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FG Votes N17.6bn For Flood Victims: Tasks Govs, LGs On SWF,Unity …Jonathan Presents 2013 Budget, ’Morrow



Head of Service, Barr Samuel LongJohn (middle), Permanent Secretary Service Welfare, Mr Lambert Ekwueme (left) and Director of Admin, Mrs Josephine Chukuigwe, during a meeting with staff of the department, recently

President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the establishment
of a 34-man National Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation to raise
funds in support of government’s efforts to provide urgent relief for victims
of recent floods across the country.

The president announced the establishment of the committee
during a nationwide broadcast yesterday.

“Over the past few weeks, unprecedented floods have ravaged
many parts of our country, rendering tens of thousands of fellow Nigerians
homeless, and causing massive destruction of property, farmlands and
infrastructure,” he said in a televised address.

“I want to reassure all Nigerians that the Federal
Government is prepared to do everything possible to mitigate the impact of this
natural disaster,” he added.

The committee, which includes members of international
agencies, religious organisations, ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs),
will be co-chaired by Mr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) and Mr. Aliko Dangote.

According to him, the committee has been given the mandate
to raise funds to complement government’s resources for the provision of relief
to flood victims across the country and the post-impact rehabilitation of
affected persons and communities.

The committee has been given a 12-month time-frame to
complete its duties and report back to the president.

The Federal Government, through the office of the Secretary
of the Government of the Federation, will also provide an operational base for
the committee as well as logistics that will aid the smooth operation of the

President Jonathan also said the Technical Committee on
Flood Impact Assessment has submitted its interim report, which contains
recommendations, to key stakeholders and the leadership of the National
Assembly and governors of the affected states.

The Tide reports that images of stranded villagers perched
on roof tops, buses overturned in flash floods and people traversing
waterlogged farmland by canoe have dotted the media in the last couple of

At least, 148 people have been killed around Nigeria and
tens of thousands have abandoned their homes since the beginning of July, with
the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) calling it the worst flooding
in 50 years.

Jonathan recounted the damage the flood has done and will do
to the national treasury saying “the National Emergency Management Agency
(NEMA) has so far spent N1.314 billion to provide immediate relief materials.
The minister of works has spent N556 million in the repair of collapsed bridges
and the construction of by-passes while the minister of environment has spent
N95 million on sundry relief measures”.

He also approved the sum of N17.6 billion to be distributed
to states affected by the flood according to the level of the damages suffered.

He said “the states will receive a total of N13.3 billion
while the government agencies will receive N4.3 billion.”

The states according to the president have been categorized
into four; A, B, C and D.

Category A states which include Oyo, Kogi, Benue, Plateau,
Adamawa, Delta, Bayelsa and Anambra will receive N500 million each.

The B category comprising of Jigawa, Kano, Bauchi, Kaduna,
Niger, Nasarawa, Cross River, Taraba, Imo, Lagos and Edo will receive N400
million each.

The C category which has Kwara, Katsina, Gombe, Ogun, Ondo,
Ebonyi, Abia and Rivers will receive the sum of N300 million each.

The last category, which is D, with Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara,
Yobe, Enugu, Ekiti, Akwa Ibom Borno, Osun states and the Federal Capital
Territory will receive N250 million.

The ministries of Environment and Works, NEMA, National
Commission for Refugees, Technical Committee on Flood Impact Assessment have
been pin pointed by the president as the government agencies that will use the
remaining N4.3 billion to mitigate the impact of the flood around the country.

Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday appealed to
states governors and local government chairmen to cooperate with the Federal
Government in the implementation of policies aimed at preserving the nation’s

Jonathan made the appeal on the occasion of the inauguration
of the Board of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) at the State
House, Abuja.

The authority is statutorily charged with the
responsibilities of managing the Sovereign Wealth Fund and administering the
accruing resources for the benefit of present and future generations of

Jonathan noted that members of the committee, which is being
chaired by one time Deputy Governor of CBN, Mr Mahey Rasheed, were carefully
selected after a rigorous process.

He said the establishment of the Board affirmed the
seriousness of government in pursuing the central tenets of the Fund.

The president said the Sovereign Wealth Fund would, among
others, help to build a savings base for future generation of Nigerians.

He said the Fund would also enhance the development of the
country’s infrastructure and promote fiscal stability in times of economic

He thanked the Executive Nomination Committee chaired by the
Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, for a thorough job in the vetting
and selection process.

Earlier, Okonjo-Iweala had assured the President that the
members of the Board were carefully selected and would make the nation proud.

Our correspondent
recalls that the Sovereign Wealth Fund was statutorily established to
replace the Excess Crude Account.

The Fund, with an initial seed of 1 billion dollars, was set
aside to provide a strong, transparent and effective tool for the management of
the nation’s petroleum wealth for the benefit of Nigerians.

The Tide  also recalls
that state governors, who are averse to the creation of the Fund, have called
for its suspension over alleged grey areas in its implementation.

A suit they filed challenging the implementation of the Fund
is pending before the Supreme Court.

In another development, President Goodluck Jonathan will on
today present the 2013 budget to a joint session of the National Assembly

The President in a letter addressed to Senate President,
David Mark, yesterday in Abuja, which was read out to the senators, urged the
NASS to allow him to present the budget

The Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, moved a motion, which
was unanimously adopted, that the senators move to the House of Representatives
Chamber today to receive the document.

The senators, however, resolved to hold plenary session by
9:am today to enable them quickly deliberate on some issues before the budget

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Again, RSG Begins Unveiling, Flag-Off Of Nine Key Projects, ’Morrow



The Rivers State Government has rolled out the drums to herald another phase of official commissioning of key projects embarked upon by the Governor Nyesom Wike-led administration in the state.
A statement by the state government said that the process is in continuation of the commissioning and flag-off of projects by Governor Nyesom Wike.
It indicated that Rumuola flyover would be commissioned tomorrow, while the GRA flyover would be commissioned on Saturday.
The also stated that the government would commission the Ezimgbu Road on Monday, December 13, 2021; with another commissioning of Tombia Road Extension scheduled for Tuesday, December 14, 2021.
The statement said that the governor would commission the Safe Home, Borikiri, Port Harcourt on Wednesday, December 15; while on Thursday, December 16, 2021, the governor would commission the Odokwu internal roads.
Also, the governor would continue the flag-off of key infrastructure projects with Chokocho-Igbodo Road slated for Monday, December 20, 2021; Oyigbo-Okoloma Road on Wednesday, December 22, 2021; and Magistrates’ Court Complex, Port Harcourt on Thursday, December 23, 2021.

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Wike Justifies N7bn Libel Suit Against THISDAY



Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, yesterday, appeared before the state High Court in Port Harcourt, to testify as a witness in an N7billion libel suit against THISDAY Newspaper.
Wike said he was in court to seek justice and clear his name as a person from the malicious publication by THISDAY Newspaper, which portrayed him as deceitful, untrustworthy person, who exerts subterranean influences on judicial matters and over court sittings in Port Harcourt.
It would be recalled that Wike had in August, 2020, slammed a N7billion suit being damages for libel written and published in THISDAY’s Tuesday, June 23, 2020 edition captioned, “With Wike, Obaseki Meets His PDP’s Waterloo; Almost.”
The defendants in the suit are THISDAY Newspapers Limited, Leaders and Company Limited, Davidson Iriekpan, Chuks Okocha and Adibe Emenyonu.
Wike, while testifying as witness in suit No. PHC/1505/CS/2020 before the court presided over by Justice A. Enebeli, asserted that the defendants maliciously and falsely portrayed him as an unreliable friend/person.
“When you say somebody cannot be trusted; that cannot be a fair comment. When you say somebody is influencing the Judiciary, that cannot be a fair comment”, the governor said.
In his written statement on oath, Wike had stated that the defendants had accused him of influencing the decision of the court sitting in Port Harcourt that granted an injunction restraining Godwin Obaseki from participating in the primaries of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State in 2020.
He stated that the defendants maliciously accused him of undemocratically exerting influence on the primaries process of PDP in Edo State in aid of his ally, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, who was the beneficiary of the court order restraining Obaseki from participating in the PDP primaries.
The governor, who told the court that he was not even aware of the aforementioned suit by Ogbeide-Ihama against Obaseki, said the publication was reckless, false and without regards for the truth.
According to him, contrary to well-known journalistic tradition and practices, the defendants did not investigate properly to ensure the information they relied on was accurate.
“They did not seek to verify the facts from me or in any manner oblige me with the opportunity to state my own side of the story before proceeding to make the false publication” the governor argued.
Wike stated that the defendants further denigrated him before the entire world as a fake democrat, who engages in meddling in the internal affairs of All Progressives Congress (APC) in order to get at his political foe, Chibuike Amaechi.
The governor explained that he was not a member of the APC and has had no hand in the internal crisis which has bedevilled the party both in Rivers State and all over Nigeria.
“By the letter of Messrs E.C. Ukala and Co., Solicitors, under the hand of Emmanuel C. Ukala, SAN, dated 23rd June, 2020, the defendants were given opportunity to retract, and recant the publication as well as to offer apology for the false publication but the defendants spurned the opportunity and ignored the letter completely.”
The governor, while responding to claim by lawyer to the defendants, Turudu Ede, SAN, that the essence of the lawsuit was to intimidate and harass his clients, said the whole essence of the suit was to get justice and clear his name as a man of substantial character, honour and repute.
“The essence of the suit is to get justice since they (defendants) refused to retract the publication or apologise. So, I sued them to clear my name.”
Speaking to journalists outside the court, one of the lawyers to Wike, Mr. Mark Agwu said his client was in court to seek legal redress.
“To challenge him as a person, it means you have made him untrustworthy, a deceit, a cheat, an influencer of the court, because the publication they made was that he had a role to play in influencing the outcome of that Federal High Court case. Nobody will take that lightly, and especially for a man who believes in the rule of law”, Agwu added.
The court adjourned the matter for further hearing to 12th, 13th and 14th of January, 2022.

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$130m Fraud: Rivers Sues Saipem SPA, Saipem Contracting Firm, Others



The Rivers State Government has charged two construction firms, Saipem SPA and Saipem Contracting Nigeria Ltd, to court over an alleged conspiracy to cheat and with intent to defraud the state of the sum of $130million, being advanced payment for the construction of the OCGT power plant in Port Harcourt.
In a 16-count criminal charge filed by the Director of Public Prosecution, C.F. Amadi for the Rivers State Attorney General, the state alleged that after collecting the said sum as advanced payment between 2011 and 2018, the defendants have not kept their obligation under the contract.
Others charged alongside the companies were Walter Peviana; Kelechi Sinteh Chinakwe; Giandomenico Zingali; Vitto Testaguzza and Davide Anelli, who are directors and officers of the companies.
The defendants are charged with various offences ranging from conspiracy, cheating and obtaining credit by false pretence, contrary to Section 518 (6) and (7) and punishable under Section 518 of the Criminal Code, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999, section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b) of the Criminal Code, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State, amongst others.
Already, the Rivers State Government has issued a fiat to the law firm of Godwin Obla (SAN) to prosecute the matter before the state High court.
The defendants are equally charged for the offence of false Statements by Officials of Companies contrary to and punishable under Section 436 (b).
The prosecution specifically accused the defendants of obtaining credit of $130million by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); obtaining credit of $20,467,942.00 by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b), obtaining credit of N7,000,000,000.00 only by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b).
They are charged for obtaining credit of N318,640,173.54, by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); attempt to cheat $97million contrary to Section 508 and punishable under Section 509; attempt to cheat $15million contrary to Section 508 and punishable under Section 509; conspiracy to receive a credit of $97million by false pretences contrary to Section 518 (6) and punishable under Section 518; cheating $11million contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating N110, 097, 416.51 contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating by collecting sums attributable to shared facilities already paid for in AFAM Phase I in AFAM Phase II contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421.
Obtaining N20, 467, 942 contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; obtaining credit of $60,168,936.00 by false pretences or other fraud, contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); obtaining credit of $1,512,034.00 by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b) all of the Criminal Code Law of Rivers State, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria 1999.
According to the Proof of Evidence attached to the charge and the statement made by the Head, Power Generation/Mechanical of the Rivers State Ministry of Power, one Mr Temple Azunda M., the facts constituting the case in hand are as follows:
Saipem SPA and Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited and other officers of the duo, herein the Defendants, are Italian companies which services have been retained by the Rivers State Government, herein RSG, in several projects, prominent amongst which is the AFAM Phase II Power Plant Project.
By an initial tripartite agreement made on the January 20, 2010, the RSG under the auspices of the Rivers State Ministry of Power entered a contract with Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited, Saipem SPA for the construction of the OGCT power plant in Port Harcourt at a total cost of $119million consequent upon which the Rivers State Government made advance payments, in instalments, to Saipem Contracting Nigeria Ltd and Saipem SPA amounting in total to a sum of $130million in all which the Defendants have acknowledged receipt of.
The Defendants were to be given an initial mobilization of 20per cent of the total contract sum which the RSG paid.
It was part of the initial agreement – and indeed a condition sine qua non – that, to access the 2nd tranche of payment of 25per cent from the Rivers State Government, the Defendants would mandatorily have installed the Gas Turbine into the foundations as referenced in ATTACHMENT 1 to VO 007 which states that:
CONTRACTOR shall be entitled to a payment corresponding to 20per cent of the VO No. 007 LS PRICE upon mobilisation to site and commencement of bush clearing activities at SITE.
Upon commencement of bush clearing activities at the site, the contractor shall issue the invoice relevant to the above payment and the owner shall pay such invoice within 14 days from its issuance.
The parties agree that no deduction for recovery of advance payment shall apply on the payment due to the contractor for invoices issued by the contractor in accordance with this paragraph.

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