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PHED Rakes In N5.2bn In One Month …Targets Revenue Recovery From 70,000 Debtors …To Metre More 10% Customers By Dec

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As part of efforts to achieve the tripod pillars of increased revenue growth, standardisation of processes, and efficient people and performance management on which its core values stand in line with global best practices, Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Plc, has raised its revenue collection to N5.2billion in August from N4.3billion in July, 2022.
This shows an increase of N900,000,000, representing a leap of approximately 20.94percent in revenue collection over a 30-day period in its franchise four states of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, and Rivers.
The revenue collection falls short of the N7.4billion value of bills submitted to customers across the value chain in the franchise states in August, alone.
This also means a daunting shortfall of N2.2billionn in revenue collection against projected target, which the company attributed to the resistance of some energy consumers in communities and cities, including private and public sector organisations, to pay electricity bills as at when due.
Managing Director of PHED, Dr Benson Uwheru, who revealed this feat at his maiden parley with media executives in Port Harcourt, last Friday, said the success recorded was in fulfillment of part of Federal Government’s desires for implementing the restructuring of the power sub-sector, last July.
Uwheru also said that the improved performance could not have been possible without the dedication and commitment of management and staff of PHED as well as the confidence, support and cooperation of customers and other stakeholders.
He, however, lamented that despite the sterling performance, no fewer than 70,000 customers have refused to pay for energy consumed over the last six months.
While appealing to all stakeholders to support and cooperate with PHED to accelerate steady electricity supply to customers, Uwheru quickly reminded energy consumers reluctant to pay bills that when both parties fulfill their obligations, there would be more electricity to drive industrialisation, boost job creation, enhance social and economic development, and promote peaceful coexistence, just as it also helps reduce poverty, crime rate and violence in the franchise states.
The Tide recalls that in early June, 2022, the energy distribution company had raised the alarm that consumers in Rivers State alone were owing the company more than N16billion on defaults from bills payment, just as it regretted the rising spate of attacks on PHED staff, vandalisation of facilities, energy theft and metre bypass.
But expressing optimism that things were beginning to turn around for the better, Uwheru said that with a determined management team, motivated workforce, and a customer base that was increasingly showing understanding following sustained sensitisation and awareness on the need to pay for energy bills, a more congenial atmosphere to facilitate electricity supply that meets rising demands would soon emerge.
He said that to achieve the energy for all goal set by the Federal Government, PHED has targeted to install pre-paid metres for no fewer than 10percent of the outstanding 40percent unmetred customers by December, 2022, adding that the company had earlier metred 60percent of its unmetred customers in the four states.
Uwheru further said available records show that PHED had metred 100percent of customers allocated to it by the Federal Government in the phase zero of the pre-paid metring regime, and expressed confidence that the company would be given its pride of place in the anticipated phase one of the metre manufacturers (MAP Vendors) scheme under the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission-supervised National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) to enable it meet the expectations of the over one million unmetred customers.
The Tide investigations show that 4Power Consortium Limited, owners of PHED, had inherited a huge profile of about 800,000 unmetred customers from Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in November, 2013, a culmination of 14-year power reform policy, and immediately launched an aggressive pre-paid metering campaign across its franchise states.
In 2020, it procured and distributed 79,000 pre-metres to customers who had indicated interest to transition from analogue to pre-paid metering structure; and in 2021, PHED procured more than 400,000 new pre-paid metres for distribution to customers, to reduce the demand-supply gap.
Out of that number, PHED had installed more than 149,000 pre-paid metres in homes and offices of desiring customers as at June, 2022, and targets to close the gap more with installation of pre-paid metres for over 10percent of the remaining enumerated unmetred customers by December.
On standardisation of processes and optimisation of performance, Uwheru said that a new technology App that meets global best practices has been developed and would soon be deployed to ensure simplified and seamless bills processing and payment system and guarantee fairness to all in the value chain.
The managing director also listed massive vandalisation of facilities in communities and huge energy theft as well as metre bypass by the rich and poor across all PHED franchise states as some of the major challenges confronting the energy company, and appealed to the media and other key stakeholders, including state and local governments, community leaders and security agencies to partner PHED to achieve set goals.
Between 2019 and June, 2022, the management embarked on proactive redistribution of more than 10 feeders; repaired over 300 transformers; procured and installed over 30 new transformers; and installed more than 10 automatic circuit reclosers to boost and balance electricity supply to customers, who are connected to electricity through more than 10,000 transformers in the network.
In all, PHED imported many 2MVA to 1000MVA transformers to boost distribution capacity; installed, replaced and/or repaired 59 distribution substations; replaced poles; cables of various sizes and types; installed conductors and risers; installed a 60MVA substation at Rumuosi in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area; and concluded talks for bilateral agreement with the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) and First Independent Power Company Limited (FIPC) to evacuate 100MW and 20MW electricity, respectively, within the franchise area.
It also intervened by supporting the rehabilitation of facilities of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), to ensure uninterrupted power supply to its valued customers.
On people’s management, Uwheru noted that on assumption of duty in July, he initiated working visits to all security formations in the franchise states, adding that the result of that synergy was the setting up of a special unit by the Rivers State Police Command to respond to PHED concerns, saying that other formations were also partnering with the DisCo to enable it perform its duties without let or hindrance.
Uwheru also restated his readiness to respect the rights of workers and work with the labour unions to ensure that issues around the welfare of staff were prioritised, as according to him, an energised and motivated workforce was an enabler for scaling up profitability and growth in the business.
The Tide checks reveal that before he took over in July, PHED management had procured and put to use over 100 vehicles; procured over 1,000 PPEs for technicians and engineers; and 345 ladders to enable technical crews respond to customer needs as quickly as possible.
It also promoted 722 staff in 2021; 62 in August, 2021, and 66 in January, 2022; and launched engineering training scheme where 25 young engineers have already undergone training this year, all geared toward motivating workers.
Uwheru said that the improved revenue collection in August shows enhanced customer confidence in PHED, adding that more pro-people initiatives were being implemented to boost company-customer relations, reduce hostility against PHED staff, as well as curtail other sticky issues of energy theft, metre bypass, and vandalisation of critical electricity assets.
Before July, PHED had intensified public enlightenment campaigns across all the franchise states to create awareness on the dangers of vandalisation of electricity assets, consequences of energy theft, and the blow-back of refusal to pay for electricity consumed by customers.
In addition to media campaigns and public education initiatives, special community liaison officers/teams had been engaging beneficiary communities to further deepen interactions with the aim of fostering understanding and cooperation while creating buy-in of stakeholders to protect PHED facilities and also ensure improved revenue inflow.
To consolidate on the gains already made, PHED also began implementing impactful corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes that contribute to national development in many ways through interventions to enhance quality education, healthcare delivery and social development in communities, particularly among the vulnerable ones.
The initiatives include the donation of over 1,400 bags of rice to vulnerable people during the COVID-19 pandemic era in 2020; organisation of women’s week and visit to Motherless Babies’ Home, and Home for the Elderly in Port Harcourt in 2020; as well as supply of complete set of school bags to one of the state government-owned primary schools in Port Harcourt.
The PHED further sponsored Innovate Arts Academy for schools worth over N2.8million in Bayelsa State in 2021; school children’s competition in 2021; and donation of over 1,000 writing materials during the 2022 Children’s Day to schools in Rivers and Cross River states.
Uwheru said that his team would continue with the good policies already helping to scale up the company’s performance while introducing new strategies to bridge existing gaps, including keying into the walk-for-security road show and featuring on live interactive media programmes in Port Harcourt, among others.

By: Nelson Chukwudi

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CJN Advocates Training Of Judicial Officers On Road Safety Cases

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Worried by the rising rate of road traffic deaths and injuries in the country, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, has advocated for the training of judicial officers on how to handle road safety cases.
Justice Ariwoola disclosed that the proposed training would be organized in collaboration with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and the Nigeria Judicial Institute (NJI) for judicial officers at all levels.
The CJN made the disclosure in Abuja at the 11th edition of the Kwapda’as Samson Rangna’an Dongban (KRSD) Foundation, annual conference.
KRSD is a non-profit organisation founded by the President of the Court of Appeal (PCA), Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, committed to creating healthy, safety and secure road conditions and practices for road users.
It was founded in memory of her son, Samson, who lost his life in a road crash 11 years ago.
Justice Ariwoola explained that the training would not only aimed at reducing road traffic fatalities in the country, but will help report more cases on the support of victims of road traffic crashes.
He said, “My concern primarily will be the training of judicial officers on the issues pertaining to road safety cases, particularly from the lowest level of the judiciary, magistrates, and the high court.
“The training will help judicial officers bear in mind the effect of road safety cases on victims and of course, families, and dependants.
“With the Road Safety Corps, KRSD foundation, and in synergy with the National Judicial Institute, the training will be organized and judicial officers at various levels will be properly trained.”
Meanwhile, the CJN has pleaded with the general public to always assist victims of road traffic crashes by being their brother’s keepers.
“I will plead with the general public to be up and doing in providing assistance to victims of road traffic crashes. Many at times, if immediate attention is provided, the victims might not die. I plead with us all to be our brother’s keepers,” he said.
Statistics from the Federal Road Safety Corps and the National Bureau of Statistics show that between 2013 and 2020, no fewer than 41,709 persons have lost their lives to road crashes.
In her speech at the event, the Founder of the foundation, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, called for the establishment of a non-medical trauma management centre for victims and relatives of the victims.
The President of the Court of Appeal disclosed that an estimated number of 6,000 people die in the country from road traffic crashes and many sustain serious injuries.
While advocating for an urgent victims’ support programme, Justice Dongban-Mensem stated: “We aspire to set up a victim’s Trauma Centre to counsel the victims to restore their emotional equilibrium in addition to medical care.
“We advocate that the victims of road crashes who are in non-governmental organisations should be engaged in the management of support measures in road crashes issues,” she said.
The jurist further expressed the need for more emphasis on capacity building and public enlightenment, noting, “One of the major contributing factors to the high rate of crashes on our roads is the attitude of drivers to road safety generally and which again touches very significantly on the issue of driver-attitude, poor education and a dearth of information.”
She equally emphasised the need for an urgent review of the National Road Safety Policy and safety development plan to reduce traffic fatalities in the country.
While disclosing that the foundation was set to prevent at least 50percent of road traffic deaths and injuries, she noted that road safety is a demanding business not only for the government agencies but requires extensive private corporate participation.
“Sustained investment/ support from authorities, private organizations, and international financing for the activities of indigenous non-governmental organisations should be purposefully pursued.
“More direct investments for road safety development in low and middle-income countries should be the top priority in the Global Plan Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030,” she pleaded.
At the sober event occasioned by the demise of her late son, Prince PaekeShepnaan, were the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice OlukayodeAriwoola, President Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, former Aviation Minister and Corp Marshal, Chief OsitaChidoka, representative of the Acting Corp Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Mr.DaudaBiu, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and other road safety stakeholders.

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‘4,130 Cancer Cases Diagnosed In Rivers’

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A renowned Haematologist with the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH), Dr. Wobo Emmanuel, said over 4,130 cancer cases have been diagnosed in Rivers State.
Wobo said out of the figure diagnosed, over 313 cases are blood diseases in patients.
He said the total figure of the cancer cases represents about 7.7percent of blood cancer disease in the state.
Wobo stated this while presenting a paper on Epidemiology and Pathogenesis of Acute Leukaemia during University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) monthly Grand Rounds.
The hospital Grand Round is aimed at highlighting the challenges, breakthroughs and ways forward in tackling the challenges in the UPTH.
Wobo, who doubles as a Senior Resident Doctor in the Department of Haematology and Blood Transfusion, UPTH and Lecturer 2, College of Health Science, UNIPORT, said the result was obtained through a 10-year studies carried out by experts both in Rivers State University of Teaching Hospital (RSUTH) and data collected.
“We run a cancer registry in the hospital and every cancer diagnosis made is registered in a period of 10 years”.
He noted that 80percent of adults are prone to Acute Leukaemia, while 10-15percent are in children in the country.
He called on Nigerians to go for medical checks on their health statues as he called on government to assist the hospital with appropriate investigation materials, equipment to enhance the treatment of cancer diseases in the hospital.
“We need molecular testing materials to enhance cancer disease treatments in UPTH.
“Cancer diseases, the expert said, could be acquired through genetics factor or environmental in the life of patients”.
Also speaking, Head of Department (HoD),Haematology, UPTH, Dr UchechukwuOkite, said cancer cases could come in a life of patients in different forms such as eyes problems, arthritis and swollen goitres (neck).
Okite said the aim of the department’s Grand Rounds was to present the challenges in managing Acute Leukaemia to the hospital community.
The HoD listed gas flaring, radiation, genetic, smoking as possible risk factors to acquiring cancer diseases.
Earlier, Chief Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC), UPTH, Prof Lucky Onotai, said the management of the hospital had earmarked 40percent of its budgets to acquire equipment for Haematology Department to enable them treat cancer cases.
UPTH, Onotai said, had also provided a standard building for the treatment of cancer.
The hospital, he further said, was determined to train and re-train its doctors, nurses and non-medical staff in the department to enhance adequate medicare delivery in the hospital.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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Ayu’s Corrupt, Manipulated PDP Presidential Primary, Wike Alleges

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has accused the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Iyorchia Ayu, of obtaining the sum of N1billion in the guise of funding the party, but never remitted the money to the party’s account.
He emphasised that the PDP boxed itself into its current quagmire, saying that to disentangle itself, the remedies would include making sacrifices that engender inclusivity.
Wike spoke in Port Harcourt during a live media chat, last Friday.
“Will he (Ayu) deny the fact that he collected N1billion from Lagos? Let him deny, I will tell him who gave him the money. The money was given to him in Lagos. He met one of the presidential aspirants and told him that he is not sure these governors may want to sponsor the party. Let Ayu say no. I will even call some of the business men and how the money was arranged in Lagos. That money did not enter into the account of PDP.”
The governor, who accused Ayu of corruption, said he exerted pressure on some of the PDP presidential aspirants like Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed, and former Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, to step down for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar on the day of the convention.
“There’s nothing Ayu did not do for me not to emerge as the PDP candidate. Ayu did everything to manipulate the system to ensure that all the numbers did not add up.”
He said the call for the resignation of Ayu within the party was bordered on justice, fairness and equity.
According to him, “Development alone is not the only problem Nigeria has. Insecurity alone is not the only problem Nigeria has. Part of our problem is non-inclusivity of people, certain section believing they are being marginalised. Whether you like it or not, you must show that you have the capacity to bring everybody together.”
Wike disclosed that the PDP’s presidential candidate, AlhajiAbubakarAtiku, had during the meeting they held in London, promised to work out, within a week, modalities for the resignation of Ayu as national chairman, but never did.
He explained that after the one week that was promised elapsed, instead of returning back to them to state the challenges encountered, the presidential candidate decided to use the PDP Constitution as defence.
“You are talking about Constitution now, but you forget that the Constitution says there should be zoning of elective and party offices. You did not remember that Constitution says so. Now, is there nothing called expediency? Is there nothing called doctrine of necessity? Now, look at where we have found ourselves!”
He further added: “ab initio, the presidency ought to have been zoned to the South, you knew it. What you’ve done is to show how clever or smart you are. Now, there is crisis, you’re now falling back to that Constitution to say that there will be constitutional crisis. You cannot eat your cake and have it. You can’t.”
The governor noted that National Executive Committee (NEC) of PDP could take the decision now to accommodate the resignation of Ayu as the national chairman, and seek ratification at a convention later after the elections.
According to Wike, such decision would be for expediency purposes in order to allow for a southerner to become national chairman of the PDP.
“All we want is, now that you have given presidency to the North, let us (South) take our own chairman, because when they’re meeting for decision making, the presidential candidate seats there, national chairman seats there, the DG of campaign seats there; they take decision and come out and tell you to execute.
“Now, I hear the Board of Trustees (BOT) chairman is gone. Why did they put pressure on the BOT chairman to resign, and then, now you cannot put pressure on national chairman to resign? When I was trying to run as governor, I had a lot of crisis. But I had to let go certain things for us to be able to win election. The problem is that we have not won election, we are arrogant.”
Wike said those who were advising the PDP presidential candidate to ignore Rivers State votes don’t wish him well in the forthcoming general election.
“Anybody advising Atiku: that is a wicked man. I know those who are doing it. They don’t have electoral value in their own units. Some of them are from Edo. Look at their calculation. Buhari didn’t win in Rivers State, but Buhari won Lagos and Kano. Does Atiku have Lagos now?Does he have Kano? The only one he has, always had is Rivers, and you say ‘you don’t want them’.”
The governor specifically accused AlhajiAdamuMainaWaziri, who hails from Yobe State and lacks political relevance, as being one of those misleading the PDP presidential candidate.
“Has PDP won Yobe State? Now, what is his electoral value that he (Waziri) will bring to the table? Tell me; since 1999, we started this democracy, PDP has never won Yobe State, and then, you are going about, we will deal with him. We will sanction him.”
The governor said it has become imperative for the PDP to prove to Nigerians that it can be trusted with their votes, which would return it to power in 2023.
He cautioned the PDP against taking Nigerians for granted, saying they were already disenchanted with the failure of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government.
Wike pointed out that the promise of hope by PDP to Nigerians must be seen from how it was able to resolve the current leadership imbalance and marginalisation among its members.
“You see, people take Nigerians for granted and that’s what PDP is trying to do. Because Nigerians are not happy with APC, therefore, we don’t want to do the right thing? You don’t do that!
“Rather, since we believe that APC government has not done well, then, we, as a people, who want to take over, should show more seriousness to Nigerians.
“It is we as a party that must show to Nigerians that we have integrity, that we are trustworthy to do what we have promised Nigerians that when we come, all these issues of marginalisation will be a thing of the past,”Wike said.

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