By Benson Ezugwu
Calabar, Feb. 5, 2019 (NNN) The Cross River Government has approved N8.5 billion for the provision of electricity in over 400 communities across the 18 Local Government Areas of the state.
Dr Jake Otu-Enyia, the Director-General of the State Electrification Agency (SEA) made this known on Tuesday in Calabar during a visit to his office by Mr Ayodele Adegoke, the State Coordinator of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
He said that procurement processes had since commenced for the project.
“This is in line with the Cross River State Executive Council’s approval of 100 per cent electricity coverage across the state,’’ Otu-Enyia said.
He said the current administration in the state had done well by improving the electricity sub-sector including the direct intervention, in the provision of electricity materials worth over N30 million in over 30 communities.
The director-general, however, promised to send a team of engineers to carry out a survey to ascertain the capacity of transformers required by the NYSC Orientation Camp in Obubra Local Government Area.
Otu-Enyia said he would communicate same to the governor for assistance.
Earlier, the state coordinator of NYSC had requested for an electricity transformer for the state’s NYSC permanent orientation camp.
According to him, the camp had been in darkness for decades, hence the appeal for the state government’s intervention. (NNN)
Edited by Emmanuel Okara/Adeleye Ajayi
Federal Road Projects: FEC approves refunds of N148bn to Rivers, Ondo, 3 others
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday approved refund of N148billion expended on federal roads by Rivers, Cross River, Ondo, Bayelsa and Osun states.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the third virtual meeting of the FEC, held at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Mohammed said the approval of the refund followed a memo presented by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola.
He said: “You will recall that in 2016, 36 states of the federation sent a very huge bill to the federal government, asking for compensation for money that they have expended on federal roads.
“This prompted Mr President to set up a committee to go and verify the claims of these 36 states, whether indeed these projects were actually constructed, were they completed, in line with the federal government standards.
“At the end of that exercise by an inter-ministerial committee, chaired by the minister of works and housing, but also had Ministers of Education, Transportation, Finance, Minister of State for Works, DG BPP and Permanent Secretary Cabinet Office as members.
“At the end of that exercise, the committee recommended that the federal government should refund N550,364,297.31 billion to 31 of the 36 states, after they were convinced that, yes indeed, the projects were completed and they were federal government roads.
“But the claims of five other states Cross River, Rivers, Ondo, Bayelsa and Osun failed on the grounds that they did not do proper documentation and the committee felt they needed proper documentation.
“So, the committee went back with new terms of reference to ensure that the claims of the five states were in order, that is why the BPP is on the committee.
“So, at the end of the exercise, the committee now reported that the five states – Cross River with 20 roads and one bridge will get a refund of N18,394,737,608.85, Ondo with six roads to get a refund of N7,822,147,577.08, and Osun with two roads and one bridge to get a refund of N2,468,938,876.78.
Mohammed said the committees confirmed the roads and the bridges, that not only were they completed, they were in substantial good form, adding that some of the bridges and roads were built about 10 years ago.
He, however, disclosed that “there is a caveat, as the federal government will pay the states but however, henceforth, if any state takes on federal government road, it will not be paid, they will not get any refund.
“Even if you want to pay from your own pocket, you will still need the permission of the federal government and it will be supervised by the federal ministry of works and housing.”
According to him, the modalities of refund are being worked out and payment will be made over a period of time.
Don’t expect long vacation after sch. resumption, commissioner tells C’ River students
Dr. Godwin Amanke, Cross River Commissioner for Quality Education, has ruled out the possibility of pupils and students in the state enjoying the usual long vacation when schools resume.
Amanke said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Calabar that students would go straight to third term after resumption.
According to him, 70 per cent of schools in the state are through with their second term examination before the sudden closure of schools caused by COVID-19.
He said those schools that were not able to round-off their examination, would continue after resumption, adding that immediately examinations were concluded, the third term would commence and run through the weeks that students were supposed to go for their annual long vacation.
On the the issue of reopening schools, he said, it was not a one man or state affair because Cross River was not isolated from the other states.
“So, other stakeholders like the Federal Ministry of Education, Health and Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 (PTF) will have to be involved.
“Ordinarily, we will have said schools should reopen in the state because we have no case of COVID-19, but that won’t be in tandem with the Federal Government’s policy on ground in relationship to COVID-19,” he said.
He however called on the students in the state to take advantage of the Ayade digital learning initiative and the school on radio to learn at home.
Women protest cultists invasion in Rivers community
Some women in Port Harcourt on Tuesday took to the streets to protest invasion of their community by gunmen suspected to be cultists.
The women, who are indigenes of Owube community in Ahoada West Local Government Area in Rivers, decried incessant attacks by suspected cultists in their community.
Some of the women who spoke with NAN said that cultists were daily raping women on their farmlands.
Mrs Florence Eric said that women in the community were now living in fear due to the frequent rape and kidnap by the hoodlums.
“The cult boys in our community do not allow us to go to our farmlands again. They attack, rape and kidnap us everyday.
“We can no longer go out to look for food to eat. We want government to help us in any way they can, because we need to survive this challenge,” she said.
Mrs Victoria Ekpeye said that the cultists were demanding ‘settlement’ from the community to end their siege on the area.
“The boys said they need money from us to leave the community, but they did not mention how much money they need,” she added.
On her part, Franco Confidence said the protesters decided to submit their petition to the state government after several concerted efforts made to end insecurity in the area failed.
She said after exhausting all options of ending the crises, that the community later engaged the services of a popular local vigilante.
“The ONELGA Security, Peace and Advisory Committee (OSPAC) comes at night to secure the area, but the cultist now come in the afternoon to kidnap and rape women.
“We are really tired of living with this challenge for five years now. We want Gov. Wike to come to our aid, because we are tired of sleeping in the bush,” she said.
The protesters also called on the police to establish a police post in the community to end the rising insecurity in the area.
CR -SIEC issues certificate of return to elected chairmen, counsellors in C/River
The Cross River State Independent Electoral Commission (CR-SIEC) on Tuesday issued Certificate of Return to winners of last Saturday’s Chairmanship and Counsellorship elections in 18 Local Government Councils.
Chairman of the commission, Dr Mike Ushie, while issuing the certificate in Calabar , urged them to carry everybody along, irrespective of political affiliation.
“Once you are sworn-in, you must see yourself as chairman of everybody in your local government. You are chairman of the entire council, no longer for party ‘A’ or party ‘B’ “he said.
He further urged the chairmen to always key into the programmed of the State Government in order to ensure rapid development of the state.
He congratulated them over their victory at the polls, adding that it was a result of hard work and trust by their people.
One of the councillors- elect, Miss Grace Unah, expressed happiness and promised to be a good representative.
Unah was elected on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for Igede ward, Yala Local Government Area.
COVID-19: Rivers Govt inaugurates free bus scheme
The scheme was inaugurated on Monday in Port Harcourt by the Commissioner for Transport, Mr Sunny Ejekwu.
According to Ejekwe, the buses will ply Obio/Akpor, Port Harcourt, Oyigbo and Eleme Local Government Areas as a pilot scheme.
Ejekwe, who commended Gov. Nyesom Wike for the initiative, said that the 28 luxury buses would operate in line with advisories on social distancing, use of hand sanitiser and wearing of face masks.
He said that the buses would pick and discharge passengers at designated bus stops.
The Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr Paulinus Nsirim, described the free bus scheme as “a gift you get from a compassionate and visionary leader’’.
A cross section of commuters, who commended the initiative, said they could not believe that government could provide such a free service.
Meanwhile, the state government has also began the decontamination of public places as part of measures to keep the state safe from coronavirus.
According to a statement by Mr Paulinus Nsirim, the Commissioner for Information and Communications, the programme was flagged off at Government House, Port Harcourt, by Gov. Nyesom Wike who assured that all public places in the state would be decontaminated.
He said that all public places, including markets, Churches, motor parks and schools, would be decontaminated before schools reopen.
In his speech, the Sole Administrator, Rivers State Waste Management Agency, Mr Felix Obuah, said the Decontamination Team, made up of medical and environmental experts, was inaugurated in line with Rivers governor’s directives to decontaminate public places.
COVID-19 pandemic delays arrival of RoRo vessel at Rivers Port
The General Manager Corporate and Strategic Communications of NPA, Mr Adams Jatto made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.
According to him, the vessel, which was supposed to have come in by April, has not been able to make it, and there is no definite date for its arrival the country.
“This vessel is a special cargo which has to do with vehicles and, maybe, they could not get people to load them.
“We are still in touch with them to get updates,” he said.
Jatto had said that the first RoRo Vessel to berth in the history of the Rivers Port was scheduled to depart the United States of America in the middle of March and arrive Port Harcourt at the end of March or early April.
He had said that the introduction of RoRo operations would in no small measure increase the revenue base of Rivers Port in particular and NPA as a whole.
Jatto had indicated that the move was traceable to intentional commitment and landmark reforms that the current management of the NPA had instituted toward ensuring that all ports in Nigeria became optimally functional.
PDP wins C/River LG election
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has won the 2020 Local Government election in the 18 councils and 196 electoral wards of Cross River.
The election, held on May 30 in all council areas of the state, was contested by the All Progressive Congress (APC); Labour Party (LP); Young Progressive Party (YPP; New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) and the PDP.
Declaring the result at a press briefing on Sunday in Calabar, Dr Mike Ushie, Chairman, Cross River Independent Electoral Commission (CROSIEC), said that PDP won in all the 18 councils of the state.
He said the party also won in Obanliku; Ogoja; Bekwarra; Obudu; Yala; Biase; Abi; and Boki councils.
Ushie said: “CROSIEC does not generate result. All the results we announced today came from the field. We only declare results and issue the Certificate of Return.
“The issuance of certificate of return will be on June 2, unless otherwise announced,” he said.
The Chairman, who thanked journalists for their patience, said that results from some of the LGAs arrived late due to the terrain of those areas.
Rivers awards N3.9bn convocation arena project in UNIPORT– Gov Wine’s aide
The Rivers Government has awarded contract for the construction of N3.9 billion new convocation arena at the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT)
to a contractor, Telios Group.
Mr Alabo George-Kelly, the Special Adviser to Gov. Nyseom Wike on Projects, made this known in a statement by Dr Williams Wodi, the university Deputy Director (Information), on Sunday in Port Harcourt.
George-Kelly, handing over the construction site to the contractor, assured the university management that the project would be completed within the stipulated time and according to specification.
“The project’s letter of award has already been issued to the company.
“We are confident that Telios Group will deliver a quality project with attention to details. We do not expect the contractor to cut corners,” he said.
He said that Wike, who is alumni of the university, had demonstrated his commitment to the institution.
“To this end, our physical planning and development unit will closely monitor the project to ensure quality job delivery,” he said.
In his remarks, Mr Emmanuel Adaria, representative of Telios Group, said the project would be completed to the contracts’ specification.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the convocation arena, when completed, would accommodate 15,000 students during ceremony.
The arena would also accommodate a minimum of six thousand students when partitioned into six lecture theatres.
Edited By: Angela Okisor/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)
COVID-19: C/River govt. acquires 8,000 decoders, takes education to hinterlands
Dr Godwin Amanke, Commissioner for Quality Education, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Calabar on Friday.
Amanke said that the decoders were distributed free-of-charge to households in the hinterlands to enable children in rural communities to access quality educational and instructions programmes even while at home.
He said the platform called “the Ayade Digital Learning Programme” became necessary owing to the global pandemic which had kept children away from school for weeks.
Amanke said the programme which would be anchored by the Cross River Broadcasting Corporation (CRBC), was primarily designed to give access to children, especially in the most remote Local Government Areas like Obanliku, Bekwarra, Yala and others.
“The platform became necessary so we do not waste time when schools finally reopens.
“Seventy per cent of the schools in the state had concluded their second term examination before schools were shut down in the state but for those that were yet to finish theirs, the children will go straight into examinations immediately after resumption.
“That is why we ensure that our children were learning even while at home.
“The 8,000 decoders with dishes which will be distributed and installed free-of-charge to households in the hinterlands will go with small solar panels to power at least two bulbs and a television set.
“For households without television sets, it is unfortunate because government would not be able to afford television sets for every household.
“We encourage those that have television sets to allow children of those that do not have share with them bearing social distancing in mind,” he said.
He, however, was not pleased with some private radio stations in the state who refused to partner with the state government in ensuring that children out-of-school still learned at home by charging the state so much.
“You have about six hours every day to play music but we are coming to you to collaborate and help our children and you are charging us so much.
“The airtime we are asking for is the same airtime you use in playing music that is of no relevance to our children but rather indoctrinate them into various vices.
“Radio stations must reduce their hours of entertainment because radio is also meant for education and information. We need to help keep our children abreast with their studies during this pandemic,” Amanke said.
Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)
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