As part of efforts towards ensuring stable power supply in Rivers State, the state government has completed 26 power substations across the state.
Governor Chibuike Amaechi who disclosed this yesterday during the first quarterly open governance forum organised by the Ministry of Information and Communications in Port Harcourt, said that the government was building 180-megawatt power station at Afam in Oyigbo Local Government Area.
The governor, who expressed delight over the improvement of power supply in the state, also said that a town hall meeting on power would be held before the end of April after which prepaid meters would be sold to households in the state.
Governor Amaechi said that the government had put into an escrow account the sum of N500million for free medical treatment at the Kelsey Harrison Hospital, Port Harcourt, but noted that free treatment in the hospital would be based on evidence of tax payment.
He also said that 120 health centres had been completed and fully furnished, while the Dental Hospital, Port Harcourt was being run by foreigners.
The state Chief Executive further said that the administration was targeting the commissioning of 250 model primary schools in 250 days while the model secondary school at Saakpenwa, headquarters of Tai Local Government Area would soon be commissioned.
In a similar development, the government has restated its commitment towards the completion of all projects in the state.
The Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr Levi Gogo Charles, who said this during the forum, said that between 2008 and 2012, the government made remarkable improvement in execution of project.
Giving details of the breakdown in capital projects execution, Mr Charles said that the state recorded 72.61 per cent in 2008 which earned it a grade A mark, adding that this was followed by a slight reduction of 51.62 per cent in 2009.
The commissioner further said that 2010 and 2011 saw a tremendous improvement of 75.14 and 98.23 per cent, respectively, while the government witnessed reduction in project performance in 2012 at 73.84 per cent.
He said that the government was focused on ensuring that every on-going project was completed, stressing that the state was open to constructive criticisms that would help the government to fine-tune those areas that are not doing well.
Meanwhile Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has called on the European Union, African Development Bank and World Bank to support the state’s quest in the provision of affordable and sustainable water following the blueprint so far laid by his admninistration to provide water to the people.
He reminded the development partners at a forum on Rivers State Water Development Conference last Wednesday in Port Harcourt, that already, the state had meet the requirement for a loan to drive the sector.
In the view of the governor, “ further delay may lead to more deaths’ as a result of what he called rising water borne diseases.
Governor Amaechi said his administration’s rural and urban water schemes would provide potable water, stressing that clean and sustainable water was essential for the well-being of the people.
He disclosed that he had directed the state Commissioner for Water Resources and Rural Development, Ms. Patricia Simon-Hart, to put together a list of all water projects in the state and start to make them work.
In her address, the state Commissioner for Water Resources and Rural Development, Ms Patricia Simon-Hart disclosed that the State Government had resolved to reform the state’s water sector in order to offer sound water governance and deliver efficient service to the people.
“In Rivers State, we have made a decision to reform the water sector to ensure that we provide sound water governance and strengthen the institutions to deliver services effectively. The most significant progress made in this process, which started in 2009 is the formulation of the Rivers State Water Policy document, its subsequent passage by the State Executive Council and the signing of the Water Sector Development bill into law by Governor Amaechi”.
In the keynote address, Minister of Water Resources, Mrs Sarah Reng Ochekpe, represented by Ononye Beredugo, said the Federal Ministry of Water Resources would support the Rivers State water development initiative and provide leadership, direction and coordination for the initiative, saying, water was central to national development, that is why the President Goodluck Jonathan administration places importance on the sector”.
It would be recalled that theme of the state Water Development Conference is, “Improving Service Delivery through better water cooperation.
In a related development, Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, says his administration will continue to listen to the voice of the people in order to ensure transparency, good governance and accountability in its efforts at developing the state.
Governor Amaechi said this yesterday during the first Open Governance Forum with civil society groups organised by the state Ministry of Information and Communications in Port Harcourt.
Represented by his Deputy, Engr. Tele Ikuru, the governor stated that, “we will continue talking with the people. We will continue to listen to our people,” reiterating that his administration would not renege on its vision and promise to render quality service delivery and accountable stewardship to the people of the state, adding that “all the projects done so far by the government are all aimed at touching the lives of the people”.
Governor Amaechi, who is the chairman, Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), stressed the need for strategic collaboration with the civil society organisations in ensuring the sustainability of the various people-oriented projects across the State, explaining that the government had created an enabling environment for investors to come and invest in the state.
Earlier, the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, had said that the first Open Governance Forum, with the theme “Your Right To Be Heard” is in line with the government’s transparency agenda, pointing out that it was aimed at giving civil society organizations the opportunity to ask questions and have first hand information on the policies and projects of the Governor Amaechi-led government, maintaining that the forum would be holding on a quarterly basis.
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.
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.
$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.
Nation2 days ago
NPA Clears Air On $852.93m , N1.8bn Audit Query
News2 days ago
Tinubu Appoints New Governing Board, Mgt Team For NCDMB
Politics2 days ago
NYCN Chieftain Harps On Fubara’s Governance Credentials
News2 days ago
RSHA: Amaewhule-Led Lawmakers Defy Court Order, Elect New Leaders
Business2 days ago
Five Multinationals Exit Nigeria In 10 Months
Rivers2 days ago
Group Calls For Investigation Into Rivers Political Crisis
Sports2 days ago
Nigeria Makes Final Team Of The Year Award
Nation2 days ago
Labour Union Petitions Three Lawyers Over Compromise Allegation