Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has assured the Ejamah Community and other host communities of Oil Mining Lease (OML) 11 that the Rivers State Government will defend their right in any ensuing legal battle over the oil facility acquired by the Rivers State Government.
Wike spoke during an appreciation visit by the leaders of Ejamah Community of Eleme Local Government Area at the Government House, Port Harcourt yesterday.
The Governor commended the community for standing firm and fighting through established due process.
“While I remain Governor, one thing I will never do is sell the interest of our people.
“The property of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) were auctioned and the Rivers State Government bidded and acquired them.
“There will be legal battles. The Rivers State Government will stand for Rivers people,” he said.
He reiterated that with the acquisition of the 45 percent stakes of SPDC at OML 11, the Rivers State Government will extend some percentage to the host communities to give them a sense of belonging.
He praised Ejamah community for engaging in the legal battle for 29 years and refusing to be swayed by financial proposals by SPDC.
He said: “I am ready for the legal battle. The interest of Rivers State must be protected at all times. But for your fight, who will be talking of Rivers State Government acquiring OML 11. OML 11 is not only for Ogoni, it extends to Okrika, Andoni, Oyigbo and Ikwerre.
“Any community linked to OML 11 should be eternally grateful to you. I know some communities that only N300million will change them. You refusal to collect N7billion led to the auctioning of Shell Interest.
“If the Federal Government wants to talk, it is the Rivers State Government it should talk with, because we have acquired Shell’s interest. I am with you. God knows I have no personal interest.”
The Governor recommended the style of Ejamah Community, which is based on legal struggles to other communities. He said without violence, Ejamah community defeated SPDC in the courts.
He said no matter the schemes by SPDC, the judgment of the Supreme Court must be implemented.
The Governor commended the lawyer to the community, Lucius Nwosu (SAN) for his trustworthiness.
Governor Wike formally recognised the Traditional Ruler of Ejamah community as a second class chief. He also directed the reconstruction of Ebubu Community Secondary School.
Earlier, the Leader of the Ejamah Community, Chief George Osaro said that the people of Ejamah community are happy with the governor’s intervention in OML 11.
He said: “The people of Ejamah community do hereby express our profound gratitude to you for wading into the matter and ensuring that the Rivers State Government purchased the 45percent interest of SPDC in OML 11.”
He said that the intervention of the governor should not be misconstrued, as it in the overrall interest of the host communities. He said that the action has liberated the people.
Chief Osaro said that Ejamah Ebubu suffered one of the worst oil spill, which negatively affected their environment.
“We must understand that the Governor’s Plan is to boost the state economy, create employment and alleviate the suffering of the people, the State and the Niger Delta entirely as well as the nation”, he said.
He described Governor Wike as a pace setter, a visionary leader and emancipator of the people.
The Ejamah community conferred on Governor Wike a chieftaincy title: “Oneh Owese Oboru Ejamah.”
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has stated that the time has come for unnecessary politics to be relegated and governance enthroned for the good of Nigerians.
Speaking during a courtesy visit by the Ministers of Education and Women Affairs at the Government House, Port Harcourt, last Wednesday, Wike said that Nigerians require good governance for development.
He said: “Leadership is not party affair. Leadership is about the people. It is about development. For now, governance is what our people require.
“We should relegate politics to the background. Political parties as vehicles take us to a certain point for us to disembark and face governance.”
He said rather than politicise the development process, focus should be on how to move Nigeria forward.
Wike said that Rivers people are not happy with the high level of marginalisation against the state.
He said with the conclusion of elections, Rivers State should benefit like other states.
“Honourable Minister, when you go back, inform Mr President that the people of Rivers State are not happy with the high level of marginalisation. Rivers State should benefit from projects like other states of the federation”, he said.
He warned against any attempt to run a one-party state.
“We cannot run a one-party state. If we do that, the country will collapse. You cannot take every state. It is not possible”, he said.
Wike said that even though he wished that President Muhammadu Buhari lost the last General Election, immediately the court pronounced him winner, he was left with no option but to congratulate him.
The governor advocated the promotion of girl-child education.
He said that during his days as a minister of state for education, he advanced the ideals of girl-child education.
In his remarks, Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu commended the Rivers State governor for his dedication to the development of education.
He also praised the governor for supporting the hosting of the National Council on Education (NCE).
Adamu thanked the Rivers State governor for his total support for the sustenance of Federal Government agencies operating in Rivers State.
He said that the Rivers State governor left indelible marks at the Federal Ministry of Education, which the current management has struggled unsuccessfully to surpass.
The minister praised Wike’s brand of politics, which is devoid of bitterness.
He specifically lauded the governor for congratulating the President on his victory and also being on ground to welcome President Muhammadu Buhari when he returned from a medical leave.
“You play politics with fairness and without bitterness “, he said.
Also, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has stated that the nation can only attain development when the citizens are empowered with the right knowledge and appropriate skills to contribute to national growth.
Declaring open the 64th Meeting of the National Council on Education (NCE) in Port Harcourt, yesterday, Wike said that educational empowerment would equip the citizens to sustain themselves.
He said: “The reality is that no country can be politically stable, economically robust and socially secure and cohesive if the citizens are not empowered with knowledge, appropriate skills and the right values to sustain themselves and contribute meaningfully to the progress of the country.”
Wike called for the promotion of inclusive and equitable quality education to promote lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030.
He said: “Agenda 2030 is therefore a call to action on our collective commitments to transformative education by addressing all forms of exclusion, disparities and inequities and ensuring that every child, irrespective of social background, cultural affiliation, location and family or income status is not left behind but have equal and equitable access to quality and transformative public education.
“This requires providing the enabling legal framework, adopting the right policies and programme of action, deploying adequate resources and manpower, including qualified teachers in addition to a strong political will from the government at all levels.”
He said the lack of political will by government, inadequate allocation of resources; lack of commitment and by parents, teachers and school leaders, lack of or ineffective monitoring policy implementation are some of the serious factors responsible for the deteriorated status of education across the country.
He said: ”As a former minister of state education, I am quite familiar with the NCE and what it stands for as the highest national policy organ on education. During our time and under my watch as minister, we initiated and implement several policies and programmes, such as the girl-child education programme, the Almajiri education policy and programme, and the Special Vocational/Basic Education programme for boys as well as the national policy on Albinism. We also strengthened the quality of learning with the provision of modern e-libraries for the Federal Government Colleges.
“While I am not very sure of the present status of these laudable programmes, I do believe that they are fundamental to resolving some of the age-long underlying problems with our education system that borders on lack of universal access, equity and gender inequality. And if you reflect for a moment on the state of our country – the chaos, the misery, stagnation and hopelessness among the majority of our people, you will appreciate the cost of inadequate investments in education.”
The governor stated in Rivers State, his administration has invested in the development of education for the rapid growth of the state.
He said: “Here in Rivers State, our commitment is to provide equal opportunity to all our children to attend great schools, be taught by committed and well-motivated teachers at all levels and enable them to acquire the training and skills they need to realize their full potential and be successful citizens. We have successfully renovated, expanded and equipped over 400 basic education schools while 68 new schools are under renovation with this year’s grant.
“We have rebuilt, expanded and fully equipped a number of our secondary schools across the State while many more are undergoing similar reconstruction and expansion. We have also expanded the carrying capacity of all our tertiary institutions with additional faculties and infrastructure to enable more of our youths to access tertiary education.
Besides effectively banning the collection of all forms of levies from parents in the public-school system, we have released adequate funds through the Ministry of Education to school heads for the sustainable administration of all our public schools.”
In a keynote address, Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu said that the Federal Government was working towards developing a functional educational system that would make citizens self reliant.
He said: “There is no doubt that Technical and Vocational Education and Training holds the key to the development of our country’s industrial sector, thus the challenges of youth unemployment can best be addressed through quality education that guarantees self reliance.
’Entrepreneurship education and training is globally acknowledged as an important strategy for tackling youth unemployment. In our drive to reposition education for self reliance, particular attention has been given to the development of technical, vocational and entrepreneurial skills in learners as the present administration has trained over 500 science, vocational and mathematics teachers on the use of modern equipment and new approaches in schools.”
He said that the Federal Government has granted approval for the establishment of new Federal Science and Technical Colleges in 16 states.
Adamu added that the Federal Government was improving access to quality education in different parts of the country.
Also speaking, Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen praised Wike for being a promoter of girl-child education.
Tallen said educating the girl-child would empower the family and the nation, and called on all stakeholders to work towards educating the girl-child.
Tallen stated that the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs would partner with the Federal Ministry of Education to promote girl-child education.
The Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Education, Dagogo Adonye Hart said the National Council on Education was relevant to the development of vital policies and programmes to improve the quality of education.
The theme of the 64th National Council on Education is: “Education for Self Reliance: A Tool for Achievement of 20:30 Agenda.”
The meeting attracted education commissioners, permanent secretaries and FCT secretary of education from across the federation.
PH Law School Campus Ready For Commissioning …As Wike Hands Over C Of O To Ngige …Says Institution’ll Be Self-Sustaining
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has re-emphasised that the Dr. Nabo Graham-Douglas Campus of the Nigerian Law School in Port Harcourt has been provided to be a self-sustaining institution in Nigeria, saying that the campus was now ready for commissioning.
To achieve that mandate, Wike, last Monday, handed over the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) of adjoining property to the campus acquired by the Rivers State Government to the Chairman of the Council of Legal Education, Chief Emeka Ngige, SAN.
The presentation was made when Wike conducted the Chairman of the Council of Legal Education, Chief Emeka Ngige, SAN, together with the Director General of Nigeria Law School, Prof. Isa Hayatu Chiroma, SAN, and other dignitaries round structures within the law campus that were completed and ready for formal handover.
Wike said the acquisition of the adjoining property to the campus would enable the operators of the campus to use them for sundry commercial and revenue generating activities in order to meet the financial needs of the law school in Port Harcourt.
“We are using this opportunity to present the Certificate of Occupancy of the property we have acquired and paid for by the Rivers State Government for the Nigerian Law School, Dr. Nabo Graham-Douglas, Port Harcourt Campus to you (chairman).
“We are giving the property to you for the purpose of making some revenue to run this campus. Whatever revenue derived is to be utilised for this campus alone.
“Very soon, the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice and the Director General will meet to prepare a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). It will ensure that you won’t take revenue from here to subsidise for other campuses. Any money you make here; put it here in this campus.”
Wike also told them that with the construction work on all the structures in the campus now completed, the state government awaits the Council of Legal Education to choose a date when they desire the campus to be formally handed over to them.
In his response, Chairman of the Council of Legal Education, Chief Emeka Ngige, SAN, noted that they were on inspection of the facility, and were amazed at what they have seen.
“17th July, 2021 was when we came for the foundation laying ceremony, and the governor promised that this project will be delivered in one-year. Behold, today is June 27th, not up to July yet, and he had delivered.
“Recall that when we were doing the ground breaking ceremony, the governor promised that every month, he will give this campus N10million for four years, and will be given in advance, that is about N480million to run this institution.
“When I learnt that he had acquired adjoining property: houses, shopping malls and other business facilities for the law school to rent out to raise revenue to run this institution, I can tell you, it is unparalleled,” Ngige said.
On his part, the Director General of Nigerian Law School, Prof. Isa Hayatu Chiroma, described the Dr. Nabo Graham-Douglas Campus in Port Harcourt as the best and mother of all law campuses in Nigeria.
“On behalf of the council, we are very grateful for a promise made and promise kept. This is the turning point in the history of legal education in Nigeria”, Chiroma said.
During the inspection of the lecturers’ quarters in New Government Residential Area in Port Harcourt, former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Onueze C. J. Okocha, SAN, said Wike was a performer, who keeps promises and has delivered the Dr. Nabo Graham-Douglas Port Harcourt Campus that was tastefully constructed and furnished before the record time he set for himself.
Also speaking, another former President of the NBA, Okey Wali, SAN, noted that Wike had done this to show that he was a lover of democracy and for promotion of the judicial system in Nigeria.
The Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor, SAN, described the project as historic and iconic because there was nothing like it across the country.
He said Wike has provided it as a commitment to advancing legal education in the country.
Again, INEC Extends CVR For Nigerians …Warns Against Political Campaigns
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has, again, extended the continuous voter registration (CVR) exercise in the country until further notice.
This is even as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has cautioned political parties and their proxies against hiding under the excuse of the ongoing voters’ registration exercise to engage in any form of politicking or campaigns.
The commission made this position known in a statement signed by the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye Esq, in Abuja, yesterday.
The statement read: “The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) met today, (Thursday, 30th June, 2022) and deliberated on a number of issues, including the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise, the issuance of Certified True Copies (CTCs) of documents and the commencement of the Uploading of the List and Personal Particulars of Governorship and State Assembly Candidates.
“The Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) will continue nationwide, and all the Resident Electoral Commissioners and Electoral Officers have been directed to continue with the exercise pending further directives from the commission.
“The commission has consistently reiterated its resolve to continue to provide electoral services commission has yet again deployed additional machines to areas of pressure and will continue to serve the people of Nigeria.
“Furthermore, the case at the Federal High Court relating to the terminal date of the CVR came up yesterday Wednesday, 29th June, 2022, and based on the request of the Commission, the Court granted an accelerated hearing and adjourned the matter to Monday 4th July 2022 for hearing of the substantive matter. The commission will give an update after court hearing next week.
“The Commission has been inundated with applications for CTCs of various documents. So far, 186 requests for CTCs, some running into hundreds of pages, have been processed. The Commission is working round the clock, including weekends, to attend to all such requests. We wish to assure political parties, aspirants, candidates, and all applicants for CTCs of documents that their applications will be treated expeditiously and will be issued in earnest.
“By the Timetable and Schedule of Activities released by the commission, Political Parties that conducted valid Governorship and State Assembly primaries shall upload the list and personal particulars of their nominated candidates between 1st and 15th July, 2022.
“We urge political parties to scrutinise the list and personal particulars of the candidates they propose to sponsor at the election to avoid any mix-up and duplication of names. Political parties are advised not to wait until the last day before uploading the list and personal particulars of their candidates.
“The Candidates Nomination Portal will shut down at 6pm on 15th July, 2022. Political parties that have challenges with uploading documents should contact the commission’s Help – Desk, through the dedicated telephone lines or contact the candidate nomination centre at the commission’s headquarters”, the statement added.
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has cautioned political parties and their proxies against hiding under the excuse of the ongoing voters’ registration exercise to engage in any form of politicking or campaign.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Kano State INEC, Risqua Shehu, issued the warning at a press conference in his office in Kano, yesterday, saying that that any political party that was found wanting in this regard would face the law.
Risqua, a professor, reminded the political parties that doing such was against the dictates of the Electoral Act, which has since set forth a time frame for campaigns for the governorship and presidential elections.
“The commission monitors and would need to establish full proof cases and then allow prosecution to take place. We do not prosecute, but we gather evidences against any defaulting political party and I assure you that that would be done”, he stated.
While applauding the upsurge in the number of registrants in the state, he, however, lamented the huge cases of illegal and double registrations, saying that over 40percent of registrants in Kano State were found to have registered before.
Risqua explained that INEC has been making concerted efforts to educate the people that the PVCs issued by the commission do not expire; hence there was no need for anybody to register twice.
He cautioned that, “When one is found guilty, he is liable to a fine or an imprisonment or both. There is a provision for a fine of N100, 000 or one year imprisonment or both.
“But at the moment, I am not in the position to establish what the commission would do to those with double registration, considering the huge number of offenders across the country”, he said.
“The beautiful thing is this. We have made adequate arrangements in our robust system to be able to identify and eliminate all those who have registered twice and cancel their new registration and retain only the old information that is there. That is what the commission is doing now”.
While appreciating all stakeholders that have been sensitising and supporting eligible Nigerians on the registration exercise, he stressed that under no condition should any individual, cyber -café, civil society or group extort or collect money from any registrant for that exercise.
Reps Plan Separate Contributory Pension Scheme For NASS
The House of Representatives has begun the process of pulling out the National Assembly from the Contributory Pension Scheme under the administration of the National Pension Commission.
The House is to create a separate body to administer matters relating to pensions for workers in the federal parliament.
At the plenary, yesterday, the House passed for second reading, the legislation titled ‘A Bill for an Act to Amend the Pension Reform Act, 2014 to Exclude/Exempt the National Assembly Service from the Contributory Pension Scheme and Establish the National Assembly Service Pension Board.’
Chairman of the House Committee on National Planning and Economic Development, Hon Olododo Cook, who sponsored the bill, said the proposal was to exempt the personnel of the National Assembly from the Contributory Pension Scheme and to establish a National Assembly Service Pensions Board “to be charged with the responsibility of administering the pension scheme for personnel of the service.”
Cook stated, “This bill is in consequence of the exit of the service from the application of the contributory pension scheme under the Pensions Reform Act, 2014.”
The bill seeks to amend Section 5(1)(a) of the Act by inserting the words ‘the National Assembly service’ to read thus: “The categories of persons exempted from the Contributory Pension are (a) the categories of persons mentioned in Section 291 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), members of the intelligence community and the National Assembly service personnel.”
Clause 2(1) of the bill also proposes that, “There is established a pension board which shall be charged with the responsibility of managing payment of pensions and gratuities to all personnel of the service.
“Application of the bill to personnel who retired before the commencement of this bill: (2) This bill shall apply to all personnel of the service, including those who had retired before the commencement of this bill. (3) The retirement benefits of personnel referred to in Subsection (2) above shall be adjusted to be commensurate with the provisions of this bill.”
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