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Employment Generation: Wike Seeks EU, RSG Synergy In Agric Dev …Assures Govt’s Resolve To Ensure Sustainable Peace …Urges EU’s Pressure On FG For Electoral Reforms

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has called on the countries of the European Union to partner with the state government in the development of the commercial agricultural sector for the purpose of job creation.
Wike also called on the European Union countries to partner with the state government on the improvement of the state capital waste disposal system.
He spoke, yesterday, during a forum of the European Union Heads of Missions in Abuja in a presentation titled: “Understanding current political and security situation in Rivers State in particular and Niger Delta region in general”.
He said: “We will continue to solicit for targeted development interventions in Rivers State from the European Union Missions.
“Increase your unconditional development grants to Rivers State, and deploy same to fund programmes, projects and services that will sustainably advance the socio-economic wellbeing of our people and communities; and encourage European companies and investors to come over to Rivers State in particular and the Niger Delta in general, and invest in commercial agriculture, manufacturing, maritime services, oil and gas exploration, quality healthcare delivery, quality education, especially, in science and technology, roads and transport infrastructure, affordable housing, water provision and effective waste disposal systems”.
He said, though Rivers State and the Niger Delta have their security challenges, the region is relatively peaceful, well governed and with a crime rate that is lower than the national average.
“Rivers State is effectively being governed. Law and order is in place; people are freely going about with their social and economic activities; the entire state is largely peaceful; and the crime rate is relatively low on the national average.
“This is also true with the other Niger Delta states as none is under a state of pervasive insecurity or violence as we have in some other parts of the country”.
“As a government, our desire and resolve is to ensure that Rivers State is sustainably peaceful, secure and safe for citizens and visitors to reside; do business and have fun. And we have done a lot in the last four years of our administration to advance the security and wellbeing of the state and our citizens through personal initiatives as well as through the national security institutions”, he said.
He outlined all the key support and investments of the Rivers State Government under his leadership in the promotion of peace and security, but pointed out that state governors, though called chief security officers, were constrained constitutionally in the administration of the security architecture of their respective states.
He said: “State governors face legal, administrative and political constraints when dealing with internal security issues. Although we are held out as the chief security officers of our states, but in reality, we do not have even the slightest of legal and administrative control over security personnel, deployments and operations in our states.
“As if that was not frustrating enough, we also suffer from the politicization of security agencies and operations, which was taking to absurd levels, when the Federal Government prevented us, that is, the Rivers State Government, from operationalising the Neighbourhood Watch Corps established by law to provide intelligence and other necessary security support and services to the formal security agencies in our communities, despite allowing some other states of the same political party with the Federal Government to have their own internal security outfits. With such and other effective drawbacks, there is a limit to what any state governor can do to ensure all round security in his state even with the best of intentions, efforts and inputs”.
He thanked the European Union for steps they have taken to deepen democracy in the country.
“We thank you for the report you submitted to various organisations on the 2019 General Elections. Not everyone will like the report, but the truth must be told for us to forge ahead. I believe that if this country must move forward, we must look at the report and see how best we can improve on our electoral system”, he said.
He said what happened in Rivers State during the 2019 elections was a situation where security agencies tried to manipulate the electoral process to deprive the people the opportunity of allowing their votes to count.
“Thank God, the will of the people prevailed. That is why I am here today as the governor of Rivers State.
“On our part, we have said that we will look inwards to find out what happened. That is why we set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to look into what happened during the last elections. That Judicial Commission of Inquiry has submitted its report. Once the cabinet is constituted, we will come up with a white paper that will check impunity. Anybody who is involved or indicted by that commission, the law will take its course”, he said.
Wike urged the European Union to put sufficient pressure on the federal government for electoral reforms.
European Union Ambassador to Nigeria, Ketil Karlsen said the meeting is an opportunity for the Rivers State governor to address the European Union on his visions and perspectives to the growth of the state.
He said that he is sure the Rivers State governor has hit the ground running by taking steps to actualize the goals of his administration.
The meeting discussed ways of partnership and development for the benefit of all sides.

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Fubara Vows To End Era Of Fiscal Recklessness In Rivers

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has vowed to ensure prudent management of the state’s resources during his administration.
Fubara made the pledge yesterday while declaring the commencement of construction of N80.3 billion 33.5-kilometre Elele-Egbeda-Omoku Road dual carriageway and bridge project in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers.
He assured the people that his government was dedicated to serving their interests and emphasised that no distraction would deter it from serving that objective.
“So I assure you that every Kobo will be accounted for in Rivers State.
“We are people that are transparent; that are ready to serve in line with President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda,” he said.
Fubara expressed displeasure at recent attacks on his supporters by hoodlums allegedly backed by outgoing Local Government Council chairmen in the State.
He warned that those who attack innocent citizens in the name of politics would not be forgiven and would pay for their crimes.
“It is unfortunate that after we inaugurated the Aleto-Ogale-Ebubu-Eteo Road project on Tuesday and left, some people went there and attacked our people.
“There is no need for that. Nobody has a monopoly of violence.
“I should even be the one to come out and shout that I will do this and that, but I have not done so because both sides (people) belong to me.
“So, I am advising those people who call themselves local government chairmen and that have few days in office, to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner,” Fubara said.
The governor also highlighted the transient nature of political power and urged politicians to act with caution.
“Politics will come and go, but we will still live our lives. If you deliberately hurt anybody because of expressing your useless support, nobody will forgive you.
“I have been the target of abuse as the Governor who doesn’t know what to do with power, but have I said anything?
“So, I am begging everyone to conduct themselves properly because I do not want anything that will bring problem in this state,” he said.
Regarding the project, Fubara explained that the Elele-Egbeda-Omoku Road and bridge project would be financed from the state’s Internal Generated Revenue (IGR).
He said that 50 per cent of the project cost has already been paid and assured that it would be completed within 24 months.
The governor said the contractor, Craneburg Construction Company, had affirmed to completing the project within the specified timeframe outlined in the contract agreement.
“We are constructing this road out of our genuine commitment to serve the people, not because we have any economic interest here,” he said.
A former member, House of Representatives, Sen. John Mbata, who flagged off the road, praised the potential economic impact of the road when completed.
He applauded Fubara’s peaceful approach and leadership style of inclusiveness and consultation with all stakeholders in the state.
“We have moved away from the time when the governor of the state is seen as a god and demanded worship.
“We are now having a governor that has become a symbol and a rallying point for the people,” he said.

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We Inherited Huge Debt -Fubara …As Gov Otti Inaugurates Aleto-Ogale-Ebubu-Eteo Road Project

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has revealed that a huge debt burden was left behind for his administration to settle with several contractors who handled different projects for the immediate past administration.
Governor Fubara made the revelation at Ebubu community, venue of the inauguration of the reconstructed 10.89KM Aleto-Ogale-Ebubu-Eteo Road in Eleme Local Government Area, Rivers State yesterday.
The Governor emphasised how baffling the debt owed the contractors amounted to, given the public impression created of a clean balance sheet maintained with contractors.
He said, “This is to let the world know that if there is one problem this administration has, it is the huge debt burden. Most of the projects that are being commissioned, the contractors are coming for their balance-payment and it is running into billions.
”I have said that I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to talk because I was part of that system. But, when you keep pushing me to talk, I will say it so that the people will know the true situation of things and be properly informed.”
Governor Fubara expressed delight over the commencement of the celebration of his One Year in Office Anniversary with the inauguration of a road project in Eleme where he lived when he started off with his working life.
The Governor stated that the road was awarded on August 14, 2023, to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) at the cost of N6.7billion.
He said that completed project now serves as a proof that his administration is still focused on delivering development to the people despite the many troubles thrown at it.
”I am happy to be here and to join the good people of Rivers State to start this wonderful celebration of our first anniversary in the face of all the troubles. It shows that we are still focused, not minding the level of distractions.
”This road was awarded to CCECC as a contractor. It was awarded on the 14th of August, 2023. I believe that 14th of August was within my tenure. I am not saying ‘I’, but it was this administration that awarded it.
”This project was awarded at the cost of N6.7billion, and I can say boldly that no kobo is remaining. We’ve paid the contractor its complete sum. Our gathering here is to tell our people that their problem is our problem.”
Emphasising the significance of the road, Governor Fubara said it is a bypass to be used by motorists to avoid the deplorable sections of the East-West Road now under reconstruction, and by extension, a support to the Federal Government’s efforts to give hope to Nigerians and make life better for the people.
Governor Fubara said: “What we are doing today, is it not help to the Federal Government? Is it not a show that this Government has the interest of the people at heart and it is supporting and doing everything to make the Federal Government succeed?
”So, when people come out and say some funny things, I laugh. Why are we doing this? When this administration came on board, Mr President christened his mantra ‘Renewed Hope’ to give Nigerians hope.
”What we are doing today in this State is giving our people that hope to complement what Mr President is doing at the national level.
”It is not about social media. We are talking about action. Genuine actions that make positive impact in the lives of our people,” he said.
Governor Fubara explained the rationale behind the invitation extended to Abia State Governor, Dr Alex Otti, to inaugurate the project, saying he is not an artificial integrity man but a pragmatic man.
Sir Fubara stated: “I invited him because he is not an artificial integrity man. He is an action integrity man. He is not like the one who would gather to talk because they just want to talk.
”He is a man who came into office, in the face of difficulties and challenges, just like we are here, but he is making impact in the lives of Abians.
”So, I will continue to identify with good governance. I will continue to identify with people who want to make impact in the lives of the people. Our Government, as we promised you on day one: the people first.”
Governor Fubara alluded to an unnamed person who insinuated that on assumption of office, he started a fight against the Federal Government, and wondered the veracity of such allegation.
”We are talking about Federal Government that is giving us support, and we appreciate their support. But there is a rat in the house that is eating the bags of garri. So, you can imagine such situation.”
Explaining further, the Governor noted that somebody in the house was stoking crisis to distract both the State and Federal Government from delivering their promises to give the people hope and leave lasting legacies impactful policies and programmes for posterity, and promised the people that the black legs in the family will soon be exposed for what they are.
Governor Fubara thanked the good people of Eleme for their support during the period of the execution of the project, as according to him, the contractor never complained of any challenges from the communities, adding that rather the people gave all the cooperation required.
The Governor noted that with what has been experienced, his administration is now encouraged to come back and undertake more projects as he believed that they will be protected.
Performing the inauguration of the project, the Abia State Governor, Dr Alex Otti, congratulated Governor Fubara for what he has done in remembering to execute a road project in Eleme community where he had once lived.
Governor Otti said, “I have always said it that leadership is about service. Anytime leadership departs from service, then, you are getting it wrong. Service should be service to the people, not service to self or very few interests. Anytime you are serving few people rather than the majority, you need to go and look at yourself again.
”So, for me, it’s all about good governance. Clearly, Governor Fubara came prepared, and I don’t believe that any distraction is enough to take his focus away from improving the welfare and interest of the people.
”So, I can assure you, Rivers people, that the dividends of democracy that you are seeing now is still a dress rehearsal. It is early in the morning, and I am sure that in no distance future, you will be seeing more.”
Governor Otti charged Eleme and the good people of Rivers State to continue to support the Governor of the State to do even more to make life easy for the majority.
He embossed that no matter how the dice is flipped: “Power belongs to God, no human can arrogate to himself the capacity to give power, except you have the capacity to give life. Of course, you can take life, but you cannot give it.”
In his project description, Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Works, Engr. Atemia Briggs, said the project was awarded on 14th August, 2023 to CCECC.
Engr Briggs explained that the road is 10.89 KM long, has a width of 10.5 meters, with a drain length of 10.1 KM, adding that it will, in the overall, serve human and economic needs of the people.
In his remark, the Executive Director, South-South Region of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), Engr. Eric Shen, expressed gratitude for the confidence reposed in the company to handle the project, which has been completed with support from the Government, and cooperation from the host communities.
He said they were committed to delivering quality road that will serve the people for a long time, which was why they contended with the challenges of heavy vehicular traffic, daily business activities by traders on the road, and the rains to ensure timely delivery of the project within eight months.
In his welcome remark, the former Nigerian Ambassador to the Netherlands, Hon Orji Ngofa, acknowledged that the project, popularly known as the Old Bori Road, had collapsed as a result of the heavy vehicular traffic taken off the East-West Road that became deplorable, and is now being reconstructed.
Ngofa thanked Governor Fubara for reconstructing the entire stretch of the road, which now better improves the wellbeing of the people while also serving the transportation and economic needs of all users of the road.
While presenting the traditional kolanuts to the visitors, the Oneh-Eh Eleme, Chief Philip Osaro Obele, had conferred on Governor Fubara, the traditional title of Emere Ajuri Oneh of Eleme (meaning King of Peace of Eleme Kingdom).

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2026 World Cup, My Immediate Task -Finidi

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Head coach of the Super Eagles, Finidi George, has said that his immediate task and priority is to qualify the nation for the 2026 World Cup slated for Canada, Mexico and U.S.
The Board of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on April 19, appointed George as Head Coach of the Super Eagles.
George stated this at his unveiling as the new head coach of the Super Eagles by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), at the Moshood Abiola National stadium on Monday in Abuja.
The former Ajax Amsterdam winger, who was assistant to former Super Eagles gaffer, Jose Peseiro, was jointly unveiled by the NFF President, Ibrahim Gusau and Sports Minister, Sen. John Owan Enoh.
“For me, my first target is to make sure we are in line to qualify for the 2026 World Cup, the AFCON qualifiers will also be coming up soon.
“But the major target for me is the two games we have, we will do everything to win against South Africa and Benin Republic.
“Once we do that we will have set the tone and we will take it from there,” he said.
The coach warned that going forward; players will be invited to the Super Eagles based on regular playing time in their clubs and commitment to the national team.
He dismissed insinuations about having rift with some players in the Super Eagles, stressing that his relationship with the players was ‘perfect’ and professional.
“My relationship with the players is very perfect. I will try to improve on my relationship as this will be different. You will not hear any controversy on my relationship,” he said.
Earlier, NFF President Ibrahim Gusau said the coach will be given all the support he needs to succeed in the task ahead.
“We have given our coach the opportunity to choose his assistants. We will not impose anybody on him.
“We are going to engage the assistants on game basis but will pay the head coach monthly salary. We want to avoid salary issues,” he said .
The Minister of Sports Development, Sen. John Owan Enoh stressed the importance of having and supporting indigenous coaches to succeed.
“We have an opportunity to have a local coach to lead the Super Eagles. Back then in my University days, I would go to UJ Eseune stadium to watch Calabar Rovers and see Finidi George play.
“I am honoured to be here to witness his unveiling, if you love Nigerian football, you must love and support Finidi George. His success will bring joy to Nigerians.
“Any country I find an indigenous coach sitting on the bench, I always feel very proud and I am glad that we have an opportunity that has a Nigerian coach, Finidi George, as football men national team coach, “ he said.
The details of the contract was not revealed.
The coach has picked ex-international, Daniel Amokachi as assistant coach, Olatunji Baruwa as goalkeeper trainer, Mehmet Ozturk, match analyst, Benjamin James and Chima Onyeike, fitness trainers.
The immediate task of the coach is to get the Super Eagles back on track in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers where Nigeria currently sit third in Group C, with two points from two matches.
Nigeria drew with Lesotho and Zimbabwe in the first two matches in the qualifying series in November.
The Super Eagles will face South Africa and Benin Republic in June, in what has been described as a make or mar clash.

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