The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, and the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie E. Ehanire, have flagged off the N25.9billion Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease Diagnostic and Treatment Centre in Port Harcourt.
Wike said the cancer and cardiovascular treatment centre, which features advanced healthcare services such as chemotherapy and nuclear medicine, was expected to be completed within the next 14 months.
The governor while speaking at the flag-off of construction work at the Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Treatment CCCentre at Rumuokwuta Town, last Monday, maintained that despite the prevailing insecurity issues and economic problems plaguing Nigeria, his administration has sustained its project delivery mantra.
He reiterated that because Rivers people stood in support of his enthronement as governor in 2015, and in 2019 against detractors, he has vowed to give the best infrastructure to the state and its people.
Speaking about the rationale for naming the centre after former Rivers State Governor, Dr. Peter Odili, he declared that but for the former governor, an Ikwerre man would not have become governor of the state.
Wike said, it is better to honour a man who has contributed so much to the state while he is alive.
According to him, God had used Dr. Odili to bring him to change the narrative that Ikwerre man cannot perform in office, which has been proved wrong.
“I have performed. So, when you hear Dr. Odili is a bad man, it is because he said Ikwerre man will be governor. Now we are governor, must we not thank him? It’s not everybody that can stand firm, so, we should thank him. Ordinarily no Ikwerre man, if we are sincere and grateful, should raise hand against Odili and his family.”
Similarly, the governor during the inauguration of the Mother and Child Hospital at Rumuomasi Town, said it was sad that medical doctors have shown less capacity in managing most health facilities in the country.
Wike said, such medical officers are appointed as heads of those facility, and they collect money for services that they render, but are still unable to maintain the equipment and worst still, leave the vicinity unkempt.
He challenged medical doctors to be more responsible in maintaining the public healthcare facility and not allow the investment to come to waste.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, who commended Wike for the project, said on completion, the cancer and cardiovascular treatment centre will augment the assets available to treat Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDS), and add great value to efforts to reduce NCD prevalence, not only in Rivers State but well beyond, in the South-South, and indeed, Nigeria.
“I observe that this project has been named after a personality who has built a reputation, not just as a medical practitioner, but a foremost public figure in Rivers State as a former state governor. I salute you, Your Excellency, Sir Dr. Peter Odili, for your contribution to this state and congratulate you on the recognition the people are giving you.”
Ehanire commended Wike for his vision and achievement in the health sector, emphasizing that it shows his determination and interest to add value to the health sector.
Dr. Peter Odili, on behalf of his family, commended Wike for considering him worthy to be honoured.
He said that the Wike-led administration invested massively in the training of health personnel and currently sponsoring 490 medical students on state scholarship at the PAMO University of Medical Sciences.
In his remarks, Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Princewill Chike, said the cancer and cardiovascular disease treatment was a three-storey building that will also have helipad for emergency cases.
He said the centre will be equipped with modern medical equipment that can response to every cancer and cardiovascular concerns within the country and from oversees.
On the Mother and Child Hospital, Chike said the 132-bed hospital has 50 delivery rooms, six modular operating theatres, Invitro fertilization equipment, fluoroscopic equipment and mamography equipment.
The Nigeria Medical Association President, Prof Innocent Ujah, said the health sector has taken the lead in Wike’s administration, and commended him for honouring Dr. Peter Odili.
Earlier, the Rivers State Government and Julius Berger had signed a contractual agreement for the construction of the Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease Diagnostic and Treatment Centre at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
The Managing Director of Julius Berger, Dr. Lars Ritcher, said the project has the potential to alleviate suffering and serve as a beacon for care and for the diagnosis and treatment of chronic disease in Nigeria.
“The state-of-the art and modern cancer treatment centre will reduce suffering, reduce morbidity and reduce the need for the seeking of treatment abroad by improving cancer treatment in Nigeria – and making Rivers State the new medical tourism destination.”
Again, RSG Begins Unveiling, Flag-Off Of Nine Key Projects, ’Morrow
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.
Wike Justifies N7bn Libel Suit Against THISDAY
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.
$130m Fraud: Rivers Sues Saipem SPA, Saipem Contracting Firm, Others
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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