The Federal Government has threatened to withdraw funding for the suspended N120billion Bonny-Bodo Road project as a result of lack of cooperation by host communities meant to benefit from the project in Rivers State.
It called on leaders of the affected communities to unite, adding that the N60billion fund released for the project by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) might be refunded, if the host communities failed to agree on specified terms.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, gave the warning to leaders of the communities at a meeting in Abuja, which had prominent traditional rulers from the Niger Delta region, officials of Julius Berger Plc, NLNG and council of elders from Ataba and Gokana, among others, in attendance.
Fashola begged the leaders of the communities to forget their differences, and stated that if the discord persisted, he might petition President Muhammadu Buhari over the issue and ask him to withdraw the N60billion contract sum already released for the project.
He explained that the Bonny-Bodo road project had enjoyed the largest funding, as the NLNG was providing N60billion with additional N60billion counterpart funding from the Federal Government.
The minister told his guests that the contractor handling the project had been mobilised, yet the project was suspended due to lack of cooperation from the benefitting communities.
Fashola expressed worry over the position of the elders, who insisted that the project would not be implemented except they were carried along, and an additional route constructed in Ataba.
He said, “You must work this peace. Today is Thursday, since you said you know the permanent secretary, I will leave you with him. All I want is a peace accord and an invitation to Julius Berger not later than Wednesday, February 28. Otherwise, I will write a report to Mr. President that it doesn’t seem that this project is ready to go, but we can move the money to another project.
“Whether it is Ataba, Ogoni or Gokana, you must own this project. The people you call militants are not spirits. They take their cue from how you react. You are leaders there. If you go back home today, and say it is over, the militants too will calm down. They don’t do anything without alerting the leaders.”
Fashola added, “For us, we can’t keep the money down. The contractor has received his money but now he can’t work. There are projects where contractors are waiting for money, but they don’t have it. That is a contradiction that will not last long.
“So, I will leave you. You know where we stand. We have an idea of where you stand. For me, it is a compromise that holds the project. The NLNG will not be there forever. It took time to even beg them to release this money. So, if you don’t take ownership of the project and put it to use, we might as well tell them to take their money back, and that the project is not ready,” the minister added.
“We need to have a position within two weeks for MoU of compromise to be signed assuring us that there will be peace in that place.
“You must invite the contractor back to site and ensure that you suggest to them anything you want the contractor to do because you can’t take over their business,” he said.
“I must emphasise at this time very clearly that it is in your hands as people who will be affected to either own this project or turn your back on it.
“I am sad to hear that the contractor is being attacked, his property in Gitto yard being vandalised, topographic survey and other works being stopped in your communities.
“My sense is that if a major Federal Government project is coming to your area, you put your differences aside, particularly for the fact that the project is a potential live changing assets,” he added.
Fashola added that the commencement of the project was conceived by the Federal Government within the context of agitation for better quality of life in the Niger Delta.
RSHA Strips Omehia’s Recognition As Ex-Gov …Urges Refund Of Earned Entitlements
The Rivers State House of Assembly has withdrawn the recognition of Sir Celestine Omehia as former governor of Rivers State, and also stopped the payment of all entitlements to him as a result.
The Assembly took the decision, yesterday, following a motion at plenary by the Leader of the House, Hon. Martin Amaewhule, who said he wanted the house to reverse its resolution taken in June 30, 2016, which gave Omehia the rights and privileges as former governor of the state.
Amaewhule, who represents Obio/Akpor Constituency 1 in the state, explained that the House did not have particulars of the Supreme Court judgement as at the time the resolution was passed in 2016.
The lawmaker presented four prayers in his motion that the state government should stop all the privileges and rights, including pension and monthly benefits that Omehia refund all monies received since the resolution was passed that he should not be addressed as ‘His Excellency’; and that the GSSRS given to him by the state government be withdrawn from him.
He also said the House should order Omehia to pay back to the state all monies received in that regard.
Amaewhule regretted that the House did not get particulars of the weekly law reporter at the time the House passed resolution, which he presented before the House to support his motion.
According to him, “The Supreme Court, in its judgement, did not recognise Omehia as governor, and this House should not disobey the Supreme Court judgement.
“The decision of the Supreme Court should be taken into recognition since it stated that he was never a governor.
“When the resolution was passed, members did not have particulars of the judgement, but now, we have better understanding of it”, he said.
In his contribution, the Chief Whip, Hon Evans Bipi, seconded the motion, and adopted all the prayers presented by Amaewhule.
Also speaking, Hon Christian Ahiakwo, Hon Michael Chinda, and Hon Kelechi Nwogu, noted that the House would not stand to disobey the Supreme Court, adding that since the law said he was never a governor,the House too should go in that line and stop all entitlements and privileges of Omehia as former governor.
All members present agreed that the monies received should be refunded to the state government seven days after the resolution was passed.
In his submission, Hon Samuel Ogeh, suggested that the state government should use all legal machineries to recover the monies, if Omehia fails to refund same as directed.
All members present voted in favour of the motion.
Consequently, the Speaker, Rt.Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, directed the Clark of the House to convey to Governor Nyesom Wike the resolution of the House to de-recognise Sir Celestine Omehia as former governor of Rivers State.
The Assembly also directed Omehia to, within seven days, refund N600million in earned benefits and another N96.5million pension received so far.
The speaker further directed Omehia to stop using the titled, “His Excellency” and GSSRS.
GSSRS is an honorary title from the state government reserved for an incumbent or a former governor of the state.
By: Ike Wigodo
FG’ll Borrow N720bn In Fourth Quarter, DMO Confirms
The Debt Management Office (DMO) has released its Federal Government of Nigeria Bonds Issuance Calendar for the fourth quarter of 2022.
The calendar contains N720billion borrowing plan for the period.
According to the calendar, on October 17, the DMO will re-open a 14.55per cent, April, 2029 bond valued at between N70billion and N80billion, with six years, six months term-to-maturity and an original tenor of 10 years.
The office will also re-open a 12.50 per cent, April 2032 FGN bond valued at between N70 billion to N80 billion, with a term-to-maturity of nine years, six months, and original tenor of 10 years.
On the same date, the DMO will re-open a 16.24percent. 2037 FGN bond, valued at between N70billion and N80billion, with term-to-maturity of 14 years, six months, and original tenor of 20 years.
On November 14, the DMO will, again, re-open the 14.55per cent, April, 2029, FGN bond valued at between N70billion and N80billion, with term-to-maturity of six years, five months.
Also, on November 14, it will re-open the 12.50per cent, April, 2032, FGN bond valued at between N70billion and N80billion, with term-to-maturity of nine years, five months.
On the same date (November 14), the office will also re-open the 16.24, April, 2037, FGN bond valued at between N70billion and N80billion, with term-to-maturity of 14 years, five months.
Then, on December 12, the DMO will re-open the 14.55per cent FGN bond valued at between N70billion and N80billion, now with a six years, four months term-to-maturity.
Also, on December 12, it will re-open the 12.50, April 2032 FGN bond, valued at between N70billion and N80billion, with term-to-maturity of nine years, four months.
Again, on December 12, it will re-open the 16.24per cent FGN bond valued at between N70billion and N80billion, with term-to-maturity of 14 years, four months .
CBN Disburses N2.1trn Real Sector Support Facility
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disbursed the sum of N2.1trillion under the Real Sector Support Facility Initiative.
The bank’s Director of Corporate Communications, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, disclosed this afternoon, at the on-going 17th Abuja International Trade Fair, yesterday.
According to him, the disbursement was to 426 projects across the country, as part of CBN’s efforts to grow the nation’s economy.
Nwanisobi, who was representedby the Deputy Director, Internal Communications, Mr. Sam Okogbue, said, “For the records, under the Real Sector Facility, the Bank released the sum of N66.99billion to 12 additional projects in manufacturing and agriculture.
“Cumulative disbursements under the Real Sector Support Facility (RSSF) currently stood at N2.10trillion disbursed to 426 projects across the country.”
On the theme of this year’s fair, “Creating an Export Ready Market through SME Digitalisation,” the CBN spokesman said that the apex bank was determined to assist players in the sector to produce goods that meet international standards for export.
He said, “The Bank’s management is delighted that your chamber is spearheading conversations on the need to grow the nation’s economy through Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
“This also underscores the CBN governor’s continued calls on Nigerians to not only support the thriving of the SMEs in the production of commodities in which they have comparative advantage but to produce, add value and export and earn foreign exchange.”
He added that the bank’s participation was an opportunity to sensitize members of the public on its policies and programmes, especially its strategic interventions for a sustainable economic development in Nigeria.
According to the director, “As part of efforts towards creating export market, particularly for non-oil commodities, driven by SMEs, the Bank, in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee in February, 2022, initiated the RT200 FX Programme aimed at boosting earnings of stable and sustainable inflows of foreign exchange as well as insulating the Nigerian economy from shocks and other challenges arising from foreign exchange shortages.
“Our records show that the initiative has started yielding the expected results as importers and exporters have been taking advantage of the payment of incentives of N65 for every $1 repatriated and sold at the I&E Window to authorized dealer banks for other third-parties’ use and N35 for every $1 repatriated by exporter for own use on eligible transactions.
“The bank has continued to support the creation of export ready market, especially those that would add to Nigeria’s economic growth and development, through her interventions in different sectors of the economy.
“It is important to emphasize here that we take the issue of export-readiness of businesses seriously, hence we have always encouraged business to embrace our concept of Produce, Add Value and Export (PAVE).
“The PAVE concept aims to make Nigerians consume what they produce, add value to such products and export the surpluses. It is an initiative similar to the export-led industrialization policy of South-East Asia, which changed the economic fortunes of countries such as South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore. PAVE, which is designed to be the key for fast-tracking a bucket of substitutes to crude oil export, encourages backward integration for the local production of items in which we have comparative advantage.
“If it worked for the South-East Asians, it surely can work for us in Nigeria. I, therefore, urge SMEs to ensure that their products and services are export-ready and can compete globally.”
In his remarks, the President of the ACCII, Mr. Mustapha Abubakar, said that the fair provided a platform for networking and creating business relationships among companies.
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