Wike Sacks Health Commissioner
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has sacked the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Princewill Chike for not seeking the state government’s approval to host the preliminary session of Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), in Port Harcourt.
The governor described the unilateral decision of the commissioner to host the MDNC without the consent of the Rivers State Government as most embarrassing.
Wike announced the sack of Chike when the Chairman of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, Prof. Abba Wasiri Hassan paid him a courtesy visit at Government House, Port Harcourt, last Monday.
The governor explained that the Rivers State Government never requested to host the preliminary session of MDNC in Port Harcourt, and stressed that the commissioner erred to have unilaterally scheduled to host the MDCN event at the same time when the state government was commissioning and flagging off of key infrastructure projects.
“Frankly speaking, I have never seen an embarrassment like this in my life. Everybody knows that it is not my nature to bring people and you cannot attend to them or host them. So, whoever has done this will suffer for it.”
Wike said the request by the MDCN that state governors should establish one tertiary hospital in each of their senatorial districts would not be realisable due to paucity of funds.
“You have talked about siting a tertiary hospital in each of the senatorial districts. You know it is not possible. That is why in Nigeria, we have a problem. When you go for your budget, you put all kinds of projects. You know it cannot work. Where will you get the money to site these in each of the senatorial districts?”
The governor explained that in a bid to improve citizens access to quality healthcare service delivery, his administration has embarked on construction of some zonal hospitals in Bori, Degema, Etche, Ahoada and Omoku.
He further stated that his administration has also invested huge amount of resources in promoting medical education in the state, particularly, with the establishment of the Rivers State University College of Medical Sciences, and the annual award of scholarship to 130 indigenes of the state studying medicine at PAMO University of Medical Sciences.
“You’ll agree that I have provided the necessary funds for whatever you requested to give a standard medical college. Our partnership with PAMO is very interesting. In fact, every year, Rivers State Government offers scholarship to indigenes. This year, we have approved 130.”
Wike used the occasion to canvass for the reduction of the money the Federal Government gets from federation account to enable the states have more resources to drive their development.
The governor said that states should be allowed to fix the amount they can afford to pay their workers, including medical personnel, and contended that one of the banes of the country’s federal system was the attempt to foist a uniform salary structure on the entire country.
“I don’t want to talk about the salary thing. It is part of the problem we have. If you want to work in Rivers State, Rivers State Government should negotiate with you on what you should earn. Why should the man who is in Kogi earn the same thing with the man working in Rivers State? What is the house rent in Kogi? What is the house rent in Port Harcourt?
“If we don’t want to run true federalism, we should leave it. I can’t sit here as governor of a state, and you go to the Federal Government to negotiate, you come and give me to sign, I will not sign.”
In his remarks, Chairman, Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, Prof. Abba Wasiri Hassan, explained that they were in Rivers State for the ninth preliminary session of the council.
He commended Wike for his positive attitude towards healthcare and medical delivery services in the state, particularly, the huge investment in Rivers State University College of Medical Sciences, award of scholarship to indigenes of the state studying medicine, and the construction of world-class Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease Diagnostic and Treatment Centre in Port Harcourt.
The MDCN chairman urged governors to consider investing in tertiary hospitals in each of the senatorial districts in the country in order to increase the number of hospitals available for the training of house officers and to check medical tourism.
Tinubu Signs Bill Unifying Retirement Age For Judicial Officers
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu yesterday signed his first piece of legislation as President, when he assented to a constitutional amendment bill bringing uniformity to the retirement age and pension rights of judicial officers in the country.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the State House Director of Information, Abiodun Oladunjoye, yesterday.
The statement is titled ‘President Tinubu assents to constitutional amendment Bill on uniformity in retirement age of judicial officers’.
The statement read in part: “In exercising the powers vested in him under the 1999 Constitution as amended, President Bola Tinubu yesterday at the State House assented to a fresh amendment of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“President Tinubu signed into law the ‘Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fifth Alteration) (No.37), 2023’ presented by the outgoing 9th National Assembly”.
It added that “With the signing of the Constitutional amendment Bill, retirement age and pension rights of judicial officers have been effectively brought into uniformity and other related matters”.
While signing the amendment Bill into law, Tinubu pledged his administration’s dedication to strengthening the judiciary, ensuring the rule of law, and empowering judicial officers to execute their responsibilities effectively.
Democracy Day: FG Declares Monday Public Holiday
The Federal Government has declared Monday, June 12, as a public holiday in commemoration of 2023 Democracy Day celebration.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Dr Oluwatoyin Akinlade, on behalf of the Federal Government.
While congratulating Nigerians on the occasion, Akinlade stated that the country’s democratic journey has encountered stormy and smooth sails, just like in many other climes.
She said, “But the ship of State, its institutions and most importantly, the Nigerian people have remained steadfast on the tenets of democratic governance.”
“On this memorable occasion therefore, Nigerians and friends of Nigeria are invited to appreciate the progress that has been made, celebrate the milestones covered and look forward to a better future for the country’s democracy.
“The Permanent Secretary wishes all Nigerians a Happy Democracy Day celebration, “ the statement added.
RSHA Screens Five For Commissioners, Today
Five commissioner nominees are to appear before the Rivers State House of Assembly, today for screening.
The nominees include Engr. Chukwuemeka Woke, Barr.(Mrs) Inime Aguma, Hon Nwafor Uchechukwu, Dr. Kenneth Chisom Gbah and Hon. Henry Ogiri.
In a statement signed by the Acting Clerk of the House, Dr. Emeka Amadi, the five commissioner nominees are expected to appear before the lawmakers by 10am.
The nominees are also requested to submit 40 copies of their original credentials to the office of the Acting Clerk on or before 9am, today.
Four commissioners had earlier been screened by the Assembly and sworn in by the State governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, last week.
These nominees, if screened and confirmed, will therefore, bring the number of commissioners in the State to nine in the last one week.
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