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FG Refuses To Confirm Electricity Tariffs’ Increase

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Minister of State for Power, Mr. Goddy Jedy-Agba has said he was incompetent to speak on the speculated secret increment in electricity tariffs.
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of a public hearing on the bill to amend Electric Power Sector Reform Act, 2005 to Provide the Legal and Institutional Framework for the Implementation and Coordination of Rural Electrification projects, Establishment of the National Power Training Institute and Regulatory provisions to Strengthen the Sector for Efficient Services Delivery and for Related Matters’, held at the instance of House Committee on Power chaired by Hon. Aliyu Magaji, Agba said that all enquires should be channelled to Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
The Secretary General of National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Comrade Joe Ajaero had earlier in the hearing condemned the arbitrary increase by NERC
Agba said: “Where is the Chairman NERC? He’s the one that does anything on tariff. I can’t speak on tariff. He’s the chairman of NERC that can speak on tariff.”
Reminded that he was the supervising Minister of NERC and other regulatory agencies, he added “No, no, no, don’t put me in a corner. There’s a chairman responsible for NERC. You want me to tell you what does not apply and you hold me on to that responsibility?”
Earlier in his presentation, Ajaero criticised the injection of about N3trillion into the electricity companies without adequate supply for over 10 years.
He said: “There has not been meaningful improvement or contribution by the current investors 9 years after privatization and 17 years after the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, 2005 was signed into law.
“Our position on privatization is clear, but we are worried whether the amendments are critically based on market private public where we belong now.
“Having tried privatization for 10 years, and we are doing just the amendment of sections of the act and even the review provision in the act which gives provision for the review of the sector after five years and we have written consistently and it has not happened.
“This Act, are we really obeying it? If there is provision for review after five years, and Nigerians are groaning, consistently Nigerians are complaining and we say privatization was based on the fact that government doesn’t have any business in it and government is pumping in money to an individual’s business.
“As we speak now, almost N3trillion has been pumped into the power sector which wasn’t there when it was owned by the government. So, what’s the logic to say government has no business in business and government now has to pump and fund the business of another man. And we need to sit down and see what is working for us.
“That is why we came here to say the laws we made by ourselves, we can pause and look at it and move on. Since nobody has talked about reversion of privatization, but let’s see how it can ft us.
“As we are speaking today, the issue of tariffs is on. If government is pumping in trillions and Nigerians are being compelled to pay, you can see what is happening. The country is suffering.
“If you put two trillion (naira) in the economy of Nigeria today, it will thrive, but it is being pumped into business owned by individuals. Let’s look at. What is the cost benefit analysis of this if we have to take our money, and go and check the records, for about 10 years before privatization, government didn’t put ten percent that money into the sector but it’s putting it now.
“For another 10 years, no increase in generation, no conscious master plan, there is no plan in the country that by next year power plant will come into the system. None for the next two years nor three years for power generation to be constant, at 4,000 Megawatt, and demand will continue to increase because more houses will be built, connect on and on.
“So, if this is reduced to public hearing and no action is taken further on how to make the system work, and Nigeria is still at the bottom of countries suffering power poverty all over the world.
“The normal concept is one million people to one thousand megawatt, and we have a country of 200million people with 4 to 5 thousand Megawatt, nobody is talking about it.
“During the Babangida era there was feasibility study on Mambila which had the capability of giving what we are having in this country today and from that period till now nothing has happened. The same thing with Zungeru.
“The union doesn’t want to bask in the euphoria of the Act/law which does not provide one megawatt to the system. The union doesn’t want to bask in the euphoria of having 19 companies, 19 MD’s and ED’s on 4,000Megawatts.
“The company that was owned by one ED before will now multiply. The multiplication of 19 successor companies did not add one megawatt. So, what’s the honest sense of sweeping in 200 companies knowing the generation is constant.
“The option of government controlling 60percent shares of the facilities as against the present 40% (inclusive of the negotiated 10% equity shareholding for staff in line with the laws setting up the National Council on privatization (NCP) is imminent as the Private Sector Operators have clearly shown lack of capacity to construct a simple Power Plant since the last 9 years.
“Besides, the Federal Government has continued to fund the sector. Available statistics shows that about N400billion was realized from the privatization of the Power sector with the Federal Government investing over one trillion thereafter”.
In his remarks, the House Committee chairman, Hon. Aliyu Magaji disagreed with the Nigerian Governor’s Forum (NGF) over power generation and distribution in the country.
“They think and feel that there is a constitutional provision that gives them the right to form a regulatory agency in the country. NGF also wants each state to generate and distribute power across states of the federation.
“As a committee, we have received their documents, we shall look at it thoroughly and critically and decide the next step to take.
“Our intention as a committee is not to go after anybody but to break the monopoly; the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is very clear on power generation and control,” he said.
Similarly, consultant to NGF, Eyo Ekpo, said that states have a right under the law to legislate on electricity issues.
“And the Constitution is quite explicit actually in paragraph 14 of schedule 2 where it is explicitly stated that the states have power to make laws for electricity operations that are conducted within the boundary of their states.
“Of course, like it does not with the federal government which has similar power to make laws for electricity generation and transmission that is across the states, similarly, the Constitution grants to the states the power to make laws for electricity business that is conducted within their states.
“So, to the extent that the chairman has said there is a conflict, I will not say there is a conflict. Rather, there is a clear cut separation. Electricity business that crosses border is quite distinct from electricity business that is conducted entirely within the boundary of a state.
“What we are saying as states is that the moment a state makes its own law for electricity to be conducted within its borders, it has the sole and exclusive responsibility for that aspect alone,” he said.

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Fubara Dispels Rumours of Crisis ….Insists Rivers Is Peaceful, Not Under Siege ….Inspects 14.6km Omodu-Eberi-Omuma Road

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has emphasised that the State and its people are enjoying an enduring atmosphere of peace to promote sustainable development, fast-paced investments and accelerated economic growth.
He said the recent negative narrative that portrays the State as immersed in crisis with disrupted peace is untrue, misguided and was the handiwork of mischief makers.
Governor Fubara made the clarification when he spoke to newsmen in Egbelu Community, shortly after inspecting the progress of work on the 14.6km Omodu-Eberi Road project in Omuma Local Government Area on Thursday.
The Governor said it was important that Nigerians know of the uninterrupted peaceful atmosphere in the State because the people are going about their  normal activities, while governance was thriving.
He stated: “And to also tell Nigerians that Rivers State is peaceful. You can see that we are moving about inspecting projects as against what you see on the screens of your television sets that police are everywhere, that we don’t move about anymore, and that Rivers State is under siege.
“We are not under siege. Our State is free and peaceful. If at all there is any problem in any part of the State, I know quite well that Nigerians know where the problem is coming from, not from us,” he clarified.
Governor Fubara emphasised: “We are peace-loving people. It is already written all over us. Our actions and our deeds have confirmed that we are peace-loving people.
“We will continue to maintain the peace that we promised everyone, for the betterment of the good people of Rivers State,” he added, and encouraged the business community, especially potential investors to take advantage of the vast investment opportunities that abound in the State.
Commenting on the 14.6km Omodu-Eberi Road project, Governor Fubara stated that the project was started by his administration with the target of inaugurating it during his one year in office anniversary.
Governor Fubara explained that what delayed the work was the decision to extend the length of the road to make it serve as a comfortable link for motorists to drive onto Abia State.
The Governor said: “We are in Omuma to inspect the project that we started. The project was supposed to be part of projects commissioned during our one year anniversary celebrations.
“But we found out that some part of the job, if completed, will link Rivers State to Abia State, and we felt there is no need to commission it halfway without joining that part that connects us to Abia State.”
Governor Fubara further said: “So, we directed the Ministry of Works to extend the project from 8 kilometers to 14.6 kilometers. So, we are here to see what is happening, and to prepare ourselves that maybe in the next two months, we might likely be coming here to commission this project for the good people of Omuma.”

 

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Fubara Tasks 23 CTC Chairmen To Maintain Peace   …Says Rivers Won’t Set Precedence On LG Tenure Extension …Directs Audit Of Councils’ Accounts

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has sworn-in caretaker committee chairmen and members for the 23 local government councils with a charge to eschew violence, maintain the peace, and be guided by the Constitution, so as to promote unity, inclusive administration, and achieve progress at the grassroots.
Governor Fubara, also directed the Auditor-General of Local Governments to commence immediate audit of the accounts of the 23 Councils.
He said that the swearing-in of the chairmen will ensure seamless administration of local governments following the expiration of tenure of elected chairmen and councillors in the State.
The Governor performed the swearing-in at the Executive Council Chambers of Government House in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, amid cheers, jubilations and commendations as the right step to douse the tension and bring everybody in the political space together.
The swearing-in followed the screening and confirmation of the nominees for caretaker committee chairmen and members by the State House of Assembly at the plenary presided over by its Speaker, Rt. Hon. Victor Oko-Jumbo, on Wednesday.
The list of seven-member nominees per local government council had been forwarded to the Assembly pursuant to Section 9 (5) of the Rivers State Local Government Law No. 5 of 2018, for screening and confirmation.
The Governor said the exercise demonstrated his administration’s commitment to upholding the tenets of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that does not provide for tenure elongation.
He explained: “What is happening here now is a defence of democracy. We will not allow the wrong precedent to be created in this country.
“It is not about Rivers State. It is not about Fubara. But if in any way this attempt of tenure elongation succeeds in Rivers State, it becomes a norm in Nigeria.
“So, we have taken it upon ourselves to say, not on our own watch will it happen because it is completely alien to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Governor Fubara wondered why tenure of elected officers will expire, and they want to perpetuate themselves in office against their oath of office and the provisions of Constitution of Nigeria.
The Governor sounded it clearly that such insistence to elongate tenure of council chairmen will not happen in Rivers State, and advised the out-gone chairmen, vice-chairmen and councillors to let go and return home.
He said, “So, for those people who are saying, the only reason why we (they) want to continue in office is because election has not be conducted, we have more than 85 percent of the States in Nigeria that are being run by caretaker committees.
“Ours is different, you had your tenure, you have completed your tenure, it is proper you let go. Life doesn’t create a vacuum. If you are not there again, that is, if your tenure has expired, doesn’t mean I should, because I want to please you, allow you to stay longer. No. It doesn’t happen like that. People must take over, manage the affairs and elections will be conducted.”
Governor Fubara pointed to the importance of knowing how finances of the 23 Local Government Councils were managed in the last three years, and directed the Auditor-General of Local Governments to begin auditing the accounts and make the report available within the next one month.
Specifically, Governor Fubara said: “I also want to say that, for the local government activities in the past three years, I would want to mandate: which is official assignment, not even a statutory duty, that the Auditor-General should immediately commence the audit of the 23 Local Government Councils in the past three years, and come up with the result in the next one month.
“It is important so that we will know what has happened and how our funds were being used in those 23 Local Government Areas. It is important so that it will be a check for those people who are also coming.”
Governor Fubara told the newly sworn-in CTC chairmen that their tenure will not be too long because the process for the conduct of fresh elections of local government chairmen and councillors in our State has started.
The Governor advised them to resume at their respective local government councils with utmost sense of duty and commitment to serve the people and protect the interest of Rivers State.
He warned them against any form of confrontation, insisting that such is not in his nature and style but advised them to be law-abiding as they take full control of the local government councils.
He said, “Whatever happened  yesterday (Tuesday), I know and the world knows that it is not from you people. Some persons caused it. So, let us not give them the opportunity to continue to make our State look bad in the comity of States.
“So, when you go back, if there is any situation, you should be law- abiding. I don’t want any confrontation. You can operate from anywhere for now. But the most important thing is that you have the control of the Local Government today.”
Governor Fubara urged them to ensure that they compute and pay the outstanding financial benefits and entitlements, including salaries of the outgone chairmen, vice-chairmen and councillors.
He added, “I am not of the class to say that because something happened, you should maltreat them. No. Whatever is their entitlement, ensure that they get it.”
Governor Fubara instructed the CTC chairmen to work hard to ensure that there is no breakdown of law and order in their various council areas.
The Governor expressed worry about the negative media portrayal of the State as ridden with crisis, and urged them to ensure that what they do changes such negative narrative.
“Please, I want to appeal to you that when you go back, I don’t want crisis. Just manage the situation as much as you can. God does not start and end half-way. That is the truth. Since God has started with us, He will definitely complete His work in our lives.
“I don’t want any fight. I don’t want any life to be lost because it does not earn me anything. We know that we can overcome, and we have been overcoming,” he advised the chairmen.
Those sworn-in include:  Madigai Dickson as chairman of Abua/Odual; while Hon. Happy Benneth is chairman of Ahoada East; Ahoada West has Mr. Daddy John Green as chairman; just as Barrister Otonye Briggs chairs Akuku-Toru; with Andoni chaired by Barrister Reginald Ekaan; and Asari-Toru, chaired by Orolosoma Amachree.
In Bonny, Alabota Anengi Barasua returned as chairperson; while in Degema, Anthony Soberekon is the chairman; with Eleme having Brain Gokpa as chairman, just as David Omereji is the chairman of Emohua; while John Otamiri Nkugbo is the chairman of Etche.
Also, Gokana has ??????? Kpeden as chairman; Ikwerre has Dr. Darlington Orji; Khana has Amb. Marvin Yobana; Obio/Akpor has Amb. Chijioke Ihunwo; Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni has Princewill Ejekwe as chairman; Ogu/Bolo is chaired by Rt. Hon. Evans B. Bi??; Okrika is chaired by Princess I. B. Ogan; Omuma chairman is Promise Reginald; ?????/??oro chairman, Hon. Enyiada Cookey-Gam returns; while Oyigbo has Hon. Gogo Phillip as chairman; with Ichemati Ezebunwo in charge of Port Harcourt City; just as Hon. Matthew Dike is the CTC chairman of Tai.
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In One Year, Rivers Rated High In Performance Index – Fubara

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has expressed excitement at an independent assessment carried out by some online media platforms that rated the State high in terms of projects’ delivery by first time governors in Nigeria.
The Governor said though he is not given to media hype, his performance in service and projects’ delivery, is in the public domain, visible to everybody, as life-changing strides of his administration.
Governor Fubara spoke during the Sallah solidarity visit by a delegation led by the Vice President General and Chairman, Association of South-South Muslim Ummah of Nigeria, Alhaji Nasir Awhelebe Uhor, to Government House in Port Harcourt on Monday.
Uhor is also chairman, Rivers State Council for Islamic Affairs (RSCIA).
The Governor said most people have continued to talk about the modest achievements that the administration has achieved in one year, which are being celebrated because they are genuine development efforts.
Governor Fubara said: “As a matter of fact, I am not a social media person, but I am aware of the fact that first term governors, when they rated them on Twitter and all social media platforms, Rivers State was ranked number one.
“We are not talking about a 2-kilometre road project. We are not talking about building one primary school. We are talking about life-changing projects; and that is why you don’t need to argue with anybody about what we have done. We don’t need to beat our drums because what we have done is there for the world to see.”
Governor Fubara emphasised the grace of God that is at work, enabling his administration to steady governance, and assured that the mark of development will leave Rivers State more better.
He said, “It is a difficult system but one with God is one with majority. So, when you have God around, you need to fear nothing. They will plan, they will gather, but their gathering, at the end of the day, will be to your own glory.
“So, I can say boldly that God has been very faithful to us against the expectations of a lot of people. He’s been guiding us, holding us forth, and we can boldly beat our chest to say: so far, we have shown that we are a responsible government.
“We have shown that we mean well for Rivers people. We have shown that this is not just a government that merely wants to control: it is a government resolved to give everybody opportunity, a government that allows you to feel free, operate within the laws. That is the only way we can move from where we are to a higher pedestal.”
Governor Fubara stated that his administration will continue to do everything possible to promote coexistence among all residents despite their religious inclinations while accommodating each other.
He noted the complaints surrounding the issues of the section Muslims bury their dead within the Port Harcourt cemetery, and request to be allowed to build a mosque within the Rivers State University premises for their worshippers, and assured that he will investigate to get at the true position before taking decisions.
However, he said, “But that of the state worship centre, we will do something about it immediately. We are doing it because, the only way for us to control and reduce crime is when we have comfortable places where the word of God is preached to people who go and listen to learn.
“Whether we like it or not, it is not a mistake when you see churches. It is not a mistake when you see a lot of mosques. It helps to reduce crime, because when people go to worship centres, they listen to the word and the fear of God comes.
“Some evil actions are curtailed compared to when you are not even hearing anything, and what is available to you is just the opportunity to commit crime only. So, we will make sure that we create a very conducive place for your worship because we know that at the end, it is going to be a win, win for our State.”
Governor Fubara advised the Muslim faithful to continue to obey the law, and work harmoniously with other residents, assuring that the State Government will continue to support them.
In his speech, the leader and Vice President General of Rivers State Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Nasir Awhelebe Uhor, said they are excited at the publicly stated commitment of the Governor to promote freedom of worship and fully implement inclusive policies.
As a result, Alhaji Uhor noted that there is inter-religious tolerance, zero attacks on Moslem faithful in the State, mutual agreement between Moslem and Christian groups to meet and pray together for peace of the state.
Alhaji Uhor restated the resolve of Moslems in Rivers State not to align with efforts that will truncate governance and the good policies to drive development agenda of the Governor Fubara-led administration.

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