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Obio/Akpor, Port Harcourt LGAs Locked Down To Protect Rivers People, Says Governor Wike

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has declared that the lockdown of Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas was not targeted at suffering the people,  but aimed at protecting Rivers people from coronavirus.

Speaking during a live phone-in programme on Rhythm FM Port Harcourt on Wednesday,  Governor Wike said all measures put in place by his administration have been to check the spread of coronavirus.

He said: “We have to lockdown Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas in the interest of our people.  While individuals feel it, the State Government is also affected because it loses revenue.  But lives must be protected. ”

Governor Wike urged Rivers people to continue to pray for the success of the State Government at this crucial time.

He said: “We need continuous prayers to succeed.  We have handed this state to God. We can only do much, but God will save our people”.

Governor Wike said the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that agriculture and health are key. He said the State Government will work towards further growth in that direction.

“Agriculture is key. We must support our farmers and Fishermen to produce more,” he said.

The Governor said: “Everyone should support the State Government to tackle COVID-19.  This is not a period of criticism.

“This is a period where all of us must come together,  irrespective of political parties to stop the spread of the virus.

“I thank Rivers people for their support.  It has been amazing.  I am not moved by the unfounded criticism of a few.  I am concerned about the protection of the vast majority of Rivers people,  because I have their mandate.”

Governor Wike urged churches to fellowship online and pray for the State within the period. He said that basically,  the State Government is taking precautionary measures to protect Rivers people.

He advised Rivers people to make sacrifices at this period.  He said food can never be enough,  but the State Government will sustain its delivery of Palliatives.

While commending the State Palliatives Committee,  Governor Wike said more foodstuffs will be distributed to Port Harcourt,  Obio/Akpor and the other local government areas.

Responding to a question,  Governor Wike said that the Federal Government is yet to disburse any fund to the Rivers State Government in relation to the fight against coronavirus.

He said that the State Government rejected the 1800 bags of rice supplied because they have since expired.

On when the lockdown will be lifted, Governor Wike said the State Security Council will regularly meet to review the situation and take a decision.

He said that in order to check the sabotage of the lockdown,  his administration has employed 300 operatives to assist in the enforcement of the lockdown.

The Governor reiterated that his administration has remained committed to supporting Federal Government Agencies with finance and logistics.  He blamed the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital management for playing unnecessary politics at this critical time.

Responding to a question by a caller, Governor Wike said that there was no conflict with Shell Petroleum Development Company.  He said he is always in communication with the Managing Director of Shell .

Commenting on those allowed to move during the lockdown, he said that those on essential duties must carry their identification and must be on duty.

He said that the State Government is just getting its laboratory,  because it takes the involvement of the Federal Government for the machines to be acquired.

He said that his administration will not all the influx of people into the State.

Governor Wike said there is no reason to play politics with the pandemic,  because it is not a respecter of persons.

He pointed out that in Bayelsa State , Timipre Sylva who promoted the candidacy of APC’s David Lyon, attracted a Hospital of Infectious diseases to his state.

“Timipre brought Lyon, who won an election,  but was sacked by the Supreme Court.  But Sylva went ahead to attract a specialist hospital to Bayelsa despite political differences.

“This pandemic has nothing to do with whether or not you supported President Buhari . Politics should be set aside. Knowing that our economy is dependent on oil, Rivers State be the first place for intervention.

“My first priority is to protect the lives of Rivers people.  We haven’t locked down the towns before.  This is not for anyone to suffer.  I am appealing to our people to bear. If we don’t do anything now, our people will suffer.

“The population of Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas is high. If it hits us, we will have serious problems.  The action is to help our people,” he said.

The Governor added that when the state starts mass testing, the number of those who will text positive will be high.

He emphasised that the Rivers State has not received  any assistance from the Federal Government in relation to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Governor reminded Rivers people that coronavirus spiked because the Federal Government failed to close the border and airspace on time.

He recalled that even Lagos State Governor,  Babajide Sanwolu said that the late Border and airspace Closure was the responsible to the explosion of Coronavirus.

He said: “We are taking a proactive measure.  We set up border Closure,  but we have been sabotaged by security agencies “.

He said that no Government will take tough measures without considering the welfare of the people.

Governor Wike said that the phone-in programme was an opportunity to interact with Rivers people who gave him the mandate to protect them.

He said that the entire world is affected by the pandemic,  hence the need to be proactive at all times.

 

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We’re Determined To Achieve Rivers Of Our Dreams -Fubara …Tasks Rivers People On Peaceful, Harmonious Relationship

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, says his administration is determined to enthrone an enviable Rivers that satisfies the dreams and aspirations of all residents.
To achieve the feat, Fubara charged all residents to embrace peace, exhibit mutual harmony among themselves and meaningfully contribute their quota to achieve designated developmental activities that will eventually benefit the State.
The governor stated this at the funeral service in honour of late King Theophilus J.T. Princewill, Amachree XI, the Amanyanabo and Natural Ruler of the Kalabari Kingdom, which was held at the King Amachree Square in Buguma Town, Asari Toru Local Government Area, yesterday.
A statement by the governor’s Senior Special Assistant on Media, Boniface Onyedi, quoted Fubara as saying, ”We are in a difficult period but just be peaceful. We cannot achieve progress in an environment of violence. We cannot grow our State to the level of our aspirations when there is trouble.”
“We can only advance to our dream State in a peaceful environment. I urge every one of you to be peaceful. Peace is the only instrument that can bring development,”
The governor applauded the level of cooperation seen between the bereaved family and the entire Kalabari people through the various stages of preparations leading to the eventual burial of their late king to the disappointment of those who had predicted crisis.
He urged the Kalabari people to continue to live in peace even after the burial of their late king, adding that nobody in the State should lose hope because his administration is committed not to disappoint, regarding all their expectations.
In his sermon, the intercontinental Youth Pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Belemina Obunge, who represented the General Overseer of the Church, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, preached on the topic: “Don’t wait until you’re late”, harped on the need for people to seek God fervently, serve him truthfully while also living peaceably with neighbours in their various community.

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Senate Leader Faults N9.9trn Recurrent Expenditure In 2024 Budget Proposal

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Senate Leader, Bamidele Opeyemi, says the N9.9 trillion recurrent expenditure in the N27.5 trillion 2024 budget proposal is too high, as it constitutes 43 per cent of the budget.
Opeyemi said this at the opening of debate on general principles of the budget at plenary in Abuja, yesterday.
He said that the total fiscal operations of the Federal Government would result in N9.8 trillion deficit, representing 3.88 per cent of estimated GDP, saying that this was above the three per cent threshold set by the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007.
Opeyemi listed highlights of the budget to include oil price benchmark of 77.96 dollars per barrel and daily oil production estimate of 1.78 million barrels of condensates of 300,000 to 400,000 barrels per day and exchange rate of N750 to dollar.
He said based on the fiscal assumptions and parameters, total federally-collectible revenue was N16.87 trillion in the budget, while total federally distributable revenue was N11.09 trillion
Opeyemi said total revenue available to fund the 2024 budget was N9.73 trillion, which included revenues from 63 government-owned enterprises, while oil revenue was projected at N1.92 trillion, with non-oil taxes at N2.43 trillion among others.
He said to finance the deficit would result in new borrowings totaling N7.83 trillion in addition to N294.49 billion expected from privatisation.
He said the deficit would also be financed from N1.06 trillion drawn from bilateral, multilateral loans secured for specific development projects programmes.
He, however, said there was a growing concern over continued borrowing, but the administration resorted to it to finance fiscal gaps.
“But let me state here that the debt level of the federal government is still within sustainable limits.
“Very importantly, these loans are used to finance critical development projects and programmes aimed at improving our economic environment and ensuring effective delivery of public services to our people,” he said.
Contributing, Sen.Osita Ngwu (PDP-Enugu)said President Bola Tinubu had fulfilled his promises by capturing food security, poverty allivation in the budget.
He said there was need to ensure a review of Petroleum Industry Act(PIA) to ensure the continuous ramp up of oil production to fund the deficit in the budget.
Senators, who contributed to the debate, commended the President for the budget, saying it was a budget of renewed hope.

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NDDC Laments Unpaid N2trn Allocation

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The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Sam Ogbuku, on Wednesday, said the interventionist agency is being owed remittances totalling over N2trillion by the Federal Government.
Ogbuku disclosed this when he appeared before the House of Representatives’ Committee on NDDC, chaired by Ibori-Suenu Erhiatake.
According to him, the amount is the accumulation of 15 per cent of the allocation of the nine states that make up the region, due to the commission since 2000.
He noted that in spite of the passage of the agency’s annual budget in 2021, 2022 and 2023; the funds were yet to be remitted.
“I want to raise an important issue. When we talk about funding, the NDDC Act says the monthly allocation from the Federal Government is 15 per cent of the allocation of nine states of the Niger Delta. But I can assure you that since the inception of the NDDC, it has not got that.
“The Federal Government only budgets what it wants to give to the NDDC for that year and they give it that year. If you look at the 15 per cent, we are not getting it. Even with the removal of fuel subsidy and with the increment of state allocation, the NDDC is still where it is. So, these are issues we want you to help us resolve and we have done our calculation that from 2000 to date we can say we are being owed over N2trn from what is supposed to be due NDDC.
“We also came in at a point when the NDDC never had a budget for 2021, 2022 and 2023. These budgets were before the National Assembly and we had to fast-track the passage of those budgets and those budgets were eventually passed in April this year. However, since the budget was passed, it has not been handed over to us up till now. We pray and plead with you to ensure that as fast as possible, you also facilitate the process for us to have the budget because the budget year is already coming to an end,” he said.
In his own contribution, the Chairman of the NDDC Board, Chiedu Ebie, said the board would work together to reposition the commission in the interest of the oil-producing states and Nigeria at large.
Responding, Erhiatake said issues raised by the agency would be addressed in no distant time.
“It is very important we create a platform for synergy in the implementation of these policies and programmes for the general benefit of Nigerians and especially the people of the Niger Delta. I assure you that this committee is willing and ready to partner with you to make sure that the dividends of democracy are brought to the region and the narratives that had been set by the previous board are changed for the better.”
Meanwhile, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has advised officials of the NDDC to be abreast of anti-graft laws so as not to step out of line.
The ICPC Zonal Commissioner for Rivers and Bayelsa states, Mrs. Ekere Usiere, gave the advice during a sensitisation programme organised by the NDDC at its headquarters in Port Harcourt.
A statement on Wednesday by the Director, Corporate Affairs of the NDDC, Pius Ughakpoteni, said Usiere spoke on the topic: “Understanding the Offences and Penalties Under the ICPC Act 2000.”
It also quoted the Head, Legal Department of ICPC in Rivers State, Dr Agada Akogwu, as saying, “Every public servant should take the ICPC Act as a Bible and internalise all its tenets. That is why the NDDC deserves commendation for organising a sensitization programme for its staff.”

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