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.
No Party Can Win Election Fighting Itself, Wike Warns …Inaugurates Government VIP Lounge For FAAN
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has described as inconsequential confession of support by some politicians for Atiku Abubakar, if they are not working to mobilise grassroots voters to secure electoral victory for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Wike said it was the quantum of individual votes from units, local governments and states that would determine victory for the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubukar, in 2023 and not rumour peddlers.
He spoke, yesterday, at the inauguration of the new Government VIP Lounge at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa in Ikwerre Local Government Area, built by the Rivers State Government.
Wike said it was unfortunate that some politicians now based in Abuja, derive pleasure insinuating something against him to curry favour from the PDP presidential candidate.
“We are busy campaigning with our projects on how our party will win election in the state. Other people are busy in Abuja carrying rumours and gossips. We are busy here (Rivers) from Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. We’ll start Monday again, flagging off projects, commissioning projects that will sell our party.
“Every day in the newspapers, Wike did this, Wike did that, then, they will call the candidate, you see what I said about Wike today. Rent seekers. No job. Instead of you to do something that will make your party to win 2023 elections, you’re only busy, everyday Wike said this. When you heard from Wike I do not know. Maybe in your dream.
“You want to support the candidate, you’re not at home, and you’re in Abuja. Come home and campaign and work for the party. Stop this Abuja politics of carrying rumours to the candidate.”
Wike, who asserted that he was a practical and practicing politician, admonished that any party that wants to win election cannot be fighting itself.
“I think a party that wants to win election cannot, on their own, be causing problem for themselves.”
Wike pointed to how his administration has continued to flag-off and inaugurate projects that serve as evidence of fulfilled electoral promises, which have sustained the trust that the people have for the PDP in the state.
The governor expressed the belief that it is the services and projects that his administration has done that would sell the PDP to the electorate.
“We have said that whatever promise we have made, we are going to fulfil them before we leave office on May 29, 2023.
“And let me say; only one person can be a minister from the state. I would not be a minister. I am not a liability. Rivers State is an asset. If you don’t want to win election it is your business.
“I am not running for election. He who wears the shoe knows where it pinches. So, allow Rivers State to continue to do what they are doing by using our projects to campaign to our people.”
Wike explained that though the Port Harcourt International Airport is owned by the Federal Government, his administration decided to build the VIP lounge in order to offer Rivers people the best.
He assured that the Rivers State government would cater to the maintenance of the building so that it can serve the people for a long time.
Wike also commended the indigenous contractor that handled the project for the tasteful structural work that was accomplished.
“And let me commend the contractor. Of course, he is an indigenous contractor from Rivers State and of Port Harcourt Local Government Area. This is a good job well done. See the quality of what has been done. You can see that the difference is clear.
“We are willing to support our own. But you must also give us that assurance that when the job is given to you, you will complete it without any problem.”
Wike directed the Commissioner for Works to ensure the immediate arrest of a contractor handling a road project for the Rivers State Government in Trans Amadi Industrial Layout in Port Harcourt.
The governor accused the contractor of having collected 100percent of the project sum, but has failed to deliver the job.
In a brief, Rivers State Commissioner for Special Projects, Deinma Iyalla, said the edifice depicts the detribalised nature of Wike, and also serves to market the state positively.
According to him, the entire project comprises of a one storey building that has main lounge, bar, kitchen and administrative section on the ground floor.
He added, on the storey floor, there are Presidential Lounge, Governor’s Lounge and Executive Lounge.
Iyalla further added that there was a screening building that has installed screening and scanning machines with office space for FAAN, and a security house that would serve as waiting place for drivers.
Buhari Signs Bills On Electoral Act, Money Laundering, Terrorism, Others
President Muhammadu Buhari has given assent to some major bills. The bills include: Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2022; Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2022, repealing the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended; Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2022, which repeals the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 as amended in 2013.
Others are, Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act, 1993 (Amendment) Act, 2019, for increased revenue; Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) Amendment Acts of 2019 and 2021; Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Bill, 2022, which approves the seizure, confiscation and forfeiture of properties derived from unlawful activity.
The rest include, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) Bill, the first legislation focused on curbing anti-competition practices, establishing the FCCPC; Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Establishment Act, 2018; The Plant Variety Protection (PVP) Act 2021; Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill, 2019.
The bill facilitates the identification, tracing, freezing, restraining, recovery, forfeiture and confiscation of proceeds, property, and other instrumentalities of crime as well as the prosecution of offenders in criminal cases regardless of where in the world they might be;
The president also signed an Act establishing the Police Trust Fund, which will improve funding for the Nigeria Police Force (2019). “ Nigeria Police Act, 2020 – the first comprehensive reform of Police legislation since the Police Act of 1943.
He also signed the Repeal and Re-Enactment of the Companies & Allied Matters Act (CAMA), 2020, the first comprehensive reform since 1990; Not Too Young to Run Bill (2018), a Constitution Amendment Bill to reduce the age of eligibility for running for elective office in Nigeria; Nigerian Correctional Services Bill, 2019, the first comprehensive reform of prison legislation in close to five decades; Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Bill, 2019 – the first anti-piracy legislation in West Africa.
TCN Begs Electricity Workers To Suspend Planned Strike
The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has appealed to the electricity workers to suspend their proposed strike billed to begin, today.
The Managing Director, TCN, Dr Sule Abdulaziz, made the appeal in a letter to the workers, yesterday, following their threat to embark on strike to drive home their demands.
The workers under the aegis of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) had on August 15 directed its members to picket TCN offices nationwide on August 16, after which they would embark on strike on August 17.
The General Secretary, NUEE, Comrade Joe Ajaero, had in a statement, said the picketing was to protest the directive by the TCN board that all principal managers in acting capacity going to acting general manager must appear for a promotion interview.
Ajaero said the directive was in contravention of the workers’ conditions of service and career progression paths and alleged that it was unilaterally done without the relevant stakeholders.
Other issues raised include stigmatisation of staff from the office of the Head of Service of the Federation from working in other areas in the power sector and non-payment of the December 2019 entitlement of ex-PHCN staff.
Abdulaziz said: “We are pleased to inform you that management has suspended the said proposed interview for those on acting appointment of assistant general managers and general managers while we conclude discussion with the board.
“On the other two issues: circular from the office of Head of Service on the stigmatisation of the defunct PHCN staff; payment of entitlement of ex-PHCN staff by market operator, the management has contacted the Honourable Minister of Power for his further action.
“In view of this development, we appeal to your union to stay in action; please accept the assurances of our highest regards.”
Also, the Federal Minister of State for Power, Mr Goddy Jedy-Agba, in a letter dated August 15, 2022, to the union, said that the ministry was committed to proffering solutions that would be acceptable to all parties concerned.
“May we appeal to your great union to allow us two weeks from the date of this letter to address the issues and come up with proposals toward acceptable resolution of all issues,” he said.
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