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Wike Confers State Honours On 162 Distinguished Nigerians ….Says I’ve No Apologies For Commending Buhari Over 13% Derivation Arrears …Tells Opposition Parties Not To Waste Money Campaigning In Rivers

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has honoured 162 distinguished Nigerians for their inspirational achievements, impactful life and contributions to the progress of the state in particular and the nation in general.
Among those honoured are eight state governors, nine former governors of other states, lawyers and others who have demonstrated high level of loyalty to the nation, excellence in public service, commitment to equity, equality and justice in the country and love for the Government and the people of Rivers State.
Wike presented the awards to the awardees during the State Honours and Awards ceremony 2022 which held at the Banquet Hall, Government House, Port Harcourt, last Saturday night.
The awards were in four categories, namely: the Grand Service star of Rivers State (GSSRS), the Distinguished Service State of Rivers State (DSSRS), the Governor’s Medal of Service (GMS), and the Rivers State Merit Award (RSMA).
Those conferred with Rivers’ most prestigious award, the Grand Service Star of Rivers State (GSSRS) are governors Samuel Ortom (Benue), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri (Adamawa), and David Umahi (Ebonyi).
Others include former governors, Olabode George, Jonah Jang, Donald Duke, Ayodele Fayose, Ibrahim Idris, Olusegun Mimiko, Theodore Orji, Dr Ibrahim Dankwanbo, and Adams Oshiomhole.
Around 110 distinguished personalities were also conferred with the Distinguished Service State of Rivers State (DSSRS).
They include wives of the governors of Rivers and Oyo, Hon. Justice Eberechi Suzzette Nyesom-Wike, and Mrs. Tamunominini Makinde; wife of former governor of Cross River State, Mrs. Onari Donald-Duke, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN.
Rivers State Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Simeon Amadi; Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof Zacchaeus Adangor, SAN; Senator Olaka Nwogu; Sir Siminialayi Fubara; Prof. Ngozi Ordu; Chief Dan Orbih; King Dandeson Douglas Jaja; Prof. Jerry Gana; Emmauel Ukala, SAN; Chief Nnaemeka Ngige, SAN; Prof. Isa Hayatu Chiroma, SAN; and Dr Emi Membere-Otaji, among others.
Similarly, 33 personalities were presented with the Governor’s Medal of Service (GMS), and two others, Mr. Oruwuru Pere Shedrack, and Mrs. Patience Nwogu, with the Rivers State Merit Award (RSMA).
Others include Coach of Rivers United, Stanley Eguma; and other coaches including Fatai Oscho; Ndubisi Nduk; Joseph Buma; Okey Inwenya; and players and officials of 2021/2022 Nigeria Professional Football League Champions Rivers United Football Club of Port Harcourt.
Patience is a junior school teacher who was honoured for “her enviable sense of sacrifice, discipline, and honest devotion to work”.
In his remarks, Wike, who explained that the state honours and awards were solely the initiative of former governor, Dr. Peter Odili, remarked that everyone bestowed with an award, last Saturday night, had distinguished themselves by their good character, personal achievements and positive contributions to society.
The governor stated that the eight governors and former governors honoured by the state were selected from different political parties because of their love for the growth and development of Rivers State.
He said: “I want to say to all of you that, Ortom, Seyi, Ugwuanyi, Ikpeazu, Fintiri (you are not with us, you are with your uncle), in terms of principle, these young men are the people you can trust any day any time.
“Bala Mohammed is a G-1, on his own, one man riot squad. But you can trust him. Fintiri, is my friend, he is our friend. It doesn’t matter the differences. He wants his brother to be president. But we still keep our relationship, and that is the way it is supposed to be.
“I fought Umahi to the last. He never slept. But I don’t know how God is trying to help him. Most of you remember I was the one who fought Oshiomhole. Sorry that I fought you. Until you got information you have never had before, Oshio Baba sorry. But I did it for the interest of my party.”
The governor said the Honours Advisory Committee had nominated an array of Senior Advocates of Nigeria who have been at the forefront of Rivers State numerous legal battles with the Federal Government and other states.
He said their professional services, sacrifice and contributions were central to the state government successes in the various courts and the consequential economic benefits Rivers people now enjoy.
The governor said he would refrain from naming the lawyers and commending them publicly because similar gesture extended to President Muhammadu Buhari had elicited unwarranted acrimony in the Niger Delta.
He said: “Human beings instead of them to say I appreciate you, they become envious. Because I say Buhari thank you, I am having problems today. That is the country we are in. I am not a fan of Buhari.
“When a man has done well say he has done well in this area. If he has not done well you say so. I have no apologies to anybody. If Buhari did not release the money from 1999 which my party did not even release, I wouldn’t have been doing what I am doing. I say it and I don’t give a damn to anybody. I don’t care.
“I got the money; I am not a fan of Buhari. He has not done well in many areas, but this one he has done well. My party members may not be happy. But they should not be angry, because this one, he did well.
“He gave me money and I used the money to do something for people in Rivers State. This money was there. Nobody paid us. I hear somebody saying that his three kilometre road would do my 15 flyovers. No problem. Do the three kilometres first. Tell Nigerians you are doing three kilometres.”
The governor said he has advised governors of Ebonyi and Kogi states not to waste their money in supporting any governorship candidate in the state, because the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), will win all elective positions in the 2023 general election.
“In my state, we know who is going to be our successor. I want to advise you, if you’re spending money on anybody stop. Here we have a successor. It is not by my power, but it is by what we have done in this state. It’s not that I want to impose a successor. It is not true.”
Wike advised opposition political parties, especially the All Progressives Congress (APC), to avoid wasting money for electioneering in the state, saying that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was the only party to beat in next year’s general election.
He said, “As a lawyer, you must make money, but here, don’t worry yourself; nobody would win here,” urging opposition parties not to waste their resources campaigning in the state as they had nothing to show the electorate.
The governor specifically passed the message to APC chieftains present at the event, which include the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN; Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, and his Kogi State counterpart, Yahaya Bello, who were part of the awardees.
“I told David Umahi, Governor of Kogi, and Abubakar Malami, when they came to visit me: Don’t put money here, it won’t work; it is a ‘no-go area’,” Wike boasted.
According to the Rivers State governor, his government already has a successor, and his choice was based on the good works of his administration.
“In my state, we know who is going to be my successor. I want to advise you, if you are spending money on anybody, stop!
“Here, we have a successor. It is not by my power but by what we have done in this state. It is not that I want to impose a successor. It is not true. Bring a successor and tell people why you want to bring a successor,” Wike said.
Explaining the rationale for honouring some of the awardees, Wike said, Ibrahim Idris was honoured for his genuine commitment to the development of Kogi State and the entire country.
“For two consecutive times, we have invited the two-term Kogi Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris to commission two development projects in Rivers State, one was in March, and the other was in August, 2022.
“We hold him in high esteem, and consider him as a worthy ambassador of Rivers State.
“As a stakeholder for Rivers State project, we will not hesitate both now and in the nearest future, to continue to eat into his good time for the continuous development of the state.”
The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, said governor Wike has demonstrated that he is a true patriot and nationalist by honouring Nigerians from the six geopolitical zones, irrespective of their religious and political persuasion.
“Today, in Nigeria as we match towards 2023, we are not looking at political parties, we are not looking at ethnicity, but we are looking at how we can salvage our country, Nigeria, and make it greater than where we are today. I thank you (Wike) for charting this course, and I believe that moving forward from here, that all of us who are here tonight will be a catalyst to how we can make Nigeria greater, economically, politically, socially, security wise, we will make it greater.”
Similarly, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, who spoke on behalf of the awardees, said Wike has taken governance to the next level.
“You have indeed demonstrated what it takes to be accommodative, what it takes to be a bridge builder, a builder of bridges across the Niger. You have established a bridge, we are happy crossing over to come around for the purpose of identifying with you in the expression of excellence attributed to the service of the nation, Rivers State.”
Responding to the Rivers State honour, Idris described the event as epoch-making, considering the all-round development Governor Nyesom Wike has put in place in the state.
He expressed delight for being part of the success story of the state, advising other governors to strive to leave a good mark on the sands of time.
Chairman of the Rivers State Honours Advisory Committee, Chief Ferdinand Alabraba, said the law empowers the governor to confer honour on those who have contributed to the growth and development of the state.
This is the second edition of the conferment of state honours.
The first, still by Governor Nyesom Wike, was held in 2017 to climax the celebration of the state’s Golden Jubilee.
At that time, 127 distinguished persons who served the state meritoriously in different fields of human endeavour were honoured.
Some of the awardees were honoured post-humously for their outstanding contributions to the growth of Rivers State at different times.

 

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Rivers’ll Be Known For Peace, Not Crisis -Fubara

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has said that peace has prevailed because he draws strength from God to resist insults and tantrums thrown at him while frustrating attempts by some disgruntled persons who wanted to plunge the State into unending crisis.
The Governor also said that because he has anchored his Government on promoting peace, the enabling atmosphere has been provided for investments and sustainable development to flourish.
Governor Fubara made the assertion when he received a delegation of members of the Bishops and Gospel Ministers’ Association International Incorporated, Rivers State Chapter, at Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Represented by the Head of Rivers State Civil Service, Dr George Nwaeke, Governor Fubara said while most people took his meekness for weakness, his stance on peace has unarguably enhanced harmonious atmosphere of concord as residents sleep with their two eyes closed, and investors and shareholders are happy with the returns on investment.
He said, “Before, what they hear of Rivers State is that they are fighting, and some genuine investors will not come. Some people even ask you: How are you coping in Rivers State?
“But now”, he asserted: “The Governor has brought about a lot of changes in the State. One of the most important things is that he has changed the negative narrative. It is no longer Rivers of blood. It is now Rivers of peace.
“We are enjoying our lives here. Why? Because there is a change in the narrative. We have peace. The Governor is, as much as possible, absorbing any level of insult at him only for one purpose: that Rivers State may have peace; that we may grow; that this state will experience genuine development.”
Governor Fubara urged them, as members of the Christian family in the State, to continue to pray for the State and the Government so that the enemies of the State will be put to greater shame.
“This peace is what I want you to embrace. Go and continue to pray, because when the sower of the seed went and sowed, the enemy went in the night and sowed tares inside there. But the Governor is sowing peace.
“When I listened to the leader of the team, His Grace Eddy Ogbonda, he said you came all the way from Eleme Junction, and stopped at major junctions, and you uttered prayers for the peace of Rivers State.”
He also said: “I, hereby want to thank you for identifying with the Governor at a time like this. At a time when it looks as if someone wants the Governor’s peace posture misunderstood as weakness.
“When someone has the strength to fight back, but refuses to fight back. That is a bigger strength; that power of restrain does not just come, it can only come from God.
“You cannot give peace, if you do not have peace within you. The Governor is not interested in any form of trouble or violence. What he is interested in is known, and it is: let there be peace in Rivers State,” he said.
In his address, leader of the group, Archbishop Eddy Ogbonda, said they had observed a week-long intensive prayers that culminated into a peace rally, which brought them to Government House, and assured the Governor that God will continue to give him victory over his adversaries while preserving Rivers State.
“It is Rivers State Prophetic Prayer Convocation and Rally 2024 with the theme: ‘Peace be still’. Of a truth, everyone of us understands that we live in a time when we need peace much more than any other thing.
“Rivers State needs peace. Everyone as individuals need peace. The country needs peace, and the world at large needs peace. So, we are here to do a peace march. We pray that God will command His peace to reign in Rivers State,” he said.

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Hoteliers, School Owners Charging In Dollars Risk Arrest -EFCC

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has stated that hotels, schools, and other establishments that accept payments in dollars from their customers are at risk of facing arrest.
The Chairman of EFCC, Ola Olukoyede, said this in the agency’s publication called EFCC Alert on Monday, adding that action would be taken against individuals involved in the dollarisation of the economy.
According to him, the exception is if foreigners come in to transact business and the only means of transacting is their credit card and dollar but to charge local customers in dollars or other foreign currencies would no longer be allowed.
He said charging local activities and customers in dollars is against Nigeria’s constitution.
The EFCC chairman said, “Schools that charge Nigerians in dollar, supermarkets that trade in dollar, estate developers that sell their property in dollar, hotels that are invoicing in dollar, we are coming after you and we have made arrests in that area.
“Yes, if foreigners are coming in and the only means of transacting is their credit card, and dollar, why not? You will get that.
“But document it properly as against selling things within the system, local economy and you will be using dollar as the medium of exchange, it is illegal.
“Our law does not allow for that. And we have also affected some arrests.”

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Eid-El-Fitr: Fubara Felicitates Muslims, Calls For Unity, Tolerance

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has enjoined Muslim faithful to remain steadfast to the lessons learnt during the holy month of Ramadan.
Governor Fubara stated this in his message of felicitations to Muslims as they celebrate the 2024 Eid-el-Fitr Sallah, which marks the end of the one-month Ramadan fasting.
The Governor emphasised the importance for Muslims to also uphold the tenets of Islam by exhibiting the fear of God and showing piety in their daily work.
Governor Fubara said, “We must all continue in the good attributes imbibed during the holy month of Ramadan as directed by God through His Prophet, so as to ensure peace, unity and harmony in the society for a better future.”
While praying that the essence of the festival offers them happiness, peace and prosperity in all aspects of life, Governor Fubara said he recognises and appreciates the critical role that the Muslim community continues to play in the development of Rivers State, and indeed, Nigeria at large.
Governor Fubara charged them to remain unwavering and steadfast in their commitment and positive contributions to advance the development of the State and the country.
“I enjoin you all in the State to remain calm, be patient and continue to do what is right,” the Governor added.
He wished the Muslim faithful in the State and across the country a happy Eid-el-Fitr celebration.

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