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Wike Recommits To Defending Rivers Interests …As S’Court Returns 17 Oil Wells To State

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Governor Nyesom Wike has said that the Rivers State was in court with its neighbouring Imo State, not to claim victory, but to defend its ownership rights of oil wells in Akri and Mgbede communities.
This is as the Supreme Court has resolved the ownership of the disputed 17 oil wells between Rivers State Government and Imo State Government in favour of Rivers State.
The Rivers State governor made the clarification in Port Harcourt, last Friday, in response to the ruling of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, when it delivered judgement on the subsisted boundary dispute between the two states over the affected oil well.
“It bears repeating that the quest to defend our ownership rights through the courts over the Akri and Mgbede oil wells was not intended to claim victory over Imo or any other state.
“We also deplore the collusive actions of the NBC, which unfortunately, has become notorious as one of the most corrupt national agency, which has functioned more in causing confusion than resolving boundary disputes.”
Wike pointed out that while the dispute lingered, the National Boundary Commission (NBC) did nothing in demarcating the boundaries to establish the proper location and title to the disputed oil wells.
But instead of ensuring that NBC did its work, Wike said the former Imo State Governor, Hon Emeka Ihedioha repudiated the subsisted 50:50percent sharing formula, and also made provocative claims as exclusive owners of the oil wells.
“In order to actualise this spurious claim, he (Ihedioha) stealthily wrote a letter dated August 9, 2019 to President Muhammadu Buhari, and requested for the refund of the sum of N15billion from Rivers State to Imo State as backlog of accrued proceeds from the 13percent derivation revenue of the said oil wells.
“Acting on Governor Ihedioha’s letter, Mr. President warranted a letter to be written to the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMFAC) through his late Chief of Staff, Mr. Abba Kyari, to alter the status quo in favour of Imo State without reference to the subsisting dispute and agreement between the two states.”
Wike said Rivers State Government was surprised by that action because since 1999, Dr. Peter Odili and Achike Udenwa, both former governors of the respective states had agreed to 50:50percent sharing of derivative proceeds from those wells.
“Accordingly, we first applied to the Federal High Court, Abuja and, among other reliefs, successfully challenged the powers and authority of Mr. President to give directives to the RMFAC and or interfere in any manner whatsoever with the distribution of public revenues from the distributable pool account, including the Federation Account.
“In approaching the Supreme Court, in this matter, we believed that the dispute between the two state and the contentious issues are such that the court can judiciously, justly and expeditiously determine with the available facts and supporting evidence, including valid administrative maps, subsisting judgement, and other relevant documents.”
The Rivers State governor expressed delight that the Supreme Court has spoken, and hoped that Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, would accept the outcome in good faith, while exploring ways to accommodate any possible compromise from Rivers State Government.
“This, we may readily oblige, despite the betrayals and back-stabbing by Emeka Ihedioha, who in spite of the extensive support and goodwill he received from the Government and people of Rivers State to become governor, led the onslaught and created a wedge between two brotherly states that have been living at peace and in friendship with each other.”
Wike thanked the lawyers who prosecuted and secured the landmark success for Rivers State.
He announced the conferment of state’s honours on each of them as Distinguished Service Stars of Rivers State.
In their goodwill messages, Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo said Rivers people are happy for yet another victory Wike has secured for the state by legally protecting its oil assets.
In his response, Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, noted that a good leader like Wike makes history from which useful lessons can be learned like defending Rivers interests and also extending hands of fellowship to Imo State.
On his part, Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Elders’ Forum, Chief Ferdinand Alabraba, described Wike as a useful instrument God has used to take Rivers State to greater height of success.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had resolved the ownership of the disputed 17 oil wells between Rivers State Government and Imo State Government in favour of Rivers State.
In a unanimous judgement prepared by Justice Helen Ogunwumiju but delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim, the Supreme Court dismissed the counter claim ownership put forward by the Imo State Government.
The oil wells located in the territories of Rivers and Imo states have been subject of litigation at the apex court which served as a court of first instance with seven justices in the panel.
The court granted reliefs 1, 3 4 5 and 6 in favour of Rivers State Government.
However, the apex court refused to grant reliefs 2, 7 and 10.
Among the reliefs granted by the apex court in favour of Rivers are that the boundary between Rivers and Imo as delineated in Nigeria administrative map 10th edition, 11th, 12th edition and other maps bearing similar delineation are inaccurate, incorrect, and do not represent the legitimate and lawful boundaries between Rivers and Imo states.
The Supreme Court agreed with Rivers that the correct instruments, map and documents to be relied upon in the determining the boundary between Rivers and Imo states are those used by Rivers in delineating the boundary line between the two states, including Decree No. 14 of 1967, Decree No. 12 of 1976, the White Papers/conclusion of the Federal Military Government on the Irikefe and the Nasir Boundary Commission/Boundary Adjustment Commission, the Eastern Nigeria map, the Provincial map of Owerri province, Warri Province, Onitsha Province, Rivers Province, the Ahoada District map and Aboh Division map.
The apex court also declared that based on the correct instruments, maps and documents for determining the boundary between Rivers and Imo states, including Decree no. 14 of 1967, Decree No. 12 of 1976, the White Papers/conclusion of the Federal Military Government on the Irikefe and the Nasir Boundary Commission/Boundary Adjustment Commission, the Eastern Nigeria map, the Provincial map of Owerri Province, Warri Province, Onitsha Province, Rivers Province, the Ahoada District map and Aboh Division map, the Rivers State communities wrongly attributed to Imo State, among other communities, are communities within the territorial boundaries of Rivers State, and therefore, communities in respect of which Rivers State is entitled to exercise governmental and administrative powers, including entitlement to benefits derivable from mineral or other resources within the communities.
The court also made declaration that all the oil wells within Akri and Mgbede communities usually identified with the names Akri and Mgbede, including the oil wells identified on Rivers map showing the location of oil wells wrongly attributed to Imo State, including Akri 012, Akri 009, Akri 010, Akri 004, Akri West 002, Akri 001, Akri West 001, Akri 003, Akri 002, and Akri South 001, Mbede 017, Mbede 010, Mbede 019, Mbede 018, Mbede 002, Mbede 009, and Mbede 005, are all oil wells within the territory of Rivers State and form part of Rivers State and that it is only Rivers State that is entitled to receive the full allocation of the distributable revenue derived from the oil wells on the basis of the 13percent derivation principle as provided for under Section 162 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, among others.

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Nigeria’s GDP Grew By 3.11% In Q1 2022, NBS Affirms

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The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said that Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 3.11per cent in the first quarter of 2022.
The NBS made this known via its Nigerian Gross Domestic Product Report Q1 2022 released, last Monday.
According to the report, Nigeria’s GDP grew by 3.11per cent year-on-year in real terms in the first quarter of 2022.
The NBS noted that the development showed a sustained positive growth for six consecutive quarters since the recession witnessed in 2020 when negative growth rates were recorded in quarter two and three of 2020.
It added that the first quarter 2022 growth rate further represents an improvement in economic performance.
The NBS stated: “The observed trend since Q4 of 2020 is an indication of a gradual economic stability.
“The Q1 of 2022 growth rate was higher than the 0.51per cent growth rate recorded in Q1 of 2021 by 2.60per cent points and lower than 3.98per cent recorded in Q4 of 2021 by 0.88per cent points.
“Nevertheless, quarter-on-quarter, real GDP grew at -14.66per cent in Q1 of 2022, compared to Q4 of 2021, reflecting a lower economic activity than the preceding quarter.
“In the period under review, aggregate GDP stood at about N45.317million in nominal terms.
“This performance is higher when compared to the first quarter of 2021 which recorded aggregate GDP of about N40.014million, indicating a year-on-year nominal growth rate of 13.25per cent.
“The nominal GDP growth rate in Q1 2022 was higher relative to the 12.25per cent growth recorded in Q1 2021, and higher compared to the 13.11per cent growth recorded in the preceding quarter,” the report read.

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RSG Launches RIV-CARES Programme …World Bank Rates Rivers High

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The Rivers State Government has launched the state COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (RIV-CARES) Programme.
The state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike performed the launching at the NBA Secretariat in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Speaking through his Deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, the governor said the programme was to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the poor and vulnerable households and support micro and small-scale enterprises as a means of stimulating economic growth post-COVID.
According to the State Chief Executive, “the state government had signed in for the programme, made provisions in the 2022 Budget for Result Areas and signed Funds Release Policy, which is an assurance to the World Bank that funds shall be released for the implementation of the programme”.
Wike said the launching of the RIV-CARES Programme would create awareness for the people of the state and engender expression of interest by beneficiary households, communities and operators of micro and small businesses (SMEs).
The governor, who encouraged the Rivers people to take advantage of the opportunities provided by RIV-CARES to enhance their means of livelihood and reduce the spate of poverty in the communities, commended the World Bank and the Federal CARES for their support to the state.
In her remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, Mrs. Titilola Kuna Cline, said in a bid to check the negative effects of COVID-19 pandemic on livelihoods, food security and micro and small businesses, the World Bank in partnership with the Federal Government of Nigeria and the state governments, introduced the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) Programme.
She said the state scaled through rigorous preparatory stages and qualified to participate in the programme whose objective was “to expand access to livelihood support and food security services, and grants for poor and vulnerable households and firms”.
According to her, the stages include, signing of subsidiary loan agreement and fund release policy by the government.
Others include the establishment of the RIV-CARES Steering Committee, establishment of State- CARES Coordination Unit domiciled in the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning and preparation of work plan.
“The NG-CARES, after domestication of programme implementation manual now known as RIV-CARES programme has the State Coordination Unit (SCU) saddled with coordinating implementation of RIV-CARES programme in the state and reporting to Federal-CARES supporting unit and the World Bank in Abuja.
“It is also a bridge between the delivery platforms and the State-CARES Steering Committee and for delivery platform under three Results Areas (RA1-3).
Cline listed the three areas to include cash transfer unit, labour intensive public works and community-driven development social (CDD-S) Plus.
The rest are, FADAMA and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Also speaking, the representative of the World Bank, Mr. Aso Vakporaye, said the programme must succeed in order to kick out poverty from the state in view of the fact that failure to kick out poverty would make life difficult for the entire citizenry.
He, therefore, thanked the governor for making it possible for Rivers State to participate in the programme.
Similarly, the World Bank and the Federal Government have rated Rivers State high in the implementation of the COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus scheme by the state government.
Representative of the World Bank Task Team Leader, Mr.Aso Vakporaye said this, yesterday, in Port Harcourt at the official flag offand implementation of the Rivers State COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (RIV-CARES) Programme in the state.
Vakporaye, who is also the chairman of the Federal Government’sFederal-CARES Technician Committee,confirmed that Rivers State has met the requirements for the implementation of the programme.
He said alot still remains to be done,adding that the state needs to release more money for the implementation of the programme.
Also speaking, theTechnical Head of State CARESCoordinating Unitand Secretary,RIV-CARESSteering Committee,Mrs Imaonyeni Ephraim, said the programme would improve the livelihood of the poor and vulnerable people in the state.
She said the programme, which runs for two years,was open to many beneficiaries.
The flag off was performed by the state Deputy Governor,Dr.Ipalibo Harry Banigo, onbehalf of Governor Nyesom Wike.

By: John Bibor

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PDP Elects Senatorial Candidates For 2023 Elections

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Rivers State, last Monday, held its primary election to elect candidates who will fly its flags for the Senatorial election in 2023.
The election, which took place at the three senatorial headquarters of the state, saw the emergence of the state Deputy Governor, Dr Ipalibo Harry Banigo, as the candidate for Rivers West Senatorial District, Chief Allwell Onyesoh won the primaries for Rivers East Senatorial District while Senator Barinaada Mpigi secured a return ticket to represent Rivers South East Senatorial District.
Speaking before the deployment of electoral officers and materials for the election, the state PDP Chairman, Amb Desmond Akawor, welcomed members of the electoral committee from the PDP National Headquarters, and briefed them on the successes so far recorded in the state House of Assembly and House of Representatives primaries.
Akawor said though some form of consensus had been reached concerning the senatorial aspirants, the party would still observe due diligence by ensuring that proper primary election was conducted at the three senatorial district headquarters, urging the electoral officers to be discrete in handling their assignment.
Chairman of the PDP Electoral Committee for the Senatorial Primary, Hon Donatus Etim, commended Governor Nyesom Wike for the enormous work done in strengthening the electoral process in the state, thereby making it possible for successful primaries to be held in the state.

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