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We’re Not Borrowing To Finance Projects, Wike Clarifies

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has declared that his administration takes great care in executing its several development projects to completion stage without being indebted to any financial institution.
Speaking at the flag-off ceremony for the construction of Trans-Kalabari Road Phase 1 in Degema Local Government Area, yesterday, Wike reminded the people that even the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has attested to that position.
Wike stated that he is not borrowing to fund any project in the state and will definitely not do so to complete the Trans-Kalabari Road that is connecting Krakrama, Omekwe-ama, Angula-ama, Mina-ama and other communities in the Kalabari area.
“People are asking: where am I getting the money from? People are saying I’m borrowing money. If I borrow money to develop my place (state) is there any offense there? They that borrow, did they do the road? If I’m borrowing and doing the work, have I not done well?
“But in any case, I am not borrowing money. It is a matter of how you manage the resources of the people.
“So, I’m not owing any bank! I challenge any bank to say Rivers State Government is indebted to them. The only money we took for agriculture, which Central Bank gave us, N5billion, as I speak to you, we have not touched one Naira. The money is still in there.”
Wike recalled how in 2009, the previous administration in the state implemented a payment module that clearly showed its lack of interest in either constructing or completing the Trans-Kalabari Road that it awarded then.
According to Wike, no longer will anybody come to hoodwink Kalabari people with the promise of constructing Trans-Kalabari Road in the name of politics, because the phase one of the project will be completed in 2022.
“We have not only awarded the contract, we have awarded it in such a way that they (contractor) have nothing to do with us about funding.
“We have signed an irrevocable standing order where every month the contractor collects from the bank N1billion. So, as this month is ending, that’ll be the third billion they’ve collected.
“I’ve told you here that we’ve instructed the banks, take N1billion off from our IGR account every month and give to the contractor to do the project. So, we are not borrowing money from any bank.”
The governor expressed regrets that the previous administration in the state that received, at different times, N100billion and N46billion, was not well meaning and committed to executing the project.
According to Wike, what matters to his administration is what can be done with the privilege that the people have given to them.
The Chairman of Greater Port Harcourt Development Authority, Chief Ferdinand Anabraba, who performed the flag-off, said after a meeting with the governor, leaders of Kalabari nationality met at home and decided the road mapping of the phase one of Trans-Kalabari Road project.
“We are here with our heads raised her high, gathered here for a moments event. This laudable project was conceived 15yesrs ago, and it remained strong desire and aspiration. Luckily you came in and our dreams have come through.
“Although, this is just a flag-off, but with your style of project execution, we can go home believing that it is as good as completed.”
In his remarks, the Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Elloka Tasie-Amadi, said the Trans-Kalabari Road Phase 1 is a 13.599km road project, and it features one bridge and will connect several island communities to the mainland of the state via the existing Buguma/Degema/Abonemma Road.
“It will provide an economically viable alternative to marine transportation and further stimulate other developments in and around the area by easing the movement of goods, services and persons.”

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NADCEL 2022: Army Embarks On Tree Planting In Barracks 

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In commemoration of this year’s Army Day celebration, the Nigerian Army has embarked on tree planting exercise within barracks.
The Commander, Army Headquarters (AHQ) Garrison, Major-General Kabir Garba, who conducted the exercise alongside other officers within Mogadishu Cantonment and barracks in the AHQ Garrison’s Area of Responsibility (AOR) such as Yar’aduwa Barracks and CBA extension, at the weekend, said the exercise was a stand against deforestation in the county.
According to him, the aim is to create awareness against deforestation and to support units under his command and the barracks community to take a stand against deforestation and participate in greening of the environment.
Garba added that the tree planting exercise was also in line with the Chief of Army Staff’s position on tree planting, adding that the Army Chief has always demonstrated it by planting a tree in all the building projects he inaugurated in recent times.
“It is also worthy to note that the exercise is in line with tree planting campaign of the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Buhari has pledged to plant 25 million trees in Nigeria to enhance the country’s carbon sink as part of the country’s efforts to implement the Paris Climate change agreement”, he said.
The Nigerian Army Day is celebrated across army formations and units on every July 1 to July 6.
The 2022 edition, which was billed to take place in Owerri, Imo State, commenced with a news conference last Wednesday, followed by Juma’at prayer on Friday while the interdenominational church services were held yesterday in all formations across the country.

Other activities lined up include humanitarian outreaches while grand finale would take place on July 6 in Owerri.

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PDP Crisis: Wike’s Our Jagaban, Man Of Revolution –Atiku

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has described Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, as the Jagaban of the party.
Atiku said he holds Wike in high esteem, stressing that he was a man of revolution.
He disclosed this through the spokesperson of his presidential campaign, Segun Sowunmi, on Arise Television, last Friday.
He stressed that the Rivers State governor was a straightforward person who says things as they are.
“Wike is our own Jagaban; how do you explain a governor being able to keep other governors in line? One thing you can’t deny him is that he has the ability to say it as it is. He will not bend or colour things.
“Atiku holds Wike in high esteem, time and space may not bring them together, but he does. Wike is a man of revolution; he is one of the totems of PDP,” he said.
There are claims of crisis within the PDP following Atiku’s selection of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State as his running mate.

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Strike: Redirect Presidency, NASS Budgets, Others To Meet ASUU’s Demands, SERAP Tells Buhari

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The strike which has lasted more than 130 days jeopardising the future of Nigerian students also caught the attention of the organised labour threatening protest.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), had last Thursday, said it would embark on a one-day protest to force the Federal Government respond to ASUU demands.
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has, therefore, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to “urgently recover missing N105.7billion of public funds from ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to fund the country’s public tertiary institutions, improve the welfare of staff members, and ensure that the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) return to class without further delay.”
SERAP said, “Pending the recovery of the missing public funds, we urge you to redirect some of the presidency’s budget of N3.6billion on feeding and travels, and the N134billion allocated to the National Assembly in the 2022 budget to meet the demands by ASUU.”
SERAP also urged him to “send to the National Assembly a fresh supplementary appropriation bill, which reflects the proposed redirected budget, for its approval.
In the letter dated July 2, 2022, and signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “Meeting the demands by ASUU would confront the persistent and widening inequality in educational opportunity, and promote equal protection for poor Nigerian children.”
According to SERAP, “The apparent failure by your government to agree with the reasonable demands by ASUU, implement the good faith agreement with the union and to satisfactorily resolve the issues has kept poor Nigerian children at home while the children of the country’s politicians attend private schools.”
The ASUU accused the government of poor commitment to the payment of academic earned allowance (EAA); poor funding, the continued use of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) and refusal to adopt the Universities Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), among others.
SERAP said, “Meeting ASUU demands would also ensure protection against the harms of discrimination and educational deprivation.”
The letter, read in part: “The poor treatment of Nigerian children in the country’s public tertiary institutions is inconsistent and incompatible with the Nigerian Constitution and the country’s international human rights obligations.
“Widening inequalities in the area of education bear all the more dramatic consequences given the importance of education, as an empowering right, in giving the possibility to all to explore and realise their potential.
“Inequalities in education have a rolling effect, leading to even more and continued inequalities in the future.
“Apart from being a right in itself, the right to education is also an enabling right. Education creates the ‘voice’ through which rights can be claimed and protected, and without education people lack the capacity to achieve valuable functioning as part of the living.
“If people have access to education they can develop the skills, capacity and confidence to secure other rights. Education gives people the ability to access information detailing the range of rights that they hold, and government’s obligations.
“We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within seven days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel your government to comply with our request in the public interest.
“Recovering the missing N105.7billion of public funds and redirecting the funds, as well as some parts of the presidency and National Assembly budgets to meet the demands by ASUU would end the protracted negotiations between ASUU and the Federal Government and improve access of poor children to education.
“Recovering the missing N105.7billion of public funds and redirecting the funds, as well as some parts of the presidency and National Assembly budgets to meet the demands by ASUU would also be in the public interest.
“The proposed spending of taxpayers’ and public funds would also be consistent with constitutional responsibilities and oath of office by public officers, as well as comply with Chapter 2 of the Nigerian Constitution relating to fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy.
“Recovering the missing N105.7billion of public funds and redirecting the funds, as well as some parts of the presidency and National Assembly would be entirely consistent with your constitutional oath of office, and with the letter and spirit of the Nigerian Constitution, as it would promote equal opportunities for poor children who rely on public schools and have no opportunity for university education elsewhere.
“SERAP is concerned that Nigeria’s public tertiary institutions have continued to experience a steady decline. The quality of public education offered is low and standards have continued to drop. The learning environment does not promote effective learning.
“Public school facilities are in a state of extreme disrepair, requiring major rehabilitation. Basic teaching and learning resources are generally not available, leaving many lecturers and other staff members profoundly demoralised.
“The failure to end the ASUU strike has hugely contributed to denying poor Nigerian children access to quality education, opportunities and development. The enjoyment of the right to education for millions of poor children remains a distant goal.
“Under international law, states are required to progressively implement socio-economic rights, including the right to quality education commensurate with the level of resources available. Gross misallocation of resources to the detriment of the enjoyment of the right to quality education can constitute a human rights violation.
“A violation of the right to education will occur when there is insufficient expenditure or misallocation of public resources which results in the non-enjoyment of access to education by poor Nigerian children.
“The failure to meet the reasonable demands by ASUU cannot be justified especially given the failure and/or refusal by the Federal Government to recover trillions of Naira reportedly missing in ministries, departments and agencies, and the huge funds allocated to the presidency and the National Assembly in the 2022 budget.
“According to our information, N105.7billion of public funds are missing, as documented by the Auditor-General of the Federation in his annual audited report for 2018. Also, while the presidency has budgeted N3.6billion for feeding and travels, N134billion has been allocated to the National Assembly in the 2022 budget.
“Furthermore, ASUU and other university workers’ unions have been on strike for several months. The unions’ demands, among other things, include better funding for the nation’s public tertiary institutions and improved welfare for their members.
“While your government has reportedly released N34billion for the payment of minimum wage consequential adjustments from 2019, ASUU has maintained that until its core demands are met, it will not suspend the strike.
“In protest of the continuous use of IPPIS and refusal by the Federal Government to implement the renegotiated 2009 agreement that was completed in May, 2021, ASUU resumed nationwide strike on February 14.”

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