The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) has told the Federal Government that removing fuel subsidy would worsen the suffering of the majority of Nigerians who are already impoverished.
The President of PFN, Bishop Wale Oke, urged the government to shelve the proposed policy in order not to worsen the hardship and trigger crisis in the country.
Oke said this in a statement, yesterday, on the proposed subsidy removal.
He explained that the implementation of the policy would lead to hike in the price of fuel and this would have a ripple effect on prices of goods and services
Oke warned that the implementation of such policy would increase the hardship currently being experienced by the people of the country.
The cleric said prices of foodstuffs and other daily needs were increasingly going out of reach of the people, noting that if the proposed subsidy removal was effected, it would exacerbate the hardship of the people of the nation.
Oke further said the situation in the country was very bad because of the steady decline in the purchasing power of Nigerians as a result of the continuous fall in the value of the nation’s currency.
The statement read, “Everybody will feel it, particularly the less privileged. The negative effects will surely outweigh the positive.
“The cost of transportation for human and goods across the country will skyrocket and other things connected which will have a spiral effect on general living standard of the populace; the suffering will be multi-dimensional. Please let all stakeholders be sensitive to this avoidable path and do the needful.
“By whatever means, let the Federal Government put its heart into ensuring that our refineries are back to life. In addition, in order to stem the rising cost of living, farmers and others connected to them should be encouraged. This is what can help our economy.”
He said the PFN would always support policies that would enhance good governance, but charged the government to this effect to put in place tangible palliative measures that could ameliorate the hardship being experienced.
He said, “Without begging the issue, there should be well defined palliative measures in place that can cushion the effect of the hardship being experienced by Nigerians, especially the commoners. One is not talking about political palliatives that never last. We have seen enough of such.
“An increase in the price of petroleum from its present N165 to N340 per litre can trigger tension and crises in the country which in turn can paralyse our economy if not handled with utmost care.
“Again, the planned introduction of N5,000 for 40million poor Nigerians is to create a cesspool of corruption. How do you define the poor? They, mostly, don’t use telephones. They, mostly, don’t have bank accounts. How will the money get to them?”
Oke advised the government to be wary of policies that could jeopardize the conduct of the 2023 general elections, insisting that all hands must be geared towards steering the wheel of the country to safety.
As a panacea to the rising cost of food items, the PFN President advised that farmers and relevant stakeholders should be empowered with relevant tools and funds through loans with little interest.
Oke, who is also the presiding Bishop of The Sword of the Spirit Ministries, implored the government not to relent in its efforts at ensuring that security challenges in the country become a thing of the past.
Similarly, the Leader of INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church, Primate Elijah Ayodele has warned President Muhammadu Buhari against the proposed fuel subsidy removal.
In a statement released by his media aide, Osho Oluwatosin, Ayodele warned the government to withhold plans to remove fuel subsidy in the interest of the poor masses because a lot of things would be affected by it.
He made it known that the Nigerian economy isn’t in good shape at the moment and removing subsidy at a critical economic situation would cause more damage than good for the Nigerian economy.
He noted that some banks, companies would be affected and that the debt profile of the country would keep on increasing unless the government swings into action.
Furthermore, he warned Buhari not to be carried away by wrong advice because it would lead his government to nowhere.
‘’The removal of fuel subsidies at a time like this is not advisable because the economy of Nigeria isn’t in good shape. Already, the people are faced with enough hardship and removal of fuel subsidy will only worsen the situation.
‘’When the report came up last week that the government will be replacing subsidy with N5,000 transportation grant for 40million poor Nigerians, I smiled because that plan is not sustainable, there is no provision for it in the 2022 budget, then what’s the plan?
‘’I have said it before that I foresee a massive protest against hunger which will involve everyone in the country, the government doesn’t have to wait till this happens, that’s why I warned them ahead, but the path they are toiling right now is moving towards the direction of the protest. They have gotten it wrong and a time will come when political leaders will regret their positions because there will be attacks against them from everywhere by those who elected them.
‘’I advise the Federal Government to hold on with the plans to remove subsidy for the sake of the masses and for peace to reign in the country. If not, there will be an uprising,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the Archbishop of the Enugu Ecclesiastical Province, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma has asked the Federal Government to jettison the idea of paying N5,000 palliative to 40million Nigerians.
The government said the decision was to cushion the effect of the planned removal of fuel subsidy.
But Chukwuma, who rejected the removal of subsidy, described the proposed N5,000 palliative “as a huge disgrace.”
He said this during a press conference on the activities lined up for the 50th Anniversary of the Enugu Diocese, Anglican Communion.
While noting that the Enugu Diocese was concerned about the level of governance of Nigeria, he added that “we are also concerned about peace and the unity of Nigeria, as well as infrastructural development.”
He called on the government “to be sensitive about the situation of Nigeria; we frown against the killings, the banditry, the kidnappings, inequality, injustice and all the evils.
“Of late, we can see how ‘Mkpuru Mmiri’ is destroying our youths, it is highly condemnable. We are calling on our youths to please avoid this so that they don’t get their heads out of order. This is not how they will become future leaders.
“Right now, I want to say that the government of Nigeria has not treated the South-East fairly; particularly now that we are getting into the yuletide, Enugu-Onitsha Expressway is a total disaster, Enugu-Port Harcourt they are putting it to use but it is not yet complete.
“We are calling on the minister of works to stop playing pranks and politics with the roads in the South-East. Rail transport should also be extended to the South-East; we see no reason the minister of transport should neglect his own zone.
“It is important for our government to know that most youths are angry; they are angry because they are hungry. I just heard about giving N5,000 to 50million Nigerians, it is a disgrace. It will not bring any positives on our people. We are also frowning at galloping inflation.
“Our naira is becoming useless and something must be done about it. E-naira or whatever is not the solution at all.”
He also called on the residents of South-East not to toy with the on-going voter’s registration exercise, stressing that “these things count; South-East should stop shortchanging themselves; that’s the only way they will have a say in 2023.”
On the church’s anniversary, Chukwuma disclosed that, “It became a Diocese in August, 1970; exactly last year August, Enugu became 50 years of its inauguration with the first Bishop, Rt. Rev. Gideon Nweke Otubelu. By the grace of God, he championed the course of Enugu Diocese for 27 years.
“Last year, when it became 50 years of Enugu’s inauguration as a Diocese, we could not celebrate because of COVID; we had to shift it to this year.
“Right now, we have mapped out a one-week anniversary programme to celebrate the 50 years of Enugu Diocese. We started with a crusade which is going to last till Sunday and we have decided that from last week of this month, we will have activities from church to church, and rally, and then end it up with thanksgiving service on the 5th of December at the Cathedral Church of the Good Shepherd.
“More importantly, the two days out of it all are the 4th and the 5th of December. On the 4th, we shall be having a rally at the Christ Church field, where all the churches will assemble to have a rally for the 50th anniversary and they are going to march, church by church, archdeaconry by archdeaconry and so on.
“There, we will also have a dedication anniversary of the diagnostic centre of our hospital at the Good Shepherd Specialist Hospital, Uwani, Zik Avenue. The diagnostic centre is necessary to complement the hospital because we believe in health care, we believe in mission; on that same 12th, we are also going to dedicate a building built by the women at the Brethren Home Convent.
“Then on the 5th of December, which is Sunday, will be thanksgiving day, during which all the churches in the diocese and the dioceses created out of Enugu, 11 of them will also participate. Enugu has given birth to 11 Dioceses, with Enugu making it 12, forming what is now the ecclesiastical province of Enugu, for which I’m the Archbishop. We have the Nsukka Diocese, Abakaliki, Oji-River, Enugu North, Awgu-Aninri, Nike, Mgbo, Afikpo, Udi and Eha-Amufu Dioceses.
“Enugu Diocese is out to execute pragmatic evangelism; Enugu Diocese is out to make sure that we care for the poor, the less privileged, the widows, orphans and those who are displaced.”
No Level Of Sabotage Can Make Me Surrender Our Mandate -Fubara …Promises To Prioritise Development In Education, Entrepreneurship, Agriculture …Asks For Sustainable Peace Across The State
Governor of Rivers State, Sir Siminalayi Fubara has asserted that no level of sabotage staged in some quarters will make him abandon the mandate given to him to serve, protect and advance the fortunes of the State.
Speaking while declaring open the 115th and 116th combined Quarterly General Meeting of Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers in Port Harcourt yesterday, Governor Fubara reaffirmed his commitment to serve with humility, sincerity of purpose and accountability.
”Although these are trying times, let us not forget that Rivers State is our collective inheritance, presently under my watch, to protect, defend and advance it as the Governor.
”I assure you that I will not fail in this responsibility nor will I surrender our mandate and progress to intimidation, blackmail and deliberate sabotage. I reaffirm my earlier statement and recommit myself to the path of peace as there is nothing to gain in a state of needless crisis.”
Governor Fubara said drastic measures will be taken to strengthen education, healthcare and other social services across the State, so that no part, including the rural areas, will be left behind.
In advancing these human capital development efforts, the governor said the 2024 budget of the state will prioritise and provide sufficient funding to create universal access to affordable and quality education and healthcare services in Rivers State.
”We will also take deliberate steps to unlock the entrepreneurial spirit among our teeming unemployed youths through viable initiatives on skills development, entrepreneurship training and targeted investments in commercial agriculture.”
Sir Fubara urged traditional rulers to be upright and royal fathers of integrity who do not compromise their neutrality.
He also enjoined them to be courageous to speak truth to power so that they do not lose their moral authority and legitimacy before their people.
”We must all be worried about the plight of our youths, especially those in rural communities, most of whom are poor, neglected and almost forgotten in the government’s development plans, policies, and actions.
”As we all know, no human society can progress without peace and security. I will therefore urge you to continue to work tirelessly for the preservation of peace and security to attract sustainable development to your communities.”
The governor also harped on the need for everybody to have faith in the renewed hope agenda of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led administration at the federal level, asserting that President Tinubu has shown determination to pull the nation out of the prevailing economic nightmare and usher in a new era of sustainable economic progress, which is very reassuring.
In his address, the Chairman of Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, Ohna Sergeant Chidi Awuse declared the firm support of the council to the administration of Governor Siminalayi Fubara who was elected as the best and trusted to lead the State.
Ohna Awuse urged troublemakers who are fanning the ember of discord to cease the acts and allow the governor to concentrate and do the work he was elected to do.
Also speaking, Rivers State Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Charles Amadi said his ministry has continued to maintain a harmonious relationship with the council and will continue to collaborate with them to ease the discharge of their duties in their roles as royal fathers in peace-building efforts in their domains.
Return To Bodo-Bonny Road Project Site, FG Orders Julius Berger …Sets April 2024 New Deadline For Project’s Delivery
The Minister of Works, Senator David Umahi, has ordered the contractor handling the 35-kilometer Bodo-Bonny road and bridge project in Rivers State, Julius Berger PLC, to return to the site and ensure its timely completion.
The minister emphasised the urgency and significance of the directive, noting that the project, initially awarded to Julius Berger Nigeria Plc by the previous administration at a revised cost of N199billion with a completion date of December 31, 2023, is crucial for economic transformation in the region, being approximately 84percent complete.
Umahi expressed bewilderment over the contractor’s absence from the site despite their commitment under the agreement to meet the revised completion date.
He set April 2024 as the new deadline for the project’s delivery.
Hosting a delegation from the Bodo–Bonny Road Peace Committee on Monday, December 5, 2023, Umahi assured the project’s host communities that the Federal Government, under President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Renewed Hope administration, is committed to ensuring the project’s swift completion.
As stated by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Uchenna Orji, the minister highlighted a partnership agreement in 2017 between the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Works and Nigeria LNG (NLNG) outlining the funding modalities for the project.
He faulted the contractor’s stance on project variations, highlighting that they had previously committed to completing the project without seeking additional variations, saying, “No equipment must be allowed to be moved out of site, they must complete that project as agreed and as signed and nothing has removed that responsibility which they willingly on their own signed.
“I implore you the Peace Committee to report to me the progress that has been made on that road.
“Bobo-Bonny project was augmented to 199billion, I am told by the Ministry and NLNG Limited that there was a document signed by Julius Berger that the project cannot be varied which means that the project cost cannot be increased, the project is about 35 kilometers”.
The minister, however, praised the host communities for maintaining peace with the contractor despite project delays while urging them to persist in their peaceful approach towards contractors working on projects in their vicinity.
He assured the delegation that the ministry would ensure the completion of the Bodo-Bonny road project by April 2024, saying, “Nobody will hold this country to ransom if they cannot do it, another person will come and do it and finish it even better but the only charge I give to you is not to allow any equipment out of sight until they complete the project”.
Umahi also assured that the Federal Government would manage a coastal road in the same region, facing even more significant site challenges, and the cost would be less than what the government is currently paying Julius Berger.
“I respect them for their quality and commitment, but we shouldn’t be taken for granted” “It is a character of arrogance for them to demobilize from site,” he added
Federal Director Bridges and Design, Engr. O. O. Awosanya, gave a brief history of the award and funding of the project by Julius Berger.
According to him, the initial date of completion of the project with 13 bridges was supposed to be December 31, 2023, saying, “We have three main bridges and we have nine mini bridges and one bridge over the pipeline.
“The project completion as of today is about 84percent and the contractor has requested for a review which is against the spirit of the propagated agreement that was signed between the Federal Government, the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, and JB in 2021.”
Leader of the delegation and acting Chairman of the Peace Committee, Chief Charles John Jumbo, appreciated President Tinubu and the minister for the massive interventions and efforts they are bringing to the road sub-sector and changing the narrative of the road infrastructure in Nigeria.
He said the delegation was in the minister’s office to register their displeasure over the sudden demobilization from the site and abandonment of the Bodo-Bonny Road and Bridge project by Julius Berger Plc despite the huge funds committed by the Federal Government through NLNG.
Jumbo implored the timeouts intervention of Federal Government to avert the imminent hardship to be faced by the people of the area.
RSG Plans Media Village …As Johnson Wants Journalists To Be Objective On Unfolding Devs In Rivers
The Rivers State Government, under the leadership of Governor Siminalayi Fubara, plans to create a Media Village where all state-owned media houses would be located.
Office spaces, technical, power, other operational facilities and staff quarters are to be part of the ambitious project.
The large expanse of land at the Elelenwo transmission stations of both RSTV and Radio Rivers, is being proposed for this laudable project.
The Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Warisenibo Joseph Johnson, dropped the hint in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, while playing host to the leadership of the Rivers State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), who paid him a courtesy visit in his office.
This was contained in a statement by the Technical Assistant, Press Relations to the Honourable Commissioner for Information and Communications, Abraham Dukuma.
According to the commissioner, “The purpose of this move is to minimize the cost of operations of the outfits, increase efficiency and optimize the utilization of facilities through colocation as well as build synergy for effective performance, while creating some economic, social and commercial benefits, especially for people of the area where the activities of the proposed media hub shall be sited in particular, and people of the state in general.”
He thanked the NUJ, Rivers State Council, on behalf of the State Government, for identifying with Fubara-led administration.
The commissioner noted that fierce war has been raging in the media against Governor Fubara for some time, and charged members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm to be professional by accurately situating the unfolding development the way it is for posterity.
He informed that Fubara loves journalists, adding that the state Chief Executive is open to a robust, cordial working relationship with media practitioners.
To buttress his point, the commissioner cited the governor’s swift response to the recent requests from the Nigerian Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), when they were preparing for their recent national conference/election, where Dr. Lillian Okonkwo-Okagu was re-elected as the National Vice President of the Association.
He said the same friendly gesture was extended to the South-South Zonal leadership of the NUJ, as well as the Federated Correspondents Chapel.
Johnson also said that his recent familiarization visits to government-owned media houses and others is aimed at building better working relationship with the media in order to promote a healthy government-media partnership.
He disclosed that plans have been concluded for the governor to hold a media parley with journalists soon to enable him interact with them as partners-in-progress.
“To this end, the Rivers State Government under the leadership of Governor Siminalayi Fubara, is determined to make a clear departure from the past dispensation, when they (media practitioners) were unfairly treated, by ensuring that the media play critical roles in the government’s pragmatic development agenda”, he said.
He declared that the NUJ needs proper support to serve its preeminent leadership role as the galvanizing force in the media space.
Johnson noted that the recent upward review of salaries of civil servants in the state, among other people-oriented policies initiated by Fubara are clear indications of realistic commitment of the governor to change the fortune of Rivers people and those resident and doing business in the state, which according to him, will ultimately become visible to all at the end of the day.
He, therefore, enjoined all and sundry to join hands with the state government to build a better Rivers State.
Commenting on the ongoing political imbroglio in the state, Johnson said that; “We are not in any kind of inter-ethnic debacle. Therefore, no ethnic sentiment should be introduced into our system.”
Earlier in his speech, Chairman, NUJ Rivers State Council, Stanley Job Stanley, who led the delegation, congratulated Johnson on his appointment into the Rivers State Executive Council by Governor Fubara as the Chief Information Manager of the state, describing it as well deserved.
He commended Johnson for continuing to fraternize with the NUJ, even after his appointment as a commissioner, noting that Johnson was indeed a good member of the NUJ family.
The NUJ chairman also applauded the commissioner for his swift action in visiting government-owned media houses to ascertain their state/condition, with the aim of addressing their challenges for efficient and optimal performance.
He also conveyed NUJ’s appreciation to the state government for the support extended to the state chapter of NAWOJ during preparations for their recent national conference at Abuja, and formally informed the commissioner that Dr. Lillian Okonkwo-Okagu was re-elected as the National Vice President of NAWOJ.
Stanley solicited the support of the State Government in hosting NUJ’s Press Week, which he said had not seen the light of the day for a long time.
He also sought the assistance of State Government towards the rehabilitation of the NUJ Secretariat.
The NUJ leader requested for a solidarization visit by the NUJ to the the governor to enable them rub minds with him with a view to finding a common ground for collaboration, exchange of ideas, support and partnership.
The NUJ chairman regretted that all efforts by the Union to have an audience with the immediate past governor of the state and current FCT Minister, Chief Nyesom Wike, failed throughout his eight-year stay in office, and expressed the hope that things would not be the same in the present dispensation.
The NUJ delegation was made up of the state Chairman, Stanley Job Stanley; Vice Chairman, Okechukwu Maru; Secretary, Ike Wigodo; and Treasurer, Doris Tom Morrison.
Others are Auditor, Omunimi Wokoma; Ex-officio and Chief of Staff to the NUJ chairman, Boye Salau; and Financial Secretary, Fubara Miebaka Amadi.
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