are deeply grateful to Mr. President for coming. He is indeed Aketi’s brother and friend.
“I told Mr. President, yes, Aketi has left but he lives because he left behind legacies. It is our wish that those legacies continue and are built upon where necessary.”

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