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I’ll Lead Nigeria To Prosperity -Buhari

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The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari (rdt.) says, he will lead Nigeria to prosperity and not adversity, if voted into power-in the March 28 presidential election.
In a speech at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, London, United Kingdom, Gen. Buhari also lamented the increasing rate of poverty in Nigeria, adding that by official estimate, 33.1 percent of Nigerians live in extreme poverty.
“That’s at almost 60 million, almost the population of the United Kingdom. There is also the unemployment crisis simmering beneath the surface, ready to explode at the slightest stress,” he said.
The APC presidential candidate also said that the economy of Nigeria is more of a paper growth “a growth that on account of mismanagement, profligacy and corruption has not translated to human development or shared prosperity.
“With all these, it is not surprising that our performance on most governance and development indicators are unflattering”, he said.
He said that his government would tackle corruption and waste which are the hallmark of the present administration.
“I will, if elected, lead the way, with the force of personal example. On corruption, there will be no confusion as to where I stand.
“Corruption will have no place and the corrupt will not be appointed into my administration”, he added.
He said that measures would be taken to ensure that revenue producing entities such as NNPC, and Customs and Exercise would have one set of books, noting that their revenues would be publicly disclosed and regularly audited, while the institutions of state dedicated to fighting corruption would be given independence and prosecutorial authority without political interference. He also stressed the need for the International Community to focus more on Nigeria at this critical moment, pointing that it was in the interest of all Nigerians that the postponed election should not only hold on the rescheduled dates, but must be free and fair.
He said that his election would return Nigeria to its stablising role in West Africa while special attention would be paid to the welfare of Nigerians to ensure the protection of the nation’s territorial integrity.
The APC presidential hopeful noted that as a starting point to trigger a wave of democratic consolidation in Africa, there was need to get this critical election right by ensuring that they go ahead, and deprive those who want to scuttle it the benefit of derailing Nigeria’s  fledging democracy.
Similarly, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday said he would not grant amnesty to Boko Haram insurgents, if elected President next month. He also said he is fit and ready for the poll.
Buhari, who made the submissions during a question and answer session at Chatham House in London, said he would also personally lead the battle against Boko Haram and assured the audience that Nigeria will not break. .
He said: “I think I will not go to that office with that promise. I have said in my address how, at least 13,000 Nigerians have been killed by Boko Haram, how millions of them have been displaced and are now kept in different camps called Internally Displaced Persons camps.
“Schools have been burnt, there is so much disruption to normal life, people could not farm and where they are able to farm, they cannot harvest. So, granting amnesty to Boko Haram will be unfair to the system. We will secure Nigeria. We must have the time to collect enough intelligence to make sure that those that we got are given the chance in civil courts to be properly prosecuted.”
On his alleged health challenge, Buhari said he is fit as fiddle and battle ready for the March poll.
He added: “I am very happy that I have been able to visit 35 states out of the 36. I haven’t broken down even though somebody announced my death yesterday (Wednesday). I had a call from Maiduguri that somebody rushed into a friend’s house crying and said they have just announced that Buhari has died in hospital in London and so, he called me, and I laughed my head off. Certainly, I will be expecting too much if I don’t expect people to wish me dead. But I am very pleased that I am fit, the doctors have declared me fit, and I am going back for the final onslaught.”
Responding to a question, Buhari said Nigeria cannot afford to break up again as a nation because its nationalities have bonded.
He said: “I appreciate the full import of this question. We have a problem as a people and if you are following my statements, I warned about six months ago that we have to be careful of Somalialization of Nigeria.We are a group of nationalities like some people want to call it. We are very different people, religiously, culturally and from different backgrounds and we happen to have come together after the amalgamation by the British in 1914.
“We find it difficult to separate now because there have been so many inter-marriages and some, have become interdependent. Our constitution has been very deliberate in respecting our sensitivities and the freedom given in that constitution is a guarantee that we will certainly manage our differences.We are making a lot of efforts to make sure that we continue to understand ourselves and accommodate ourselves in spite of whatever impression is created among ourselves, especially when people are talking so much about religion,” he said
The APC presidential candidate also spoke on his top three priorities to attract foreign investment.
Buhari said: “Nobody will take his investment to an environment that is insecure. That is why security is going to be one of our major priorities. We will secure the country and efficiently manage it. That efficient management is stopping corruption and getting jobs, among others.
“The way of attracting investors is to persuade investors the world over that Nigeria is poised to cooperate with them by securing the country and helping them recoup their investment. It is not a question of having a free ride. They don’t invest for humanitarian reasons, but so that they can recover their capital and make some profit because that is what sustains them. So, we have to think very quickly and put in place assurances and improve the system so that the environment can be suitable for investment,” he added.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate General Muhammadu Buhari also stated that corrupt persons will not be appointed into his government.
Buhari promised that Nigeria will be restored to its old glory.
“In the face of dwindling revenues, a good place to start the repositioning of Nigeria’s economy is to swiftly tackle two ills that have ballooned under the present administration: waste and corruption. And in doing this, I will, if elected, lead the way, with the force of personal example,” he said.
Noting that: “on corruption, there will be no confusion as to where I stand. Corruption will have no place and the corrupt will not be appointed into my administration. First and foremost, we will plug the holes in the budgetary process. Revenue producing entities such as NNPC and Customs and Excise will have one set of books only. Their revenues will be publicly disclosed and regularly audited. The institutions of state dedicated to fighting corruption will be given independence and prosecutorial authority without political interference.
“But I must emphasise that any war waged on corruption should not be misconstrued as settling old scores or a witch-hunt. I’m running for President to lead Nigeria to prosperity and not adversity. In reforming the economy, we will use savings that arise from blocking these leakages and the proceeds recovered from corruption to fund our party’s social investments programmes in education, health, and safety nets such as free school meals for children, emergency public works for unemployed youth and pensions for the elderly.
“As a progressive party, we must reform our political economy to unleash the pent-up ingenuity and productivity of the Nigerian people thus freeing them from the curse of poverty. We will run a private sector-led economy but maintain an active role for government through strong regulatory oversight and deliberate interventions and incentives to diversify the base of our economy, strengthen productive sectors, improve the productive capacities of our people and create jobs for our teeming youths.
“In short, we will run a functional economy driven by a worldview that sees growth not as an end by itself, but as a tool to create a society that works for all, rich and poor alike. On March 28, Nigeria has a decision to make. To vote for the continuity of failure or to elect progressive change. I believe the people will choose wisely,” he stated.

Representative of the Governor of Rivers State and Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Hon Gogo Charles (right) conferring with Commissioner for Water Resources and Rural Development, Hon Patricia Simon-Hart (left) during the official flag-off of the RSWSRC in Port Harcourt, yesterday

Representative of the Governor of Rivers State and Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Hon Gogo Charles (right) conferring with Commissioner for Water Resources and Rural Development, Hon Patricia Simon-Hart (left) during the official flag-off of the RSWSRC in Port Harcourt, yesterday

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

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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

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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

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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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