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God Helped Me Overcome ‘Federal Might’ -Wike …As Gov Warns Task Force Against Illegal Operations …Explains Budgetary Allocation Increase To Health Sector

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has described himself as the luckiest politician that was assisted by God to overcome the onslaught of Federal Might during the 2019 elections.
Speaking during the Thanksgiving Service of the Senator Representing Rivers South-East Senatorial District, Senator Barinada Mpigi, at Saint Cyprian’s Anglican Church, Koroma Town, Tai Local Government Area, yesterday, Governor Wike said he fought Federal Might and survived because God was with him.
“I am the luckiest politician who has always received God’s Blessing. I don’t know how many people who have fought Federal Might and succeeded.
“God fought for us during the last elections and we were victorious. That is why I will always support the Church. I will always continue to give thanks to God for his mercies”, the Governor said.
Wike, who noted that only God has the power to enthrone his successor in 2023, emphasized that the most he can do is to pray that his party succeeds in the election.
“I will not install my successor. It is God that will determine who will succeed me. Only God has the power to install my successor.
“However, I will fervently pray that my party succeeds in 2023. The insistence to plant a successor is mainly for selfish reasons. Everyone with the right capacity should come forward to tell Rivers people, why they should vote him/her”, he said.
While describing Senator Barinada Mpigi as a dedicated politician, who works hard to achieve results, Governor Wike said he has worked closely with the Senator since 1999 because he is a trustworthy politician, adding that Mpigi has examined both PDP and APC, with the conclusion that PDP is the hope for Nigeria, noting that despite the challenge confronting the PDP, the future of the country is secured under the leadership of the PDP.
On his part, Deputy Senate President, Senator Omo Agege, who was represented at the occasion by Senator Sandy Onoh, described Senator Mpigi as a potent force for Ogoni, Rivers State and the South-South.
Also speaking, former Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume, said Senator Mpigi is a trustworthy politician who does not swerve in the face of pressure.
Ndume also praised Governor Wike for being a courageous politician who works for the people, no matter the pressure.
In his response, Senator Mpigi thanked God for His mercies and his consistent political victories, saying that he built the Church in appreciation to God’s mercies over the years.
He commended Governor Wike for his contribution to his electoral victory, declaring that he will follow the Governor’s direction in 2023.
Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinaya Abaribe said members of the Senate were on ground to support their colleague thank God for his electoral victory, and also announced the contribution of the Senators towards the construction of the vicariate.
In a sermon, Chairman of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Rivers State Chapter, Apostle Zilly Aggrey, urged Nigerians to live a life of Thanksgiving and Appreciation to God for his blessing.
He urged Niger Delta Governors to work together to address the poor Federal Road Infrastructure in the South-South.
Highpoint of the occasion was the presentation of Bibles to Governor Wike and other dignitaries by the Church, while the Anglican Bishop of Ogoni Diocese also prayed for Governor Wike and other political leaders.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has warned operatives of the State Task Force on Street Trading, Illegal Markets and Motor Parks against attempting to illegally influence the decisions of the mobile courts.
Addressing members of the Task Force at the Government House Port Harcourt at the weekend, Governor Wike said operatives of the Task Force have no power to interfere with the work of magistrates attached to the Mobile Courts.
“I don’t want to hear these negative reports again. You have no right to direct the magistrates on what they should do. Nobody has given you power to talk to the magistrates.
“Your duty is to arrest people and take them to the magistrates. It is left for the court to decide the matter based on the law. It is not for you to tell the magistrates what to do. You don’t have that power”, he said.
The Governor decried the dwindling performance of operatives of the Task Force, saying that they must improve their performance.
“Events have shown that 70 percent of you are doing things that are not right. You now allow illegal street traders to operate and you collect money.
“In some instances you allow illegal motor parks to exist on our roads. That was not the case when you started operations. You must remember that nobody can be rich overnight.
“You have no right to open an account anywhere. If I decide to send you people home, you will start complaining. Several people are interested in carrying out these responsibilities”, he said.
The Governor said that if the operatives of the Task Force fail to improve on their services, he will be compelled to take punitive measures against them.
“This is the final time I will call you for a meeting. By the time I go round again and there is no improvement in your operations, I will send all of you packing.
“Even if you have worked towards the end of the month, I will not pay you. I will simply tell you to take whatever you have collected as part of your salary.
“People commended you when you started. But you are now engaged in some illegal activities. There are other people who are willing to work and I will not hesitate to engage fresh hands. Luckily, this is a Task Force. We even thought we will employ you as civil servants, but with the way you are going that will be difficult.”
Governor Wike also warned members of the Task Force against extorting monies from traders, bus and taxi drivers.
“The traders know that you extort monies from them. The drivers know that you extort monies from them. Before, everywhere was clear. The traffic flowed freely. But now, there are challenges.
As you go to GU Ake Road, there is an illegal taxi park. Traders have come to the road. They now sell all manner of things on the road”, he said.
In another development, the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has stated that his administration increased the budgetary allocation for the health sector in the 2020 budget because of his commitment to universal health coverage in the state.
Speaking during a Courtesy Visit by the World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative for Nigeria on Friday at the Government House, Port Harcourt, Governor Wike said his Administration is committed to improving healthcare delivery in the State.
“We have increased the budgetary allocation for the health sector in the 2020 fiscal year. We have placed priority on health. We are expanding our health facilities for the benefit of our people.
“The issue of health is critical to the development of the state. Without health, other sectors will suffer. Therefore, we will continue to invest in the health sector”, he said, and also used the opportunity to announce that the Contributory Health Insurance Scheme of the state will now be compulsory.
“We have said our Contributory Health Insurance scheme will no longer be voluntary. Henceforth, it will be compulsory for everyone.
“We will do everything possible to strengthen our partnership with the World Health Organisation and health related institutions in order to promote the healthcare system in our state.”
He announced that the Rivers State Government has procured 200,000 insecticide treated mosquito nets for distribution to Rivers people in the fight against malaria, adding that the State’s Counterpart Fund for the fight against Yellow Fever in the State has also been released.
In his remarks, the Country Representative of WHO for Nigeria, Dr Peter Lasuba, appreciated the investments of the Wike-led administration in the health sector.
He said: “Let me also appreciate you for prioritizing social services, including health, as engine of human development, poverty eradication and prosperity for all in the State.
“Your focus on Universal Health Coverage is a great vision anchored on the global health agenda to ensure healthy lives and wellbeing for this State”, he said.
The WHO boss commended the Rivers State Governor for the support for the organisation’s programmes, and called for the strengthening of the partnership between WHO and the Rivers State Government.
“I salute your unwavering support to health and humbly encourage you to continue with the noble responsibility. We are here to continue supporting you in this very important journey. We need to sustain the successes recorded in the health sector”, he said.
While congratulating the Rivers State Governor on his re-election, Lasuba said winning the election for the second time is a clear testimony of the Governor’s dedication to Rivers development, which won the hearts of the electorate.

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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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