President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to the people of the Niger Delta region to exercise restraint and allow a conducive atmosphere for implementation of the several governments’ developmental projects and programmes initiated for the area.
He noted that the essence of the retreat was to sensitise and educate the management of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) on how to function collaboratively to achieve their respective mandates targeted at improving the living conditions of the Niger Deltans.
He gave the warning while declaring open a retreat for management of Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, held at the State House Conference Centre, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Represented by the Minister of Transportation, Muazu Sambo, Buhari, Buhari said the Federal Government had made huge commitments to the Niger Delta region in line with his administration’s resolve to give the people a new lease of life.
He added that his administration has been proactive in response to issues of the region, stressing that it has been adopting and implementing more prudent policies and programmes that will bring about a better Niger Delta region.
Buhari said, “I urge all well- meaning Nigerians, especially the Niger Deltans, to exercise restraint and ensure a conducive and secured environment for implementation of the several developmental projects and programmes in the region.”
He particularly cited the ongoing East-West Road project, stressing that, it is one of the largest infrastructure in Nigeria, and “strategic” in connecting the country’s busiest and foremost commercial cities, in the region.
He noted that the project was priority to the administration and assured it would be completed before the end of his tenure as president next year.
Buhari said it was heart-warming to note that, the ministry has prioritised the repositioning of the NDDC to ensure they deliver on their objectives and mandate.
In pursuance of his administration’s determination to curb corruption and in response to the call of the governors of South-South for a Forensic Audit of NDDC, the president explained that he undertook some critical reforms and requested a Forensic Audit of NDDC from inception to 2019.
According to him, the report of the audit has been submitted and implementation of its recommendations has commenced in phases.
He assured that the process would soon usher in a new management and board for the commission.
The president directed the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited and its subsidiaries to step in, with a view to fixing the Section 4 of the East-West Road (Eleme Roundabout to Onne junction) through the Tax Credit Scheme.
“This should be expeditiously addressed considering the importance of the road to our national economy,” he added.
Buhari declared that, henceforth, fraudulent practices and violation of the procurement laws will be meted with appropriate sanctions as stipulated in the Public Procurement Act.
He reiterated his administration’s commitment to stamp out the menace of graft, vowing that “henceforth, fraudulent practices and violation of the procurement laws will be meted with appropriate sanctions as stipulated in the Public Procurement Act.”
He further enjoined the stakeholders to take advantage of the gathering to “correct whatever irregularities that existed in the past, and thereby attain an effective and prosperous working relationship for the best interest of the region, and the nation at large.”
In his welcome remark, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Umana Umana said, the retreat was an eloquent testimony of the unflinching commitment of the Federal Government to redressing the under development, unemployment and inequalities pervasive in the region due to the lack of collaboration, synergy and coordination among the agencies, development partners and stakeholders participating in the development and transformation of the Niger Delta region, which the retreat will address.
He said the treat would come out with a better positioned to work harmoniously to drive the Federal Government’s strategic mandates in the region through the formulation, implementation and coordination of all policies and programmes geared towards the overall rapid and sustainable development of the region.
He called on stakeholders in the region to support the government in achieving its vision for its development and consolidate on the gains so far achieved.
Also speaking, Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma said that Buhari’s call will bring about the needed development of the Niger Delta.
Represented by his Special Adviser, Dr Jimmy Imo, the governor said, “I definitely believe the president called for synergy between the Niger Delta states and all the development partners. I believe the president’s call, if heeded, it will bring about the needed development, especially infrastructural development in the Niger Delta, that’s what the Niger Delta area needs.”
The expanded retreat had the governors of oil producing states, chairmen of the relevant committees of the Senate and House of Representatives, oil companies, ministries, departments and agencies in attendance.
Substance Abuse Becoming Thing Of Concern -Odu
Rivers State Deputy Governor, Prof. Ngozi Nma Odu, has lauded the important role pharmacists play in the wellbeing of the society.
Odu gave this commendation while playing host to members of Association of Lady Pharmacists of Nigeria, Rivers State Branch at the Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The deputy governor said while others are sleeping, pharmacists work hard “to ensure we all live in a better society, especially when you talk about the dangers of substance abuse.”
Odu stressed that, “It is really becoming a thing of great concern because of the level of children getting involved in this thing. It is even coming down to primary schools which now increases the burden of what you are doing, so we appreciate you for what you are doing for the society which we all are living in.”
The deputy governor extolled the lady pharmacists for the scholarship scheme they were sponsoring, noting that it was “amazing because when you change the narrative of somebody’s life, you become what they call a destiny helper.”
The deputy governor added, “So, for me, it is something I would encourage. Even the Bible says when you do it for them you have done unto God. It is a thing we get a lot of blessings out off, you may not see it now but some day it will definitely come.”
She expressed gratitude to them for their support for the Fubara-led administration which according to her has continued to spur them into action.
“Let me thank you for upholding the governor and myself in prayers, because without prayers we won’t be here, many people have prayed and God has heard, please do not stop, even for good governance, we need God to grant us the wisdom and knowledge of what to do”, she said.
In her remarks, Chairman of the Rivers State Branch of Association of Lady Pharmacists of Nigeria, Ebelechukwu Odom, said they were at the Government House to identify with the Governor Fubara-led administration in the ongoing restructuring of the state, and pledged their allegiance and unflinching support to the administration.
She assured that they would utilize the competences of Lady Pharmacists in Rivers State and synergize with partners for improvement in health, education, research development and socio-economic wellbeing of humanity through relevant and appropriate interventions, projects and programmes.
RSG Denies Rumours Of Cholera Outbreak In Soku
The Rivers State Government says it is not aware of any cholera outbreak in Soku community in the Akuku Toru Local Government Area of the State.
This was contained in a statement made available to newsmen in Port Harcourt by the State Ministry of Health.
According to the statement signed by the Commissioner for Health, Dr Adaeze Chidinma Oreh, the clarification was necessary following numerous enquiries from the media over a purported outbreak of cholera in Soku community.
The statement read in part, “The Rivers State Ministry of Health has received numerous enquiries from the Press regarding an alleged outbreak of cholera in Soku community in Akuku Toru Local Government Area.
“Public health teams dispatched to investigate these alleged cases and deaths have so far received no confirmation of such.”
While describing cholera as a waterborne infectious disease, the commissioner said that the disease is notifiable, warranting escalating reports from disease surveillance and notification officers at the community level.
The statement clarified that the ongoing medical outreach in Soku community is in no way related to any outbreak of cholera.
“Outreaches have always been a way of getting accessible health care to underserved and vulnerable population, however, all such outreach activities must be conducted with approval from and in collaboration with the State Ministry of Health and as such no entity should be conducting outreaches outside the coordination of the ministry”, it warned.
The ministry further said that all infectious diseases of this nature are reported, managed and escalated by the Rivers State Ministry of Health.
Dr. Oreh said the statement should serve as a strong warning to anyone conducting or planning health activities without due recourse to the Rivers State Ministry of Health.
She added that any such activities found to be carried out without the knowledge and clearance of the State Ministry of Health will be fully investigated and dealt with in order to ensure the protection of the lives of the people.
“Therefore, the general public and members of the Press are advised to disregard the rumours making the round on an ongoing outbreak of cholera and the death of some citizens of Soku community in Akuku Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State as it is presently unfounded, misguided and capable of causing panic amongst citizens and residents.
“The general public is thus urged to remain calm and rest assured that the Rivers State Ministry of Health will continue to be a veritable source of public health information in the state”, the statement concluded.
Bill On State Police Scales Second Reading
The House of Representatives, yesterday, passed for second reading a bill to provide for the establishment of state police in the country.
Sponsored by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Benjamin Kalu and 14 others, the bill seeks to alter the relevant Sections of the 1999 Constitution to pave the way for states to establish their own policing outfits.
As lawmakers took turns to contribute to the debate on the floor of the House during yesterday’s plenary, Kalu who stood in for the Speaker, Abbas Tajudeen, urged members to look beyond political ambitions and think about the safety of Nigerians and Nigeria.
Also speaking, Babajimi Benson (APC, Lagos) said, “It is the job of the police to maintain law and order. We have a population of over 200m people but we have a police strength that is less than 400,000. State Police should be created to address the internal security challenges of Nigeria.”
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