The Federal Government has assured the Government and people of Rivers State that it would effect a refund of monies expended on federal projects in the state.
Addressing journalists after embarking on the verification of federal road projects executed by the Rivers State Government on behalf of the Federal Government, yesterday, in Port Harcourt, the Minister of State for Education, Hon Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, said that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration would always abide by set rules.
Nwajiuba said: “The Federal Government has always cooperated with the people of Rivers State. Rivers State is the strongest economic base of the country, and anything that the Federal Government will do for the Government and people of Rivers State, the Federal Government will respond accordingly.
“The President is a stickler for the rules. We have addressed this everywhere, except for five states, that we are now verifying. No state has had an issue,” the minister stated.
The minister said that the Rivers State Government, over the years, did a splendid work in the construction of key projects in the state.
“Terrific work has been done by the Government and people of Rivers State on behalf of the Federal Government. The governor has taken us on extensive review of more than six projects that we came to inspect,” he said.
He expressed happiness with the tour of Federal Road Projects executed by the Rivers State Government.
He said: “I am glad we took time out to go and see all of them and verify them physically. We are really sure that the state government has done what is right.”
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, had led the Federal Executive Council Verification Team on a tour of listed projects in the state.
In an interview with journalists after the Joint Verification Exercise, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike said he was confident that the Federal Government would effect a refund.
He said: “The minister has come with his team, and I believe they will refund us the funds expended on the roads.
“We have made submissions for refund, but we are yet to receive any refund from the Federal Government. I believe this last verification will come to fruition. I have confidence that they will refund us the money expended on federal projects.”
Wike said if the Federal Government fails to effect the refund as promised, the Rivers State Government would raise an alarm.
“If they don’t refund, we will raise alarm, and tell the world to help us ask why we are being denied the refund.
“Now, we are talking of governance and we need these funds to do more projects for our people. He has given us assurance that the Federal Government will effect a refund this time around”, Wike added.
The tour commenced at the over 41.26-kilometre dualisation of the Airport-Isiokpo-Elele-Omerelu Road, the reconstruction of Ikwerre Road from Education to Agip flyover junction, construction of flyover at Agip-Rumueme-Abacha roundabout and the construction of flyover on East-West Road at Obiri-Ikwerre with rotary turning and service lanes.
The verification team also visited the construction of Eleme junction flyover and interchange and the construction of phases one and two of Ada-George Road.
Wike also led the team on an inspection of the Rebisi, Rumuogba and Okoro-Nu-Odu flyover bridges under construction by the Rivers State Government at Garrison, Artillery and Rumuokoro junctions in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor local government areas, respectively.
Earlier, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, had stated that he was hopeful that the Federal Government would refund state resources used to execute federal projects in the state.
Wike said that his optimism stems from the fact that the Federal Executive Council has sent a verification team to the state in respect of federal projects.
He spoke, yesterday, during a courtesy visit by the Minister of State for Education, Hon Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
He said: “I thank the Federal Government for at least coming to verify our claims. We submitted our claims, while some other states have been paid. But we are hopeful.
“We have been submitting several documents on the issue of projects that were executed by the Rivers State Government for the Federal Government. We believe that by this verification visit, we will get paid”.
He said most of the federal projects in question were executed by Dr Peter Odili and the immediate past administration of Chibuike Amaechi in the state.
He said that if the state gets the said funds, they would be channelled towards other developmental projects in the state.
Wike said that the country must move together in unity, because certain issues transcend politics.
In his response, the Minister of State for Education, Hon Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, explained that the team was in the state in respect of the federal projects verification exercise approved by the Federal Executive Council.
He said that the team would assess and verify projects that the Rivers State Government completed on behalf of the Federal Government and report back to the Federal Executive Council.
He noted that the Federal Executive Council raised the committee following official demands by the Rivers State Government on federal projects executed by the state.
The minister said that the verification team would work with the Rivers State Government to verify the claims.
Akeredolu will be remembered for truth, justice – Aiyedatiwa
Gov. Lucky Aiyedatiwa of Ondo State on Wednesday said the late former Governor of the state, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, would be remembered for his good deeds, especially standing for truth and justice.
Aiyedatiwa stated this during a special court session held in honour of the late former governor at the Ondo State High Court in Akure.
He explained that the former governor used his knowledge, ebullience and capacities to defend the human peaceful existence.
Aiyedatiwa added that the deceased deeds during his life time were greatly impactful.
According to him, the deceased was after justice and rule of law.
Aiyedatiwa said that late Akeredolu was always not pleased when justice was not served.
He described the honour bestowed on the late governor as a well deserved because his life evolved around the legal profession.
“He was an achiever with success stories. He stood firm and was committed to truth and justice,” he said.
Also speaking, the Chief Judge (CJ) of the state, Justice Olusegun Odusola, said that late Akeredolu remained celebrated in death more than being alive considering a reference to his achievements and attainment in life.
Odusola said that the late governor was a courageous fighter, who faced the serious security challenges in the state with ingenious courage that had become a national model.
He stated that it was more-worthy that the late governor did not interfere with judicial activities, even when it did not favour his desires.
According to him, late Akeredolu was a man that lived with his words.
“In my last encounter with him at a time when his health was obviously failing, Arakunrin still reiterated his desire to construct a judiciary complex that will be the envy of other states in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“He also spoke about judges’ welfare and I wondered how a man in such a condition could still love the judiciary so much as to remember the little promises he made,” he said.
The CJ said that late Akeredolu was an outstanding legal icon and a political colossus, a man who was an exemplar of indefatigable courage, principled resistance with honesty and self-respect.
He stated that late Akeredolu would continue to be a good reference point in humanity.
In his remarks, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Yakubu Maikyau, described the late governor as a man with keen passion to help humanity and secure peace.
Maikyau added that the deceased was a person of humility known for truth and justice, and asked the deceased family to take solace in the good deeds of the late governor.
Dignitaries present include Gov. Abdulrasak Abdulrahman of Kwara; Ondo State Deputy Gov, Olayide Adelami; Chief Olusola Oke, SAN; and APC Chairman in Ondo State, Mr Ade Adetimehin.
Others are human rights lawyer, Mr Kayode Ajulo; Ambassador Sola Iji, Speaker Ondo State House of Assembly; and former Inspector of Police, Mr Sunday Ehindero.
Gunmen Kill Police Inspector In Rivers
The Rivers State Police Command said an Inspector was killed by gunmen who ambushed and attacked its men on a stop and search duty at the Eliozu Flyover in Obio/Akpo Local Government Area of the state on Wednesday night.
The spokesperson of the command, Grace Iringe-Koko, disclosed this in a statement issued yesterday.
Iringe-Koko said the gunmen who were spotted in a carton-colored Sienna bus with fully tinted glasses drove in from the Rumuodumaya axis, near Port Harcourt where they launched the offensive which claimed the officer’s life.
She, however, said the team rose to the occasion and returned fire and neutralised one of the miscreants who wore masks, but that other gang members escaped by the whisker.
The statement reads, “We are deeply saddened to announce a heinous incident that occurred on 21st February 2024, involving an attack on policemen attached to Operation Sting of the Rivers State Police Command.
“At approximately 2145hrs, while conducting routine stop-and-search at Eliozu flyover, the officers were ambushed by unidentified hoodlums operating in a carton-colored Sienna bus, with fully tinted glasses.
“The registration number of the vehicle remains unknown at this time.
“The assailants drove in from the Rumuodumaya axis, and opened fire on the police team, resulting in the tragic loss of one Inspector who valiantly gave his life in the line of duty.
“Undeterred, the police team responded with bravery, engaging the attackers and managing to neutralise one of them with a mask on his face, while the others managed to escape, potentially sustaining gunshot wounds.
“The command has launched a thorough investigation into this despicable act and has already identified the group responsible.
“Rest assured, we will relentlessly pursue these criminals and bring them to justice. No amount of intimidation will hinder our officers’ unwavering commitment to safeguarding the lives and property of the citizens.”
While noting that such acts of aggression against security forces detrimentally impact the safety and security of our entire society, she stressed that the command remains resolute in its duty to maintain peace and protect the well-being of the populace.
“The Commissioner of Police, Olatunji Disu, reiterates unequivocally that those who perpetrate violence against policemen or any citizen will face the full weight of the law.
“We urge all law-abiding citizens to continue with their daily activities without panic, as we are determined to uphold our mandate of preserving lives and property in the face of such challenges.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the family and colleagues of the fallen inspector, and we assure them that his sacrifice will not be in vain. Our resolve to serve and protect remains unwavering as we stand together against those who seek to disrupt the peace and harmony of our society”, she said.
Recall that last year, a former Divisional Police Officer of Ahoada Division, Bako Angbashim, was ambushed and killed by a cult gang.
Since the death of the cop, the command has been on his trail, with constant land and air bombardments in the various hideouts of the Iceland cult leader, even as some of his lieutenants were gunned down previously.
However, on Monday, Grace Iringe-Koko, said intelligence reports revealed that the wanted cult kingpin was killed in a recent joint security raid in the Idu-Ekpeye community, Ahoada East Local Government Area of the State.
Nigeria’s GDP Grew By 3.46% In Q4 2023 -NBS
Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product grew by 3.46 per cent year-on-year in real terms in the fourth quarter of 2023, the National Bureau of Statistics has disclosed.
In its ‘Nigerian Gross Domestic Product Report (Q4, 2023),’ released yesterday, the NBS said the growth rate is lower than the 3.52 per cent recorded in the fourth quarter of 2022 and higher than the third quarter of 2023 growth of 2.54 per cent
It added that the service industry was responsible for the growth in the quarter.
Both the IMF and World Bank expected Nigeria’s economy to grow by 2.9 per cent in 2023.
The report read, “Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 3.46 per cent (year-on-year) in real terms in the fourth quarter of 2023.
“This growth rate is lower than the 3.52 per cent recorded in the fourth quarter of 2022 and higher than the third quarter of 2023 growth of 2.54 per cent.
“The performance of the GDP in the fourth quarter of 2023 was driven mainly by the Services sector, which recorded a growth of 3.98 per cent and contributed 56.55 per cent to the aggregate GDP.”
In terms of share of the GDP, industry, and the services sectors contributed more to the aggregate GDP in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared to the fourth quarter of 2022.
“The agriculture sector grew by 2.10 per cent, from the growth of 2.05 per cent recorded in the fourth quarter of 2022. The growth of the industry sector was 3.86 per cent, an improvement from -0.94 per cent recorded in the fourth quarter of 2022. In terms of share of the GDP, industry, and the services sectors contributed more to the aggregate GDP in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared to the fourth quarter of 2022. On an annual basis, GDP grew by 2.74 per cent in 2023 relative to 3.10 per cent in 2022,” the report added.
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