Call Your Aides To Order, PDP Advises Jonathan; Demands Aviation Minister’s Sack …As Amaechi Blames PH Airport Neglect On Political Crisis
The Abubakar Baraje-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has advised President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to call his aides to order so as to avoid plunging the country into avoidable chaos.
The PDP also asked the President to stop his men from portraying his administration as promoting corruption to the high heavens.
In a statement yesterday signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, the new PDP said that the advice had become necessary following the uncovering of a plot to massively bribe House of Representatives members with a view to getting them pass a vote of confidence on President Jonathan while at the same time putting in place strategies to impeach the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal and some other principal officers for their alleged sympathy for the Baraje-led PDP National Executive Committee of the party.
The breakaway party explained that information available to it indicated that the Bamanga Tukur’s faction of PDP, working in concert with some Presidency officials, has set about to induce members of the House of Representatives with a view to passing a vote of confidence on President Jonathan and impeaching its (new PDP) principal officers.
Meanwhile, the new PDP has berated the Presidency for the sack of Senator Joy Emordi as Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters following her candid advice on the right way to handle simple political issues instead of bribing lawmakers to do the President’s bidding.
“We have equally read reports that Senator Joy Emordi was sacked as Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters because of her candid advice that inducing members of the National Assembly financially to impeach their principal officers would be counter-productive.
“If this is true, we hereby demand her immediate reinstatement. For Senator Emordi to be bold enough to tell Mr. President the implication of such a corrupt inducement of lawmakers should earn her commendation rather than a sack.
“Instead of sacking such a forthright and patriotic Amazon, the President should sack those hawks around him planning to ridicule him by encouraging him to embark on acts capable of making him unpopular amongst his supporters and followers,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, the leadership of the new Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has demanded the immediate sack of the Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Oduah following allegations that she was instrumental to the unnecessary delay in the completion of the remodeling of Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.
In a statement signed yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, the new PDP said that “if it is true that the Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Odua, has abandoned the remodeling of the Port Harcourt International Airport while completing those started at the same time because of the assumed conflict between President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State, we demand her immediate sack before she causes further damage to your administration.
“We plead with you, Mr. President, not to embark upon any further act or impunity that will endanger the peace and unity of our troubled nation,” the statement added.
It would be recalled that Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, last Saturday accused the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, of abandoning the remodelling of the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state because of his rift with President Goodluck Jonathan.
Amaechi, who said this in an interview with Channels Television, monitored by our correspondent, said that apart from leaving the airport in deplorable state, the minister impounded the aircraft belonging to the state “for no reason.”
The governor said he had reported the minister to the President to no avail.
He said, “I have gone to the President and told him that because of the disagreement between Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, who is not Rivers State, and the President, the Minister of Aviation has abandoned the airport.
According to the governor, “they started that airport with Kano, Lagos, Abuja, Benin, and Calabar. The rest have been completed, including Enugu, which has been commissioned. It is hatred. The Minister of Aviation is reckless on that.”
Amaechi raised the alarm that with the state of the international airport, terrorists could have easy access and attack it at will.
He added that due to his rift with Jonathan, Oduah had prevented the state government from fulfilling its responsibility of securing the state and fighting crimes, including oil theft, using surveillance helicopters that it had paid for.
“We paid for two surveillance helicopters that would fly around Rivers State (and detect crime), including oil theft, and report real crime to police, air force, army and the Government House. She (Oduah) refused the helicopters from coming. They are there in America and the government of America has been wondering why we don’t want to take our plane and the President (Jonathan) is aware,” he said.
But in response, the Special Assistant (Media) to the Aviation Minister, Joe Obi, described the allegations as untrue and false, insisting that huge work was going on at the Port Harcourt International Airport.
“Port Harcourt Airport is among the 11 airports in the first phase of airport remodelling. If you go to that airport now, it is completely different from what it was two or three years ago,” Obi said.
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.
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