What My Presence In Church When Building Collapsed Meant – Akwa Ibom Governor

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Governor Emmanuel Udom said the collapse of the building was unfortunate

The Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, has given an account of how his presence in Reigners Church on the day the roof of the building caved in on the congregation is something he thanks God for.

The incident that occurred eights days ago, left many dead and several others injured, as they scampered for safety.

Although the Governor was at risk of death, he believes his presence in the church was ordered by God.

He says he is happy that he was inside the church building during its unfortunate collapse, noting that his presence and personal intervention helped in effective rescue operation there.

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Governor Udom Emmanuel and his family at the carol ground

The governor made the remark at the Uyo Township Stadium during the state government sponsored 2016 Christmas Carols Night.

He said: “The footsteps of the righteous are ordered by God”.

To Share In Their Pains

Mr Emmanuel told thousands of worshipers who gathered, Saturday night for the Christmas Carol festival that God took him there to save lives.

According to him, the number of casualties would have been higher if he was not there in person at the time the incident occurred.

“I believe that if I were not there to personally supervise the rescue efforts and mobilise the best possible network of medical experts and rescue workers, the casualties would have been a lot more,” he stressed.

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Crowd at the 016 Christmas Carols Night sponsored by the state government

Governor Emmanuel said he was not elected governor to share only in the joy of the people, but to also share in their pains and agony.

“We are all in the same boat. I share that grievous pain with everyone on that Black Saturday inside that church. My heart would bleed forever, as I recollect the harrowing scene,” the governor said.

Mr Emmanuel thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and other national leaders for showing solidarity with the state during the incident.

He urged the people to remain united in love and faith in God in order to attain their divine destiny as a people, assuring them that “we will all recover from this tragedy and march on to greatness”.

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The roof of the church caved in while service was on

At least 27 people lost their lives, while 37 were injured, according to the police, when an uncompleted building housing the Reigners Bible Church, Uyo, collapsed during a ceremony to ordain the church founder, Akan Weeks, as a bishop.

One minute silence was observed, during the carol night, in honour of all those who lost their lives in the church building collapse.

The state government has since set up a panel to investigate the cause of the collapse.

Navy To Set Up University Campus In Akwa Ibom

nigerian-navy-boatA campus of the proposed Nigerian Navy University may soon be established at Ekparakwa, in Akwa Ibom state.

The Chief of Naval staff, Vice Admiral Ibokette Ibbas, dropped the hint during a meeting with the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Udom Emmanuel, in Uyo.

Vice Admiral Ibbas says the decision of the state government to offer the Nigerian Navy a place to establish its campus is as a result of the good working relationship with the state in the last 23 years.

He lauded the state administration for giving out the special technical school to the command to establish an institution which would complement the Naval university as a campus.

Vice Admiral Ibbas particularly expressed gratitude to Governor Emmanuel for the various support to aid the naval infrastructure ranging from land at Uta Ewa, Essene and the jetty to aid in their operation and the provision of two gun boats to boost the Naval logistics.

The Naval boss stressed the force’s commitment to ensuring that the waterways were no safe haven for criminals.

“Officers and men have intensified surveillance to guarantee safety of facilities and people in the Territorial waters,” he told the governor.

On his part, Governor Emmanuel said another school would be approved for the establishment of a Navy Secondary School and urged the Navy to protect the shorelines and guarantee security in the area for various business operations such as the petrochemical industries, Deep Seaport and other infrastructures in the territorial waters.

Governor Emmanuel informed the Navy officers of the construction of a dual carriage road at Ibaka to the oil and gas firm at Urue Offong and Udung Uko to ease traffic to the Deep Seaport.

He reiterated the commitment of the state government to partnering with security agencies in the area to ensure safety of lives and property.

Mr Emmanuel also urged the Navy to keep an eye on the waterways to forestall reported cases of terrorism by criminals in some fishing islands.

The Chief of Naval Staff was accompanied by the top officials of the Nigerian Navy in Brass.

PDP Inaugurates Convention Committee

Abia, PDPThe Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has inaugurated two committees in preparation for the party’s forthcoming national convention scheduled to take place in Port Harcourt in August. 

Speaking at the event held in Abuja on Friday, the chairman of the Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, called on members of the committees to actively work together for the party to achieve a successful national convention.

Court Cases And Judgments

While the Convention Committee of the PDP consists of 242 members chaired by the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Udom Emmanuel, the Finance Committee has 80 members and is chaired by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.

Senator Makarfi advised the members to carry out their duties effectively in order to get the party to the promised land.

They were also urged to put away all personal interests, as the party was facing a hard time following recent court cases and judgments.

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Senator Ali Modu Sheriff insists he is the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party

The setting up of the committees is coming few days after Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, who still insists he is the chairman of the party, approached a court to stop the convention from holding.

Addressing the Senator Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee, the Deputy Governor of Gombe State, Charles Iliya, also promised that the committees would deliver on the party’s mandate.

He stressed the need for members of the committees to be united for the good of the party.

The National Convention Committee of the party is expected to midwife the election of national officers for the party.

An earlier convention held in Port Harcourt in May ended with the removal of the chairman of the party, Senator Sheriff and the establishment of the caretaker committee.

After his removal, however, Senator Sheriff insisted that a court order had stopped the convention from holding, an order he said led to his announcement of the convention’s postponement before he was removed by some members of the party.

His persistent claims to the leadership of the party and court orders in his favour have caused a divide in the leadership of the party.

On July 28, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja affirmed Senator Sheriff as the authentic national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

According to Justice Okon Abang, only actions and decisions made by the Sheriff-led leadership are lawful and binding.

He, however, said that although he had the powers to nullify the ruling of the Port Harcourt division of the Federal High Court, which recognised the Makarfi-led leadership, he would not do so because there was no application to that effect before him.

Earlier on July 27, Senator Sheriff and eight others approached the Federal High Court, Abuja for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the party from conducting the national convention slated for August 17.

The court is yet to give its verdict on the request and the Senator Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee is going ahead with plans for the proposed convention.

FG Set To Begin Disbursement Of N90 Billion Budget Support Fund

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Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Emmanuel Udom.

The National Economic Council (NEC) says disbursement of the N90 billion budget support proposed by the Federal Government to state governments to ease their economic hardship at interest rate of nine percent will start from next FAAC meeting.

This was disclosed to State House correspondents by the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Emmanuel Udom, while briefing on the outcome of the National Economic Council meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

The Central Bank Governor was also said to have briefed council that from Monday next week it will collapse the regulated and the unofficial foreign exchange windows into one entity.

Also, the School Feeding Programme for pupils in junior secondary schools in the country is at the cost of seventy naira per day.

Special Adviser to the President on social Investments, Mrs Mariam Uwais, told council that the programme is designed to fulfill federal government’s social protection role to its citizens.

The loan, according to the federal government, will cover a period of one year.

However, the loan will be extended to the state governments after they meet 22 stringent conditions put together by the federal government under the fiscal sustainability plan.

So far only five states are said to have completed the process for borrowing from the budget support loan while one state has declined from taken from the loan.

Akwa Ibom Governor Offers Scholarships To 186 Youths

Akwa IbomThe Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, has announced a total of 186 university scholarship awards to youths of the state.

The Governor made the declaration on Wednesday while addressing thousands of youths at an interactive session in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom capital.

He said that the scholarship programme, which was part of his administration’s youth friendly policies, comprised of 31 undergraduate scholarships and 155 post-graduate scholarships.

Some speakers at the forum assured Governor Emmanuel of the support of youths in the state.

These speakers include the Special Adviser to the Governor on Youth Matters, Aniefiok Udofia; the Speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Honourable Onofiok Luke and the State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Paul Ekpo.

The event was attended by youths from across the 31 Local Government Areas of the state.

Federation Cup: Akwa United Promise Victory

akwa unitedAkwa United FC of Uyo have promised to make history by winning the Federation Cup for the first time.

The club made the promise after the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, addressed the team in Uyo ahead of their departure for Sunday’s Federation Cup final against Lobi Stars at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.

Governor Emmanuel said the parley was aimed at encouraging the players to put in their best so as to win their first ever Federation Cup trophy.

He, however, stressed the need for the players to adhere to the rules of the game.

Nothing Less Than Victory

The State’s Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Mr Monday Uko praised the State Government for the speedy release of the sum of 100 million Naira to Akwa United FC, which he said had been accessed and properly utilised by the management of the team to clear outstanding financial issues.

One of the players who spoke to Channels Television in Akwa Ibom told their fans to expect nothing less than victory.

Akwa United FC last Sunday maintained its top flight status in the league after a one nil win at home to Lobi Stars in the final of the 2014/2015 Glo Nigerian Professional Football League season.

Akpabio Says New Pension Law Will Reduce Medical Cost

Godswill-Akpabio2The Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, says the 100 million Naira health insurance for governors contained in the new pension law was put in place to help check certain excesses in the system and reduce the cost of medical treatment for past and current governors.

Before the new 100 million Naira maximum cost of medical treatment was set, there was no limit to the amount that the governors and their deputies collect.

Governor Akpabio told Channels Television on Friday that the old law was open-ended and without provision for the government to ask questions about the amount stipulated in medical bills when presented.

Reducing Cost Of Governance

In a bid to lay to rest, insinuations that the health insurance law was meant to enrich him, Mr Akpabio explained that the law was not to his benefit but an amendment of an existing law and aimed at ensuring that cost of governance was reduced.

“The bill has been politicised and people have sponsored all sought of write-ups in the internet. It is a laughable situation that people will generate controversy over the Pension Law. The law has been in existence in Akwa-Ibom State. All former governors and spouses enjoy the law. It was first passed in 2000 and amended in 2006. We have been implementing it and it is just like the pension of the state. Just like you pay a civil servant, you also pay a former governor, a former deputy,” he said.

The Governor further explained that under the current law, which would take effect from June 1, whatever past leaders of the state, including former military administrations were collecting, would cease to operate from May 31.

“It is really not a retroactive law. It is an existing law that went through amendment. The law is not meant for Godswill Akpabio. It is meant for the people’s greatest good.

“In the operation of the old pension law, it is an open-ended thing that the medical bills of all past governors and deputy governors and their spouses will be paid for by the state, whatever the bill is. So, you have a situation whereby former deputies and their spouses will come with bills from abroad with huge amount of money running close to 200 million Naira in a year. Most of the bills that I have seen in the past seven years are from foreign hospitals.

“I have had instances in one go that I have to pay as much as 41 million Naira. When bills are submitted, the law does not tell you to question these bills,” he explained.

According to him, there were chances of individuals hiding under the open-ended medical bill to go for monthly or quarterly holiday abroad.

He pointed out that the state could not limit the treatment to Nigeria alone, as hospitals in Nigeria could not handle all medical cases.

As stipulated in the old law, the money is usually paid into the account of the beneficiary but the new law will ensure that the money is paid to the hospital.

Mr Akpabio said that the law will help ensure that the amount expended is controlled and not above 100 million Naira.

Under the current amendment, the law also stipulates that the spouse of a dead governor can submit a medical bill of one million Naira in a month while a deputy governor’s wife can submit 500 thousand Naira in a month.

No matter the retinue of staff a former has, their salaries all together must not be above 2.5 million Naira. That of an existing governor must not exceed 5 million Naira. The new law also stipulates that the salaries be paid into the staff account directly and not to the governor.

In situations where the beneficiary of the 100 million Naira for medical treatment did not have cause to go for treatment, the money would be retained by the government.

Infrastructural Development 

At the moment, the construction of a state of the art hospital is ongoing and the governor said when completed, past and current governors of the state would receive treatment from the hospital; a development he explained would enable the state save the funds meant for their treatment.

The Governor also said that the state government was equally looking to ensure that the pension of other civil servants in the state was properly handled.

The contributory pension scheme’s deduction had started in the state without efficient structure put in place to ensure a proper management of the scheme, a development that led to the suspension of the scheme by the State House of Assembly. They insisted that the funds contributed so far should be refunded to contributors, pending when a proper structure is put in place

Governor Akpabio explained that the lack of proper structure for the contributory pension scheme resulted in double deduction, from the state and the individual.

Aside from the law aimed at reducing cost of governance, the state government had made some commitments in the area of education by making education free from primary to Secondary level.

In the education sector, the governor explained that the initiative was aimed at ensuring that children in the state were properly educated.

“In the education sector, God has guided us very well. We took cognisance of the fact that many of our children were serving as house helps around the globe. We had to sensitise people in the state that the only way to prepare for the future of children is for them to have proper education. We signed the child’s right law and enshrined a provision that made basic education compulsory and it was a crime for a parent not to allow a child to be in school. So we declared free and compulsory education which is now in the sixth year.

“It was opened up to all Nigerian children resident here. We are delighted to offer service to all Nigerians. It is free from primary school to secondary school level. We pay for their WAEC and NECO exams and the state government also pay money to the school heads for logistics. We equipped the lab and provided other facilities that will help them in learning.

“What made most of my children to go out there to work as house help was because they lacked education,” he said, emphasising that “the difference between a driver and the car owner is education”.

The governor stressed that his administration had put in place infrastructures that had started to draw investors to the state, with industries that would generate jobs being cited at different locations in the state.

Nigerian Medical Doctors To Storm Uyo For Maiden Doctor’s Games

Medical doctors from all the 36 states of Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory, shall storm the city of Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State, for the maiden Nigerian Medical Doctors’ Games’ billed to hold from February 16 to 22, 2014.

The National Games was introduced by the current leadership of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, as part of the overall strategy to promote quality healthcare delivery in Nigeria.

According to a statement signed by the President of the Nigerian Medical Association, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, the NMA aims to ensure that medical doctors and dentists remain physically, mentally and medically fit, with improved health status and life expectancy, by indulging in sports and practicing what they preach to their patients.

The Games is expected to attract over 1,000 medical doctors and shall feature Football, Tennis (male and female), Table Tennis (male and female), Basketball (male and female), Badminton (male and female) Scrabble (male and female), Chess (male and female) and Draught (male).

The Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, is expected as Guest of Honour at the opening ceremony, the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Dr. Godswill Akpabio as Chief Host, and the Executive Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan as Special Guest of Honour.

The zonal play-offs to choose representatives from the six geo-political zones, Lagos and the host chapter, Akwa Ibom have been held, with all eyes now focused on the finals of the Games in Uyo.

The Games has also been identified as one with lots of opportunities to discover athletes and talents that could help improve the performances of Nigeria’s various national teams.

Dr. Enabulele, therefore, invited local and foreign scouts and coaches, including the Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi, to come over to Uyo to discover abundant talents for Nigeria’s various national teams.

He also called on corporate Nigeria and governments at all levels to partner with the NMA in the organization of the Games, as it is expected to eventually transform into a West African Medical Doctors’ Games, with improved level of cooperation amongst doctors in the West African sub-region.

Jonathan Says PDP Is Future Of Nigeria

President Goodluck Jonathan has given the assurance that the future of Nigeria under the leadership of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, is bright

President Jonathan said this while speaking in Sokoto, North West Nigeria on Saturday at a reception organised for a former governor of the state, Attahiru Bafarawa, who has defected to the PDP with his supporters from the All Progressives Congress, APC.

The President noted that the PDP would not lose its place as the number one party in the country.

He added that “PDP is the only party that is stable and it will continue to uphold the tenets of democracy as well as respect the rule of law at all levels.”

The President also said that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) under his leadership has done so much, worthy of the support of the people of Sokoto State.

He mentioned the farmers’ enhancement programme, which he said reached 282 farmers directly under the Gross Enhancement Support (GES) scheme, and how he personally visited Sokoto to inaugurate the Almajiri Integrated School with the Sultan.

He further said that the Federal Government under the Party would continue to deliver the dividends of democracy to Nigerians.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, who is an indigene of Sokoto State was conspicuously absent at the grand rally and reception organised by the People’s Democratic Party PDP for the former governor. Although reports indicated that the Speaker was out of the country.

At the rally, Bafarawa was received by the National Chairman of the PDP, Adamu Muazu and presented to President Jonathan and other party leaders, including the National Working Committee of the party.

Bafarawa said that he defected to the PDP, following the decision of his supporters, and promised that Sokoto State would be delivered to the PDP in 2015.

The event was also attended by the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, the Chairman of PDP Governors’ Forum and Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, the Sokoto State Deputy Governor, Mukhtari Shagari and other party loyalists.

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Akpabio Heads NEC’s Committee To Halt Oil Theft

The National Economic Council (NEC) chaired by Vice-President, Namadi Sambo, has moved to address the issue of oil theft in the country by setting up a committee headed by the Governor of Akwa Ibom state, Godswill Akpabio to arrest the anomaly that is estimated to cost the country $7billion annually.

Rising from its meeting in the Presidential Villa on Thursday, the council berated the loss of over 400,000 barrels per day production.

Briefing journalists on the outcome of the meeting, Delta state Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan said the committee set up by NEC is set to meet with oil majors and the Joint Task Force (JTF) to work out modalities for the effective repair of the Nembe and Trans Niger pipelines which are currently shut down due to leakages.

State’s Foreign Loans

Chairman of NEC’s ad-hoc committee on the 2012/2013 federal/state governments borrowing plans, the Governor of Gombe state, Ibrahim Dankwabo, gave an update on efforts at facilitating and co-ordinating easy access to the international development funds cleared by National Assembly for interested states.

The council was also presented with a memorandum on how to address the issue of grazing reserves by the Governor of Adamawa state, Murtala Nyako, in which he underscored the need for the nation to pay more attention to food security as a means of boosting national production and the wellbeing of the people.

In presenting an  update on the status of the Almajiri education programme, Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike, stated that 80 schools have already been built nationwide as part of the effort to address the problem of the high number of out of school children.

The council commended the progress recorded in the programme and recommended the take-off of academic programmes in the completed schools by the next academic calendar in September, 2013.

Akpabio Demands Probe Of NNPC

The Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, has asked the federal government to carry out a major audit of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to appropriately tackle corruption in the country.

Mr. Akpabio who spoke at the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) governor’s forum in Abuja, noted that the mystery and secrecy in the nation’s oil corporation must be uncovered to determine the actual allocation for each state and save the country from impoverishment.

The governor who bemoaned poor leadership in the country equally asked the ICPC to track down and prosecute all corrupt past leaders who have embezzled public funds over the years.

Chairman of the ICPC, Mr. Ekpo Nta, expressed satisfaction over the attitude of some Nigerians towards the fight against corruption, adding that with time and concerted efforts, corrupt leaders would be fished out.

Bishop Oyedepo, Akpabio Join Imoke For Thanksgiving

The Governor of Cross River state, Liyel Imoke, who recently returned from a long stay abroad, held an elaborate thanksgiving service with friends and family for the upkeep of his life.

Mr Imoke was in the US for a couple of months where he was convalescing from an undisclosed ailment.

The event which held in the governor’s lodge was attended by the General Overseer of Faith Tabernacle (Winner’s Chapel); Bishop David Oyedepo and the Governor of Akwa Ibom state, Mr Godswill Akpabio.

Bishop Oyedepo during his short sermon emphasised the need for thanksgiving in people’s lives.