Groups Task CSOs, Media, Others On Climate Change, Illicit Cash Flow
With the glaring threat posed by Climate Change to the world, groups from anti-corruption agencies, the media, civil society organisations (local and International), community-based groups and labour and the academia have called on the media, labour, community-based groups and others to strengthen alliance and network to decisively wage a vigorous campaign against Climate Change peril.
The groups also charged them to rise against illicit financial flows from Africa, saying that illicit financial flow from Africa is partly responsible for poverty, misery, unemployment and the surging wave of violence and desperation of many African countries.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the one-day workshop on Illicit Financial Flow, Gas Flaring and COP 26 organised by Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) Resource Centre, Re-Common and Cornerhouse in collaboration with Fossil Fuel Non- Proliferation Treaty Initiative and supported by MacArthur Foundation held in Lagos, they maintained that corruption remains a growing threat to global security and prosperity, saying corruption has continued to undermine human and material potentials of Nigeria, fuel poverty, hunger, starvation and economic and political instabilities.
According to them, one of the major contributory factors to corruption is Illicit Financial Flow, and every year, billions of dollars are siphoned from Nigeria by public and private officials stunting the country’s growth and economic wellbeing.
“Oil and Gas is the mainstay of Nigerian political-economy, while the sector remains one of the dark spots of sleaze. Since 1956 when oil was first discovered in Nigeria, billions of dollars have been sourced by the Nigerian authorities but have neither translated to prosperity nor improved the lives of millions of Nigerians who remain poor and vulnerable.
“An outstanding means of corruption and Illicit Financial Flow in the oil sector is through Gas Flaring whereas the impact of Climate Change on livelihood in Nigeria is real.”
With the theme, “Illicit Financial Flow and Gas Flaring as Albatross to Nigeria’s Climate Change Response: Building Momentum towards COP 26″, they examined illicit financial flow and gas flaring as a major threat to livelihood and Climate Change, the responses and resolved that Africa, including Nigeria needs to renew efforts to halt Illicit Financial Flow in the oil and gas sector perpetrated by local and international actors.
They also averred that Climate Change remains a phenomenon challenge.
“Africa, including Nigeria, should, therefore, rise up to the perilous challenge and such efforts must all stakeholders, including but not limited to the civil society, democratic institutions and indigenous communities.
“Nigerian Government should employ modern technology in the detection of the quantity and quality of oil and gas exported from the country which should lead to freezing and demobilisation of assets such as shares and real property apart from the repatriation of all stolen funds which should be incorporated into projects that impact on the essential needs of Nigerians.
“Retrieving illicit funds requires the employment of legal and diplomatic mechanisms within the framework of best global practices. This means that Africa, including Nigeria should work towards stopping corruption at home to prevent illicit financial flow from the continent.”
They posited also that Africa needs a transparent and accountable system of government that will enhance a people-driven mechanism to enhance openness and inclusiveness; hence there should be a paradigm shift from reliance on foreign aids to self-reliance which involves judicious use of local human and material assets with development built around institutions rather than individuals.
“Government should focus on private-sector growth rather than private interest growth, and the efforts of the campaigns to ‘save Africa’ and ‘make poverty history’ would be meaningless in the face of the consistent damage done to the continent through corruption by government officials and operators of the private sector, thus people must conscientiously hold the government accountable through constructive democratic engagements.
“The perpetuation of graft is sustained by the fraternity between states that encourages a symbiotic relationship between a looting ruling elite class and rogue multinationals, including local and international actors in the banking and financial institutions of foreign receiving nations. Any attempt to deal with corruption needs to take the current situation into cognisance.
“Africa member states should strengthen anti-corruption institutions to be able to legally deal with corrupt persons and bring them to book through a speedy and less complex trial, and wake up to the challenges posed by Climate Change, gas flaring and illicit financial flow, the continent being the most vulnerable, yet the least prepared for Climate Change yet the most affected by its negative consequences like drought, deforestation and pollution, given its economic and resilience situations including lack of access, opportunity, infrastructure, etc.
“Climate Change as a major challenge also comes with associated opportunities to explore new technology, new knowledge yet Africa is yet to key into this window. The continent should focus also on researches and initiatives to indigenous solutions to complement global efforts to resolve the challenge posed by Climate Change,” they added.
We’ll Expand Socio-Economic Opportunities For All Rivers People -Fubara ……As Wike Bows Out
Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has declared his administration’s resolve to expand the existing socio-economic opportunities in order to engender prosperity for all Rivers people.
Fubara made this declaration on Monday at the General Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Elekahia, venue of his swearing-in as the sixth democratically elected governor of Rivers State.
Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Simeon Amadi, administered the oath of office on the new governor and his deputy, Prof. Ngozi Odu.
Thereafter, the former governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, handed over the flag of Rivers State and handover notes to his successor.
Fubara, in his inaugural address titled “Together, Let’s Consolidate the New Rivers State”, noted the poor state of the national economy, but promised that his administration would take measures to diversify Rivers economy and insulate it so that it can grow.
He also assured of promoting the climate of ease of doing business in the State to attract direct foreign investment capable of empowering Rivers people.
“The primary responsibility of a new government is to do its best to advance the security and well-being of the State and its citizens.
“Therefore, as we undertake our responsibilities, we promise to stay the course, commit to cooperative governance and expand opportunities for everyone. The wishes of our people for a happy life are our mission in politics.
“We will prioritise the well-being of the State and citizens with a renewed focus on economic growth, people-centred projects and social services”, he said.
He said further that, “We will improve the ease of doing business and sustain a congenial fiscal regime to attract local and foreign direct investments to stimulate greater economic activities, create wealth and improve citizens’ livelihoods.
“We will adopt a re-industrialization policy master plan and partner with the private sector to revive or establish viable industries to create jobs and empower our people.
“We will also support the growth of small businesses and encourage commercial agriculture to achieve food security, industrialization and improved living standards for citizens.”
Fubara added that his administration is already building on the successes of his predecessor and will construct more projects including the Port Harcourt ring road.
According to him, there shall be healthy partnership with private investors to provide integrated inter-modular public transportation system in the State.
“We witnessed unprecedented growth in infrastructure in the last eight years, but there’s still more to do.
“We will follow our leader’s footsteps to invest in capital projects, including roads, bridges, electricity supply to our rural areas, and social housing.
“We will, therefore, partner with the private sector to develop an integrated multimodal public transportation system to advance mass mobility and access to socio-economic opportunities across the state.
“We will also construct the Port Harcourt Ring Road to enhance the mobility of goods and services across the State”.
Fubara said the challenges in the health sector like inadequate manpower and corruption would be addressed to achieve optimal performance.
In the education sector, he promised to provide smart classrooms for students to prepare for global competition, empower the youths with skills to become economically active while being connected to small and medium scale business opportunities.
He said, “We care about our youth. We know they need jobs, opportunities, empowerment and the freedom to build sound, promising futures. We will not abandon our youth to their fate. We will continue prioritizing education at all levels and empower our youth with the relevant skills and opportunities to become economically active, productive and prosperous.
“We believe in the job creation capacity of small and medium enterprises. And so, we shall facilitate targeted access to low-interest funds for youth entrepreneurs to start or improve their businesses, earn decent incomes and generate employment for themselves and others.”
The governor particularly acknowledged the achievements of his predecessor in the health sector saying, “We are also proud of the state’s achievements in the healthcare sector, particularly the construction of new primary healthcare centres, the Mother and Child Hospital, the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, the Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases Diagnostic and Treatment Centre and the contributory Healthcare Insurance Law.
“With what is on the ground, it is evident that the primary challenges with our healthcare system are more with inadequate manpower, corruption, indiscipline and ineffective management”.
Fubara gave a firm assurance by saying: “I assure you that apart from completing all ongoing healthcare infrastructure projects, we will deal with all identified challenges and ensure that the healthcare system functions optimally to deliver affordable and efficient healthcare to citizens.
“We are equally proud of the State’s unprecedented educational advancement, especially in the last four years. Our public schools at all levels, irrespective of location, are some of the lovely and best-resourced in the country.”
According to him, his administration will consolidate on the progress made so far by “introducing smart schools and classrooms across the State to empower our children with world-class learning experiences and make Rivers State a knowledge hub.”
Fubara vowed to be hard on crime and criminality in the State saying, “We will be hard on crime and criminality. We will swiftly and firmly deal with anyone, regardless of status or position, rich or poor, who breaks our laws or dares to violate our environment, peace and security”.
The governor thanked civil servants for their support and promised regular payment of salary, gratuity, more training, promotion for them and housing for low income earners.
Describing the civil servants as members of his constituency, he said, “To our civil servants, I thank all of you for your invaluable contributions to the state’s progress over the years.
“We appreciate your indispensability and promise to meet all our obligations to you, including regular payment of wages, pensions, gratuity, training and promotions. All we ask is your continued patriotism, dedication, and enthusiasm in the execution of your official duties”.
He further promised to govern Rivers people with the fear of God, cognizance of the fact that Rivers is a Christian state.
He also assured the church and spiritual leaders of his administration robust partnership to enhance the moral and spiritual wellbeing of Rivers people.
“Rivers State is a Christian State, and God is our foundation. We shall govern with the fear of God and stay strong to our Christian values of trust, faith, love, care and sacrifice.”
“We shall deepen the inseparable ties between the Church and the State government for the benefit of our people. We assure the Christian Association of Nigeria and other spiritual leaders of our sincere friendship, support and solidarity.
“We will continue to support and work with the Church to defend our faith, advance our values and enhance our people’s moral and spiritual well-being”, he assured.
At the Government House, Port Harcourt, the governor hung the official portraits of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, his own and that of his predecessor, Wike.
… Appoints Nwaeke HoS, Ideozu Acountant General
The Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has approved two new strategic appointments in the state Civil Service.
In the latest development, the governor has approved the appointment of the most senior civil servant and permanent secretary, Dr. George Nwaeke as Head of Service, Rivers State.
He also approved the appointment of Dr Uche Ideozu as the new Accountant General of Rivers State.
A statement signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Communications in Rivers State, Ibiwari Clapton-Ogolo, Esq, said that the appointments take immediate effect.
The two fresh appointments bring to six the number of appointments already made by the governor since assuming duties on Monday, May 29.
The first set of appointments was the nomination of four former commissioners under Governor Nyesom Wike as commissioner-designates.
The names are Prof Zaccheaus Adangor, Dr Dakorima George-Kelly, Isaac Kamalu, and Prof Prince Chinedu Mmom.
While Adangor was attorney general and commissioner for justice, George-Kelly was works commissioner, Kamalu was finance commissioner, and Mmom was education commissioner.
Fuel Scarcity: Tinubu Resumes Work, Meet With Emefiele, Kyari
President Bola Tinubu yesterday officially resumed work at the Presidential Villa, Abuja where he met with the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele and the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mr. Mele Kyari.
This was the first official assignment by the President after his inauguration as the 16th President of the country at the Eagle Square, Abuja, on Monday.
The President arrived at the forecourt of the State House at about 2:30 pm through the quarter guard gate, which is his official entrance gate and was received by the Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima, the Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and the outgoing Director of Protocol, DOP.
Others who received him were Emefiele, Kyari and a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. James Faleke, among others.
The President went straight to his office with Emefiele, Kyari, Gbajabiamila, Faleke and others.
Although the agenda of the meeting was not made public, it may not be unconnected with the removal of fuel subsidy and the attendant fuel scarcity.
It is expected that the issue of unification of foreign exchange, recent Naira redesign, among others will also be discussed.
Recall that President Tinubu had during his inaugural speech announced that the subsidy has been removed and this immediately made filling stations to shut down operations across the country.
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