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2023: Vote Where Okezie Votes, Wike Tells Abia People

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has told members of Abia State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and all Abians to trust their Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, to lead them through the 2023 election to clinch victory for the party.
Wike gave the charge when he spoke, yesterday at the Umuahia Township Stadium, venue of the Abia State PDP campaign flag-off.
The Rivers State governor explained that the reason to trust Ikpeazuwas because he was a man of integrity, dependable and wants the best for Abia people.
“Do you like Ikpaezu? Will you follow him? Are you sure? Then, listen to him! Ikpeazu has integrity; Ikpeazu is a man you can depend on; with Ikpeazu, you can go home and sleep with your two eyes close.
“That is why all of us who are members of integrity group, we have come to tell all of you; the gubernatorial candidate, the House of Assembly candidates, the senatorial candidates, the House of Representatives candidates, the G-5 will support all of you.”
Wike said the members of the Integrity Group attended the campaign flag-off to provide solidarity and support to Ikpeazu and all the PDP candidates in Abia State.
“We came here today to tell you that there is nothing like going back.
“So, what I want to tell all of you, we stand for equity, we stand for fairness, we stand for justice. So, Okezie will tell you people at the appropriate time what to do, listen to him.”
The Rivers State governor took a swipe at a particular member of the PDP in Abia State that said ‘if he was compensated for losing in the primary that he would not leave the party’.
Wike pointed out that after the compensation was delivered and accepted, the aggrieved member still defected to another party.
“I am aware that because some people didn’t get ticket in one of the senatorial districts, they went and collected form. Let me tell you, today, we commissioned a road in Obingwa Local Government, and I’m sure that person is from Obingwa Local Government.
“I don’t want to tell you what I did, he promised me that he will not leave PDP. I came, call your governor, your brother said he is not going to leave PDP. And I said: what do we do?He said he needs some money. We gave him the money, three days after, he left PDP.”
On his part, Benue State Governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom, stressed they stood by the truth as members of Integrity Group in furtherance of equity, fairness and justice.
According to him, they also do not shy away from apologising when they make mistakes.
“We the G-5 are committed to equity, fairness and justice. We stand by the truth. Where we make mistakes as human beings, we apologise and move forward.
“I want to assure you that we are committed and our coming to Abia State today is to complement what our colleague is doing here and to support him and to say that we are together.”
Ortom pointed to the determination of the Integrity Group in doing all within its powers to deliver their candidates and move Nigeria out of the woods of insecurity, bad economy and battered social life of the citizenry.
“We shall win in 2023 to rescue Nigeria and take it from bottom to top. I want to assure you that we are strong in our states and we are committed to winning election like just what we have demonstrated here.
“Continue to keep faith with us and by the grace of God, we shall take Nigeria from where we are today as people are suffering from insecurity, economic problems and social life.
“I want to assure you that we are ready to support and to ensure that we take Nigeria out of the woods.”
Also speaking, the Enugu StateGovernor, Hon ÍfeanyiUgwuanyi, described his Abia State counterpart as a performing governor, and prayed that PDP candidates in the state win their elections.
“I’m here to support my brother, a performing Governor of Abia State, Dr. Victor OkezieIkpeazu. I’m also here to support Prof. UcheIkonne. Our prayer is that PDP shall win all the elections in Abia State.”
In his address, Oyo State Governor, Engr. SeyiMakinde, opined that the 2023 election would be like no other.
He prayed God to grant electoral victory to all the candidates that have been given party flags.
“I want to congratulate our candidates who have received their flags today. And from the bottom of my heart, I know you will all be successful.
“But let me say this to you, 2023 election is going to be like no other election in the history of Nigeria. So, please stay focus, hold your state and it will be well with you.”
Abia State Governor, Dr.OkezieIkpeazu, boasted that PDP would win the 2023 election for all its candidates clearly and squarely.
He said that this was because it was the only functional party that was ready for the election since other parties had zero electoral value.
“I have seen a few individuals that are contesting various offices in some small mushroom parties. Some of them, we have not heard about them before until lately.
“Incidentally the candidates of these small parties were shopped from the dustbin of the PDP. We have a few dustbins where we throw away relegate and recalcitrant people.
“They went there and picked a few without consequence at all and of zero electoral value. That is why; today, we are sure and confident that all our candidates in PDP will win their elections clearly and squarely.”

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EFCC Secures 3,328 Convictions In 11 Months …Train Rivers Journalists On Crime Reporting

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Determined to win the war against corruption and other financial crimes, the Economic Financial and Crimes Commission (EFCC), has said it recorded a total of 3,328 convictions between January 18 to November, this year.
The commission also hinted that the giant strides were recorded in the areas of assets recovery owing to the recent forfeiture to the Nigerian Government of the sum of N755million recovered from a former accountant-general of the federation, and three luxury properties worth millions of naira recovered from Col Bello Fadila, a former aide to erstwhile National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki.
The Executive Chairman of EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa, made this assertion while delivering his goodwill message during a one-day workshop on financial crimes reporting organised by the commission for selected journalists in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Bawa, who was represented on the occasion by the Assistant Commander, EFCC (ACE), Nwanneka Nwokuke, who also doubles as the zonal commander, EFCC, Port Harcourt, further said the commission secured interim forfeiture of 40 assets in Nigeria, United States of America, London and Dubai, belonging to former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu.
“Two weeks earlier ,another court issued a final forfeiture order of two properties situated in Abuja belonging to Diezani Allison-Madueke, former minister for petroleum resources.”
The EFCC boss said the anti-corruption campaign requires concerted efforts from all and enjoined members of the public, including the media to be part of the effort by reporting cases of corruption to the EFCC.
He averred that the workshop was designed to enhance the capacity of members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm to discharge their constitutional duties, adding that the media plays a critical role in the fight against economic and financial crimes.
According to him, this recognition has been the fulcrum of the commission’s partnership and collaboration with the media over the years.
“Accordingly, the EFCC owes the media a debt of gratitude for its support over the years”, he said.
He assured that the commission would work in synergy with INEC and other stakeholders to preserve the integrity of the electoral process, adding that the EFCC would ensure that the Electoral Act was fully enforced, and those who seek to influence voters through financial inducement were brought to justice.
Challenges of prosecuting economic and financial crimes in Nigeria; best practices in financial reporting:a view from the inside; and peculiarities, trends apologies, and challenges of cyber crimes enforcement in Nigeria; were lectures delivered at the interactive workshop.

By: Amadi Akujobi

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Rivers Judiciary Nets N1.2bn In 12 Months, Disposes 19,864 Cases

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The Rivers State Judiciary has said that it generated a total of N1,280,954,045 within one year.
The Chief Judge of the state, Justice Simeon Chibuzor Amadi, disclosed this while speaking during a special court session held to mark the beginning of the 2022/2023 legal year at the auditorium of the High Court Complex in Port Harcourt, last Wednesday.
Amadi while giving the breakdown of the summary of the revenue generated within the year under review,said the money comprises revenue generated by the high courts and Customary Court of Appeal in the state.
He averred that a total of N921.324.658.38 was revenue generated from filings and fines from high courts,while N107.670.788.4 was from the Customary Court of Appeal,adding that it represented a positive revenue increase of over N545million from the last legal year.
The revenue for last legal year stood at N376.159.368.38 for high courts and N42,470,038 for Customary Court of Appeal, respectively.
According to him,the increase was due to some stringent measures put in place by the management of the state Judiciary to stop diversion of revenue, affidavit rackeeting as well as apprehension and prosecution of offenders.
On the performance of judges, magistrates and chairmen and members of the Customary Court of Appeal and customary courts, Amadi disclosed that a total of 19,864 cases brought from 1/10/21 to 30/9/2022 were disposed of within the year under review while 36,839 were pending,25,077were cases filed while 31,169 were cases brought forward.
“These are cases from high courts, juvenile court, revenue court, sanitation, magistrate, customary courts, and Customary Court of Appeal.”
The chief judge opined that special court session afford the Judiciary and legal community to take self-examination and stock taking of its past activities with the view to plan for the future in the administration of justice for the state and nation at large.
Also speaking, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof Zacheaus Adangor assured that the Ministry of Justice as an institutional sector in the Judiciary would continue to support in the dispensation of delivery of justice in the state, adding that since the introduction and enactment of the Criminal Justice Administration Law No 7,2015, with regards to plea bargain, the ministry, he said, has successfully prosecuted 19 cases.
“Also, since the introduction of sexual offenders’ book, names of 19 sexual offenders have been written and published in the register domiciled at the ministry for anyone to see. Out of the 639 criminal cases received,519 legal advice have been written; out of it, information have been filed on 116 cases”, he stated.
Members of Inner Bar and NBA delivered various goodwill addresses during the special court session.

By: Akujuobi Amadi

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2023: Wike Presents N550.6bn Budget To Assembly … Capital Expenditure To Gulp N350, 977,495,537.00 … To Spend N73.460bn On MDAs’ Salaries N7.758bn On New Recruits … N33.6bn On Monthly Pensions N12bn On Gratuities, Death Benefits

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has presented the 2023 Appropriation Bill to the State House of Assembly for consideration.
The governor, who christened the 2023 appropriation bill, ‘Budget of Consolidation and Continuity’, said it comprises capital and recurrent expenditure of N550, 666,987,238.00 for the fiscal year 2023.
Presenting the budget before the state lawmakers, yesterday in Port Harcourt, Wike explained that his administration has projected the sum of  350,977,495,537.00 as Capital Expenditure for the fiscal year 2023.
“This amount represents about 63.2percent of the total budget and conforms to our practice of prioritising capital expenditures over recurrent.”
Under capital expenditure, Wike said the state would spend N114,264,480,208 on infrastructure, N36,999,486,717 specifically on education and N31,500,002,023 on health.
“Accordingly, the sum of N114,264,480,208 is provided in the 2023 capital budget estimate to fund the completion of all ongoing roads and other physical infrastructural projects awarded by our administration.”
In the 2023 budget proposal, Wike said his administration has also proposed a Recurrent Expenditure of N175,249,692,497à, representing about 31pecent of the total budget for the 2023 fiscal year.
The governor explained that in 2023, the state would expend N73,460,278,307 on salaries (Ministries/Departments/Parastatals), N7,758,772,851 on new recruitment, N33.6billion on monthly pensions as well as N12billion on gratuities/death benefits.
Wike said the fiscal year 2023 budget is targeted at delivering economic growth, additional infrastructure and prosperity for citizens.
He stated that while no new projects may be awarded, except where such is considered very significant, the administration shall galvanise efforts and resources to complete all ongoing projects so that the new government can start on a clean slate, unencumbered.
The governor said in 2021 and 2022, the state government introduced several fiscal measures, including a moratorium on external borrowing to achieve economic growth, fiscal discipline and financial consolidation.
These measures, according to him, have significantly blocked revenue leakages, improved the state capacity for internal revenue generation and prevented unsustainable deficit financing.
“We have, therefore, resolved to continue with the existing fiscal measures for the year 2023. This means that there would be no increase in tax rates. No new taxes will also be introduced.
“However, we will continue to intensify our drive to significantly improve IGR by expanding opportunities for more investments, industrialization and efficient tax collection.”
The governor disclosed that the state remains determined to reduce its dependence on statutory federal allocations to finance its budget and development.
To this end, he urged other sister states to join Rivers in the struggle to secure the right to impose and collect VAT at the sub-national level.
Reviewing the 2022 budget performance, Wike explained that the approved total budget of the state was N420, 485,053,736.00 only.
He disclosed that by the end of October, 2022, total revenue receipts of the state stood at N321, 250,781,228.91, only about 70percent performance, while, the total receipts from internally generated revenue (IGR) was N112.099billion.
This, according to him, represents 25percent performance above the figure of 2021 for the same period but over 50percent less than the projected sum for 2022.
“The shortfall in IGR is attributed to our inability to collect the projected proceeds from value-added tax following the stay of execution ordered by the Court of Appeal, which we have appealed to the Supreme Court.
“Furthermore, augmentation from the Federal Government accounts for the nominal increase recorded in the allocations from the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC). In other words, the 2022 budget performance did not also meet projected receipts from FAAC.
“Nevertheless, the aggregate performance of the budget on the revenue side stood at over 90percent at the end of October 2022.”
Wike revealed that the sum of N5billion has been proposed under Special Projects to introduce and fund a free feeding programme for pupils in state primary schools to increase and sustain enrolments and reduce poverty.
He said the state has further provided N4billion under Special Projects to fund free medical care for nursing mothers and children for the fiscal year 2023.
The Rivers State governor said although this is the last lap of his tenure, the administration was resolved to continue to advance Rivers development and secure its future.
“We are, therefore, poised to use the 2023 budget to deliver more transformative infrastructure and other strategic projects and services and move our dear state closer to the point of self-sustainability.”
The Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, noted that the governor has through prudent allocation of resources put in place a roadmap for the development of the state.
Ibani, who commended the governor for his achievements in the past seven years, noted that his numerous infrastructural projects would positively impact on the development of the state in future.

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