Don’t incite the public against us, senate warns Amaechi.

Abdullahi Sabi, spokesman of the senate, says a comment credited to Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transport, on a loan for the country’s railway, is an attempt to incite the public against the upper legislative chamber.

On Monday, Amaechi said the $7.5 billion loan which the federal government had secured for a standard rail gauge from Lagos to Kano was part of the $30 billion loan before the national assembly for approval.

He told the people to join the federal government in appealing to the senate to approve the loan.

But in a statement on Wednesday, Sabi said the comment was “false, misrepresenting and contradictory to available facts”.

He said it also showed that the minister was not in tune with the position of the government he is serving.

The senate spokesman advised Amaechi to withdraw the statement.

“Furthermore, the national assembly will take up the matter with the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo,” Sabi said.

“As of today, the only request for approval from the executive for loan was the one dated January 27, 2017 and signed by acting President Professor Yemi Osinbajo seeking a ‘resolution of the national assembly for the issuance of USD 1 Billion EuroBond In the international capital market for the funding of the 2016 budget deficit’ and we immediately granted the approval.

“Also, in the letter quoted above, the government mentioned the two rail lines cited by the minister as part of the projects for which the EuroBond will be utilised. So, we cannot understand what the grouse of Mr. Amaechi is.

“As a former speaker of a state house of assembly, we believe that a minister like Amaechi should always check his facts and refrain from making unguarded and inciting remarks against the legislature.

“What Nigeria needs at this point is for all arms of government to work together and create the synergy necessary to take Nigeria out of the present economic crisis we have found ourselves.

“Comments designed to infuriate one arm of government or incite the people against another arm of the government will do no one any good and we do not expect such statements from a minister in the present government.”

Amaechi: We’ll ensure Abuja airport is reopened after six weeks

Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, says the federal government will ensure that the rehabilitation of the Abuja airport runway is completed in six weeks.

In a statement he issued by his media office on Tuesday, Amaechi, who acknowledged the pains the closure of the airport would cause travellers said his ministry would ensure its reopening after due rehabilitation.

Amaechi gave the assurance at a town hall meeting organised by the ministry of information in Ilorin, Kwara state on Monday.

“We are saying that the Abuja airport runway was built to last for 20 years but we have been using it for 34 years. It has become extremely dangerous to continue using it, the way it is right now,” he said.

“We need to close it to rebuild it and reconstruct it. The foundation is almost gone and what we are asking for is patience. If we don’t close it we will be exposing lives. One of the constitutional responsibilities of the president is to protect lives and property. So you can’t deny us that responsibility.

“We believe that if we close it by March, in six weeks time we shall be able to reopen it. We know it is challenging for our economy. We think that we will keep to that six weeks.”

While explaining issues concerning maritime in the north-central, Amaechi said his ministry was determined to launch the Baro River Port by the first quarter of next year.

“We met abandoned Maritime. Our target this year is that by first quarter of next year we shall be commissioning Baro River Port. We are in the process of awarding the contract for the last equipment that they will use at the River Port,” he said.

“NIWA is there working hard. I understand the sentiments of Baro. The only reason why we have not gotten the contractor at Lokoja part is that we don’t trust the contractor and I have directed NIWA to go and look for the process of terminating that contract and get a new contractor to complete the project and that mandate, we have from Mr President.

“The other mandate that will interest you is the central railway line, the Itakpe/ Ajaokuta  railway line. If you go back there now the contractors are back to site. We have sent them back to site. That is a 32 years project. Under this government we have decided and agreed with the contractors that we will complete it first quarter of next year.

“Even Baro will be completed first quarter of next year. The other thing that will interest you is the narrow gauge railway line that transverses your state (Kwara) to Minna. We are about to start negotiations with General Electric (GE). The narrow gauge will start if we successfully conclude our conversation. Before the end of this year, from Lagos to Ajaokuta to Ibadan to Ilorin to Minna and onward to Kano we will revive that railway line.”

He said $6.1 billion from the loan expected from China had been set aside for railway, but lamented that the national assembly has not approved it.

“Out of that borrowing plan, 6.1billion dollars is meant for railway. For the Lagos to Ibadan, you have 1.5billion dollars. The loan has been approved by the China Exim Bank, the only thing holding us today is that the national assembly is yet to approve the borrowing plan. As citizens from the north-central, please kindly appeal to the national assembly to approve the borrowing plan,” he said.

Adeosun, Amaechi, Ogbeh on FG’s committee to force down food prices

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has set up a task force to work out a way of reducing the prices of foodstuff.

On the task force are Kemi Adeosun, finance minister; Chibuike Amaechi, transport minister; Audu Ogbeh, agriculture minister; Chris Ngige, labour and employment minster; Okey Enelamah, trade and industry minister, and Suleiman Adamu, water resources minister.

The team was given seven days to present a plan of how to reduce the cost of food.

According to Laolu Akande, senior special assistant on media to the vice-president, Osinbajo put together the team because he was moved by the need to make food affordable to Nigerians.

“Moved by the need to enhance affordability of food prices across country, the Buhari administration has constituted a presidential task force to urgently consider measures that would ensure a steady flow of produce to the market and reverse recent price increases,” he said.

“Giving the directive today at the federal executive council meeting, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, expressed concern at some of the inflationary rates of food prices, noting that the task force will explore options to promote availability and affordability of food items to Nigerians.

“According to him, the task force, which has seven days from today to report back to the council will consider how to remove some of the cost-raising factors that come into play between the farms and the markets and therefore bring relief to our people.

“While there have been reports of bumper harvests in parts of the country, the prices of foodstuff still end up rather high, while some of the produce even end up wasted due to a number of reasons preventing effective transportation delivery to the markets.”

Akande said one of the focus areas of the task force – as directed by Osinbajo – would be the review of the transportation and preservation processes.

“The task force, which would be meeting with the acting president in the discharge of its urgent assignment, will therefore draw out a practical plan and present same to the council next week,” he added.

“The offices of the chief of staff to the president and the senior special assistant to the president on sustainable development goals (SDGs) would also be on the task force.”

How Nigeria Plans To Revive Its Railway Sector. – Rotimi Amaechi

The transport sector in Nigeria will soon be witnessing increased activities in the railways, following renewed collaboration between the federal government and foreign partners.

The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, revealed that negotiations were at advanced stage with General Electric, an American multinational conglomerate and the China Exim Bank on the revival of the rail system.

Mr Amaechi told reporters shortly after he visited the dry inland port in Jos, the Plateau State capital, that work would commence on the narrow and standard rail line gauge across Nigeria as soon as the negotiations were concluded.

Rotimi Amaechi, Transport, Energy
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi

The minister, who was at the Heipang Inland Container Depot to inspect its facilities, was accompanied by officials of the Ministry of Transportation, the Nigerian Shippers Council, members of the Plateau State Executive Council as well as the concessionaire of the port.

Having inspected the site which borders the Yakubu Gowon Airport and a railway station, Mr Amaechi stressed the need to develop facilities in the inland dry ports on a tripartite arrangement involving the Federal Government, the host state government and the private investor.

In his response, Governor Simon Lalong assured the minister that Plateau State would contribute its part in the development and implementation of the project, with assurance that the project would receive urgent attention by his administration.

The Chairman, Plateau Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Bulus Daren, highlighted some of the advantages of the development.

He expressed optimism that apart from decongesting the seaports, the inland dry port would bring shipping services to the door steps of shippers across Nigeria, as well as assist in the overall costs of cargo to hinterland locations.

It is speculated that the Nigerian Shippers Council has been promoting and facilitating the establishment of inland container depots on the basis of public-private partnership with six approved locations in Aba, Ibadan, Jos, Kano, Funtua and Maiduguri to service the Nigerian populace.

Abuja Airport Closure: Amaechi, Sirika Appear Before Senate.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika and the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, have appeared before the Senate on Thursday, to explain the reason for the planned closure of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja.

The Senate invited both ministers on Thursday to explain the reason for the closure and rather explore other options besides closing the airport.

According to the lawmakers, closing the airport would bring hardship on local and international travelers.

Mr Sirika, however explained that to continue to operate, the Abuja airport would be unsafe and unreasonable as daily incidents occur on the runway.

Furthermore, the former pilot, stated that every flight plan always has alternate landing routes and Kaduna has always been the alternate for the Abuja airport.

He also pointed out that most of the sections of the runway have collapsed and if multiple sections have collapsed, it means the entire runway has collapsed.

The runway in the Abuja airport was constructed in 1982 with a lifespan of 14 years which had been exceeded.

Asset Declaration: Fashola, Adeosun, Amaechi, 16 others yet to fully comply. – CCB

The Code of Conduct Bureau says it may be forced to arrest and possibly prosecute at least 19 ministers and heads of agencies in the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government for non-compliance with procedures of declaring their assets.

The 19 federal government appointees, according to a statement issued by the CCB Chairman, Sam Saba, have so far not honoured invitations to appear before the Bureau to clear their asset declaration claims.

The bureau however praised some top officials of the Nigerian government like the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, and the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, for promptly complying with the asset declaration protocol within the stipulated time.

Photo credit: The Herald News Nigeria
Photo credit: The Herald News Nigeria

The CCB boss said the bureau has invited some serving ministers and heads of agencies among others over “issues” pertaining to their asset declaration requirements, but most of them have failed to respond.

The asset declaration defaulters, according to CCB include Kemi Adeosun (Finance Minister), Kayode Fayemi (Mine and Solid Minerals), Adebayo Shittu (Minister of Communication), Babatunde Fashola (Minister of Power, Works and Housing), Ibe Kachikwu (Minister of State Petroleum), Ogbonnaya Onu (Minister of Science and Technology).

Other defaulters are Mike Okiro (Chairman, Police Service Commission), Godwin Emefiele (CBN Governor), Abubakar Bawa Bwari (Minister of State Solid Minerals) and Rotimi Amaechi (Minister of Transport).

Still on the list of defaulters are Aisha Alhassan (Minister Women Affairs and Social Development); Solomon Dalung (Minister of Youths & Sports Development); Udo Udoma (Minister Budget and National Planning); Dan Ali Mansur (Minister of Defence); Ibrahim Usman Jibril (Minister of State, Environment); Suleiman Adamu (Minister of Water Resources and Rural Development), Lai Muhammed (Minister of Information) and Mustapha Baba Shehuri (Minister of State Power).

The CCB said it has also invited Claudius Daramola (Minister of State Niger Delta Affairs); Hadiza Usman (MD. Nigeria Ports Authority); Ahmed Kuru (MD/CEO AMCON); Isaac Adewole (Minister of Health); Okechukwu Enelamah (Minister of Trade Investment and Industry) and Geoffrey Onyema (Minister of Foreign Affairs).

 

Ibe Kachikwu Minister of State for Petroleum Photo: thisdaylive.com
Ibe Kachikwu
Minister of State for Petroleum
Photo: thisdaylive.com

“Pursuant to paragraph 11 of Part 1 of the 5th Schedule to the 1999 Constitution (as amended), every public officer is required to submit to the CCB a written declaration of all his properties, assets and liabilities and those of his/her spouse (if not a public officer) and his unmarried children under the age of eighteen years,” the bureau said.

“Any statement in such declaration that is found to be false by any authority or person authorized in that behalf to verify it shall be deemed to be a breach of this Code.

“To this end, the Bureau has commenced its 2016 4th Quarter cycle of conference and Field verifications of assets of top public officers.

“Accordingly, letters of invitation have been dispatched to Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Service Chiefs and other top Public Officers.

Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi
Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi

“This exercise is ongoing and is being carried out concurrently at the Federal, State and Local Government levels.

“At a satisfactory completion of the exercise, Public Officers are issued with certificate of Assets Conference Verification/Field Verification as the case maybe.”

Other top public office holders that were also praised for not delaying the declaration of their assets include the acting MD/CEO Niger Delta Development Commission, Semenitari Mary –Gab Tamunoibim; Corps Marshall, Federal Road Safety Corp, Boboye Oyeyemi ); Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed and the Commissioner, Federal Civil Service Commission, Hope Odhuluma Ikrirko.

The CCB also hailed persons like the former SGF, Anyim Pius Anyim, Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, Minister Budget & National Planning, Zainab Ahmed Shamsuna, Minister Trade, Investment & Industry, Aisha Abubakar; INEC Chairman, Yakubu Mahmood; and Former Executive Secretary NUC, Julius A. Okojie; as well as the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu.

“CCB however, commends those public officers, who honoured its invitations promptly and submitted themselves for the exercise!”

More ministers, including the Attorney General of the Federation, had been sent letter of invitation by CCB, and it has not been confirmed if they would honour the invite when it comes to their turn to appear before the Bureau.

Why Wike’s CSO Was Removed – Police


The Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the Governor of Rivers State, DSP Promise Nwosu was removed because of his involvement in partisan politics, the police said.

The Force Spokesman, DCP Don Awunah, in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday while noting that officers are insulated from partisan politics added that the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris has set up an investigative inquiry to ascertain the level of Nwosu’s open engagement in political activities, disrespect to senior officer and unethical practices.

According to the statement: “The Nigeria Police Force have observed the innuendos, distortion of facts and wild allegations peddled in the mass media following the redeployment of the Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the Governor of Rivers State, DSP Promise Nwosu, as a result of gross professional misconduct.

“It will be recalled that on 17th November, 2016 during peaceful demonstrations of an opposition party in the state, All Progressive Congress (APC), the Chief Security Officer to the governor, DSP Promise Nwosu was found among the protesting party faithfuls in a manner prejudicial to discipline and displaying conduct unexpected of an officer of his calibre and office.

“In the course of monitoring the public protest, an Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations in Rivers State observed the presence of the CSO among the protesting partisan crowd as illegal, unlawful and outside prescribed schedule of the duties of a CSO.

“The active presence of the CSO to the governor in a partisan crowd of an opposition party to the governor in a clandestine and suspicious manner was considered mischievous and detrimental to the security of the state and public order and also contrary to his oath of office which constitute an offence against discipline.

The statement further read: “The CSO to the governor, when challenged by a superior officer demonstrated brazen indiscipline and showed disrespect to the senior officer, exhibiting conduct that violates all known norms of the force.

“Accordingly, the CSO was officially queried for discreditable conduct, insubordination, engaging in partisan political activities, illegal duty and act unbecoming of a public officer.

“As a result of such gross misconduct and apparent partisanship, the IGP ordered the redeployment of the CSO pending further disciplinary action. To this end, the IGP has also constituted an investigative inquiry into the officer’s open engagement in political activities, disrespect to senior officers and unethical practices”.

The IGP while restating that the Police and police officers are insulated from partisan politics warned all police officers in any capacity to desist from acts that portray the force in a bad light and question the integrity of the personnel.

“Any police officer, especially CSOs, Aides-de-Camp (ADCs), and orderlies attached to political officer holders or senior government officials who engages in activities outside the official schedule will be removed and made to face severe disciplinary action”.

The police also stated that Governor Wike is free to choose who his CSO from the Command.

“The Governor as Chief Security Officer of the state is at liberty to select any officer of his choice from the strength of the command to serve as his CSO but under no circumstance should any officer abandon the security of his principal and legitimate duties to engage in direct partisan politics or conversely should any political office holder use police officers attached to them for political machinations”.

Wike Needs immediate Psychiatric Attention — Rivers APC

The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State has recommended immediate psychiatric attention for the State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, saying that his behavior and utterances these days do not present him as a person who is still in full control of his mental faculties.

The party said in a statement issued on Monday in the state capital Port Harcourt: “Nigerians may have observed the distorted, uncoordinated and incomprehensible manner in which Chief Wike addresses the public these days, which is perhaps an indication that he needs psychiatrist assistance as a matter of urgency before his case goes beyond remedy. Today he is accusing the military of being after him or tying to assassinate him, tomorrow he will be accusing the INEC and Police of plotting on how to rig the rerun election scheduled to hold on December 10. Later he will accuse Transportation Minister Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of trying to pay the salaries of civil servants which he Wike has refused to pay for these eight months. This is even as he would accuse NIMASA DG Dakuku Peterside of plotting how to restore security and peace to Rivers State, thereby dislodging and thwarting his policy of turning Rivers State to Rivers of blood while on the other hand accusing the APC Rivers South-East Senatorial District Candidate Senator Magnus Abe of meeting with senior police officers between 2am and 4am on Friday, where he requested that they support his rigging agenda in exchange for N10million EACH. If not that Wike has gone berserk where on earth does he wants Abe to raise such a staggering fund in an election that the Ogonis have vowed to vote for him?

Recently at the Rivers state Government House, Wike muttered to PDP Chieftains, “apart from the fact that Development creates crime and that since I resumed office as Governor of Rivers state, people are being killed and beheaded in Rivers state and pictures of those killed in the state were littered in social media, too much insecurity in Rivers state I will only try my little best to handle it but as the President of the new Niger Delta Republic, how can my fellow President, President Buhari of Nigeria withdrew my security and assigned them to Hon Asita O. Asita a small boy besides People should understand that in Rivers State, we have the capacity to resist the security agencies of Nigeria. To worsen our case, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) has assigned all the Police SARs in the South-South (SS) to Senator Magnus Abe and those of South East (SE) region to ‘Senators’ Andrew Uchendu and Amachree”.

Rivers APC in the statement signed by the State Chairman, Chief (Dr.) Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, described Wike’s wild allegations and utterances as symptomanic of a person in need of psychiatric evaluation. “We suspect that the law of Karma is now after him including the blood of hundreds of Rivers State people that Wike and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) killed to install him and his lieutenants in office is now on a revenge mission, exacting a heavy toll on the usurper-Governor,’ the party said.

The quote, “he who sows the wind, will reap the whirlwind” makes better meaning with the current sorrow state of Wike and his mindless cohorts. The Holy Bible as contained in the book of Galatians 6:7 may have had Wike in mind when it stated, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap”

To further expose wike’s unstable mind and thought as Nigerian Master Electoral Rigger and how he rigged himself to power, let us listen to him, “How can APC topple me as master electoral rigger? Na me bi their Oga (for rigging). I no give them this kind thing. Na me bi their oga. I no teach them this kind thing. Na who dey teach them all this kind thing? Trans Amadi Police station, you know we have police barrack there near Michelin. Na there wey the SARS Commander dey live, one Akeem. Every night, you go see them with this Tundra, this big hilux, black. Them go come. Them go tell all the security people wey dey for gate make them comot. Them go comot. Them go put off the light and bring down materials. I go tell them say me, I be professional. This thing wey una dey do, una bi small children”.

Everyday this man who is not fit to be a governor makes Rivers State a laughing stock before the country and the international community. He should be made to get help before it is too late.”

We therefore appeal to the Rivers electorate to utilise the opportunity offered by the rerun parliamentary election to vote massively for all APC candidates and thus free the State from the shackles of the ungodly and bloodthirsty PDP leadership.”

“In the same vein, we appeal to INEC and security agencies not to be intimidated by Wike’s tricks and pranks. We urge the security agencies to ensure that those hoodlums hired and kept by Wike to cause havoc during the election are properly caged so that people would feel free to exercise their franchise on December 10, 2016,” the statement said.

Wike’s baseless allegation a cheap ploy to intimidate, harass INEC- Amaechi

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, yesterday, alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had handed over original result sheets of the coming rerun elections in Rivers State to  the former governor of the state and Minister of Transportation, Rotimi  Amaechi.

But reacting swiftly, Ameachi, through his Media Office, said: “This new wild, baseless allegation by Governor Wike is a cheap ploy by a failing garrulous man to intimidate and harass INEC into doing his bidding and whip up public sentiment against All Progressives Congress, APC, its candidates for the elections and the President Buhari administration, ahead of the December 10, re-run elections in Rivers State.

“We know his game. This is an old worn out trick that will certainly fail.  Wike is scared, profoundly afraid; this is why he is telling these spurious lies. He knows he will lose at the polls, if the election is free and fair. Amaechi has no business with any result sheets for the coming elections and has nothing to do with Sheriff or the self-imposed woes and travails of PDP.”

Similarly, the electoral body has dismissed the allegations as unfounded.

The state Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Elder Aniedi Ikoiwak, told newsmen on phone that he was not aware of such development, noting that result sheets for the election had not even been printed.

 

Senate shuns Amaechi, passes Maritime University Bill

The bill for establishment of Nigerian Maritime University at Okerenkoko in Delta State, on Wednesday scaled second reading at the Senate, months after Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, announced scrapping of the project.

The bill sponsored by James Manager (PDP-Delta) was unanimously supported by the senators after the mover’s lead debate, making case for the establishment of the university.

The groundbreaking of the proposed school at Okerenkoko in Warri south-West local government area was done by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014 and, according to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, physical asset were on site.

However, there has been no law backing the establishment of the university.

Addressing the senate committee on maritime on January 19, Mr. Amaechi had announced the scrapping of the project, which was to be financed by the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Administration Agency, a parastatal under his ministry.

Mr. Amaechi then cited insecurity in the area, and said the project was a “misplacement of priority” because there are transport institutes in Zaria (Kaduna), and Oron (Akwa Ibom), already.

Later on June 14 in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, the Minister said the Federal Government lacked the funds to continue with school; and that unless the N13 billion spent on the procurement of the land for the project was retrieved, the project stood scrapped.

“Okerenkoko (Maritime University), I am not against,” he said. “My argument about Okerenkoko is that land alone is 13 billion(naira). If you give me 13 billion, I will buy the half of Lagos. That 13 billion has built the university already.”

“What to do: let EFCC retrieve the money and release the money and we build the university. If they bring the N13 billion, I will build the university for them. That’s for land alone. I believe the Federal Government does not have money. When we have money, we can continue. The minister of petroleum has said he would look for the money. Minister, give me the money and we continue,” Mr. Amaechi said in Uyo.

But the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu disagreed with Mr. Amaechi, saying he was in support of the project, drawing a loud applause from the audience.

“First, let me say on Okerenkoko University, I disagree with the Minister of Transport,” he said.

“Any facility that is located in the South-South we should work close to developing it. I don’t care the circumstances under which you are placed.”

On Wednesday, the Senate shunned the transport minister, ensuring the bill for the establishment of the Maritime University scaled second reading.

Mr. Manager, the sponsor, argued that maritime sector had huge potentials and that Nigeria should have a university for the purpose of producing capable manpower for the sector which, as he said, is currently dominated by foreign interests.

On suitability of Okerenkoko for the project, he said the area was close to the sea and surrounded by oil wells.

The move that the bill be read for the second time was seconded by Fauster Ogola (PDP-Bayelsa) who said the giving legal backing to the school would make Nigeria become a “hub of manpower development in the Maritime sector.”

He said Nigeria would be the first to have maritime university in West Africa once the bill received approval of the National Assembly ultimately.

Gbenga Ashafa (APC-Lagos) and Jibrin Barau (APC-Kano) also supported the bill.

After the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, called the voice vote and the Senators unanimously responded ‘ayes’, Mr. Saraki ruled the bill be referred to the committee on tertiary education and Tetfund.

The committee was asked to report back in four weeks.

Also, the Senate made progress on the bill to make the Maritime Academy in Oron, Akwa Ibom State a degree awarding institution. The bill, proposed by Effiong Nelson (PDP-Akwa Ibom) was read for the second time.

Senate Passes Maritime University Bill, Shuns Amaechi

The bill for establishment of Nigerian Maritime University at Okerenkoko in Delta State, on Wednesday scaled second reading at the Senate, months after Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, announced scrapping of the project.

The bill sponsored by James Manager (PDP-Delta) was unanimously supported by the senators after the mover’s lead debate, making case for the establishment of the university.

The groundbreaking of the proposed school at Okerenkoko in Warri south-West local government area was done by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014 and, according to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, physical asset were on site.

However, there has been no law backing the establishment of the university.

Addressing the senate committee on maritime on January 19, Mr. Amaechi had announced the scrapping of the project, which was to be financed by the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Administration Agency, a parastatal under his ministry.

Mr. Amaechi then cited insecurity in the area, and said the project was a “misplacement of priority” because there are transport institutes in Zaria (Kaduna), and Oron (Akwa Ibom), already.

Later on June 14 in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, the Minister said the Federal Government lacked the funds to continue with school; and that unless the N13 billion spent on the procurement of the land for the project was retrieved, the project stood scrapped.

“Okerenkoko (Maritime University), I am not against,” he said. “My argument about Okerenkoko is that land alone is 13 billion(naira). If you give me 13 billion, I will buy the half of Lagos. That 13 billion has built the university already.”

Read  More:

http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/215507-breaking-senate-shuns-amaechi-passes-maritime-university-bill.html

Why Buhari Should Not Sack Amaechi, Onu for Alleged Corruption – APC

The Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has dismissed calls by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend two of his ministers accused of corruption.

The PDP had on Friday urged the president to emulate the National Judicial Council’s decision to suspend seven judges recently arrested by the State Security Service for alleged corruption.

The party said in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Dayo Adeyeye, that two of the judges, Sylvester Ngwuta and Inyang Okoro of the Supreme Court, had alleged that they were the targets of a witch-hunt because they refused bribes from two ministers.

They named the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, and his Science and Technology counterpart, Ogbonnaya Onu.

“In order to allow for a fair and independent investigation, it is incumbent on President Muhammadu Buhari to ask these ministers to step aside pending the conclusion of investigation into the allegations,” Mr. Adeyeye had said. “The judiciary has set a very good example in its quest to fight corruption.”

But the APC said in a statement on Sunday that the call “flies in the face of reason, fairness, common sense and cause of justice”.

The statement was signed by Davies Ikanya, APC chairman, Rivers State, and emailed to PREMIUM TIMES from Mr. Amaechi’s account.

“It is a known fact that embattled Justices Sylvester Ngwuta and John Inyang Okoro of the Supreme Court who are currently under DSS investigation for serious corruption charges only resorted to the cheap, convenient, everyday reaction of people caught red-handed committing crimes in order to divert attention away from the grave reality confronting them especially when faced with sufficient evidence,” the APC said.

(PREMIUM TIMES)

 

Wike: Any anti-graft war that doesn’t begin with Amaechi is a mere expedition.

The administration of Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers state, has described as a “fishing expedition” any anti-corruption fight that does not begin with Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation.

The Rivers government said this in response to the allegations that Wike and some PDP big wigs asked some judges to indict Amaechi.

Davies Ikanya, chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers, had accused Wike, Godswill Akpabio, former Akwa Ibom governor; Udom EMmmanuel, incumbent Akwa Ibom governor; and Ifeanyi Okowa of telling judges to rope Amaechi.

John Okoro and Sylvester Ngwuta of the supreme court had said Amaechi attempted to offer them bribe.

But Ikanya described the judges claims as lies, saying four PDP politicians were hell bent on pulling the minister down.

Reacting to Ikanya’s statement, Austin Tam-George, RIver’s commissioner for information and communication, said “all the federal anti-corruption agencies have so far treated the serious allegations against Mr. Amaechi with the  moral timidity of Lucifer’s wife”.

“The attention of the Rivers State Government has been drawn to yet another scurrilous statement by the Rivers State branch of the All Progressives Congress, APC, alleging that Governor Nyesom Wike had a hand in the judicial scandals that have engulfed Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, the minister of transport,” he said in a statement.

“Governor Wike had refrained from making public comments on this subject, because the people of Rivers State feel sadly vindicated by these latest scandals swirling around the transport minister.

“In the run up to his screening by the Senate for the post of minister in the federal cabinet in 2015, Nigerians were warned about Mr Amaechi’s egregious antecedents in public office.

“As governor of Rivers State, Mr Amaechi left a shameful record of waste and dysfunction. His thoughtless policies and mismanagement of public funds literally broke the economic spine of Rivers State.

“Amaechi’s continuous presence in the federal cabinet is an ugly moral sore, a dark blight on the so-called fight against corruption. Any war against corruption that does not begin with Mr. Amaechi in the dock is a mere fishing expedition.”

Tam-George also alleged that leaders of the APC had been commending Amaechi for his “enormous financial contributions” to the campaign of President Muhammadu Buhari.

He accused Amaechi of looting of billions of naira belonging to the state in order to bankroll the campaign of the ruling party.

“Amaechi has of course always protested his innocence. But even chieftains of his party, the APC, including serving governors, have publicly praised Mr Amaechi for bankrolling the party’s presidential campaigns in the 2015 general elections, and for sponsoring candidates in that election,” he said.

“Amaechi’s financial contributions to the APC, estimated to be in billions of naira, constitute a serious financial crime against the people of Rivers State.

“The allegations made against the transport minister by the justices of the court are therefore hardly surprising, because the scandals fall within a pattern of his moral turpitude in public life.”

Investigate bribery allegation against Amaechi, Umana – CSNAC begs ICPC.

Following Justice Inyang Okoro’s bribery allegation against the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and the then All Progressives Congress, APC, governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom state, Umana Umana, the Civil Society Network Against Corruption, CSNAC, has urged the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC, to probe the allegation.

Justice Okoro, one of the judges recently arrested by the Department of State Services, DSS,  had accused Amaechi and Umana of approaching him with the aim of influencing court decisions on election cases in Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Abia states.

CSNAC, in a petition by its Chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, said, “If Justice Okoro’s allegation is anything to go by, then he definitely has a case to answer with the Commission.

“By virtue of Section 23 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act of 2000, Public Officers are duty bound to report bribery transactions.

“By virtue of the above stated section [Section 23], Justice Okoro had a duty to report the attempt to bribe him by Messrs. Amaechi and Umana. His failure to do same and only resorting to use the information as a first line of defense against the raid by the State Security Service will not exonerate him from the offense committed under the Act.

“In view of this, CSNAC is therefore by this petition calling on the Commission to commence an immediate thorough investigation into the allegations made by Justice Okoro and also ensure that prosecution and proper punishment is meted out in line with the established laws, rules, and regulations.”

Bribery allegation: In defence of Amaechi, morality and common sense – Odoma

Blackmail is another weapon Nigerians deploy to flaunt their innocence whenever they are at threshold of being nailed on any issue. Most times, the manner Nigerians resort to blackmail stands logic on its head, twist morality and offend laws of the land.

Although, several justices in Nigeria are under investigation, but the case of the two embattled Supreme Court Justices John Iyang Okoro and Sylvester Ngwuta’s whom DSS raided, arrested and detained for alleged judicial corruption has assumed an asinine twist.

Conspiratorially, the duo heaped allegations of attempts to corrupt them by former Rivers State governor and Transport Minister, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi.

They mindlessly lashed out at Amaechi, accusing him of providing the grounds for their persecution for refusal to tinker with some governorship elections petitions before the apex court. They funnily want Nigerians to believe the refusal to be negatively influenced by one person forecloses the chances of accepting same request from another person.

Justice Okoro started it all. On October 17, 2016, he claimed in a letter to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, that he rejected the offer of Amaechi to influence justices to alter verdicts on the governorship tussle in favour of APC in Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Abia states. Okoro expressed strong conviction that his present travails may not be unconnected with his snubbing of Amaechi’s request to tamper with the verdicts. And that he made a verbal report to the CJN on February 1, 2016, about Amaechi’s visit to his official residence.

“In that report, I told you my Lord that Mr. Amaechi said the President of Nigeria and the All Progressives Congress mandated him to inform me that they must win their election appeals in Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Abia states at all costs,” he enthused.

Less than 48 hours after Okoro’s publicized allegations on Amaechi, another embattled colleague also under the heat of DSS over judicial corruption mouthed the same allegation. What separated the two were the states involved-only Rivers and Ekiti states guber disputes.

Justice Ngwuta’s allegations were contained in a letter dated October 18, 2016, also addressed to the CJN. Lamenting his several unfriendly encounters with Amaechi, the justice reeled out series of mindboggling issues, including alleged threats from Amaechi.
Interestingly, whatever problem the accused justices have with the DSS is strictly their burden to resolve. But the hasty roping of Amaechi into their dilemma with the DSS based on such hazy recollections and projection of the abnormal belittles their status as justices of the apex court.

By the submissions, it is discernible the judges have advertised issues intended to raise a podium to rubbish and blackmail Amaechi; except that they are poorly scripted in timing and factuality.

First, from DSS and EFCC files, at least 15 judges at various layers of the judiciary are under investigation currently for alleged judicial corruption.

The submission of Justices Okoro and Ngwuta in the letter to the CJN is forcing a baseless impression that the remaining 13 judges too could have possibly turned down Amaechi’s overtures to influence verdicts in their courts and thus, his invocation of “harassment” from security agents? It cannot be true.

Let’s hypothetically agree that President Buhari is an interested party in any of the governorships disputes in the mentioned states, under litigation at the Supreme Court, but everyone knows it’s impossible for him to delegate Amaechi to influence any judge at his behest.

Ideally, he would rather parley with the CJN directly expressing his interest in the cases and it ends it all. But if he cannot condescend to the level of the CJN, the alternatives are clear and Amaechi is not in this reckoning by any stretch of imagination.

To further water the impression of DSS’s arrest and detention of the justices as vendetta for their refusal to compromise justice, the wailing justices speak as if the Director-General of the DSS or Chairman of EFCC take directives from Amaechi, so with his snap of the fingers to settle a personal grievance, security agents rushed after the accused judges.

But the justices, especially of the Supreme Court, are the final destination in the interpretation of laws of Nigeria. Like River State APC Chairman, Chief Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, averred in a public statement, the justices should know better that the giver and taker of bribes commit criminal offences under the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offence Act 2000.

These learned justices had the opportunity to brighten Nigeria’s perception of Buhari’s anti-graft war by publicly clipping the wings of Amaechi who sought to adulterate their verdicts with bribes. But they reneged; waited for months to be accused of judicial corruption before they remembered their uprightness or vow not to desecrate their sacred oath of office. These are tales far from the truth.

Additionally, a very senior judge like Justice Ngwuta as disclosed in his distorted epistle to the CJN was threatened by a politician like Amaechi who came to his house and said ‘we shall see’ several times,” and he kept mum?

It is conceivable that a Supreme Court judge would bury obvious threats to his life and would not even document it with the National Judicial Council (NJC), but merely inform the CJN orally. Is he saying the NJC forbids members of the Bench from taking legal actions against violators of their rights or when their lives are threatened?

It brings the matter to another realm of reasoning. Almost all the raided, arrested and detained judges are alleging innocence and judicial persecution by the presidency.

They have also qualified the raids of their houses, arrest and detention as illegal and unconstitutional. It implies DSS and its principals have infringed their fundamental rights as Nigerians.

But they are unprepared to explain to Nigerians what is restraining them from challenging DSS action in court, if they are convinced of their innocence. Or are they implying that laws governing NJC also forbid judges from seeking legal redress over personal injuries or infringements on them by individuals, government institutions or government itself?

These justices should go back to their factory of doubtful tales and bark out something more convincing to Nigerians. For now, their rehearsed fables with the glaring intent of blackmailing Amaechi nay the FGN to inspire public sympathy has failed to impress anyone and hit the rocks.

– Odoma is public affairs commentator.

Presidency Insists Judges Must Step Down for Trial

The Presidency is insisting that two Supreme Court Justices and four others must step aside ahead of their trial for alleged corruption, it was learnt last night.

It also faulted Chief Justice Mahmud Mohammed’s claim that the Judiciary had issues with the Department of State Services (DSS), not the Federal Government.

It was also learnt that the DSS refused to release the evidence against the judges under probe to the National Judicial Council (NJC) in order not to prejudice their trial.

Those under investigation by the DSS are two Supreme Court Justices -Justice Sylvester Ngwuta and Justice Inyang Okoro; the suspended Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Ilorin Division, Justice Mohammed Ladan Tsamiya, who was picked up in Sokoto; Justice Adeniyi Ademola (Federal High Court); the Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice I. A. Umezulike; Justice Kabiru Auta of Kano State High Court; Justice Muazu Pindiga (Gombe State High Court); Justice Bashir Sukola and Justice Ladan Manir, from the Kaduna State High Court.

Of the nine judges, the NJC has recommended sanctions for Justice Tsamiya; Justice. Umezulike and Justice Kabiru Auta.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) is investigating six judges of the Federal High Court. They are: Justices Mohammed Nasir Yunusa; Hyeladzira Ajiya Nganjiwa; Musa Haruna Kurya; Agbadu James Fishim; Uwani Abba Aji; and Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia.

But the NJC has refused to suspend six of the judges because, according to the Judicial agency, the DSS is yet to submit petitions and evidence against them.

The government however said the judges must step aside to clear their names instead of facing trial while on the bench.

A top government source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The government has made its position known to the CJN. On why the judges should step aside ahead of their trial. The government will not yield ground on this.

“If we go ahead to arraign them in court, the same CJN and NJC will accuse the government of desecrating the Judiciary. The right step now is to allow the judges to face trial and clear the allegations against them.

“It is unfortunate that what the CJN told the government on how to handle the case of the judges was different from the statement he issued.

“We are suspecting that the CJN might be under pressure from his colleagues or he wants to leave the fate of the judges to his successor.

“He cannot rationalise by making a distinction between the Federal Government and the DSS. The government was in support of the sting operations of the security agency. So, the DSS did not act unilaterally.

“We will not take up issues with the CJN because the Nigerian Bar Association(NBA), some former Supreme Court Justices and the Body of Benchers have supported the position of the government that the judges should step aside.”

The source added: “Some of the judges in their letters to the CJN admitted having huge cash at home as if their houses are banks. In some jurisdictions, no judge can have up to $5,000 dollars at hand.

“We have a case of a judge who had never withdrawn a kobo from his salary account. How does he feed? Yet, the CJN was put into confidence on some of these issues at a meeting with some government officials. In what other way can the government respect the Judiciary?

It was learnt at the weekend that the NJC might meet this week or before the November 10 exit date of the CJN on the petitions against some judges.

It was gathered that the NJC session scheduled for Saturday was suddenly shifted following pressure from some quarters.

A member of the NJC said: “Yes, our meeting was postponed at the last minute because of certain circumstances. We are hopeful that we may meet this week, depending on the disposition of the CJN.

“What is however clear is that we will hold a meeting before the exit date of the CJN. We have to take a decision on some petitions against some judges before the council. One of the petitions is a high profile one.

“It is also statutory that we meet to bid the CJN a farewell and ratify some recommendations on some judges.”

It was gathered that the DSS refused to release evidence against the embattled judges to the NJC in order not to lay all the cards on the table before their trial.

The DSS suspects that there is no way the judges will not be privy to the evidence against them and they may begin to frustrate their trial with preliminary objection.

The agency prefers encounters with the judges in court instead of the NJC, which is a disciplinary body.

A security source said: “With the suspicious manner the NJC threw away some cases/ petitions against some judges, the DSS cannot take such a risk to make all its evidence available to the body.

“Take the case of a judge who was implicated in a N500million bribery, the Petition Review Committee of the NJC cleared him. This is a judge who admitted on tape to have collected bribe.

“It took some persistence by a petitioner before the NJC could accept to sanction the Chief Judge of Enugu State. He was retired after about four petitions against him.

“Another judge accused of demanding N200million was retired by the NJC when the law is explicit on what should be done.

“To give evidence to NJC will amount to prejudging the judges. The DSS conducted sting operations in some judges’ quarters; it believes the law should take its course through trial.

“Once the evidence are made available to the NJC, the trial of the judges will suffer a setback from the outset because they will know what the government has against them.”

Amaechi should resign following allegations – PDP

The Rivers state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the Minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi to resign following allegations of corruption.

Two judges, Justice Okoro Inyang and Justice Sylvester Ngwuta alleged that Amaechi spoke to them, on different occasions, to influence judgements of two different elections.

The judges were arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS) for allegedly fraudulently enriching themselves.

The party also said there is a moral burden on President Buhari to prosecute those whose names were mentioned by the judges.

According to Daily Post, the Publicity Secretary of the PDP in Rivers state, Samuel Wanosike said “We of the PDP in Rivers state have been vindicated. We are not surprised because we knew Amaechi was stingingly corrupt. Under his watch over three points, something close to trillion was misused.

“President Mohammadu Buhari now the moral burden to let Nigerians know if he is truly fighting corruption.

“If the President knows he’s not shielding corrupt officials especially those who have embezzled fund meant for Rivers state.

“We as a party are asking Amaechi to resign so that he can be properly investigated. We are asking President Mohammadu Buhari to please do the needful for Nigerians.”

It will interest you to know that five people have so far accused Rotimi Amaechi of corruption.

However, Amaechi, in a statement released by his media office on Thursday, October 20, 2016, said the allegations are an attempt to smear and politically destroy his image and reputation.

Why Always Me: Another Supreme Court Justice accuses Amaechi of bribery.

The last of the two justices of the Supreme Court arrested during the invasion of the residences of the justices of the court by the Department of State Security Service, DSS, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, yesterday accused the former governor of Rivers State and now, Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of masterminding the operation.

Also yesterday, the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA called on the judges accused of corruption to cease adjudicating on cases until the allegations against them are cleared.

The president of the umbrella body of lawyers called on them to purge themselves of the allegation before sitting in judgement on cases.

Justice Ngwuta, in a letter addressed to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, said that Amaechi had approached him in 2013, where he asked him to set aside the election that produced Mr. Ayo Fayose as governor of Ekiti State and replace him with the former governor of Ekiti State who is now the minister of Solid Minerals, Kayode Fayemi.

He also said in the letter that Amaechi had also attempted to influence other Justices on the Rivers election panel.

Ngwuta said: “My present plight started sometime between 2013 and 2014. I represented the then Chief Justice of Nigeria in an event organised in the International Conference Centre.

“Honourable Rotimi Amaechi came in late and sat next to me at the high table. He introduced himself to me and we exchanged contacts. A few weeks after, Fayose’s case was determined in the Court of Appeal.

“Amaechi called me by 6.45 am. He said he had come to see me but was told I had left for my office. When he said he would return in the evening, I demanded to know what he wanted but he would not tell me.

“He did not come that evening but came the following morning when I was already prepared to go to work. He begged me to ensure that Fayose’s election was set aside and another election ordered for his friend Fayemi.”

How Amaechi Begged me to Help Nullify Fayose’s Election – Judge

A Justice of the Supreme Court yesterday accused Transportation Minister Rotimi Amaechi and Science Minister Ogbonnaiya Onu of being the architect of his travails.

Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, who was arrested by Department of State Services (DSS) operatives for alleged corruption, blamed it all on his refusal to cooperate with the duo, who he said had requested him to influence some electoral cases in their favour.

He alleged that Amaechi and Onu asked him to assist them in relation to the governorship election disputes in Ekiti and Ebonyi states.

Justice Ngwuta alleged that Amaechi, who claimed to be acting on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, wanted him to facilitate the annulment of Ayodele Fayose’s election so that Kayode Fayemi (Minister of Solid Mineral) could participate in a rerun election.

Justice Inyang Okoro has also accused Amaechi of trying to bribe him.

Justice Ngwuta said Onu had sought his help to facilitate the victory of the Labour Party (LP) candidate in the Ebonyi State governorship election dispute.

Justice Nqwuta, in his October 18, 2016 letter to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, accused DSS operatives of planting the money they claimed to have recovered in his home there.

“My Noble Lord, I am a victim of my own resolve never to violate my sacred oath of office as a judicial officer. Politicians and their collaborators have been hunting me on that account.

“It started in Ebonyi State where I was falsely accused before a panel set up by NJC in August 2000. It was replicated in 2009 when I was pulled from my division, Calabar, to preside over a motion filed by Senator Andy Uba seeking to be a Governor without going through the process of election. In each case I was exonerated.

“My present plight started sometime between 2013 and 2014. I represented the then Chief Justice of Nigeria in an event organised in the International Conference Centre. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi came in late and sat next to me at the high table.

“He introduced himself to me and we exchanged contacts. A few weeks after, Fayose’s case was determined in the Court of Appeal. Amaechi called me by 6.45 am. He said he had come to see me, but was told I had left for my office.

“When he said he would return in the evening, I demanded to know what he wanted, but he would not tell me. He did not come that evening but came the following morning when I was already prepared to go to work.

“He begged me to ensure that Fayose’s election was set aside and another election ordered for his friend Fayemi to contest. I told him I would not help him and that even if I am on the panel I have only my one vote.

“After the Rivers State governorship election was determined by the Court of Appeal, he called to tell me his ears were full and he would like to tell me what he heard. I told him I was out of Abuja at the time.

“On my return, he came in the evening and even before he sat down he barked ‘You have seen Wike’. I asked him whether that was a question or a statement. Then he made a call and asked me to speak with someone. The man he called said he was a DSS man. We exchanged greetings and I handed the phone to him.

“Next, he said ‘Oga is not happy.’ I asked him who is the unhappy ‘Oga’ and he answered ‘Buhari’. I retorted ‘go and talk to his wife.’ He got very angry, and left, remarking ‘we shall see’ several times.

“Your Lordship may recall one morning when I pleaded not be on the panel for Rivers Appeal. Your Lordship said I was already on the panel and asked me to explain why I made the request to be excluded.

“When I explained what transpired the previous night, Your Lordship told me Amaechi had also attempted to influence other Justices. My Lord, on the day we heard the appeal with your Lordship presiding, we were allowed lunch break at 4.20 pm.

“The moment I got into my chambers he, Amaechi, called. When he told who was calling, I said to him, ‘Your Excellency, you want to issue more threats?’ He replied ‘Have you been threatened before?’ I replied ‘I know a threat when I hear one even if veiled. In any case I will not talk to you’ and I switched off my phone.

”The people who failed in their attempt to destroy me in Ebonyi in 2000 and in Enugu in Andy Uba’s case in the Court of Appeal, Enugu in 2009 are now supplying Amaechi with information to fight me for my negative response to his demands, especially my answer to his statement that ‘Oga was not happy.’

On the role allegedly played by Dr. Onu, Justice Ngwuta added:

“When the governorship election appeal from my state, Ebonyi, came to the Court of Appeal, one Mr. Igwenyi, a senior staff of Federal Judicial Service Commission came to my chambers and told me that the former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu had pleaded with him to convince me to see him, Dr. Onu.

“I asked him to call Dr. Onu; he did and I wanted to know why he wanted to see me. He said it was confidential. I asked when he wanted to see me and he said he would like me to come in the evening. I told Igwenyi that he would have to take me to Dr. Onu in his car and bring me back.

“I had wanted him to listen to what Dr. Onu had to say, but when we arrived, Dr Onu put him in a different room. He asked me whether I know the Hon. President of the Court of Appeal and I told him that His Lordship was my Presiding Justice in the Court of Appeal, Benin division.

“He asked of my relationship with the PJA and I said it was cordial. He nodded his head several times in apparent satisfaction.

”He told me that the candidate for the Labour Party was ready to switch over to APC if he could help him win the appeal in the Court of Appeal and that in appreciation of the undertaking to come over to his party, he had obtained the services of three Justices of the Court of Appeal to ensure victory for Labour Party.

“He said he needed one to convince the PJA to include his three Justices of the Court of Appeal in the five-man panel to hear the appeal. I told him I would not help him and that I could not in good conscience convey such request even to a Customary Court Judge.

“He was disappointed and asked me whether I knew the husband of the PJA. I told him I did not know the man. I bid him good night and left. Igwenyi joined me in the passage and when he drove me back to my home I told him what Dr. Onu wanted. Igwenyi apologised to me and assured me that he would not have bothered me if he had known what Dr. Onu wanted me to do.

Justice Okoro’s allegations unfounded & baseless – Amaechi

My attention has been drawn to a letter purportedly written by Honourable Justice Inyang Okoro JSC, Justice of the Supreme Court, one of the Learned Justices recently arrested by the Department of State Services as part of its investigation into the allegations of massive corruption involving some officers of the Nigerian Judiciary. Given the level of mischief in the Social Media, I would ordinarily have ignored the letter because the allegations contained in the said letter are wild, baseless and unrelated to the issues in contention between the Honourable Justice of the Supreme Court and the Department of State Services, to that extent I had grave reservation if this letter could have emanated from His Lordship.

However, for the avoidance of doubt, let me say clearly that I have never discussed any matter pending before the Supreme Court of Nigeria with my Lord, Honourable Justice Inyang Okoro JSC, in his house or anywhere else, Period. I make bold to also state that the first and only time I have ever spoken with the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the Honourable Justice Mahmud Mohammed GCON was at the Commissioning of the Abuja-Kaduna Railway Project on the 26th of July 2016 at Idu in Abuja.

The letter by Honourable Justice Okoro is a poor attempt to politicize what is clearly a serious National tragedy and shame. I believe that the issues of corruption at the highest levels of our judiciary should be addressed objectively. It is to say the least demeaning and childish of a Justice of the Supreme Court to imply that the security operatives of our nation will arrest a Justice of our Supreme Court for no reason other than the instructions of a Minister. Those faced with serious allegations should treat the issue with the seriousness it deserves and stop trying to court public sympathy and trivialize what is clearly a national tragedy.

I have directed my lawyers to contact my Lord Justice Okoro and take whatever legal steps as may be necessary to clear my name of this baseless allegation.

Finally, let me advise His Lordship Justice Inyang Okoro to be objective in dealing with the issue at hand and not whip up unnecessary sentiments against innocent public officers. I remain focused on my assignment at the Federal Ministry of Transportation and I have no control over Department of State Services

I never visited Justice Okoro – Amaechi.

Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, has denied allegation leveled against him by Justice John Inyang Okoro of the Supreme Court, who was earlier arrested by the Department of State Services, DSS.

The Judge is insisting that he was being victimized over his refusal to do the bidding of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the election appeal cases as it concerned Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Abia States.

In a letter to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Okoro alleged that former Rivers Governor visited him and asked that states whose governorship elections are being disputed be ruled in favour of APC.

However, Amaechi, through his media office Tuesday night, said such visit never happened.

“This accusation from Justice Okoro against Amaechi is a figment of his imagination, concocted to obfuscate and politicize the real issues for his arrest and DSS investigation of allegations of corruption against him.

“The claims by Justice Okoro against Amaechi are blatant lies, bereft of any iota of truth or even logic. Amaechi did not, and has never approached Justice Okoro in respect of the cases Okoro mentioned or any other case.

“This is a cheap attempt, albeit, political move to drag the name of Amaechi into something he knows nothing about. Justice Okoro should face his issues and leave Amaechi out of it. He will be hearing from our lawyers.”

There Was Recession During The Last Administration But It Was Covered Up – Rotimi Amaechi

Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi says during the Goodluck Jonathan administration, Nigeria went into recession but was covered up by the government who preferred to call it cash-strapped.? Amaechi said this in an interview on the Osasu show:

“People just pick up words without knowing what words mean. Even under Goodluck we went into recession. I am one of those who participated in the budget. We looked at what happened in the past and we discovered that actually if recession means three times, we have done more than the three times before we came in. The difference is that while our government is transparent and open, we are able to admit that, federal government was saying even to me as chairman of governor’s forum, ‘Amaechi, don’t say that again.


If you remember as Governor, I said we’re broke. 

The minister for finance came to my office in Abuja here and pleaded with me that I shouldn’t say it again. That if I said it, it would affect Nigeria in terms of investment that investors will run away. That I shouldn’t say we are broke. I should say we are cashed strapped. That was what Ngozi Okonjo Iweala told me. So I knew as chairman of Governor’s forum, that we had gone into recession under Goodluck. I knew as chairman of governor’s forum. 

And when I open my mouth to say it, that we are broke, she spoke to me not to say it.”?he said

 

Abuja- Kaduna Rail Partially Executed By Jonathan- Amaechi

The Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, on Tuesday admitted that the Abuja-Kaduna rail project was partially executed by the Goodluck Jonathan administration, but added that the President Buhari’s government was responsible for executing the final stages that were crucial to the project’s completion.
The line, first of its kind in Nigeria, was commissioned amidst fanfare by Mr. Buhari in Kubwa, a suburb of Abuja and major terminal for the route, on Tuesday.
But no latter had the commissioning ceremony got underway than arguments about who deserved the most credit for what is now widely acknowledged as one of the most consequential improvements to Nigeria’s rail transportation in a long time ensued.
The social media became awash with arguments between supporters of Mr. Buhari, who said he had scored another major developmental achievement barely a year in office, and admirers of Mr. Jonathan, who said the former leader completed the project before leaving office in May 2015.
The PDP released a statement detailing how the project was conceived and completed through counterpart funding by Mr. Jonathan’s administration.
In an apparent bid to douse the tension flaring between the two camps, Mr. Amaechi took to his Twitter handle to weigh in on the matter, saying the project was, in fact, conceived by President Olusegun Obasanjo, who left office nine years ago, and received contributions from successive governments.
“The rail contract was awarded by President Obasanjo, partially executed by President Jonathan and completed by President Buhari,” Mr. Amaechi said.
Mr. Amaechi’s tweet elicited criticism from mostly PDP supporters, who said the minister was being disingenuous.

They said Mr. Amaechi left out the fact that the train project was awarded by Mr. Jonathan in 2011 through counterpart funding with a Chinese construction firm at the rate of $874 million.
The PDP also posted a link to a December 2014 Chinese news report suggesting the project was completed in December 2014, after Mr. Amaechi’s predecessor in the ministry reportedly bolted the last knot on the tracks.
But Mr. Amaechi held his ground, saying a lot of efforts were put into the completion by the APC government.
“The rail stations, the signaling, the communications and part of d tracks were done and completed by the Buhari administration,” he said.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Kachikwu, Amaechi Disagree On Maritime University

The minister of transport, Chibuike Amaechi, and the minister of state for petroleum, Ibeh Kachikwu, on Monday disagreed on the establishment of a Nigerian Maritime University, proposed for Okerenkoko in Delta State.

Speaking alongside other ministers at a government town meeting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Amaechi defended the decision of the Buhari administration to scrap the project.

Mr. Amaechi said the previous administration of Goodluck Jonathan had paid too much to acquire a site for the university.

The groundbreaking of the proposed school at Okerenkoko in Warri south-West local government area was done by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014.

But addressing the senate committee on maritime on January 19, Mr. Amaechi announced the scrapping of the project, which was to be financed by the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Administration Agency, a parastatal under his ministry.

He cited insecurity in the area, and said the project was a “misplacement of priority” because there are transport institutes in Zaria (Kaduna), and Oron (Akwa Ibom), already.

On Monday, Mr. Amaechi address the case again, in response to a question at the town hall meeting.

The minister said the new government lacked the funds to continue with the university project.

Credit: Premiumtimes

FG To Establish National Shipping Line – Amaechi

Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, has said the Federal Government is searching for ways to encourage the establishment of a National Shipping Line to ensure maximum exploitation of the potential in the maritime industry.

Amaechi also said, the Federal government is making efforts at improving business in the country’s maritime sector, especially in the areas of establishing a deep sea port for modern mega ships as well as the establishment of dry ports such as the Kaduna inland dry port among others. Amaechi spoke while delivering a keynote address at the 14th Maritime Seminar for Judges organized by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council(a parastatal under his ministry), in collaboration with the National Judicial Institute, NJI.

According to the Minister, “The present administration is looking into ways of encouraging the establishment of a national shipping line to ensure maximum exploitation of the potentials in our maritime sector. The Federal Government is doing a lot towards improving on the ease of doing business in Nigeria especially in the maritime sector. The Federal Government’s effort towards trade facilitation includes modernization of transport infrastructure such as establishment of deep sea ports to attract the patronage of our seaports by modern mega ships and the establishment of dry ports such as the Kaduna inland dry port and others all over the country to decongest the seaports and facilitate expeditious evacuation of cargo from the seaports among others.”

 

In his own address, Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman Board of Governors of the National Judicial Institute, Justice Mahmud Mohammed said the seminar had contributed immensely to deepening the synergy between the judiciary and the maritime sector as part of the wider reform efforts that would reposition the nation’s judiciary for better justice delivery. Also in his remarks, chairman of the occasion and former Head of State, Chief Ernest Shonekon commended the Nigerian Shippers’ Council and the national judicial institute for healthy collaboration towards nation building. Earlier, President Muhammadu Buhari who was represented by the Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mr. Taiwao Abidoku, described it as welcome development for the organizers of the seminar, to encourage the training of judges and legal practitioners in the field of maritime.

Credit: Vanguard

FG Needs $166bn To Address Transport, Energy Sector – Amaechi

The Federal Government would require 166 billion dollars in the next five years to meet the country’s energy and transport infrastructure needs, the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, said.

The minister made the disclosure at a public hearing in the House of Representatives on a Bill for an Act to Repeal the Nigerian Railway Corporation Act on Monday in Abuja.

The hearing also focused on a bill for an Act to provide for the establishment of three national transport commission.

Amaechi revealed that the Federal Government and General Electric had concluded arrangements for the commercialisation of the Lagos-Kano railway project.

He explained that the measure was intended to guarantee efficiency,  competitiveness and profitability in the sector.

While declaring the public hearing open, Yakubu Dogara, the Speaker, House of Representatives, expressed optimism that if the obsolete Act of the Nigeria Railway Corporation was repealed, Nigerians would enjoy cheaper means of transporting their goods.

He said Nigerians would also enjoy quality services and the incessant damage to roads by heavy duty trucks would be reduced.

The sponsor of the National Transport Commission Bill, Rep. Ncholas Ossai (Delta-PDP), said that the bill would curb revenue loss of about 30 per cent accrued to the federation.

According to him, the loss is due to non-integration in the transport sector.

 

(NAN)

Apologize Or Resign, Senate Tells Amaechi Over Lagos-Calabar Rail Controversy

The Senate has asked the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, to apologise if he fails to prove that the Lagos-Calabar road project was included in the 2016 budget.

Otherwise, Mr. Amaechi should resign forthwith, the senate said in a statement Monday.

The Senate advised the Presidency to come clean with Nigerians on the 2016 Budget and stop engaging in surreptitious campaigns of calumny against the upper legislative chamber, to cover up its serial errors.

Reacting to reports in the media credited to the executive arm of government, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, said in a statement that the National Assembly had bent backwards to wring a coherent document out of the excessively flawed and chaotic versions of the budget proposal submitted to the National Assembly.

“While the executive is mandated to prepare and lay before the National Assembly a proposed budget detailing projects to be executed, it should be made clear that the responsibility and power of appropriation lies with the National Assembly. If the presidency expects us to return the budget proposal to them without any adjustments, then some people must be living in a different era and probably have not come to terms with democracy,” the statement said.

“We make bold to say however, that the said Lagos-Calabar rail project was not included in the budget proposal presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari and we challenge anyone who has any evidence to the contrary to present such to Nigerians.”

“Since the beginning of the 2016 budget process, it is clear that the National Assembly has suffered all manners of falsehood, deliberate distortion of facts, and outright blackmail, deliberately aimed at poisoning the minds of the people against the institution of the National Assembly.

“We have endured this with equanimity in the overall interest of Nigerians. Even when the original submission was surreptitiously swapped and we ended up having two versions of the budget, which was almost incomprehensible and heavily padded in a manner that betrays lack of coordination and gross incompetence, we refused to play to the gallery and instead helped the Executive to manage the hugely embarrassing situation it has brought upon itself; but enough is enough.”

Credit: PremiumTimes

Wike Playing Politics With People’s Lives –Amaechi

The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, has accused the Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Nyesom Wike, of playing politics with the lives of the people of the state.

He also accused Wike of not taking the development of the state seriously.

Amaechi, a former governor of the state, said  this in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.

He accused Wike of  “twisting, butchering and turning the truth upside down; and in most cases telling outright lies in his failed bid to denigrate, tarnish and rubbish his towering image, person and laudable, landmark achievements.

He said that most troubling was Wike’s alleged propensity, without any qualms whatsoever, to play politics with the safety and security of the lives of Rivers people.

This, he said, was indeed most worrisome.

Amaechi said, “It is no secret that Wike plays politics with the development, welfare and well-being of Rivers people.

“But no government should play politics with the safety and security of its citizens like Wike is sadly and shamelessly doing.

“Governor Wike claimed that the brutal political killings and murder of the All Progressives Congress members and other hapless citizens in the state are cult-related or a result of cult clashes.

“What cult wars is he talking about? Since he claimed to have security reports, we challenge Wike to tell Rivers people the cult group that Franklin Obi, the APC Ward Chairman in Omoku, belongs to, that led to his being gruesomely beheaded and butchered, alongside his pregnant wife and teenage son.

“Or did Franklin suddenly become a cult member because he had the guts and courage to host a resoundingly successful ward meeting of APC faithful in the same ward as Wike’s Peoples Democratic Party State chairman, Felix Obuah, just a few days to the rerun elections?”

The former governor challenged Wike to tell Nigerians  the cult groups and the cult wars that led to the killing of the innocent youth corper, Chukwudumeibi Okonta, on the day of the last rerun election on March 19.

“Was the youth corper a cultist or a victim of cult wars or yet another victim of politically-motivated killings in Rivers State?,” he asked.

He also said that  Wike must tell Rivers people the cult wars that led to the brutal murder of hundreds of Rivers people since the election that made him governor was held, and the cult groups that all those that had been murdered, belong to.

He said that Wike’s cult wars/cultists claim was akin to insulting and spitting on the graves and memories of all those murdered and their families.

Amaechi said, “With pity, we watched as Wike tried to compare the political killings of the late Okonta and Independent National Electoral Commission ad hoc staff on the rerun  election day in Rivers State to the fire accident that occurred at the home of the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner  in Kano State days after the elections of 2015.

“How pathetic! Even for Wike, this is a new low.”

On the Rivers Monorail project Amaechi started, which Wike said that he would abandon, the former governor said Wike needed to know that the monorail belongs to Rivers State and not his “Amaechi’s” private monorail.

He said, “Pray, Governor Wike, which Rivers people told you not to touch the monorail project? Is it the same Rivers people that have consistently praised the project and see it as a catalyst to jump-start the local economy and place the state at the forefront of transport infrastructural development in Africa?

“Or is Wike aggregating the jaundiced views of the coterie of court-jesters that hang around him daily, as the opinion of the entire people of the state?

“It is sad, very sad that Wike has elected to play politics with this laudable project that was almost completed before Amaechi left office.”

He said that  Wike also described several ongoing projects in the state when he (Amaechi) left office as ‘abandoned projects’ that the former governor claimed to have completed or about to complete.

The former governor said Wike specifically mentioned the Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo Unity Road that connects the Island of Opobo to Andoni and the rest of the state.

“What a shameless lie! This project was ongoing and was almost completed as at May 29, 2015. May we also remind Wike that the Eagle Island- Diobu Road that he once claimed to have been abandoned was 90 per cent completed with just the final course of coal tar remaining as at when he succeeded Amaechi,” the former governor added.

PDP Commences Committal Proceedings Against Amaechi, Army Chiefs, Others

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State has asked a High Court sitting in Port Harcourt to commit the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonishakin, and Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen Tukur Buratai, to prison for deploying soldiers during the March 19 rerun elections in defiance of a court order.

Others included in the committal proceedings are the Commander of the 2 Army Brigade, Port Harcourt, Brigadier General Stephenson Olabanji, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and Rivers State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr Aniedi Ikoiwak.

Reacting to the development, Amaechi, who said last night that he was unaware of the matter in court, as he had not been served the process, however, described the move by the PDP as “frivolous, ridiculous and laughable”, promising to meet the party in court.

The ruling party in the state and its chairman, Mr. Felix Obuah, sought for the relief in a motion of notice filed by their solicitor, Kingsley Chuku, before the state High Court registry on March 22.

The motion was bought pursuant to Order XIV of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure), Rules 2009 under the jurisdiction of the state High Court.

The Rivers PDP and its chairman had earlier in a Suit No PHC/601/2016, filed before the state High Court by Mr. Chuku, secured a court injunction restraining Amaechi, the army and the federal government from deploying soldiers during the rerun elections.

Joined as respondents in the suit then were Amaechi (1st), Chief of Defence Staff (2nd), Chief of Army Staff (3rd), Brigadier General Steve Olabanji, Brigade Commander, 2nd Amphibious Brigade, Bori Camp, Port Harcourt (4th), INEC (5th), REC, Rivers State (6th), the Governor of Rivers State (7th) and the Government of Nigeria (8th).

Justice George Omereji of High Court 13 subsequently, in a judgment on March 16, granted an interim injunction restraining the respondents from deploying soldiers for the exercise, in line with the fundamental rights of the applicants.

Credit: Thisday

Amaechi, Fayemi, Others Want Youths In Politics

Nigerian youths have been tasked to participate more in the political system of Nigeria in order to witness a developmental growth under the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal government. Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, who gave the admonition at the weekend in Akure, the Ondo State capital, said the importance of youths to Nigeria democratic system cannot be shunned.

Amaechi, who was also represented by the Senator representing Ondo Central Senatorial district, Ajayi Borroffice, noted that the youths would not be neglected in the present government of the APC. The Minister spoke at a youth programme tagged: “The Roles of the Youth as Progressive Change Agents” organised by All Progessives Congress (APC) Youth League, Southwest Zone of the country. He said that more participation of the youths in the politics would help enhance them to map out strategies and ideas that could fast-track the change mantra of the All progressives Congress led government. “We need more youths in all legislative houses both at state level and federal level because they are agents of progressive change”

Amaechi said. He added that over 70 per cent of Nigerians were youths who have various potentials and could contribute to the development of the country but expressed dismay that most of them were unemployed. The Transport Minister, however, noted that the incumbent All Progressives Congress at the federal level was fully determined to make amendment and provide more jobs for the youths in the country. “If we do not start to build on youths now for future, then Nigeria will be in danger and it is left for our leaders to use youths in driving development and goals.

“There are characteristics of youths that must be employed to make the future brighter,” he said. Earlier, Minister of Mine and Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said that the youths should constitute themselves into opinion groups that would shape the country for better. Fayemi, who was represented by Mr Abiodun Omoleye, added that they should prepare for leadership role and not be used as political thugs, saying that they should stand up for their right because leadership starts now.

The Southwest coordinator of APC Youth League, Adeoye Aribasoye, stated that youths should not be used and dumped by politicians after election but be engaged in profitable business that could promote enhance their potentials.

Credit: DailyTimes

There Would Be No Elections In Rivers Until The State Is Conducive To Conduct Elections – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commssion, INEC, has said that it will not return to Rivers until the state is conducive to conduct elections.

We won’t return to Rivers until there is peace, Mr Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, INEC’s Director of Voter Education and Publicity said while revealing that INEC had scheduled a meeting for tomorrow to review the situation in Rivers.

It would be recalled that the commission annulled the election in eight local government areas and also suspended collation of results after declaring few results.

PDP Leader, Emma Anyanwu Disowns Son Loyal To Amaechi

A Chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Etche Local government area, Chief Emma Anyanwu has disowned his first son, Charles Anyawu for allegedly leading a military raid on his home and community in Ulakwo.

Chief Anyanwu at a media briefing in his home town of Etche accused the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi for ‘misleading’ his son.

Charled Anyanwu has been estranged with his father. He was appointed a Special Adviser to former Governor, Rotimi Amaechi. After the founding of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Charles
abandoned his father in the PDP to join Amaechi in the APC.

Amaechi also appointed Charles as the Caretaker Committee Chairman of Etche Local government area after which he was arrested along with 5 others for illegal possession of fire arms where they were arraigned at the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt.

However, The PDP Chieftain, Emma Anyanwu who is also a veteran journalist said, “I want to re-emphasize that Charles is no longer my son. He led the military into my house. But that is not even the case. He led the military to pull down the Ulakwo town hall which I owe my allegiance. He has been disowned for his behaviour. For destroying the town hall, he remains disowned. He doesn’t possess the qualities of the Anyanwu family. He has been stripped of all his rights,” he said.

Source: DailyPost.ng

‘Wike Lacks Capacity To Govern Rivers State’ – Amaechi

Former Rivers State governor and Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has accused his successor, governor Nyesom  Wike of lacking the political will and capacity to govern Rivers State.

Amaechi stated this on Sunday at an APC rally in Rumueme, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, ahead of the state and national assembly elections on Saturday.

Amaechi said, “Wike lacks capacity to govern. Somebody who just knows how to steal money is a bushman. Wike said, am corrupt. He should bring evidence to show. I will bring evidence to show that Wike is corrupt. Wike did the Rukpoku/ Eneka road during my tenure he did not complete it. I
gave Wike the contracts to do all the roads around Aristle House(a hotel in GRA) but he failed to do them, I gave him fourteen schools to give to Obio/Akpor people, he stole them, he lacks character”.

Also speaking on the security situation in the state, Amaechi said, “When I was the governor, one thing that I kept thinking of was how to chase these criminals away but under Nyesom Wike, he meets with them. If Wike does not secure you people, the federal government will secure you. If he doesn’t want to be ignored he should go and secure you people because federal government will no longer tolerate these killings in Rivers State.

Amaechi further told his supporters not to be intimidated by Wike’s threats and come out to vote APC at Saturday’s election.

Saturday is your day, come out and vote.They will no longer have the Police they had, they will no longer have the Army they had, we pray that INEC should be neutral, your job is to match out and vote for APC ,we will not write results like Nyesom Wike , so go back to your wards and do door to door”.

Also, in Akuku/Toru local government area, Amaechi told his party supporters to be courageous in exercising their franchise without fear of intimidation

“You see, it is not enough to provide security because if there are no votes we will lose, the implication therefore is that all of you must come out and vote for APC so that we will win the election.”,he said.

Amaechi had earlier paid condolence to the family of slain APC stalwart  Mr. Ofirite Amachree who was killed and burnt beyond recognition by unknown gunmen in Buguma.

Amaechi has also pledged to assist families of slain All Progressives Congress (APC) members in Omoku, Ogba,Egbema/Ndoni local government area of  Rivers state.

Amaechi gave the assurance at the weekend when he visited families of late Frankline Obi and late Chukwuladi Adiela in Omoku, Rivers State.

The late Frankline Obi was the APC chairman of ward 4 and was killed and beheaded by unknown gunmen alongside his pregnant wife and son while late Chukwuladi Adiela was an APC stalwart of ward 14.

Addressing the deceased families, the Minister said, “The President is aware of the death of your son who was our party ward chairman. I personally gave him the photograph of the beheaded body. Everybody must learn to give account of their action or inaction in Omoku. We can’t have police and be experiencing this kind of thing. Internal security is the responsibility of the police so if we have police and keep experiencing this in Omoku it means the police in Rivers State has failed and the people that are been killed are mostly APC members”, he said.

Amaechi  also told the bereaved families that the president was aware of the killings in Omoku and promised that full investigation will be carried out to unravel the killers.

“The President is fully aware of the situation. I was the governor of this state and Omoku wasn’t this bad Stay clear they will kill more. The police can’t claim not to know who the people are because I was governor, the police worked with me, we knew where the criminals were and we went after them.”

Amaechi also assured the people that arrangements have been made to beef up security ahead of the State and National Assembly re- run elections in the state.

“There will be enough security on the election day, there will be enough security to protect lives.

Railways Will Generate 250,000 Jobs– Amaechi

The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi has said the upcoming Lagos to Kano and Lagos to Calabar standard gauge lines will generate at least 250,000 direct and indirect jobs.
The contracts for both lines are expected to be awarded this year as N120 billion has been proposed in the 2016 budget as counterpart funding.

The bulk of the financing will come from China EXIM Bank. The minister made this known to reporters in Abuja after an inspection train ride on Saturday from Kaduna to Abuja. He said the 186km Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge track will cost about $1 billion and when operational, will see commuters travel to Kaduna from Abuja in just about one and half hours.
According to him, this would even make some Nigerians live in Kaduna and work in Abuja. The minister also disclosed that the narrow gauge rail line from Lagos to Kano will be concessioned to General Electric (GE) if the current discussions end successfully.
He also assured that Nigerians will be trained both in operations and maintenance on the project.
“Key to me and the ministry is that, training must start today. CCECC has to train Nigerians who will take over both in operations and maintenance so they don’t dump technology on us. It’s not every time a train goes bad that you go to China to fix it,” he said.
Credit: DailyTrust

Abuja-Kaduna Train For Launch May– Amaechi

The minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said the Abuja-Kaduna rail project is 100 per cent completed and will be launched in May.

Mr. Amaechi announced this at Idu, Abuja, on Thursday, while inspecting the project along with the contractors, China Civil Engineering Construction Company.

According to him, before the launch by President Muhammadu Buhari, the rail would be test-run in March, adding that during that period, passengers will board for free.

“The essence of my tour is to enable us assess whether we are ready for commercial activities and I think we are. I will be travelling from Abuja to Kaduna tomorrow through the rail.

“In March, they should start the test-run of the rail services for free, then the proper commercial activity will start in May, where we expect the president to flag-off the use of coaches,” he said.

He said N150 billion would be used to execute the national rail project, with another N60 billion for the Lagos-Kano standard gauge and yet another N60 billion for the Lagos-Calabar project.

Credit:PremiumTimes

Rotimi Amaechi Replies Nyesom Wike Over $150m Allegation

Read the press statement below..

Sadly, on Sunday, February 7, 2016, Nyesom Wike, the governor of Rivers State in furtherance of his administration’s one-point agenda, yet again, continued his grossly irresponsible, repugnant and contemptuous, albeit, feckless mission of denigrating and disparaging the person and office of the immediate past governor of the state, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, who is now the minister of transportation.

The ‘story-story’ this time is about another phantom $150,000,000(One Hundred and Fifty Million Dollars) that Amaechi purportedly stole from Rivers State government coffers and siphoned to his party, the All Progressives Congress(APC) within eighteen days, from December 1 to 18 of 2014. Sadly again, Wike picked a church, a sacred temple of God to tell his new imaginary tale, another bogus, fallacious concoction.

This new scurrilous fabrication by Governor Wike is in sync with the one-point agenda of the Wike administration, which is to throw as much mud as possible at former governor Amaechi, hoping that some may at least stick. All sorts of spurious stories about alleged corruption and stealing of state funds against the Amaechi administration, have been bandied in the media with no attempt to substantiate or prove these distorted false claims that completely makes nonsense of common sense.

Even, when Amaechi challenged the Wike administration and its agents to use any constitutionally available legal process or procedure to prove their jaundice, deceitful allegations against him and his administration, they have rather elected to do their own corruption probe, trial and conviction in the media; and now, even inside our solemn places of worship (churches). How callous! Why would a government be so determined to desecrate and destroy every institution, all in the name of playing politics?

It continues to baffle us, like most right-thinking Nigerians that Governor Wike will stand in a church- a solemn place of worship- and carelessly, brusquely tell such a profound lie. He condescendingly descended to falsely and indecorously shout corruption against Amaechi, without providing a single shred of evidence to back his claims. How pathetic!

Pray, Governor Wike, who collected the $150million on behalf of APC? From which State Government account(s) was the $150million taken from? How was the $150million taken and given to APC? Was it by wired transfer from Rivers State government account(s) to APC account(s)?  So many questions, if Wike had attempted to answer, would have made nonsense of his supercilious allegations.

Rivers people and Nigerians are indeed sick and tired of this old worn-out trick of Governor Wike to hoodwink and distract Rivers people from the real issues. Making a new spurious allegation of corruption against Amaechi every day, will not make Rivers people forget that most of the beautiful, working institutions built by the Amaechi administration are now been allowed to rot away in spite of the billions of naira that had accrued to the State and the billions of naira borrowed by Wike. Rivers people want to know why weeds and grasses have taken over the beautiful schools built by Amaechi? Why the standard working health facilities Amaechi built and left behind are now looking desolate and abandoned? Rivers people are concerned and worried that crime and criminals are back and have taken over. No quantum of mudslinging and attempt to disparage the inspiring legacies of the Amaechi years in Rivers State would distract Rivers people from these issues.

Reps Uncover 169 Ghost Companies On N1trn Rail Contracts

THE House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on Failed Rail Contracts, yesterday, unearthed 169 ghost companies that registered as contractors with the Nigeria Railway Corporation, NRC, for projects valued at N1 trillion.

The ad hoc committee raised the alarm yesterday, during the investigative hearing at the National Assembly, that none of the 169 companies invited by the committee had shown up.

Chairman of the committee, Johnson Agbonnayinman, (Ikpoba/Okha federal constituency), said the need to invite the contractors was important, but lamented that efforts to reach them had so far proven fruitless.

He added that so far only the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, CCECC, responded to the committee’s letter.

According to him, “you are duty bound to produce the contractors. They are nowhere to be found; they are not faceless but yet they cannot be reached.

Rotimi Amaechi
Rotimi Amaechi

“You gave them the job, so you should produce them; we are holding you responsible.”

The committee also asked the corporation’s MD, Mr. Adeseyi Sijuwade, to make available the agency’s record of Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, between 2010 and 2014, and was also asked to tell the committee what the IGR was used for.

In response, the MD said the IGR was used to augment the agency’s overhead budget.

Nigeria To Commence Rail Transportation Of Petroleum Products – Rotimi Amaechi

Minister of Transport, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, on Tuesday, declared that the Buhari administration would commence the rail transportation of petroleum products to selected parts of the country before the end of the first quarter of 2016.

He made this known at the hearing on rail contracts awarded between 2010 and 2015, by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, conducted by the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on railway contract scam.

Amaechi disclosed that the development would decongest the number of heavy trucks and tankers that convey petroleum products that ply the nation’s highways.
“As from this first quarter, we should be able to begin to move petroleum products from Lagos by rail up to the north, so as to reduce the impact of trailers and tankers on our roads”, Amaechi said.

He added that the ministry would focus on completing the construction of the Lagos to Kano and Lagos to Calabar railway lines with a view to developing a faster railway system.

The minister gave an assurance that if the ministry got the loan to finance the project from the China-Nexim Bank, it would speed up the completion of a standard gauge railway track.

According to Amaechi, before the end of 2016, trains would start running on the Kaduna-Abuja standard gauge line, which is currently near completion.

Besides, he said that the ministry will harness the potentials in the railway sector to create employment and ensure the easy movement of goods across the country.

Alleged N1trn Rail Contracts Scam: Reps Invite Amaechi, NRC MD, Others

Members of the adhoc committee of the House of Representatives on failed rail contracts have summoned the Minister of Transport, Mr Rotimi Amaechi; Managing Director of Nigeria Railway Corporation, NRC, Seyi Sijuwade; former Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr Mohammed Bello Haliru; and former Minister of Transport, Idris Umar, to explain their roles in the alleged N1 trillion rail contracts scam.

The adhoc committee is headed by Ehoizuwa Johnson Agbonayinma, PDP, Ikpoba/Oha Federal Constituency. They are expected to appear before the committee tomorrow  during the investigative hearing.

Chairman of the adhoc committee, Agbonayinma, confirmed that all the stakeholders had been duly informed and were expected to show up unfailingly tomorrow.

Asked why the Minister of Transport was invited, despite the fact that he is barely three months old in office, Agbonayinma said:  “The Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, was also invited to tell us all he knows, though he just assumed office but you know government is a continuum.

“This 8th House is 100 per cent in support of President Muhammadu Buhari’s crusade against any form of corruption.

“We are not out to witch-hunt anybody but anyone found wanting in the course of this investigative hearing will be adequately exposed although as you are aware, not until it is proven by a competent court that such persons are guilty you can’t say they are guilty.”

Credit: Vanguard

Amaechi Orders FAAN To Erect Befitting Headquarters

Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, on Wednesday directed the management of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria to erect an appropriate and befitting headquarters within the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos for itself.

Mr. Amaechi, accompanied by the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, and some key management staff of the agency, gave the directive at the FAAN’s headquarters. He gave the order shortly before embarking on a tour of the airport’s facilities. He said the present FAAN’s headquarters was not a befitting office.

Mr. Amaechi, who expressed his discomfort with what he observed, wondered why FAAN, despite its huge revenue-profile, could not build a befitting office for itself since its establishment.

He said that safety was not negotiable and that it should not be toyed with, adding that after safety, the next thing that should be discussed and uppermost to FAAN should be an appropriate office space.

“From what I have observed, this is not a befitting edifice and office that should house FAAN workers. Once we have discussed safety, the next thing should be the construction of new FAAN office,” he said.

Credit: PremiumTimes

FG To Create 7 New Railway Corridors To Expand Train Services – Amaechi

FG to create 7 new railway corridors to expand train services
The Federal Government is to create seven more rail corridors of standard gauge railways in the country, the Minister of Transportation, Mr Chibuike Amaechi, has said.

 

Amaechi made the plan known in Port Harcourt at the inauguration of Port Harcourt – Aba Mass Transit Train Services.

 

He said the initiative was a public-private-partnership which sought to modernise and expand railway transportation across the country.

 

“This initiative is aimed at remodelling and redevelopment of our major railway stations within the country.

 

“Under the rail modernisation programme, government will open new railway lines to achieve an efficient rail network.

 

“The Ministry of Transportation has carried out feasibility studies to create seven additional rail corridors of standard gauge railways under the public-private-partnership initiative,” he said.

 

Amaechi said that government would soon sponsor five bills for passage into law by the National Assembly to enable effective private sector participation in the transport sector.

 

The minister said that the bills included the Nigerian Railway Authority Bill; National Transport Commission Bill, National Port and Harbour Authority Bill and the National Inland Waterways Authority Bill.

 

Earlier, Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia said the Port Harcourt-Aba train service would boost economic activities and reduce pressure on federal roads in the area.

 

Represented by his deputy, Mr Ude Okochukwu, Ikpeazu called on the Federal Government to extend the train services to Ovim through Aba-Omoba-Mbawsi-Umuahia-Uzoakoli-Ovim axis in Abia.

 

He said the Abia Government was willing to partner the Federal Government to rehabilitate the rail tracks on the route and buy coaches that would ply the route.

 

Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers, represented by Mrs Ebere Wigwe, the Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Transport, said the project would ease traffic and reduce accidents on the roads.

 

 

(NAN)

FG To Earn More Revenue From Aviation Sector– Amaechi

Nigeria’s new Transport Minister, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, yesterday said the Federal Government was expecting more revenue inflows from its various parastatals in the aviation industry given its massive investments in acquisition and deployment of state-of-the-art technologies in the industry.

Amaechi, who undertook a tour of the agencies based in Lagos Tuesday, commended the CEOs and managements of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Accident and Investigation Bureau (AIB) for staying steadfast and committed to the cause of boosting the infrastructure in the industry with allocations granted by the government and those generated internally.

He specifically commended the agencies for the installation of safety critical equipment in every airport across the country. The Minister said matched with the level of revenue or incomes, the state of infrastructure in the aviation industry was better than that of some of its counterparts in the maritime sector.

“With what I have seen here today, it shows that Nigerian aviation industry can be compared to any developed ones anywhere in the world.”

Amaechi said, “the government should be commended for what it has done recently. What we saw in NIMASA was nothing to write home about when you compare the money they earn and the facilities you see on ground,” he added.

Credit: Sun

Amaechi Orders 48 Hours Cargo Clearance

The Minister of Transport and former Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, on Tuesday urged maritime agencies in Nigeria to ensure their operations are in line with the 48 hours international cargo clearance policy.

Mr Amaechi made the statement in Lagos State while on an assessment tour of facilities in some parastatals attached to the Transport Ministry.

The Minister also called for the implementation of reforms in all units of maritime agencies.

At the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Resource Centre Mr Amaechi made an on-the-spot assessment of facilities and expressed displeasure with the state of disrepair of Equipment at NIMASA office.

“If NIMASA has the responsibility for security, protection, including search and rescue, then we are yet to begin.

“With the kind of money I hear they have spent, they should have at least gotten equipment for search and rescue,” the Minister said, decrying the state of the equipment he saw.

Credit: ChannelsTV

Amaechi Orders Probe Of Maritime Academy Over N18bn Remittances

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has ordered a probe into the financial activities of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Akwa Ibom State and N18 billion remittances to the institution by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in the last five years. Amaechi gave the order following allegations of financial recklessness and large scale fraud leveled against the academy’s rector, Joshua Okpo.

The academy’s rector had recently approached Amaechi to accuse NIMASA of starving the institute of Funds. Amaechi immediately called for a meeting with the management of NIMASA and enquired from them why it was sitting on the subvention of MAN, Oron.

This claim was however refuted by NIMASA’s acting DG, Haruna Jauro who told Amaechi that the agency had remitted over N18 billion to the academy since 2009. At the enquiry of the minister, the MAN rector, Okpo said he only took over in 2011 to which NIMASA declared that a sum of N13 billion was remitted to the institution since the rector took over. When asked what he had done with the N13 billion remitted to the academy since he took over as Rector, Okpo kept giving incoherent and inconsistent answers. This made Amaechi to immediately call for a probe.

PDP Senators Reject Confirmation Proceedings For Amaechi, Others

A mild drama ensued at the Senate plenary session yesterday when PDP senators refused to second a motion for the adoption of votes and proceedings of the Senate’s sitting last week Thursday October 29th. The PDP senators had staged a walkout on the said day during the confirmation process for former Rivers state governor, Rotimi Amaechi.

At yesterday’s sitting, Senate President Bukola Saraki called on Sen. Isiaka Adeleke (APC) to move the motion for the adoption of votes and proceedings of the Senate from last week’s sitting which he, Adeleke, did.

Saraki then called on PDP senator, Peter Nwaoboshi to second Adeleke’s motion. This he refused to do, stating that he was not at the sitting.

“My President, I will not be able to second the motion because I was not at the plenary to know what was done.”he said

When Saraki noticed that none of the PDP senators were willing to second the motion, he called on APC Senator Ibrahim Gobir to second the motion.

PDP Senators Reject Amaechi’s Confirmation

There was a mild drama yesterday during Senate plenary when Senators from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) refused to support the approval of the votes and proceedings of last week Thursday.

PDP Senators had walked out of the Chamber when their All Progressives Congress (APC) counterparts subdued them to confirm a former governor of Rivers State, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, as a minister.

Amaechi was accused by the state government of mismanagement of the resources when he was governor. On that basis, the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions investigated the claim and recommended that the Senate should not confirm him (Amaechi) since the matter was still pending in court.

After intense dialogue, persuasion and disagreements, the ruling party confirmed him, demonstrating that in democracy, minority will always have their say and the majority will have their way.

Credit: Sunonline

Why PDP Senators Staged Walkout Over Amaechi

A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from Niger State, Alhaji Abubakar Abdullahi Aliyu, has given insight into the reason why the party’s senators walked out of the Senate in protest against the confirmation of former governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State as minister designate.

The party chieftain, popularly known as AA Aliyu, said the PDP was still pained by the defection of the former governor to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2013.

He said with his confirmation, Senate President Bukola Saraki had proved his critics wrong, stressing that the Senate president has shown that he places national interest above any other interest.

He said:  “The screening of former governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi and his subsequent confirmation has clearly shown that the era of impunity in over.

“There is no doubt that the case against Amaechi is politically motivated. He is not guilty of any act of corruption or wrongdoing. His offence stems from the fact that he decamped from the PDP ahead of the 2015 general elections for lack of internal democracy and any clear agenda for the development of the country.

“Therefore, the decision of the PDP senators to walk out from the session, where Amaechi was confirmed as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, was an indication that Amaechi offended the PDP and not the nation.”

He added, “Amaechi’s case is not different from other PDP members who also defected to the APC for the same reason. A similar case was that of a former deputy governor of Niger State, Alhaji Ahmed Musa Ibeto, who left the PDP for the APC and worked very hard, using his resources and time to deliver Niger State for the APC.

“So, Amaechi like the APC National Leader, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, are real heroes of the Nigerian democracy. While Amaechi was the Director General of APC Presidential Campaign Organisation, Tinubu ensured that the states in the South-West geo-political zone worked for the APC in the last general elections. Both Tinubu and Amaechi were persecuted by the PDP before the APC won the last general elections, becoming the key figures in the governing party in Nigeria.”

Credit: DailyTrust

Presidency Opens Up About Senate’s Screening Of Amaechi , Others

The presidency yesterday expressed happiness that former governor of Rivers State, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, was eventually screened by the Senate, after three postponements due to petitions written against his nomination by concerned petitioners.

Briefing Senate correspondents over the screening , the Senior Special Assistant   to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, said that there was nothing wrong in the senate’s screening process on Amaechi.

Enang, a former member of the PDP, noted that the constitution allows the legislative arm of government to regulate its own proceedings at any given time and in whatever circumstances.

He said: “They (senators) are within their constitutional rights to regulate their own proceedings.

The constitution authorises the Senate and the House of Representatives, and every legislative   house to regulate its own proceedings, including managing matters that are brought before them.

“Therefore, what the Senate did on Amaechi’s screening last week, is domestic to the Senate, and I   am not in a position to speak about it; but they are within their constitutional rights. What they do is domestic to them and internal to them and it is within their powers. So, I am not in a   position to speak in one way or the other about it”.

Credit: Leadership

Tony Ademiluyi: Amaechi; At Last

Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has always been rugged and dogged and seems to always come out of his political fights unscathed with his adversaries being made to continually lick their wounds. His ability to always bounce back after all seems to have been lost confounds even the most optimistic of his die-hard supporters.

In 1999, his position as the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly was shaky as his opponent, Uchenna Okwukwu took him to court. Amaechi lost the case and it seemed the nunc dimitis had set in for the then 34 year old politician who had earlier been personal assistant to Peter Odili while the latter was the Rivers State Deputy Governor and special assistant on student matters to Rufus Ada George. Hope came for the Ikwerre born former student leader when the appeal was upturned in his favour and he went on to become a two time chairman of the Speakers forum at a time when his then colleagues were being yanked off like flies.

In 2006, he was clearly the favourite to succeed Dr. Peter Odili. He had been loyal to him for close to two decades and had paid his dues in the game laden with high wire intrigues. Like the pundits predicted, he won the party primaries with an extremely wide margin and then the unexpected happened. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on a visit to the state said his victory had a ‘k-leg’ and an overnight substitution of his name was done with his cousin’s Celestine Omehia replacing his. Odili was forced to turn his back on his loyal godson as an open or tacit support for him would spell doom for his much vaunted presidential or vice-presidential campaign which was gaining momentum at the time. Amaechi was now clearly on his own as many of his friends and allies jumped ship hearkening to the age long maxim that in the game of politics, there are only permanent interests and not friends or foes. He and his family were forced to seek refuge in Ghana when his usurper cousin held sway in Brick House, Port Harcourt. Ironically, the present Governor Nyesom Ezebunwo Wike who is now his arch enemy stood by him and was his Man Friday in his bid to get justice done. October 25 was a water shed day in the history of both the judiciary and politics as he was declared Governor even though he didn’t physically contest the elections.

His eight year was marred with controversies as he battled Jonathan till he did the unthinkable by not only defecting to the then opposition APC but led the onslaught against the agenda to kick out Jonathan by being Buhari’s campaign director.  Getting him to stand before the Senate to be screened as a minister obviously in compensation for his role was akin to getting an elephant to pass through the eye of a needle. There was a damning petition against him by the Integrity Group bordering on financial impropriety and gross misconduct while he was the state’s helmsman. His name was passed over thrice with different theories being bandied around. Some opined his grouse with Wike was what was responsible, others held that public opinion will swing against him and would make Buhari who had sold himself as an anti-corruption crusader to withdraw his name like he did to Alhaji Musa Ibeto, former Deputy Governor of Niger State.

In the end he was the first to get screened on October 22, 2015. His dressing was different from his usual attire with his making reference to it as he said he was dressed for peace. The minority leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio fired the first salvo when he said the PDP Senators would refrain from asking him questions as they had not had the time to study the report brought against him. After all this weeks? What were they possibly doing? Was it all planned as Amaechi was once part of them? The Senate Leader, Ali Ndume wanted him to take a bow and go since he was a former legislator albeit on the state level. His opinion was greeted with many cheers from some of his colleagues but Saraki insisted on his answering some questions.

He cleared the air on the panel report and said he was never indicted by it and got the chamber roaring when he said he had never taken a bribe in his life as he defined the hydra-headed monster of corruption. He harped on the need for a diversified economy with great attention being paid to agriculture and solid minerals. He expressed his grief at the high cost of doing business in the country and reiterated the need for more stable power supply. If made the Minister for the Niger Delta, his first task would be to complete the long abandoned east-west road as it was an economic gateway for the country as a whole. He made a surreptitious support for a state police as he never saw the Rivers State Commissioner of Police for three years while he was Governor which makes a mockery of the constitutional provision that designates the Governor as the chief security officer of the state. I expected one of the senators to ask him why he shut down the law courts for well over a year as that action casts doubts as to whether he truly believes in the rule of law. It shows his lack of conflict management skills and how would he possibly manage the corruption and crisis ridden bureaucracy which he is being touted to head?

His grilling which lasted for about fifty minutes was more of a soft landing for him as the questions were not as power packed as one would have expected since his nomination generated so much dust and controversy. Its sure that his confirmation is a done deal if his antecedents are anything to go by. He has crossed the Rubicon. We just hope he concentrates on his job and doesn’t get distracted in another needless battle with Wike as he sometimes allows his emotions get the better of him.

Good luck!

TONY ADEMILUYI

Views expressed are solely that of author and does not represent views of www.omojuwa.com nor its asociates

“One Thing Is To Screen Amaechi, The Other Thing Is To Be Confirmed” – Rivers State Senator

Senator George Sekibo from Rivers state says that it’s one thing to screen Rotimi Amaechi, and it’s another thing for to be confirmed by members of the senate. Senator Sekibo and the two other PDP senators from Rivers state are against Amaechi’s nomination as a minister:

“The issue is not either to be screened or not to be screened. The issue is to be confirmed or not to be confirmed. They are two different issues. We cannot stop him from being screened but our plea is already before the senate. I don’t want to repeat it, it is before the senate. We have said it before the nation; it is in the court of the Nigerian people. The senators have the power to agree to what they want to agree to and to reject what they want to reject because it is not an individual matter, it’s not a personal matter, it’s a national matter.”he told NTA.

Drama As Amaechi Finally Enters Senate Chamber For Screening

After weeks of high-wired politics, former Governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, on Thursday, finally was received into the hallowed chamber of the Senate to be screened as a ministerial nominee by Senators.

Amaechi was led into the chamber by Chairman of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Odigie Oyegun and Speacial Adviser to the President on National Assembly (Senate), Sen. Ita Enang.

This came, following the formal receipt by the Senate of report of the Sen Samuel Anyanwu-led Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition, over a petition bordering on allegations of fraudulent practices during his tenure as the governor of the state.

The petition against Amaechi was sent to the Senate by an anti-corruption group, Integrity Group.

Drama, however, ensued when Senators of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by Sen. Godswill Akpabio raised a point of order, stating that content of the report of the Senator Anyanwu-led committee should have been made known to the Senate, before Amaechi’s screening.

Akpabio noted that the PDP-caucus in the Senate had reached a resolution not to ask Amaechi questions.

By this statement, the Senate was thrown into a frenzy, even as Senate Leader, Ali Ndume pointed that being a former lawmaker, Amaechi should be allowed to take bow.

Source – Vanguardngr.com

We Supported Buhari Because Of Amaechi, Say Ex-Militants

A group of former militants in the Niger-Delta region, under the platform of the Niger-Delta Coalition, has called on the Senate to screen the former Rivers state governor, Mr. Rotimi Ameachi as minister, saying that he was their support for President Muhammadu Buhari.

The ex-militants, led by their president, Mr. Young Piero and secretary, Toriomo Excel, said on Tuesday, in Abuja, that Amaechi was the ‘Lion of Niger Delta’ and that he represented the ‘Change’ the All Progressives Congress (APC) stood for.

The militants said, “It is time for the Senate to recognised him and some others who worked for the peace enjoyed during the last general election. The Niger Delta Coalition does not see any reason why he (Ameachi) has not been screened by the Senate. He is a leader, a coach, an instructor, a mobiliser and a motivator who put his life, family and the lives of many that believed in the struggle to bring about the change Nigeria is talking about today”.

Read Moredailytimes

Amaechi Denies Visiting Saraki’s Residence

Former governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, said he did not storm the residence of Senate President Bukola Saraki, last Thursday, to protest the deferment of his screening by the Senate as a ministerial nominee.

A statement by Amaechi’s media office, signed by David Iyofor yesterday, said    a national daily in its lead story of Monday, claimed that the former governor  staged a protest, last Thursday, at Saraki’s house for not being screened by the Senate, stressing it was untrue.

“This is absolutely not true. There is a deliberate and carefully calibrated attempt to characterize Amaechi with a very bad and demeaning mannerism.

We must clarify that Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi did not visit and was not at the residence of the Senate president on Thursday,  last week.

“We must emphasise that former Governor Amaechi holds the office of the President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in very high esteem and will never disrespect or act in anyway that would put the office in disrepute.

“However, in this case, the incident reported never occurred either on Thursday or any other day,” the statement said.

Credit: DailyTrust

Why Senate Dropped Amaechi From Ministerial Screening List

Former governor of Rivers state Rotimi Amaechi was dropped from ministerial screening at the last minute on Tuesday because lawmakers had resolved to have thorough screening of nominees, chairman of Senate ad-hoc committee on communication Senator Dino Melaye has said.

Four other nominees earlier listed were also dropped by the Senate.

Speaking to Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) during a live broadcast of proceedings at the red chambers monitored by Daily Trust reporter, Melaye said a decision had been reached to screen eight nominees today but that “after meetings by principal officers of the Senate, yesterday evening (Monday) and today (Tuesday), the Senate resolved to follow the demand of Nigerians who want a more thorough screening exercise”.

He said the senate has observed that “Nigerians have been complaining that the senate was rushing” the confirmation hearing.

Melaye said as a result of the new position to cut down on the number of nominees to be screened “to three or four per day,” the report by the senate’s ethics and public petition committee which was stepped down which is expected to pave the way for the screening of Amaechi and Aisha Mohammed.

Read More: dailytrust

 

Senate Decides On Amaechi, Aisha Today

The Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions will today submit its report on the petitions against the nomination of former governor of Rivers State Rotimi Amaechi and Ms. Aisha Abubakar from Sokoto State as ministers.

The report of the committee, which is expected to be debated on the floor of Senate chamber, will determine the fate of Amaechi and Aisha.

Reports say that screening of Amaechi, who was among the first set of ministerial nominees sent to the upper chamber, was stepped down twice. Only he and Barrister Adebayo Shittu, the nominee from Oyo State, are yet to be screened among the first set of nominees submitted by President Buhari on September 30.

Speaking in an interview, the chairman of the committee, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, said the reports on the two nominees are going to be laid at the plenary today.

“We are through with all the two remaining petitions and we are going to submit our report tomorrow (today),” he said.

Read More: dailytrust

Ministerial Screening: See Amaechi’s CV

This is an exclusive presentation of a classified document on President Muhammadu Buhari’s ministerial nominees as prepared by the Senate.

CHIBUIKE ROTIMI AMAECHI

Full Names

Chibuike Rotimi AMAECHI

DOB •27th  May, 1965

Religion •Christian Catholic

Marital Status

•Married to Judith and blessed with three Sons.
•Born in Ubima, Ikwerre LG of Rivers State

Background

•Raised in Diobu neighbourhood of Port Harcourt.

Education

•Govt Secondary School, Okolobiri
•B.A. Degree in English and Comparative Literature from Uniport 1987
•NYSC 1988

Public Sector/ •Assistant at Pamo Clinic and Hospitals Limited

Offices Held

•Active member of the National Union of Rivers State students NURSS and National Association of Nigerian Students NANS.
•Secretary, Defunct Nigerian Republican Convention, IkwerreLG
•State Caretaker Committee Secretary, Democratic  Party of Nigeria.
•Special Assistant to then Rivers State Deputy Governor 1992 – 1994
•Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly
•Chairman, Conference of Speakers
•Governor, Rivers State 2007 – 2015
•Chairman, Nigerian Governor’s Forum
•Director General, All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Committee

Achievements and Awards

•Commander of the Order of the Niger CON
•Knight of St. Johns Order

Trend Setting

•General Infrastructure development, Construction of 21stCentury Schools, Monorail, Roads, Power Plants and Bridges.
•He is widely seen as improving the general living conditions of the people of Rivers State while he served as Speaker and particularly as Governor.

Organizations and Associations

•All Progressive Congress (APC)
•UniPort Alumni

Credit: vanguardngr

Nigerian Workers Demand Amaechi, Fashola, Others Declare Their Assets Publicly

Nigerian workers on Thursday urged the National Assembly to ensure that all ministerial nominees declare their asset publicly before confirmation.

Among the 21 persons nominated as ministers by President Muhammadu Buhari are former Lagos State governor, Raji Fashola, ex-Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi, and spokesperson of the ruling APC, Lai Mohammed.

The workers, members of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, stated this in a joint statement by the union’s president, Boboi , and General Secretary, Musa Lawal.

The TUC said that the declaration would be in the public interest.

The labour union said the public declaration of asset was necessary following “worrisome” allegations of fraud against some ex-ministers and officials.

“There is need to verify the financial and material status of each nominee before they are allowed to assume such high offices,” the workers said.

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Senate In Rowdy Session Over Amaechi’s Petition

There was a mild drama on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday when a lawmaker representing Rivers East Senatorial District, George Sekibo, rose to present a petition against the nomination of former governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, as a minister.

No sooner than Sekibo, who is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, raised a point of order to submit the petition than the All Progressives Congress senators kicked against the submission, and raised their voice, shouting No!! No!!!

Notwithstanding the reaction of the APC senators, Sekibo went ahead with his point of order and got the permission of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to submit the document on behalf of his other colleagues from Rivers State.

Read More: punchng

I Have No Interest In Amaechi’s Appointment –Wike

The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has insisted that he doesn’t care if his predecessor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi is appointed as a minister or not.

The reason he made this statement was because of the claims by the All Progressives Congress that he was orchestrating a protest against Amaechi’s likely appointment as a minister.
Speaking through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Opunabo Inko-Tariah, in Port Harcourt, on Monday, the governor described the claim that he was working against Amaechi’s likely appointment as ridiculous.
He said:

“It is not only spurious, but fatuous and malicious. Governor Wike has no cause to orchestrate a protest against the appointment of Rotimi Amaechi.

“Let me reiterate for the umpteenth time that the governor has no nexus with the appointment of Amaechi or otherwise. It is the right of the President to appoint anybody of his choice provided such an appointment is in sync with the relevant laws.

“The appointment of Amaechi will definitely have no bearing on the governance of Rivers State. There are crucial issues the governor is more concerned with which are issues of the state and not trifles like the appointment of Amaechi.

“It is apparent that the APC in Rivers State has exhausted its basket of lies and barren propaganda but still wants to be heard or noticed despite its waned popularity in the state,” Wike said.

“Governor Wike’s concern now is to clear the rubbish Amaechi left behind in his eight years of maladministration that impoverished the state and the people.

“Therefore, if the APC is dispensing such unfounded falsehood as a stratagem, it has failed. Or, is the APC distraught that Amaechi might not scale through the screening because of his antecedents?

“If that is the problem, it (APC) should think of how to sort it out and not spread falsehood to gain sympathy. Governor Wike is not interested in Amaechi’s matter because it is inconsequential,” he added.

Source: Punch 

Ministerial list: Fashola, Amaechi, Ngige, Onu, Aisha Alhassan, Fayemi, Malami Abubakar, Kachikwu, 12 others make list

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Wednesday received the ministerial nominees list at about 4:56pm from the Presidency but said the content of the presidential communication would be read during plenary next week Tuesday.

The Senate had adjourned plenary at 2:00pm on Wednesday till Tuesday, October 6.

21 names were contained in the list, according to a report by Punch Newspaper which read:

“The PUNCH learnt that a former Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola; and a former Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, made the list.

Also said to be on the list are Kayode Fayemi, a former governor of Ekiti State; a former Governor of Anambra State, Chris Ngige; and a one-time Governor of Abia State, Ogbonaya Onu.

Malami Abubakar, SAN, a former National Legal Adviser to the defunct Congress for Progressives Change; Aisha Alhassan, a former governorship candidate of the APC in Taraba State; and Amina Mohammed, a special adviser to the Secretary-General of the United nations, Ban Ki-Moon, also made the ministerial list. Same for a former finance commissioner in Ogun State, Kunle Adeosun.

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Ibe Kachikwu, is said to be on the list, perhaps to combine his headship of the NNPC with junior petroleum minister. portfolio. Buhari has already announced himself as the substantive Minister of Petroleum.

The Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, in company with the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang, delivered the list in a sealed envelope to the Senate President in his office.”

Buhari Meets Chinese President; Fayemi, Amaechi Others In Attendance

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday met with his Nigerian counterpart Muhammadu Buhari, calling for boosting bilateral cooperation and upgrading the two countries’ strategic partnership.

China and Nigeria enjoy a traditional friendship and their strategic partnership featuring win-win cooperation has brought substantial benefits for their peoples, said Xi, who is in New York to attend a
series of summits marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations.

The two sides should firmly grasp the general direction of China-Nigeria friendship and promote bilateral ties from a strategic height and a long-term perspective, he added.

He said the two countries should also bring into full play their advantages in traditional friendship and highly complementary economies to explore new areas and ways for practical cooperation.

Ministerial List: Amaechi, Fayemi, Fashola Fail Security Screening – Report

As the Department of State Service, DSS, continues the screening of some ministerial nominees, indications emerged at the weekend that three immediate past governors, Babatunde Fashola, Rotimi Ameachi and Kayode Fayemi, have allegedly failed to pass the President’s anti-corruption test.

The trio worked hard for the former Head of State to emerge the All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential flag bearer as well as for him to get elected President and were seen as top contenders for positions in Buhari’s cabinet.

A highly placed security source at the weekend told Nigerian Pilot Sunday that the DSS did not clear three ministerial nominees, who are former governors, based on allegations of corruption brought against them before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Independent
Corrupt Practices and other Related Offenses Commission, ICPC.

According to the source, the security agency allegedly refused to clear the three former governors based on a series of petitions written against them over allegations bordering on money laundering, fraud and embezzlement.

The source further added that when the three affected former governors appeared before the DSS screening committee, they were confronted with the petitions and other relevant documents attached to the petitions.

The source further added that they have received instructions from the President that any of the nominees with any damaging and fraud related issues should not be cleared by the security agency.

The President had on Monday in Aburi, Ghana reassured Nigerians and the international community that he would name his cabinet before the end of the month.

A statement by the Special Adviser to the President, Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said Buhari gave the assurance to his audience at a joint press conference with President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana.

“After I was sworn in, I said I would have my cabinet in September. I expect that Nigerians should ask me questions after the 30th of September if I do not do so,” Buhari said while responding to a question on the appointment of ministers.

Source: Nigerian Pilot

ICPC Probes Amaechi, Kwankwaso, Chime, Shema

The independent Corrupt Practices and other offences Commission (ICPC) has commenced investigations of four former governors following petition against them.

The four governors are former governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers, Sullivan Chime of Enugu, Ibrahim Shema of Katsina and Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano.

Already four teams have been raised to visit the states to check the books of the states to establish the allegations against the governors.

Read More: vanguardngr

Publish Statements Of Govt Accounts, Amaechi Challenges Wike

Former Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, has challenged his successor in office, Governor Nyesom Wike to publish the statements of government accounts with Skye Bank, FAAC, Zenith Bank and Access Bank, insisting that about N7.5 billion cash was left as balance in the state Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, as at May 29, 2015, alongside money in other accounts, totalling N8 billion.

Amaechi in a statement, yesterday, by his media aide, said: “Our attention has been drawn to comments by Governor Wike, where he attempted to justify his sham probe of the immediate past governor of the state and distort our statement on the amount of money Amaechi left in the state treasury.

Wike and Amaechi

“However, what the public may not know is that Wike’s deceptive probe of Amaechi is a distraction to entertain and keep the public focus on his circus show, while he siphons and salt away billions of naira from the state treasury. From the moment he stepped into Government House, Port Harcourt, Wike has run a government of lies, deception and fraud.

“Wike claimed he met a completely empty treasury. That again is another big lie and grand deception to steal state funds. We have said that Amaechi left billions of naira and we even went ahead to mention the banks and give the names of the accounts the money were, as at May 29, 2015.

“We repeat that N7.5 billion cash was left behind as balance in the state Internally Generated Revenue account with Skye Bank, FAAC account with Zenith Bank, balance with Access Bank and funds in the State reserve fund account in First Bank. This is besides other balance in the state Government House account with Zenith Bank and other government ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs accounts, like the Bureau for Public Procurement, BPP. Amaechi left N939m in the Commercial Agric Credit Scheme Account in Zenith Bank.

“By the time you pull all these together, we are looking at readily available cash in the region of N8 billion to N10 billion left for the Wike administration. We have mentioned banks, account names and funds left in the accounts. These are facts that cannot be distorted by Wike.

“If Wike says he’s not lying that he met an empty treasury, we challenge him to publish the statements of these government accounts that we have mentioned and other Rivers State Government ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs accounts as at May 29 to prove his claim and show the public that Amaechi left an empty treasury for him.”

Go & Defend Yourself Before Judicial Commission, Wike Tells Amaechi

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has called on his predecessor, Rotimi Amaechi, to go and defend himself before the judicial commission of inquiry sitting in the state.

Wike, who was reacting to Amaechi’s declaration on Saturday that he (Amaechi) would not appear before the Justice George Omereji-led panel of inquiry, said it was wrong for the former governor to describe the commission as illegal even when the court had ruled that the panel was in order.

The governor, who spoke on Sunday through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Opunabo Inko-Tariah, said he would not take issues with Amaechi over the setting up of the judicial commission of inquiry.

Wike stressed that it was necessary for Amaechi to defend himself on certain issues concerning how the state was managed during his tenure.

Read More: punchng

EFCC Commences Probe Of Amaechi’s Administration

Strong indications emerged wednesday that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has commenced a detailed investigation into some financial transactions during the tenure of the immediate past Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi.

The investigation was based on a petition by a Port Harcourt-based group, The Integrity Group, which on July 29, wrote to the EFCC, detailing three instances of alleged corruption, graft and abuse of office under Amaechi’s government.

In the petition, the group alleged that Rivers State electric power projects were sold and the proceeds converted to other uses through payments amounting to N60 billion to three companies all located at Trans Amadi, Port Harcourt.

Read Morethisdaylive

Wike Did Not Inherit N7.5bn From Amaechi- PDP

Rivers State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has denied a recent claim by former Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi that he left N7.5billion Internally-Generated Revenue, IGR, with some banks for Governor Nyesom Wike.

The party said there was no such amount in the state treasury on Wike’s assumption of office on May 29, 2015.

In a statement issued yesterday by state PDP chairman, Mr. Felix Obuah, the party described Amaechi’s claim as “false, unfounded and indefensible,” and pointed out inconsistencies in the former governor’s statement.

Obuah said: “By the time you pull all these (accounts) together, we are looking at readily available cash in the region of N8billion to N10billion left for the Wike administration.”

Read More: nigerianpilot

I Left N10bn For My Successor- Amaechi

Former Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi has said he left a balance of between eight to ten billion naira for his successor, Governor Nyesom Wike.

In a statement from his from his media office yesterday, the former governor denied that he handed over an empty treasury to his successor.

The statement by the former Governor’s media office, yesterday, revealed that a total of N7.5 billion cash was left behind as balances in the State Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, account with Skye Bank, FAAC account with Zenith Bank, balances with Access Bank and funds in the State reserve fund account in First Bank.

“This is besides other balances in the state Government House account with Zenith Bank and other government MDA accounts, like the Bureau for Public Procurement, BPP. By the time you pull all these together, we are looking at readily available cash in the region of eight to ten billion naira left for the Wike administration.”

Read Morevanguardngr

Governor Wike Promises To Complete Projects Started By Amaechi

The Governor of Rivers State, Gov. Nyesom Wike promised to complete relevant projects that were started by the previous administrations, including that of former Governor Chibuike Amaechi.

Wike gave the assurance in Port Harcourt, yesterday, when the Archbishop of the Niger Delta Province, Anglican communion, Archbishop Ignatius Kattey, visited him in the Government House, Port Harcourt.
He promised that his administration will take the state to greater heights by fulfilling his campaign promises to the people.

He said:

“Our administration shall never lose focus. We have made promises and we shall keep to the promises. Any project that will impact positively on the lives of the people of the state will be completed by this administration.”

Earlier, the Archbishop of Anglican Province of the Niger Delta, Archbishop Ignatius, described Wike as a man who kept promises, noting that the development projects of the administration should be commended.
He also urged the governor not to be distracted by unwarranted attacks on his person by political opponents.

Source: Vanguard 

“I Am Still The INEC REC Of Rivers State” – Mrs. Gesila Khan

THE Rivers State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mrs. Gesila Khan, has said she is still in charge as the state REC and has not been transferred.
Khan was reacting to claims in some quarters that she had been transferred by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The state REC, who was alleged to have been arrested and detained by operatives of the Department of State Services spoke with journalists on Monday at the state INEC office, Port Harcourt during the ongoing inspection and certification of materials used for the 2015 polls.
Khan maintained that she would not have been part of the ongoing exercise at the state INEC office if she had been transferred as speculated.
I am here and I am still here. I have not been transferred. If I have been transferred, I should not be sitting here; I should be picking my things. Even if I am transferred, there is nothing wrong with that because it is government work and anytime you are called to move, you move. But for now, I have not been called to move,” she stressed.
On whether she has any regret as a result of her experience so far in Rivers State, the REC said, “I have no regret whatsoever. I am an Human Resources practitioner,  so, anything you see in life, you move along with it. You cannot predict man. They are free to think and say what they want.”
She, however, pointed out that the photocopying of election materials and certification of documents were going on without any hitch.

Explaining that INEC headquarters crafted three administrative secretaries to assist in the exercise, Khan noted that this was necessary in order not to delay the submission of required materials to the election tribunal.
“During the presidential election, three national commissioners came; during the governorship election, three national commissioners came and now again, we have three administrative secretaries. That is just to make the job fast and you know the tribunals are time-bound and the work (sorting our election materials) is voluminous.
“We have been working since. Today, it is either this document or another. Some they want in long hand while some they want it in short hand. So, the law says when they request, you give them and since the time is very short, we have to,” she said.
Meanwhile, the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress, has disagreed with the State Electoral Commissioner that she was detained by the DSS for two weeks.
The state APC said the DSS invited Khan for questioning, alleging that her actions and inactions constituted a security threat to the state and the country at large.
Describing Khan as a victim of her own devices, the state APC in a statement signed by its Secretary, Media and Publicity Committee, Mr. Godstime Orlukwu, said her alleged earlier refusal to release materials used during the last election was capable of affecting the peace of the state.

Wike Welcomes Appointment Of Amaechi As Minister

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State said he is not opposed to the appointment of his predecessor in office, Rotimi Amaechi as minister.

Wike was reacting to claims that he was attacking Amaechi in order to deprive the former governor of a ministerial appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Wike noted that he is not worried about the possible appointment of Amaechi into President Buhari’s cabinet.

He noted that  has never discussed the issue of whether Amaechi should be appointed by the President or not with anybody.

Wike, who spoke through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Opunabo Inko-Taria, said he was angry with Amaechi with the way the former governor managed the state’s treasury.

He said it was annoying that when he took over, he met an empty treasury.

Read More: Punch

Wike Vs Amaechi: Court Sacks Rivers State Council Chairmen & Councillors

A federal high court in Port Harcourt presided over by Justice Lambo Akambi, this morning nullified the election of the 22 local Government council chairmen and councillors organized by the Professor Augustine Ahiazu led Rivers State Independent Election Commission, RSIEC, during the administration of Chibuike Amaechi.

Justice Akambi averred that the conduct of the election that produced the 22 local government council chairmen is not only illegal but an affront on the court because the matter was pending in court. He noted that RSIEC and the state government was directed not to go ahead with the election but the order of court was fragrantly disobeyed.

With the judgement, the 22 local government council chairmen who are all members of the All
Progressives Congress have been sacked.
It would be recalled that when RSIEC planned to conduct the election at the twilight of the immediate past administration in May, the state PDP challenged the election through a court injunction but RSIEC claimed the order of court did not affect it, so PDP boycotted it.

RSIEC led by Prof Ahiazu had earlier been sacked by Governor Nyesom Wike and reconstituted it.

The Federal High court in its judgement said it had to defend and protect democracy by nullifying the election.

Wike, a lawyer, had vowed to sack the council chairmen and councillors because they were elected illegally but would wait for case to run its full course.
More to follow…

Wike To Use 30Bn Loan To Develop Rivers

The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Governor of Rivers, Mr Opunabo Inko-Tariah, has said that the state government’s N30 billion loan will be used to develop the state. Inko-Tariah told newsmen in Port Harcourt on Thursday that insinuations by the state chapter of All Progressives Congress that Gov. Nyesom Wike intends to borrow N100 billion were untrue.

WIKEHe said there were compelling needs to be attended to and government had no option than to take the loan. “The governor’s actions were based on the necessity, the importance of the project to Rivers people and not whether he will take the credit or not for completing the project,’’ he said.

He said that the courts and assembly complexes were shut for close to two years and there was need to renovate them. “There are so many projects that were abandoned because the contractors were not paid by the previous administration and some of the projects are very important to Rivers people.

“Also, the governor has ordered that the April and May salaries of civil servants be paid,’’ he said. The governor’s spokesman said government was also reviving payment of overheads to ministries and parastatals.

According to him, government needs the money to kick start and that is why the governor is seeking the loan. He said the Wike administration did not inherit money from the previous administration and that it had to meet the needs of the people. “The demands are much greater than the resources available,’’ Inko-Tariah said

How I Delivered Good Governance To Rivers State- Amaechi

The immediate past Governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi, has said that his administration left the state in a better condition, contrary to the claims of his successor, Nyesom Wike.

In a statement Tuesday, Mr. Amaechi said that his eight years at the helm of the state’s affairs were that of commitment to good governance and transparent and accountable stewardship to Rivers people.

On the N150 billion purportedly owed the state’s Ministry of Works contractors, Mr. Amaechi accused the incumbent governor of blocking an attempt by former president, Goodluck Jonathan, to repay the state funds it spent on federal roads.

Read Morepremiumtimesng

Amaechi Rubbishes Probe By Wike

The immediate past Governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi, has denounced the so-called probe of his administration by his successor, Nyesom Wike.

Amaechi described the probe as a sham and a fraudulent witch-hunt meant to deceive the public.

“This so called Wike’s probe of Amaechi is dead on arrival,” the former governor’s media office stated.

“All the noise Wike is making is to grab media headlines with his lies of monumental corruption against Amaechi. It’s all drama made for the media.
What is playing out is a script written and directed by Nyesom Wike. Wike should move to Nollywood where his devious skills would probably be useful.”

The organisation alleged an agenda against Amaechi.

“Even while inaugurating his yeoman commission of Inquiry, Wike could not conceal his vendetta agenda. He was clear to the panel members that their job is to indict Amaechi,” Amaechi’s office stated.

“While it’s no longer in doubt what would be the report of Wike’s sham probe commission. What may shock Nigerians is the extent Wike has gone and is ready to go to manufacture stories of corrupt practices, and the kind of bogus tales of corruption against Amaechi that he would soon be feeding the nation.”

Wike’s administration has alleged the former governor looted state resources ahead of the former’s inauguration in May.

Amaechi’s office denied the accusation. “Truly, since May 29, that is all Wike has been doing; cooking spurious reports of corruption against Amaechi.”

The office added, “Wike has been intimidating, threatening, coercing and blackmailing officials of the past administration, especially civil servants into making false, phony and bogus statements that would make legitimate government transactions appear as corrupt practices.”

The former governor also slammed his former deputy, Tele Ikuru, over claims that the Amaechi administration, under which Ikuru served, was the most corrupt in the state.

“We won’t dignify him with a response. He’s such a worthless piece of trash that we won’t waste our energy on. This is a man with no dignity, no shame. No self-respecting man would talk the way Ikuru is talking right now,” the office said.

“If the government was as corrupt as he claims, what was he doing there for almost eight years?”

Credit: CAJ News

Wike Seeks Buhari’s Support To Probe Amaechi

Governor Nyesom Wike yesterday commenced probe of the administration of his predecessor, Chibuike Amaechi as he constituted a seven man Judicial Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice George Omereji to investigate alleged sale of some state assets as well as the projects for which funds were allegedly released but not executed.

The Judicial Commission of Inquiry which has 23 terms of reference has one month to turn in its report.

Wike’s action was coming against the backdrop of claims by Amaechi’s former Deputy, Tele Ikuru that the former administration under which he served was the most corrupt in the state.

Ikuru alleged that his former boss allegedly spent N812 million to furnish his private residence.

The former deputy governor spoke at Government House, Port Harcourt yesterday while handing over the final report of the transition committee he chaired adding that the former government also spent N4.96 billion on the proposed Justice Adolphus Karibi Whyte Hospital with no structures on the ground.

Read More: vanguardngr

Bullet Proof SUV: Ibim Semenitari Replies Governor WIke, “You Made Away With Everything You Had When You Were The COS”

The former Information Commissioner of Rivers State, Mrs Ibim Semenitari whom State security officials forcefully took away her Lexus bullet proof SUV has released a press statement concerning today’s invasion of her home. Below is what she said. Also read what Governor Wike had earlier sent out immediately after her release. So much drama.

“On Thursday June 18, 2015, over 10 policemen armed with machine guns and in two trucks – one Ford Transit and one Hilux arrived my residence, No 12 A Ernest Ikoli Street, Old G.R.A Port Harcourt. Without either a search warrant, letter or precious information, they forced their way into my premises.

My security guard on duty requested to know their mission and who sent them. They refused to disclose either, but went round taking photographs and videoing my premises.2

The security guard got in touch with my assistant who spoke with the men, explaining to them that I was out of town and again requested to know their mission and purpose.

Again they declined insisting on seeing me first. She then got in touch with me by phone as we were uncertain as to the identity of the policemen in question.

Upon further investigation and after about 3 hours of them laying siege on my premise, I was told that they were from Rivers State Government House and had been sent to recover vehicles in my possession.

They attempted to break into a Range Rover Jeep belonging to my Husband and bought long before I was made Commissioner in Rivers State Government, damaging the front door. The vehicle in question contrary to the lies being paraded is not an armoured vehicle and has never at any point belonged to the Rivers State Government nor its agents including myself as Commissioner of Information.

By the time I finally made contact with them and expressed my displeasure, they insisted that they would take away a Lexus jeep duly allocated to me as Commissioner of Information and which by law I am entitled to leave with upon leaving office.

The monetization policy of the government allows public officers to leave government with their official vehicles as this is in lieu of vehicle, allowance, transport and other allowances, which they cannot draw because of the monetization policy of 2002.

Mr. Nyesom Wike served as Chief of Staff, and upon departure left with all the vehicles he used as Chief of Staff. This has been the practice since this democratic dispensation when President Olusegun Obassanjo instituted the monetisation policy.

Having served as Commissioner for two tenures, I amentitled to my status cars and have proof of allocation.

While I understand that Mr. Wike feels a dire need to destroy the reputation of Governor Amaechi and all those worked with him, it is unacceptable that he will engage in brigandage, thuggery and underhand tactics to do so.1

A simple letter from any government official requesting me to make a submission or tender documentation would have been the appropriate way to go and I would have willingly tendered all the relevant documents to them.

Breaking into my home, invading my privacy, damaging my property and removing property from my premises is inappropriate and illegal.

I have chosen however to put out these details in the public space as it is apparent that for some persons only a destruction of my hard earned reputation would do and this I would not accept. My records in the Ministry of Information are crystal clear I hope that Mr. Nyesom Wike is able to say same about his tenure in every office he has held.

Forcing their home into my home unlawfully isn’t the appropriate way for any government that claims legitimacy to behave.

Ibim Semenitari

June 18, 2015”

Below is the earlier press statement released by Governor Wike;

 “In furtherance of efforts by the Rivers State Government to recover government property from officials of the immediate past administration in the state, security agents and government house officials on Thursday took possession of government vehicle from the home of the former spokesperson for the Amaechi administration, Mrs Ibim Semenitari.

The security operatives carried out the operation at the home of Mrs Semenitari located at Ernest Ikoli Street, Old GRA Port Harcourt. The operatives recovered a Lexus Armoured Vehicle from the residence. Another Range Rover vehicle is said to have been in the possession of the former Information Commissioner.

It will be recalled that top officials of the outgone Rotimi Amaechi administration carted away several government property and vehicles prior to May 29. Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has since assured the people of Rivers State that all government property illegally carted away before his inauguration will be recovered and those found to be involved in the illegal act will be brought to justice.

Simeon Nwakaudu,

June 18, 2015.

Government House, Port Harcourt.

Governor Wike Set To Sack Over 13,000 Workers Employed By Amaechi

Governor Nyesom Wike is set to sack 13,000 workers employed by his predecessor, Rotimi Amaechi. This comes as Rivers House of Assembly passed a resolution empowering the Governor to sack the board of the State Civil Service Commission accusing them of breaching the rules and illegally employing workers into the state Service.

The Rivers lawmakers passed the resolution on Tuesday after grilling the Chairman of the Service Commission, Mr Ngo Martins Yellowe on the floor of the House based on petitions accusing the Commission of not passing through due process before employing workers in past three years.

Yellowe, however, told lawmakers that the Commission under his leadership obeyed the constitution and laws guiding employment into the service.

Observers of Rivers politics however see the invitation and quizzing of Ngo Martins Yellowe by the lawmakers as a prelude to the sacking of the Commission appointed by the immediate past administration of Governor Chibuike Amaechi and also the sacking the civil servants employed three years to date, especially over 13,200 teachers and others engaged by the immediate past administration of Governor Chibuike Amaechi.

The Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission, RSIEC, Chairman Prof Augustine Ahiazu was invited to answer questions about how local government election was conducted. Thereafter a resolution was passed mandating Governor Wike to sack the Commission.Wike sacked RSIEC the next day.
Similarly, the Rivers State Judiciary Service Commission suffered same fate after its members were invited to the floor of the House.
The fears of over 13,200 teachers in the state, over 400 doctors and nurses employed by the former Governor Amaechi is palpable if they fall into the category of workers adjudged to have been wrongly employed into the state civil service.

Culled from PMNews 

Rivers State Assembly Approves Wike’s N10bn Loan After Amaechi Allegedly Left Empty Treasury

The Rivers State House of Assembly on Thursday approved a loan of N10 billion requested by the State Governor, Nyesom Wike. The state governor had sent a letter to the House of Assembly asking that he should be granted approval to secure the loan that would be used to fund some major projects in the state.

28 lawmakers voted in favour of the approval.

Speaker of the House, Mr. Ikuinyi Ibani, in his remark, explained that it would be difficult for any government to survive without funds to operate.

Ibani, who pointed that the House would not be involved in frivolous approvals, added that the state legislature would endorse transparent and sincere requests that would benefit the people of the state.

Explaining that the immediate past administration left an empty treasury, the Speaker disclosed that the loan would be taken from Zenith Bank and repaid through Valued Added Tax.

Punch

Governor Wike Recovers Stolen Vehicles From Immediate Past Government Officials In Rivers State

Newly sworn-in Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike through the State Police has recovered 10 vehicles allegedly stolen by some officials of the immediate past administration. Vehicles recovered are one Coaster bus, two Nissan Urvan buses, two Higer vehicles, one Land Cruiser, one Toyota Hilux Pick-up, one Peugeot 607 Saloon car and two Peugeot 406 cars.

The Governor, who had earlier taken leading Rivers stakeholders around the Government house to see the points where facilities in Government House were either looted or vandalised, said recovering of State properties will be a continuous exercise.

The police also said they acted on information that some suspected vehicles belonging to the Rivers State Government were seen parked in unauthorised yards.

Amaechi Denies Ill-Treatment Claims By Former Deputy

Former Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, has denied claims by his then-deputy, Tele Ikuru, that the latter returned billions of Naira to him and the state government.

The former deputy governor, in a thanksgiving service at the weekend, said he returned over two billion Naira cash to Amaechi bur expressed disappointment at Amaechi that, in spite of all his contributions, his former boss did not give him any parting gift and left him “hard and dry.” He felt mistreated.

However, Amaechi denied the claim by Ikuru.“Tele is lying. He did not return any money to me. And I am not aware that he returned any money to the coffers of the State government. My former deputy’s ill-advised comments against me are indeed shameful and pitiable,” Amaechi said through his spokesperson.

“His attack on me, his disgusting lamentation about parting gifts only goes to confirm what I have always known and said about those on the other side of the political divide in Rivers State where my former deputy now belongs that all they want is to share the resources and commonwealth of Rivers people among themselves. This is why they fought me and are still fighting me,” Amaechi said.

He added that it was unfortunate that his then-deputy had turned against him.

“It is unfortunate that Tele Ikuru, who I kept as my deputy in spite of the strong opposition against him…almost everyone was against him but I retained him and even ran with him for a second term, against the advice of most of my political associates, would now attempt to hideously disparage and attack me,” Amaechi said.

Ikuru quit the Amaechi’s All Progressives Congress for the People’s Democratic Party ahead of general elections in March. He served the state for more than seven years.

Credit: CAJ News

Rivers Assembly Declares Local Govt Poll, Conducted By Former Governor Amaechi, Illegal

The Rivers state House of Assembly has paved the way for the state Governor, Nyesom Wike, to dissolve the local government councils reconstituted by the former Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, six days to the end of his tenure.

The assembly, in its sitting on Monday, declared the May 23 council elections in the state illegal and passed a resolution directing the state governor to dissolve the state Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC).

The assembly also directed the governor to sack the state Judicial Service Commission (RSJSC) for its role in the protracted crisis in the state judiciary.

The resolutions came after principal officers of the RSIEC and RSJSC appeared before the
lawmakers following their summons.

Twenty-nine out of the 32 members of the 8th Assembly took the resolution after grilling the officers for hours, about their activities in the commissions.

Speaker of the House, Ikuinyi Ibani, who stated that the assembly would remain “thorough, fair and clear in its proceedings”, divided the House after the submissions of the Leader, Martins Amaewhule, and his deputy, Lolo Denabari, that the officers violated their oaths of office.

Ibani cautioned: “There are certain things you don’t have to let to occur while you hold a position of trust. It is my belief that any decision we take on the floor of this chamber is true and in the best interest of the state. It is not witch-hunting. The documents we have showed a different thing. We must deepen democratic values as lawmakers.

“Going by the resolution of this House, we do resolve that the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, is hereby given the power to remove the members of the Rivers State Judicial Service Commission (RSJSC) from office.”

Former Rivers Deputy Gov. Says Amaechi Failed To Settle Him With Parting Gifts After Tenure

The immediate past deputy governor of Rivers State, Tele Ikuru, has accused his former boss and state governor, Rotimi Amaechi, of maltreating him despite his contributions to the government.

Mr. Ikuru, who quit the ruling All Progressives Congress in Rivers State at the twilight of the administration, said Mr. Amaechi denied him parting gifts and money when the government finally came to a close in May.

He said this happened despite his contributions to the state, part of which was returning state funds and saving an estimated N100 billion for the state.

Speaking during a Thanksgiving Service at St. Simons Anglican Church, Ikuru-Town in Andoni Local Government Area, Sunday, Mr. Ikuru said the thanksgiving service was to thank God for his grace and faithfulness to him, his family, and friends during the eight years of service to the state.

“I served this government for seven years and seven months under Amaechi, because I was with Omehia for 5 months,” Mr. Ikuru said.

“At the end of the seven years and seven months Amaechi did not think that I deserved any parting gift in spite of the fact that in the course of this administration, by reason of the office I occupied, I returned several monies to him valued over two billion Naira cash at different times during one work or the other.”

In March, Mr. Ikuru stunned Mr. Amaechi and the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State when he defected to the Peoples’ Democratic Party six days to the general elections.

Announcing his defection at the time, Mr. Ikuru had described the APC in the state as a party of rebels, insurgents, and anarchists clothed in robes of pretence and deceit.

“Ever since, as the true nature and motives of APC are unveiled, I have continued to twist and turn in extreme mental and emotional agony,” he had said.

“The more I struggle to belong, the more the Rivers man in me rejects the APC.”

On Sunday, Mr. Ikuru stated that his contribution to Mr. Amaechi’s administration saved Rivers State “not less than a hundred billion Naira” over the period.

“At the end of the seven years and seven months, my boss left me hard and dry, nothing and no penny to go home with,” he added.

Read More: premiumtimesng

Amaechi Claims Corruption Probe A Mere Witch-Hunt

Former Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, has accused his successor, Nyesom Wike, of threatening, coercing and blackmailing officials of the past administration to implicate the former in corruption.

Amaechi said the governor was approaching especially civil servants to make false, phony and bogus statements that would make legitimate government transactions appear as corrupt practices.

Speaking through his media aide, David Iyofor the ex-governor urged Rivers people, the media and the public to be watchful, vigilant and discern the fraudulent acts of the current governor to make him and his administration look bad.

“As I noted earlier in a previous statement, Nyesom Wike is going ahead with his plan of attempting to deride and discredit me and my administration by blackmailing and arm-twisting key government officials to distort legitimate government transactions in his desperation to cook up, and fabricate baseless, concocted and unfounded cases of corruption against me and the administration I ran” Ameachi said

He alleged the current governor has tried to threaten, harass, and force Permanent Secretaries and Directors of Finance and Administration (DFA) in various ministries, parastatals, agencies in the state into doing his bidding of painting me as corrupt in the administration of the State.

“The State bankers and some of our contractors are also not spared in his mission of tarnishing my reputation. As a matter of fact, Wike has only one agenda as he governs Rivers State – the agenda to portray me as corrupt, by whatever means, no matter how ridiculous and phony it looks”
Ameachi added

Amaechi also described as a fraud the video and pictures of the looted and vandalized Government House the current governor is circulating.

“The images are a fraud, arranged and executed by Wike to enable him vote billions of Naira from the state treasury to renovate and refurbish the place, as well as accuse me of corruption. I repeat, this is clearly a game, a grand conspiracy to siphon state funds under the sub-head of renovating and refurbishing a supposedly ‘vandalized and looted’ Government House, while also falsely smearing my image,” he said.

Credit: CAJ News

Rivers State Governor Wike Begins Probe Of Former Governor Amaechi

Looks like new Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike is officially ready for former Gov. Rotimi Amaechi. He’s asked all Permanent Secretaries in the state to produce full account details of their Ministries’ expenditure in the last 18 months. Read the press statement below…

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has directed Permanent Secretaries in the state   to produce   full account  details  of their Ministries ‘ expenditure  over the  last 18 months.

This is even as the  governor  advised  the permanent  secretaries  to  shun partisan politics  as career civil  servants,  saying the roles some of  them played in  the  closing  days of the immediate  past administration  were politically  motivated. 
Addressing  permanent  secretaries  during  a meeting  at Government  House,  Port Harcourt on Tuesday,  Wike regretted that some of the  permanent  secretaries helped the immediate  past  administration to illegally  withdraw  funds from the State Government  coffers even  up to the  28th of May,  2015.
He said : “I want full details  and print out of every  ministry’s  account  in the  last 18 months. I will not accept  any  handover  note without  an accompanying account  details.
“The  government  was coming  to  a close and some of  you were busy  signing cheques on 26,27 and 28 of May. On 28 of May, the Transition  Committee  called most of you and you refused to cooperate  because  they  told you  I will  not be sworn-in. “
The  governor  noted  that  he  will  not witch hunt any civil servant irrespective  of his/her role in the electioneering  period . He, however,  said that no civil servant  would  be  allowed  to  sabotage  the  efforts of  his administration.
He urged the  permanent  secretaries  to  work  with  his administration  to revive  the  state  and put back smile  on  the  faces of  the  people.
“Those of  you  who  want to work  with  us to develop  Rivers  State  will get the necessary  support.  You are career civil  servants and not politicians.  As civil  servants,  don’t play  the role  of politicians “, he said.
The  Rivers  State  Governor  pointed out  that  the  back-dated employments  and indiscriminate  issuance  of certificates  of occupancy by the  immediate  past administration  would be  re-visited.
He specifically  directed the Permanent  Secretary  in  the  Ministry  of  Lands and Survey to produce  the relevant  land documents  for examination.
The permanent  secretaries  were led to the meeting by the Head of  Service,  Barrister  Samuel  LongJohn.
Others  who attended  the  meeting  were the former  Minister  of  Sports,  Dr  Tammy  Danagogo,  Former  Deputy  governor,  Tele  Ikuru  and Secretary  of  the  Transition  Committee,  Barrister  Frank Owhor.

Amaechi Scoffs At Allegations Of Corruption

The immediate past governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, denied corruption charges his successor has leveled against him and his family.

He raised alarm on alleged attempts to intimidate, threaten and blackmail officials including civil servants into making false, phony and bogus claims of corruption and corrupt practices against him and his wife.

His spokesperson also denied the claims of vandalism and looting of Government House.

Amaechi described the claims as another smear campaign and ploy to siphon billions of Naira from the State Treasury under the guise of renovating a “vandalized” and “looted” Government House.

“Wike has gone to ridiculous and absurd lengths to show his imaginary claims of vandalisation and looting in Government House in his bid to vote billions of Naira for renovation of the place,” said Amaechi.

He said the development was a conspiracy to siphon state funds in the guise of renovating a vandalized and looted Government House and falsely smear Amaechi’s image.

“These false, bogus and illusive claims can never be substantiated but Wike doesn’t care. All he wants is to taint my good name with screaming headlines of corruption and corrupt practices in the media. But, he will certainly fail,” Ameachi added.

He urged the media to beware of this alleged plot, scrutinize thoroughly and disregard any of Wike’s wild and false claims of corrupt practices against him and his wife.

Amaechi’s All Progressives Congress and the People’s Democratic Party of Wike have been at loggerheads before and after elections that saw the latter win the governorship election. APC is challenging the outcome citing alleged irregularities.

Credit: CAJ News

Amaechi, Wike Exchange Words Over Govt. House Property

Rivers State Government, yesterday, berated officials of the previous  government in the state for allegedly removing property from Government House, Port Harcourt, while vacating office.

Deputy governor of the state, Dr. Ipalibo Banigo, made the allegation while speaking with newsmen at Government House, after some leaders of the state were conducted round the premises of the State House .

Governor Nyesom Wike took the leaders to the residential  quarters,  offices and the Banquet  Hall where furniture, television sets and electrical  accessories were allegedly removed.

But former governor of the state, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, has denied the allegation, saying that it was an attempt by Wike, to intimidate, threaten and blackmail officials of his (Amaechi’s) administration, including civil servants, into making false claims against him (Amaechi) and his wife, concocting claims that cannot be substantiated.

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Amaechi Predicted Buhari’s Victory 2 Years Ago – APC Chieftain

A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, has said that the immediate past governor of Rivers State, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi predicted the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari, at the just concluded general election two years ago.

He said if not for the emergence of Buhari as President, former President Goodluck Jonathan and his loyalists would have arrested and jailed Amaechi for championing the defeat of his own brother from the Niger Delta region.

Eze, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt yesterday, said the former governor foresaw the emergence of Buhari as President before he made history as the first Nigerian to defeat a sitting President in an election.

He said, “When it comes to believing in the abilities of President Buhari, I am yet to see anyone who can rival Amaechi.

His love for Buhari and strong belief in his ability to take Nigeria out of the woods is like an obsession.

“I can still vividly remember how Amaechi predicted Buhari’s emergence as President during the early days of APC and long before the issue of who would fly the party’s flag came up.

When on 9th September, 2013, my appointment as the National Publicity Secretary of the defunct New Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) was announced to Nigerians the only brief I received was the 30 minutes encounter I had with Governor Amaechi.

“During that encounter he kept repeating that whenever General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) accepted to fly the flag of the mega opposition.

Political party in the country, the unseating of President Goodluck Jonathan and PDP would become a reality.

“I was deeply impressed by his strong belief in General Buhari. It was based on this that I went boldly into the field and with the cooperation of the G7 Governors and other leaders of the New PDP; we were able to dismantle what was the famous and largest political party in Africa (PDP).”

Eze, who is also the senior special assistant on Media to the chairman of APC in Rivers State, stated that Amaechi pursued Buhari’s emergence as APC presidential candidate with evangelical zeal after New PDP joined APC.

The APC chieftain said, “This obsession explains why Amaechi did all within his powers to ensure that Buhari emerged as the flag bearer of APC during the Lagos Convention and, as the Director General of the Buhari Campaign Organization, worked even harder to ensure the ouster of former President Goodluck Jonathan during the March 28, 2015 presidential election.”

The former national publicity secretary of the defunct New PDP commended Buhari for his vision for a greater Nigeria as espoused in his Inaugural Address and his early steps since he assumed office last Friday, May 29, 2015.

He said, “Nigerians should be patient and pray for Buhari’s success. He is the best man for the job but he cannot do it alone, hence the need for all of us to give him the necessary support to deliver the dividends of democracy.”

Wike’s Threat To Probe Me, Ploy To Negotiate Soft-Landing, Says Amaechi

Outgoing Governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi, has dared the state’s governor-elect, Nyesom Wike, to probe him to confirm if he was corrupt, adding that he ran a transparent and accountable administration, therefore, he has nothing to hide.

Amaechi spoke on Tuesday in Port Harcourt, the state capital at the public lecture to mark his 50th birthday anniversary celebration.

His said: “I have been listening to Mr. Nyesom Wike and I have been trying not to reply him. He has been accusing me of corruption and I have been trying to keep quiet over the issue of corruption. A thief cannot call me corrupt. The first lesson he needs to learn is that he was Chief of Staff to my government. If I have no records, I have records on him.

“One way we succeeded in moving this state forward was that we refused to probe Dr. Peter Odili’s government despite the pressure on me to probe Dr. Odili’s government, because at the end of the day, they will not ask me the number of persons I probed, but what I did while in government.

“God did not put me to shame. I will be leaving office as Rivers governor very proud. President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife (Dame Patience); Nyesom Wike, soldiers and police could not remove me from office.

“When I pray, in front of me all the time is God. That is why I am always victorious. If you want to fight me, you must first defeat God, which is impossible. Nobody can overcome God. I have won already”.

Amaechi said Wike’s comments that he would probe the outgoing administration was a ploy to negotiate a soft-landing for the incoming administration.

“Why Nyesom Wike is talking the way he is talking is that they are looking for us to come and negotiate with them so that they can illegally stay in office. They cannot stay like that. We are already in court (tribunal).

“Why did they go to court to get an injunction against the panel we set up to investigate the deaths of Nigerians who were killed on election days? Why should Wike sponsor the court case? A judge gave them an ex parte order that the panel should not sit.

“Luckily, we went to court and asked the court to vacate the order, to allow the members of the panel to sit. If you read the panel’s report, you will cry for us”, he said.

The Rivers governor expressed delight that the administration of President-elect Muhammadu Buhari would put an end to impunity in all sectors of the economy.

Amaechi said: “One thing going for you is that the government of Gen. Buhari will not allow impunity anymore. A month to the general election, they arrested all prominent APC members in Rivers State.

“APC’s agent in INEC’s office (state headquarters in Port Harcourt) was also arrested as he was coming out of INEC’s office and detained for two weeks for no offence. When we won the presidential election, they released him. He was not charged to court”.

On the absence of a chief judge in the state and closure of the judiciary, he said: “They tried to appoint an administrative chief judge (Justice Daisy Okocha, who is very close to Wike) for the Rivers State judiciary. There is nothing like an administrative chief judge in Nigeria’s Constitution. So you must be prepared; the fight/war is not over.

“They (Wike and his allies) have won the battle, but the war is on, till after May 29. We must be steadfast. We must take our facts to the court. We must convince Nigerians that there was no election in Rivers State”.

Buhari’s Govt Won’t Allow Impunity, Says Amaechi

Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi yesterday said President-elect Muhammadu Buhari would not allow impunity after May 29.

He spoke yesterday at a public lecture at the Dr. Obi Wali International Convention Centre on Chief Godspower Ake Road, Port Harcourt, as part of the activities to mark his 50th birthday.

The lecture, put together by Amaechi’s Committee of Friends, with theme: “Deepening Democracy in Nigeria, implications for development in Africa”.

The keynote speaker was Dr. Robin Rene Sanders, a former United States Ambassador to Nigeria.

Amaechi said the defeat of President Goodluck Jonathan was a timely intervention to save Nigeria.

The Rivers governor stated that the fact that the history of Nigeria and the transition from one civilian government to another could not be written, without including his name, was his greatest achievement.

He added that he refused to probe the government of a former Rivers governor, Dr. Peter Odili, despite tremendous pressure on him to do so.

The well-attended event, which was transmitted live on Channels Television, had in attendance an ex-Head of State Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd.), who was represented by a former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, who chaired the occasion; a member of the Board of Trustees of the APC, Dr. Sam Sam Jaja; the APC’s governorship candidate in Rivers, Dr. Dakuku Peterside; and the representative of Rivers Southeast Senatorial District, Magnus Ngei Abe.

Also in attendance were a former Minister of Culture and Tourism, Alabo Tonye Graham-Douglas; ex-Governor of Rivers State, Chief Rufus Ada-George; an elder statesman, Chief Victor Odili; a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte, a former Rivers Deputy Governor, Sir Gabriel Toby;  an ex-Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chibudom Nwuche; Rivers Chairman of the APC, Chief Davies Ibiamu Ikanya; and a renowned human rights activist, Anyakwee Nsirimovu, among other eminent personalities.

Sanders described Nigeria as a nation of talented people, assuring that the country could get it right, in spite of its challenges, but admonished Nigerians to be determined that the democracy must work and inspire growth, for the nation to move forward.

The former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria also assured that Nigeria could change the face of Africa, saying the country represented the hope of Africa.

Abdulsalami said the greatest mistake of the leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was to have allowed five governors, including Amaechi, to leave the party for the APC.

He noted that strong conviction, defending his views with the energy in him and not suffering fools gladly, could not be taken from the Rivers governor.

The former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives noted that every continent requires a role model to propel it to greatness and for Africa, according to him, it is Nigeria, stressing that the courage of Amaechi and other APC leaders to bring about change, had deepened the nation’s democracy.

Abe noted that the people’s voices must be heard to deepen democracy, insisting that it would be too early for the APC to do away with zoning of positions, for no part of Nigeria to be left behind and that the history of Rivers State would not be written without Amaechi’s name in bold letters.

Nsirimovu  said the rule of law, effective participation, competition and accountability were essential to deepen democracy, while Jaja stressed that the grace of God is upon Amaechi, especially for becoming 50.

The Rivers governor said: “I have been listening to Mr. Nyesom Wike and I have been trying not to reply him. He has been accusing me of corruption and I have been trying to keep quiet over the issue of corruption. A thief cannot call me corrupt. The first lesson he needs to learn is that he was Chief of Staff to my government. If I have no records, I have records on him.”

Rivers Governor-elect Chief Nyesom Wike, who is a former Minister of State for Education, on Monday in Port Harcourt, declared that he would probe Amaechi’s alleged corrupt government and to use forensic audit.

The governor continued: “One way we succeeded in moving this state forward was that we refused to probe Dr. Peter Odili’s government, despite the pressure on me to probe Dr. Odili’s government, because at the end of the day, they will not ask me the number of persons I probed, but what I did while in government. This convention centre (built by his government) is one of the testimonies. If we had gone to the Obi Wali Cultural Centre (in Mile One, Diobu, Port Harcourt, now taken over by Sliverbird Cinema), the hall would have looked very full. This hall accommodates 2,200 persons. The convention centre is very big. On top of the roof is a plenty space for big parties, for those who want to organise ‘Owambe’ and there are many conference/committee rooms in the hall.

“The road to Nyesom Wike’s father’s house was built by me. A relation of mine was killed in front of Wike’s father’s house, during the 2015 general elections. I am a Christian. I have never killed anybody and I will never kill anybody. Instead of killing somebody, I will give up my ambition. Anybody’s life is greater than any ambition I will have on earth.

“Nigerians need to be honest and transparent. I recently had a conversation with my first son on the phone and he said he was proud of me, because they cannot write the history of Nigeria, and the transition from one civilian government to another, without including me. I laughed and my son said everybody knew the role I played, the struggle and the fact that my family was torn into different parts and my children could not see me, but that they are proud to have a father like me. That, for me, is my greatest achievement.

“God did not put me to shame. I will be leaving office as Rivers Governor very proud. President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife (Dame Patience); Nyesom Wike; soldiers and police could not remove me from office. When I pray, in front of me all the time is God. That is why I am always victorious. If you want to fight me, you must first defeat God, which is impossible. Nobody can overcome God. I have won already.”

The immediate past NGF chairman also expressed optimism that Peterside would emerge victorious at the election petitions tribunal, sitting in Abuja.

Amaechi faulted the governor-elect for behaving as if he was already in government.

Amaechi said: “They have not been sworn in, they are writing to banks to pay or not to pay money and to give them accounts. Which letterhead? Who the hell are they?

“Until May 29, I am the governor of Rivers State. I have no case hanging on my neck. By God’s grace, I have been governor for eight years.”

‘A Thief Cannot Call Me Corrupt’ – Gov Amaechi Replies Nyesom Wike

Rivers state Governor, Rotimi Amaechi says the governor elect of his state, Nyesom Wike cannot accuse him of being corrupt and wanting to probe him because according to him “a thief cannot call me corrupt”. Wike had on Monday said in a press release that he will be probing Governor Ameachi once he assumes power as Governor on Friday May 29th.

Speaking yesterday May 26th at a public lecture at the Dr. Obi Wali International Convention Centre as part of the activities to mark his 50th birthday which is today May 27th, Gov Amaechi said he had being listening to Wike who should not forget was once his Chief of staff and that if he had no other records at all, he has the records of Wike while he served as his COS.

Governor Amaechi in his speech said he had never killed anyone and will never kill anyone for whatever reason.

“I have been listening to Mr. Nyesom Wike and I have been trying not to reply him. He has been accusing me of corruption and I have been trying to keep quiet over the issue of corruption. A thief cannot call me corrupt. The first lesson he needs to learn is that he was Chief of Staff to my government. If I have no records, I have records on him. One way we succeeded in moving this state forward was that we refused to probe Dr. Peter Odili’s government, despite the pressure on me to probe Dr. Odili’s government, because at the end of the day, they will not ask me the number of persons I probed, but what I did while in government.

This convention centre (built by his government) is one of the testimonies. If we had gone to the Obi Wali Cultural Centre (in Mile One, Diobu, Port Harcourt, now taken over by Sliverbird Cinema), the hall would have looked very full. This hall accommodates 2,200 persons. The convention centre is very big. On top of the roof is a plenty space for big parties, for those who want to organise ‘Owambe’ and there are many conference/committee rooms in the hall. “The road to Nyesom Wike’s father’s house was built by me.

A relation of mine was killed in front of Wike’s father’s house, during the 2015 general elections. I am a Christian. I have never killed anybody and I will never kill anybody. Instead of killing somebody, I will give up my ambition. Anybody’s life is greater than any ambition I will have on earth. Nigerians need to be honest and transparent. I recently had a conversation with my first son on the phone and he said he was proud of me, because they cannot write the history of Nigeria, and the transition from one civilian government to another, without including me.

I laughed and my son said everybody knew the role I played, the struggle and the fact that my family was torn into different parts and my children could not see me, but that they are proud to have a father like me. That, for me, is my greatest achievement. God did not put me to shame. I will be leaving office as Rivers Governor very proud. President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife (Dame Patience); Nyesom Wike; soldiers and police could not remove me from office. When I pray, in front of me all the time is God. That is why I am always victorious. If you want to fight me, you must first defeat God, which is impossible. Nobody can overcome God. I have won already.”he said.

I Will Probe Amaechi – Wike

The Rivers State Governor-elect, Chief Nyesom Wike, has said he would probe the outgoing governor when he gets into office. He gave this hint while receiving the interim report of the Transition Committee in Port Harcourt yesterday, where he declared that his administration would carry out a forensic audit of all government accounts. Wike says the forensic audit will help him recover funds that might have allegedly been stolen by top officials of the outgoing administration in the state.

“I am not going to be intimidated. The only way we can work together is to check the ills of the past. The right thing must be done. Those who have stolen the resources of the state must be made to account for them. I have the political will to drive the process to its logical conclusion. The massive stealing of government resources was a deliberate attempt to create problems for the incomingadministration. All the top officials of Amaechi administration who have refused to cooperate in the interest of Rivers State during the transition period will soon cooperate whether they like it or not. Those who have closed the courts will be the same persons rushing to the courts when we open the courts,” he said.

Patience Jonathan Fuelled My Conflict With President, PDP- Amaechi

The Rivers State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, on Sunday said his disagreement with President Goodluck Jonathan was fueled in part by the President’s wife, Dame Patience Jonathan.

He said this after the premiere of a documentary on Amaechi years at the Silver Bird Galleria, Abuja.

According to him, the President and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party would have taken him to the cleaners, if they had anything incriminating against him.

Amaechi said, “We had a disagreement in principle between me and the President. Have you seen a country where the Commissioner of Police is reporting to the wife of the President? It’s in Rivers State.

“Have you seen a country where the Brigade Commander or the Navy Commander or Air Force Commander is reporting to the wife of the President? It’s in Rivers State.”

He explained that he was convinced that such conduct would not help in the development of any nation, saying he took a stand against it.

Amaechi stressed that Nigeria must never again go back to such dark days, stressing that public officers should learn to lead by the rule so as to avoid abuse of office by their spouses.

He pointed out that it was the husband of Mrs. Jonathan, who was elected.

The governor revealed that in his own case, he ensured that his wife knew her limits and he always told her she had no right to call any of his commissioners for anything, because the people voted him into office as governor, not her.

Amaechi challenged anyone, who had doubts about his performance in office, to go to Rivers State and see for himself or herself.

He also said all he did in the state were not for self-glorification but to bequeath a legacy for successive administrations in the state to sustain.

The governor added that 90 per cent of the people, who worked with him, betrayed him.

He further showcased his achievements, spanning all sectors of the state, wondering why the Federal Government was desperate about casting his administration in bad light even when he spent N105bn doing federal roads.

Amaechi pointed out that he kept a proper account of his stewardship and the books were open for all to see.

This, he said, gave him the courage to sustain the struggle, expressing joy that history would vindicate him in the end.

In the documentary, which featured some of his projects in the areas of security, works, agriculture, works, education, transportation, health and social development, Amaechi said the documentary left out some projects he would love to see documented.

 Senator Magnus Abbe, who also featured in the documentary, explained how Amaechi pioneered the amnesty programmes through which unparalleled  insecurity in the state was drastically reduced.

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APC Pays Tribute To Outgoing Govs’ Forum Chair Amaechi

The Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has hailed the gains attained by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum with Rotimi Amaechi at the helm.

The party said he had united a once divided organisation, describing it as a political masterstroke. “History will record the polarisation of the NGF, which served as a counter-force to check the excesses of the outgoing Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led Federal Government under the watch of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, as one of the tragedies of the Seventh Republic,” Rivers APC Chairman, Davies Ikanya stated in Port Harcourt.

“It will, however, also record the good news that Governor Amaechi in his political sagacity was able to repair the damage done to this very important pressure group before graciously bowing out of office upon the successful completion of his eight years as governor.”

Ikanya described the feat as the best possible way by Amaechi, who is also the outgoing Rivers State Governor, to mark his coming of age.

“This is no doubt one of the best 50th birthday gifts for Governor Amaechi, as he prepares to celebrate the hitting of the golden age. It also further consolidates on his rising profile as a great political force who played a pivotal role in our great party’s dethronement of PDP, which prided itself as the largest political party in Africa and boasted that it would rule Nigeria for 60 years,” Ikanya said.

The party congratulated the patriotic PDP Governors who actively supported the unification efforts, namely, Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom, Isa Yuguda of Bauchi, Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State, Babangida Aliyu of Niger, Ramalan Yero of Kaduna, Usman Dakingari of Kebbi, and Gabriel Suswam of Benue.

“History will be kind to these governors for teaming up with their brother Governors in our great party to salvage the NGF,” Rivers APC said.

The party advised the Governors and the fresh set of Governors to be sworn-in on May 29 to jealously guard their new-found unity under the new leadership of Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zmafara State.

“Never again should the Governors allow outsiders, no matter how powerful, to divide them. Never again should they allow the injustice and wickedness in which a man who got 16 votes was declared a winner over one that got 19 votes,” said Ikanya.

“We urge the Governors to put the NGF’s ugly past behind them and forge ahead to develop a more robust, virile and vibrant Forum that will work towards the greatness of our nation and emancipation of the generality of Nigerians,” Ikanya APC stated.

Credit: CAJ News

Rivers: 15 Political Parties Pull Out Of Council Polls

No fewer than 15 political parties on Friday pulled out the chairmanship and councillorship elections being organized by the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC) in 22, out of the 23 local government areas in the state, today, Saturday, May 23, 2015.

This is as the Rivers State Police Command today ordered restriction of movement of vehicles across the state, ahead of the local government elections, saying movements would be restricted from 10.00pm today, Friday, May 22, to 6.00am tomorrow, Saturday, May 23, and from 9.00am to 6.00pm of Saturday.

The position of the 15 political parties was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of a joint meeting in Port Harcourt, which was read by the chairman of Labour Party (LP) in the state, Prince Favour Reuben.

Emphasizing that RSIEC was not prepared to conduct the election, Reuben stated that there is so much insincerity in the process for the conduct of the local government election, and urged the electoral umpire to obey a Court order which mandated all parties to maintain status quo.

He said, “We have lost confidence in the ability to conduct a free and fair election. In particular, while RSIEC had claimed that INEC has released the Voters’ Register to it, INEC informed the public that no such register has been released to RSIEC. This is outright deceit and embarrassing. It has come to our knowledge that the RSIEC has breached relevant laws, rules and deviated from observing due process.

“RSIEC should comply with the ruling of the Federal High Court, maintaining status quo in the case seeking to restrain INEC from releasing the current Voters’ Register to RSIEC. RSIEC should immediately postpone the election.”

Meanwhile, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the Rivers State Police Command, Ahmad Muhammad, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt, said the restriction of movement of vehicles is aim to ensure peace and serenity across the state before, during and after Local Government election.

The statement reads in part, “The Rivers State Police Command wishes to inform the general public that ahead of the Rivers State local government election that is scheduled to hold on Saturday, May 23, 2015, it has ordered a restriction of movement of vehicles across the state between 10pm on Friday May 22, 2015 till 6am on Saturday May 23, 2015 in the first lap, and finally between 9am and 6pm on same Saturday May 23, 2015.

“The restriction is aim to ensure peace and serenity across the state before, during and after local government election. This restriction excludes vehicles on essential duty such as Fire Service, Ambulances accredited election observers and vehicles used by Rivers State Independent National Electoral Commission and law enforcement/security agencies.

“The Command assures that adequate security logistics and manpower have been tactically emplaced to realize a most peaceful electioneering atmosphere. In this regard, Policemen for election duty have been properly briefed on their roles as stipulated in the Electoral Act. They however are expected to be professional, non-partisan, civil but firm in their approach and relation to the public.”

Tension In Rivers Over Council Polls

Tension has enveloped Rivers State over the plan by the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission, RSIEC, to go ahead to conduct local government election in the state on Saturday.

There are fears that the election may be disrupted and engender chaos since the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has gone to court to challenge the legality in conducting the council polls.

The heightened tension in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, in southern Nigeria, may not be unconnected with the fact that the state had one of the highest number of politically motivated killings during the just concluded general elections in the country.

While counsel to PDP, Emmanuel Aguma, insists that there is a subsisting court injunction against RSIEC from conducting the election, RSIEC is claiming that no such injunction exists and so it is not bound by any legal encumbrances from conducting the poll.

As the back and forth argument continued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Rivers State has denied releasing voters’ register to RSIEC for the conduct of the election.

RSIEC had earlier told journalists that it had received INEC’s official voters’ register for the conduct of the election.

INEC in a statement signed by its secretary, Roy Obijiri, said it did not give the register to RSIEC.

He said the delay in releasing the register was due to impending court processes over the matter in a federal high court in Port Harcourt.

The statement by INEC also said the court adjourned the matter and admonished all parties to maintain the status quo pending the determination of the appeal and the substantive suit.

PDP is boycotting the election and on Thursday insisted that RSIEC is relying on membership register in place of INEC register to conduct “an illegal election that would end in nullity”.

Berating RSIEC for compromising its responsibility and descending so low to promote illegality in the state having been gratified by Governor Chibuike Amaechi, the State PDP Chairman, Felix Obuah through a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Jerry Needam, described RSIEC’s collaboration as tragic and most regrettable.

Obuah said the action by the state electoral body amounts to wishing to right an illegality with criminality simply to justify the huge money paid to them by the outgoing Governor Amaechi.

The State PDP chairman while dismissing the plot as an effort in futility, lauded the courage of the other 13 political parties in the state for shunning Amaechi’s inducements and withdrawing from the purported council election.

He reassured the affected parties of the supremacy of the rule of law which must be vigorously pursued by the PDP-led government to ensure that every political party is given equal opportunity and fairness to participate in any political contest.

APC in Rivers has in the meantime raised an alarm, accusing PDP of importing mercenaries into the state to disrupt the Council polls.

The PDP Counsel, Aguma, said it has written to the Police, Department of State Security Service, DSS, and other security agencies that there is a court order preventing RSIEC from conducting election and that status quo should be maintained. And therefore any attempt to conduct tomorrow’s election is illegal.

Aguma wondered how RSIEC can conduct the election without a vital INEC register recognised by law. “With due respect, those canvassing to contest are merely wasting their time and resources,” he said.

Meanwhile, on Thursday the State Police Command said it is ready to provide security for the election.

Ahmad Muhammad, PPRO of Rivers State Police command, gave the assurance.

It is however not clear if the command will restrict movement during the election. No announcement to that effect has been made at the time of this report.

Don’t Allow Non-journalists Destroy Your Profession, Amaechi Tells NUJ

Rivers State Governor and Chairman, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has appealed to the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), not to allow non-journalists to destroy the journalism profession.

Amaechi made the call yesterday in Port Harcourt while declaring open the sixth state triennial delegates conference of the Rivers State Council of the NUJ, with the theme: ‘A Vibrant Press, National Stability And Economic Process’.

The governor, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Information, Mr. Sam Woka said, “I am appealing to journalists to go ahead and follow up with what is happening globally. Please, don’t allow non-journalists to destroy your profession. Let the union regulate activities of journalists; let the union legalize the code of conduct; let the union publish and legalize qualifications of journalists.”

In his opening remarks, chairman of the occasion and vice chancellor of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Prof Barineme Bekee Fakae described the NUJ as a major stakeholder in the development of the country.

Fakae therefore advised NUJ to continue to connect journalists nationwide with the information and opportunities they need to advance professionally and improve the media in Nigeria.

He said, “The Nigeria Union of Journalists as a professional media organization should continue to connect journalists nationwide with the information and opportunities they need to advance professionally and improve the media in Nigeria.

How Will History Treat Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi Of Rivers State? By Nnaemeka Oruh

In a statement sent out after President Jonathan conceded defeat to General Muhammadu Buhari,Nigeria’s former Vice President Atiku Abubakar made an assertion which will continue to reverberate through history.He said of Jonathan “History will be kind to you”.It was a ringing endorsement of the selflessness of the outgoing president.
Passing a judgement on Govenor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi on the other hand presents a conundrum.Lauded in some parts of Nigeria(especially outside Rivers State) as democracy’s stand up guy owing to his battles against President Jonathan,and his monumental support of the incoming ‘saintly’ president,Amaechi comes across as the proverbial father who does more for outsiders than his own family members.
It is important that in writing about Rotimi Amaechi,one adopts a very objective stance and start from the very beginning of his governorship tenures.This was a man whom judicial ‘magic’ ensured that he became the governor of Rivers State during his first tenure without actually standing for the election.Yet most people in the state were overjoyed at that decision and many of us danced ecstatically at his emergence to the governorship seat.In fulfillment of all our wishes, Amaechi’s first tenure was a joy to behold.From infrastructural development,to security,and the running of an open and participatory government,he was everything any reasonable person would want as a leader.In those days,he was to a lot of us,the answer to the problem of leadership in the country.I have always argued that anybody resident in Rivers who did not like Amaechi during the first tenure was a sycophant who hated the man because he could not have access to the state’s cake.For,in all honesty,Governor Amaechi had an outstanding first tenure.
Governor Amaechi’s second tenure on the other hand was the flip-side to his first.Granted that he began well too,but in a rather slower pace.All that was to completely change for the worse when his battle with the Jonathans and their ‘family’ began.Even then,most people in the state stood by him.However,by the time he switched to the All Progressives Congress(APC),the governance of Rivers State became an abandoned project.The man’s entire focus then switched to a battle to win the presidency and  the state for APC(not through better governance, but through unnecessary campaigns of calumny and expenditure).Civil servants,public servants,state projects,lawmakers,in fact,everybody in the state felt the scourge.But he was no longer interested in the people.His focus had changed to personal battles and he committed everything to fighing them no matter how badly the state was hurt.
It is well documented that desperate attempts were made by the Amaechi-led APC to ensure that governorship elections did not hold in the state.Fear gripped parts of the state as they went on rampage.When the results were declared,to further throw the state into confusion,he thought up something else; conduct local government elections. Indeed,his actions have shown that he is not in any way interested in putting the welfare of the state ahead of his own personal battles.He would rather see the state burn than let go of the shame he feels for not delivering the state to APC. It is indeed laughable to hear him say “we will restore our stolen mandate”.What stolen mandate?The truth is that majority of Rivers people will never vote for APC– Amaechi made sure of that and I believe he knows that too. He had taken them to the point where the only thing the people crave is real change from his excesses. That was why APC lost the state during the state elections.That is why they will also continue to lose until the man, Amaechi, changes his ways.
As Governor Amaechi’s tenure winds to a close,every action carried out by him so far is geared towards disrupting the peace of the state and stifling development.Almost everybody in the state knows this and is fed up. When I talked to some common people on the streets, almost all their views were the same; “He should please go to Abuja and let us be in peace”.Secure in his belief that he ‘owns’ the centre,Governor Amaechi no longer cares about the welfare of Rivers State.So to him,the state rather burns down than for him to lose his petty battles,or fail to keep his ego intact.
The question he should however be asking himself right now is; ‘How will history treat me?’.As for the average Rivers man/woman,we just want one thing; leave us alone to live in peace.

Views expressed are solely that of author and does not represent views of www.omojuwa.com nor its associates

Report Predicts Cabinet Jobs Buhari May Offer Amaechi, What’s Your Take?

Rotimi Amaechi, governor of Rivers state and a General in the common sense revolution that saw to the emergence of Muhammadu Buhari as President-elect is certainly getting a cabinet position when the next government is formed.

We have some suggestions for 4 cabinet jobs Buhari may offer Amaechi.

  • Secretary to the Government of the Federation
  • Minister of Niger Delta Affairs
  • FCT Minister
  • Minister of Petroleum

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Rivers Crisis: AGF Drafts Bayelsa Chief Judge To Swear-In Wike

Following a constitutional crisis in River State, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), has drafted the Chief Judge of Bayelsa State to inaugurate the Governor-elect of Rivers State, Barrister Nyesom Wike, on May 29.

He said where there is vacuum in the Office of the Chief Judge of Rivers State or the Office of the President of the Customary Court of Appeal, the constitution empowers any person to administer an oath of office on a Governor-elect.

The AGF made the announcement in a statement in Abuja against the backdrop of the constitutional challenge in Rivers State.

The statement said: “It will be recalled that Barr. NyelsonEzenwo Wike, was declared the Governor-Elect of Rivers State following the Gubernatorial and Houses of Assembly Elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on 11th April 2015.

“It is therefore expected that he will be sworn into Office on 29th May 2015 in accordance with the provisions of section 185(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.

“It is however pertinent to draw public attention to the existing vacuum in the Office of the Chief Judge of Rivers State, as well as, the Office of the President of the Customary Court of Appeal, Rivers State which has made strict compliance with the requirements of section 185(1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, virtually impossible.

“In order to avert a likely constitutional crisis in Rivers State on 29th May 2015 when the Governor-Elect, is expected to be sworn as Governor of Rivers State, I have requested the Chief Judge of Bayelsa State to administer the Oath of Allegiance and Oath of Office on the Governor-Elect of Rivers State in accordance with section 185(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, which provides as follows:

“The Oath of Allegiance and the oath of Office shall be administered by the Chief Judge of the State or Grand Khadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the State, if any, or President of the Customary Court of Appeal of the State, if any, or the person for the time being respectively appointed to exercise the functions of any of those offices in any State.”

Wike Alleges Amaechi Paid N300m To Acquire Illegal Injunction To Stop His Inauguration

Rivers State Governor-Elect, Barrister Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has decried the use of the office of the Attorney General of Rivers State by outgoing Governor, Rotimi Amaechi to file a suit for Rivers State All Progressives Congress ( APC ) to stop his inauguration.

Addressing members of the inauguration and transition committees on Tuesday in Port Harcourt, Barrister Wike announced that the Federal High Court in Owerri has struck out the suit filed by Attorney General of Rivers State and the Rivers APC.

He informed that credible information available to him indicates that Governor Amaechi paid out N300m to some lawyers out of an agreed N500m for the procurement of the illegal order which has failed.

Barrister Wike noted that the state became bankrupt because of the outgoing governor’s fixation on stopping his inauguration and his siphoning of government funds to shop for unconstitutional court orders.

He said it was unfortunate that outgoing governor, Rotimi Amaechi would desecrate the office of the Attorney General of Rivers State and enmesh it in illegal political manoeuvres.

He said : “ Amaechi has boasted that he has looted all the funds and he is threatening that if Buhari is sworn in he will deal with this and the policeman and soldier.

“That tells you the kind of man you are dealing with. This is just to inform those who you who are not informed about his antics, so that you will be encouraged in the face his needless provocation”.

He commended the judiciary for always living above the treacherous antics of politicians like Amaechi who survive on name dropping and use of corrupt means to negatively influence due process.

It would be recalled that Governor Amaechi had earlier approached an Awka High Court to procure an injunction to stop Barrister Wike’s inauguration.

The joint meeting of the Transition and Inauguration Committees was convened to conclude preparations for the inauguration of the governor-elect, Barrister Wike and his deputy, Dr. Mrs Ipalibo Banigo.

Credit – Dailypost Ng

APC Applauds Amaechi’s Stewardship, Calls Him Arrowhead Of Change

The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State has described the eight-year stewardship of Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi as unequalled since the creation of the State in 1967, declaring that he will leave office in a blaze of glory when his tenure ends on May 29, 2015.

“Governor Amaechi has set new standards in governance, not only in Rivers State but, indeed, nationally. History will record him as not only the best Governor Rivers State has ever produced since its creation but also as one of the best in the country,” Rivers APC said in a statement issued on Tuesday in the State capital, Port Harcourt.

The party in the statement signed by its State Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, said it came to the conclusion after a detailed study of Amaechi’s performance in office and comparing it with that of his predecessors, as well as his brother-governors across the country. It thanked Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and eminent jurist, Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte, for acknowledging Amaechi’s feats during their remarks at the recent public presentation of the compilation of the achievements of the Amaechi administration at Lagos recently by Dr Yemi Ogunbiyi and Dr Chidi Amuta in their book. ‘Dynamics of Change: The Amaechi Years’.

The statement said “Prof. Soyinka did not only describe Amaechi as the arrowhead of the change that led to the change in the country, a man of principle and strong conviction, who was willing to stand by his belief at a great risk, but also praised the giant strides made by the Amaechi administration. Asiwaju Tinubu affirmed that Amaechi has charted the critical path to total political and economic emancipation of the people of Rivers State, leaving a legacy of high quality schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, security and human capacity projects, among others. On his part, Justice Karibi-Whyte stressed that Governor Amaechi was key in bringing all the ethnic nationalities in Rivers State struggling for leadership together and fostering peace in the State.”

Rivers APC said that Amaechi’s ability to achieve so much despite unceasing efforts by the extremely hostile Peoples Democratic Party-led Federal Government and some misguided Rivers State politicians testifies to the Governor’s uncanny gift in crisis management. It assured Nigerians that Amaechi will take the magic wand to the centre under the incoming APC-led Federal Government. “We are confident that Governor Amaechi will continue to remain a worthy Ambassador of Rivers State and will set new standards in whatever position our great party and our leader, President-elect Muhammadu Buhari may wish to use him in the new dispensation,” Rivers APC said.

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Governors’ Forum: Fighting Is Over, Amaechi Bows Out

The drama created by the 16 is greater than 19 saga in the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF, is finally over and all those involved have decided to bury the hatchet. Consequently, Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara state has emerged chairman of the Governors’ Forum.

Governor Yari emerged at the end of the meeting of the Forum held at the Lagos/Osun Hall of the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.

The outgoing chairman of the body and Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, read the communique of the meeting to journalists.

Amaechi said Yari emerged chairman by consensus and would serve for a period of one year.

Yari was former deputy chairman of the Forum. But a new deputy chairman is yet to be elected.

The Rivers Governor also said after over a year of bickering, all the governors had now “reconciled and are United as a single umbrella association of the 36 state governors of Nigeria.”

Amaechi also said in the light of the fact that funds in the Excess Crude Account were last disbursed in May 2013, “there is the need for the Minister of Finance and coordinating Minister for the economy Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to provide explanation for accruals to this account from June 2013 to April 2015 which is estimated at over N20billion”.

About 20 governors, including some deputies, attended Monday’s meeting. Monday’s meeting is the first time the state chief executives came together as a united body.

Nigeria Is Broke, Amaechi Insists

The Rivers State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, has again declared that Nigeria is broke and blamed the inability of the state and others to pay workers’ salaries and pensions on the nation’s current poor financial condition.

Amaechi said that the nation’s economic condition could be noticed through the dwindling statutory monthly allocation usually received by the state from the Federal Government.

Speaking during a thanksgiving service organised by the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, and his campaign outfit, the Greater Campaign Organisation in Port Harcourt on Sunday, the governor recalled that he was described as an alarmist last year when he cried out over Nigeria’s poor financial state.

Amaechi pointed out that the nation’s economy had continued to fall since he made the statement in December 2014.

“When I said sometime last year that Nigeria’s finances was in a dire strait, some people referred to me as an alarmist. Since I made that statement in December last year, the statutory allocation to the state has continued to decline.

“Now, almost all the states are finding it difficult to pay salaries. The state government owes civil servants their April salaries and pensioners’ four months’ salary arrears because the state does not have the money to pay them,” the governor said.

Amaechi explained that he decided to channel financial resources towards the completion of ongoing projects, which he promised would be completed before the end of his administration on May 29, 2015.

He said, “Some people have chosen to make an issue of the difficulty we are currently experiencing in paying the salaries of civil servants as well as the arrears of our retirees. It is not our making.

“No government will deliberately refuse to pay the salaries of its workers. We will pay as soon as we receive our share of our statutory monthly allocation from the Federal Government.

“It is not easy to joggle the payment of salaries and the implementation of capital projects that are actually geared towards developing the state, creating jobs and improving the economy of the state because more monies go into the society when you award contracts and pay the contractors on time so that they can also pay their workers on time.”

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Buhari’s Victory Saved Me, FG Secretly Ordered For My Arrest – Governor Amaechi

At the presentation of the book, ‘Dynamics of Change: The Amaechi Years’ in Lagos, Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi narrated how he was a marked out following a secret order from the federal government to security agencies to arrest him if the PDP won the presidential election.

According to Amaechi, the Goodluck Jonathan government hunted him and was determined to cage him, withdrawing his diplomatic passport and refusing to re-issue him an ordinary international passport.

“I was so determined that there would be Change because if there was no Change, I would be finished. For me, it was a matter of life and death. The federal government sent a signal that if they won, nobody should allow me to leave Nigeria. Today, I have been given back my diplomatic passport two weeks to the end of the government. I lost my green passport in Ghana sometime ago. Now, they have re-issued me a new one.”

The presentation which had in attendance eminent personalities who contributed immensely to the success of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the just concluded general elections, including captains of industries, x-rayed the eight years of Amaechi as governor of Rivers State from 2007 to 2015, his policies, speeches and motives behind his actions.

The event was chaired by Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte, retired justice of Supreme Court; Prof. Wole Soyinka who gave a short remark; Bishop Mathew Hassan-Kukah, who reviewed the book. Mr. Tonye Cole, CEO of Sahara Group, made the public presentation.

Amaechi gave thanks to God for the change that took place at the elections, saying he had been a marked man for his vehement opposition to injustice in the country.

The Rivers governor stated that he saw the trouble ahead of him. “I knew that I was going to be in trouble. I told Asiwaju Bola Tinubu that what was important was that he should lead in the history of first civilian coup in Nigeria. I am happy that he was part of this revolution.”

He said when people began to wonder whether APC could organise an elective primary or not, “I went to Asiwaju and told him if we don’t do convention, we were finished and he led us to a convention.”

He traced the genesis of his rift with the presidency to the crisis that ensured over the River State government’s plan to develop the Okirika waterfront from its slum position to a habitable place which led to a quarrel with the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, which later spilled over to the elections of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).

He said President Goodluck Jonathan was so determined that he should not be re-elected, which gave rise to the 16 votes being greater than 19 votes. Other rifts included the snatching of Rivers State oil wells up to Abonema by the federal government and handing them over to Bayelsa State.

Amaechi Will Continue To Serve Nigeria In Key Positions – Bola Tinubu

Tinubu has showered encomiums on governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State..Speaking inLagos on Thursday while delivering his speech as the special guest of honour at the presentation of the book titled Dynamics of Change: The Amaechi Years, the APC leader said..

“We are here today, because one of the generals in the Common Sense Revolution Army, Rotimi Amaechi is bold and willing to show the world what he has achieved in the task to chart the critical path to total political and economic emancipation of the people whose mandate he enjoyed for 8 years.

“In my view, our gathering to celebrate the landmark achievements of my brother, Governor Rotimi Amaechi, in Rivers State in the last eight years is also another justifiable celebration of idea of Common Sense Revolution for development. The publication of the book, Dynamics of Change: The Amaechi Years is a timely service to history. This occasion is all the more remarkable because of the huge challenges Amaechi has been facing especially in his second term from an extremely hostile federal government. His role as the chairman of the Governors’ Forum invariably brought him into a bitter collision with President Goodluck Jonathan.

“Governor Amaechi and most of the governors want a properly defined federalist relationship with the government at the centre. The President would have none of that as in the notable example of the management of the federation account. This is, therefore, another great opportunity to salute Amaechi’s rare courage of conviction and sense of purpose. The All Progressives Congress (APC) has every cause to be proud of him.

“Rotimi will go on from here to continue to serve Nigeria in key positions. He will not be alone. He will share the company of many change agents and professionals who have cast their lots with the new political order under the Leadership President elect, General Muhammadu Buhari”.

Jonathan, Obasanjo, Amaechi Reconcile

It is no longer news that there has been no love lost between President Goodluck Jonathan, former president Olusegun Obasanjo and the Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi.

However, the last Council of State meeting hosted by President Jonathan yesterday, offered an opportunity for the three men to reconcile even if  it was for the camera.

Before the commencement of the Council meeting, the governors across party divide were seen joking, back slapping one another and discussing in groups.

President Jonathan was also seen laughing, shaking  and holding hands with Obasanjo.But the one that caught everyone’s attention was when the President, while waiting for the valedictory photo-session at the fore court of the Presidential Villa,  had a handshake with the governors around him, and on sighting Amaechi, playfully hit him severally, with his fist on the shoulder and the Rivers State governor bowed, laughing and holding the President’s hand all the while, saying “Your Excellency.”

Obasanjo has been a constant critic of Jonathan’s administration, the latest being in February, when the elections were postponed.

The former president, had at his Hilltop Mansion residence in Abeokuta, likened the politics played by Jonathan to “the do-or-die” politics played by the former President of Cote d’Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo.

Also, Obasanjo, while reacting to the postponement of the general elections, said it was a grand plan by Jonathan to perpetuate himself in office till the situation became clear that the presidential election would favour him.

President Jonathan had in a swift reaction, fired back, saying the allegations were baseless and absurd.

Obasanjo had also in an 18-page letter a year ago, accused the President of deceit, deception, dishonesty, incompetence, having a killer squad and clannishness among others.

The Rivers State governor on his part, had always pointed fingers at the president and his wife, Patience on any crisis in his state.

Moved by the camaraderie seen inside and outside the Council chambers, a journalist later asked Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State how that could be translated to the common man on the street,  and he replied: “I told you that one of the former heads of state moved for all these to be recorded, so that we make it as part of the tradition. Politics is not war.

Yes, there is a price, but the moment there is a decision and someone gets the price, everyone should come back and wait for another chance.

“So, the camaraderie that you noticed, is how it should be and we should send it down to our communities, to our people; so that even in one house, you can afford to vote for different parties but the moment results are announced, you will remain brothers and not enemies.”

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Don’t Panic, We Are Ready For Handover- Amaechi Tells Wike

The Rivers State Governor, Mr Chibuike Amaechi, has expressed the readiness of his Administration to handover on May 29. Amaechi who dismissed rumours he would not be handing over the reign of governance on the date, wondered what he would be doing in office after May 29. The Rivers state Governor averred that the entire cabinet has made ready their notes preparatory to the terminal date of his regime.

“We are ready for handover unlike the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, at the centre that is busy making new appointments and sacking people. They have refused to brief the Muhammadu Buhari Transition Team and All Progressives Congress, APC, is not screaming blue murder. Rather, the APC at the centre is meeting and planning and preparing for government”.

Painting an ugly scenario in Rivers State, Gov. Amaechi stated that rather than support democracy, PDP has been busy doctoring election results and Voter Register.

“Unfortunately in Rivers State, the PDP is busy doctoring election results, doctoring Voter Register as to cover their stolen mandate, and crying wolf to cover their mischief”.

Amaechi who spoke through the Rivers State Commissioner of Information and Communications, Ibim Semenitari, added that whoever would take over from him has no reason to panic.

In a statement in Port Harcourt on Friday, Semenitari dismissed insinuations the outgoing regime had shown no co-operation with the man the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, declared winner of the April 11 governorship election in Rivers State. While dismissing reports the outgoing Administration has been un-co-operative with the PDP, Semenitari allayed such fears saying that PDP already has everything going for it.

“They stole the outcome of the April 11 election and gave no hoot; they declared their candidates winners with the criminal connivance of INEC and cared less about local, national and international opinion that what took place in Rivers state on April 11 was everything but an election. The more APC had pushed for electoral materials which are statutory demands of an electoral litigation, the farther PDP and INEC had kept it, and seemingly, they have had their way. So, they have all going for them. They have nothing to worry about. If and when Mr. Ezebuwon Nyesom Wike, will be sworn in, the issue of handover notes and other statutory briefings should not be any worry to him. Already Wike has as part of his transition team the State Deputy Governor, Engr. Tele Renner Ikuru, who is ViceChairman of the Rivers Stare Executive Council, and who is abreast of all projects and Programmes of the current administration, having chaired many sensitive state government committees as well as state cabinet meetings.” Semenitari said.

“After all, PDP has constituted Inauguration and Transition Committees, respectively”.

The Information and Communications Commissioner who insisted PDP stole the mandate it is parading, reasoned that with the pair of Ikuru and Wike, PDP should have no difficulty with any briefings that they might need from the current administration. She advised PDP to learn from APC which has not raised any hairs despite what are deliberate steps at the centre to provokethe party. “Governor Amaechi has not made any new appointment as he knows he is leaving office, unlike what PDP is doing at the centre. They are busy sacking and making appointments, functions that should be entirely left for the in-coming Administration. Provocative as it is, APC has rather, concerned itself with continued preparations to give Nigerians good governance. APC has refused to dance to PDP’s evil drumbeats, choosing to show maturity.

Read More: vanguardngr

Wike Kicks Over Amaechi’s Refusal To Form Transition Committee

AHEAD of the May 29, 2015 handover date, the transition committee set up by the Rivers State Governor-elect, Chief Nyesom Wike, has criticised the alleged refusal of the State Government led by Governor Rotimi Amaechi, to set up a transition committee.

Wike transition committee disclosed that letters sent to the state governor by personal delivery and courier service on the need for him (Amaechi) to establish a transition committee were rejected and returned.

Speaking with newsmen in Port Harcourt on Thursday, the Secretary to the Transition Committee set up by the incoming governor, Mr. Frank Owhor, alleged that a top ranking officer had told his committee that government employees were asked not to receive any correspondence from Wike’s transition committee.

Owhor pointed out that mails dispatched to the governor electronically and delivered to the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. George Feyii, were not acknowledged.

He described the governor’s refusal as irresponsible and an embarrassment to the people of the state, adding that the state government was expected to set up its own committee to interface with the committee of the incoming government.

“In the current democratic dispensation, the Federal Government led by President Goodluck Jonathan has already set up a transition committee. President-elect has also set up a transition committee, which incidentally had Governor Rotimi Amaechi, CON as member.

“In many states in Nigeria, especially those in which the PDP lost to the APC, transition committees have been set up by the respective outgoing governments. Special mention must be made of Benue, Niger and Kaduna States.

“Unfortunately, the outgoing Government of Rivers State led by Governor Rotimi Amaechi has refused, failed and neglected to set up its transition committee. Governor Amaechi has rejected all entreaties for a peaceful transition in the state,” he said.

Wike’s transition committee’s secretary, however, called on Amaechi’s outgoing administration to act responsibly by setting up a transition committee.

17 Petitions Filed Before Rivers Election Tribunal

Several cases of irregularities during the April 11 governorship election in Rivers State will be heard by the Rivers Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja. Already, 17 petitions had been filed by Tuesday.

The Tribunal Secretary, Mrs Deborah Musa made this known in an interview in Abuja. She, however, did not give a breakdown.

The tribunal which is supposed to hear the cases in Rivers State, was forced to relocate to Abuja following security threats.

The relocation, according to Musa, was approved by the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa.

Musa said the tribunal would be sitting at Court 20 and Court 23 of the Apo High Court complex in Abuja.

PDP Endangering Peace In Rivers; APC Members Killed Daily

•Rivers APC explains why it is going to the Election Tribunal
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate in Rivers State, Chief Nyesome Wike, and Nigeria’s First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, have been accused of endangering peace in the State through their open support for political brigandage. Making the allegation on Monday in Port Harcourt, the State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) accused Chief Wike and Dame Jonathan of desperation to rule Rivers State at all cost.

“It has been brought to our notice that instead of towing the path of peace and dialogue on how to enhance security of lives and property in Rivers State, Chief Wike, Dame Patience Jonathan and other PDP chieftains are mobilising innocent Rivers State youths to embark upon futile protests against the decision of APC to go to the tribunal to challenge the charade that is called election purportedly held in Rivers State on March 28th and April 11th, 2015. This is not only an attempt to blackmail and intimidate Rivers APC but also a way of further endangering the peace of the graveyard that has persisted in the State since the brazen theft of the people’s mandate given to APC,”

Rivers APC Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, said in a statement.

Sadly, not minding the 19 APC members killed and beheaded during the gubernatorial election of April 11, 2015, in Ahoada East, Okrika and other local government areas in the Rivers State APC members are either been killed or abducted since after the sham elections in Rivers State for reasons we cannot fathom. We are afraid that killers and sundry criminals have been imposed on the state by INEC as our leaders. We wonder if this act of insecurity and killings are parts of the social contract that Chief Wike claims to have signed with the Rivers State people. Since the discredited Governorship and House of Assembly elections in Rivers State, killers have swarmed on Ahoada East, hitting down their targets.

Recently, Messrs Chigba Apollos and Chiezule German, both members of APC in the area, were shot dead in Ibarikpo Town by unknown gunmen. Apart from the killings, kidnappers are also on the prowl in Ahoada East targeting only APC members. The abduction of Chief Cassidy Ikegbidi, Chairman of Ahoada East Caretaker Committee, CTC on April 18, is one of the latest tragedies that have befallen APC. Others so far kidnapped by the PDP hoodlums are Mr. Suleiman Atago from Ideoha in Ward 5, and Chidi Oji from Ihuowo Ward 10, respectively

As PDP seeks our extinction in Rivers State, let us reiterate that our party would neither be blackmailed nor intimidated by the antics of Wike and Dame Jonathan and this new wave of insecurity in Rivers State.

As PDP goes about celebrating their phantom victory that will be short lived, Ikanya proceeded to give reasons why Rivers APC decided to go to tribunal to challenge the declaration of Wike as the winner of an election that never took place.

His words: “Apart from being our constitutional right to challenge this monumental fraud at the tribunal, we also wish to set the records straight to avoid a situation where those who are not empowered by the people of Rivers State through their votes usurp powers that do not belong to them. We wish to declare that based on the records and results collated from agents at the various polling units, APC won the April 11th, 2015 governorship and State Assembly elections convincingly. Therefore, the votes allotted to Chief Wike and PDP State Assembly candidates cannot stand the test of any judicial interpretation when we present our evidence before the tribunal.”

Continuing, the Rivers APC Chairman said: “We are going to the tribunal to contest the fraudulent declaration of results for an alleged election that witnessed a lot of killing, violence and thumb-printing of ballot papers in favour of PDP candidates. The result cannot be allowed to stand. Chief Wike and the PDP leadership for rigged the election in such a manner that primary school pupils would have done better Allowing Chief Tammy Danagogo, the Minister of Sports, and other PDP chieftains to be the ones to return INEC results of their various local government constituencies to the State REC and acceptance of results even where votes assumed to be collated exceeded the number of the registered voters show the level of desperation by PDP and its INEC collaborators.”

Dr. Ikanya disclosed that yet another reason why Rivers APC is going to the tribunal is to maintain the spirit of equity, justice and fairness and prevent the discrimination against the Riverine section of the State as represented by the candidature of Chief Wike represents since through former governor Peter Odili, incumbent Governor Chibuike Amaechi and now Chief Wike, power will elude the Riverine section of the State for 24 years.

Defection Of G-5 Govs To APC Nailed PDP’s Coffin – Ex-National Auditor

A former National Auditor of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Ray Nnaji, on Sunday faulted calls for the sack of the party’s National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, following the party’s poor performance in the just concluded 2015 general elections.

X-raying the party’s performance, Nnaji said “Lack of internal democracy in PDP was the cause of the woeful outing in the general elections”.

The former national auditor, who spoke with a PUNCH correspondent in Enugu, Enugu State, stressed that PDP “elders”, who contributed to the defection of five governors to the All Progressives Congress, APC, should be held responsible for the party’s failure in the presidential, as well as the other polls, in which the party suffered embarrassing defeats.

He accused the unnamed PDP elders of not allowing internal democracy to thrive in the party.

While exonerating the Mu’azu-led PDP national executive committee of blame for the party’s failure in the presidential election, Nnaji insisted that all members of the party should share in the blame for the party’s poor outing in the general elections.

He said, “The fact that the party failed woefully in the elections should not be attributed just to the national chairman or the national executive committee.

“Everybody should share in the blame. Remember that before he (Mu’azu) came in, there was crisis in the party.

“The people that should be blamed are the elders who allowed five governors to decamp to the APC; that move nailed the coffin of the PDP.

“Such a thing has never happened anywhere in the world. So, all those who contributed to the defection of the five governors should be blamed.

“If those five governors had not left, the opposition would not have been strong enough to effectively challenge PDP in the elections”.

Nnaji, however, noted that the development was good for the country’s democracy as well as the fortunes of the PDP.

According to him, it is an opportunity for the PDP to know its true members and those he described as “saboteurs”.

“There is nothing static in life except change; it is also an opportunity for the party to know who is a true member. Some people are saboteurs, they pretend to be genuine members but in truth they are not.

“The leadership of the party should not be left to people who are only interested in lining their pockets”, he added.

Nnaji suggested that the Mu’azu-led NEC should be given a chance to revive the party’s fortunes.

“The leadership of the party should not be crucified; they should be given the opportunity to redefine the party so that it could become a credible opposition that can wrest power from APC in 2019.

“This is possible because some of the people that caused problems in PDP are now in APC and surely they will also cause problems in APC”, he said.