Rift Deepens As Amaechi Reacts To Wike’s Allegations

Nyesom Wike, Chibuike Amaechi, Rives RerunRift between the former Governor of Rivers State, Mr Chibuike Amaechi and his successor, Mr Nyesom Wike, is deepening, even as the electoral body tries to conclude legislative elections in some local councils.

Both Amaechi and Wike have traded blames and have made daunting allegations against each other, which critics said were capable of heating up the polity at a time of election.

Mr Amaechi, who is now the Minister of Transport in oil rich Nigeria, on Sunday reacted to allegations by Governor Wike that his political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), was using delayed tactics to tamper with the results in areas where candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (Wike’s political party) were in the clear lead.

In a statement Amaechi’s spokesman, said that apart from the fact that  was not aware of what the governor of rivers state is talking about,

It says Governor Wike must allow the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to collate and announce results of the rerun elections.

“As governor, Wike cannot be INEC or dictate to INEC how and when to announce election results. It is sad that Wike is desecrating the office of the governor with all his spurious allegations,” the statement further read.

Governor Wike had earlier expressed dissatisfaction with with the conduct of the legislative re-run election.

He told Channels Television that the collated results were being manipulated in favour of the opposition political party.

He had claimed that strong effort was made to upturn the results already won by candidates of the PDP.

He expressed worry over Rivers East, Rivers West, Andoni and Opobo Nkoru Federal Constituencies, where he said his party’s candidates were set to sweep the polls.

Although the army has since denied involvement in the process, the governor insisted there were video evidences.

Rift between the former Governor and his successor was also seen few days ago when Mr Amaechi accused Governor Wike and his political party, the PDP, of being behind killings in Rivers State.

Mr Amaechi claims that Mr Wike could not deny his involvement and sponsorship of the killing of innocent Rivers people and stalwarts of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 general elections and the March 19 re-run elections in the state.

Cache Of Arms And Ammunitions

The former governor made the allegations while addressing reporters at the Port Harcourt International Airport on arrival in the State for Saturday’s re-run legislative elections.

He said the cache of arms and ammunitions Mr Wike recovered from cultists during the first phase of the Rivers State Amnesty Programme was evidences to buttress his allegations.

“Wike has not denied he did not kill people. He sponsored those who carried arms in the 2015 general elections.

“Even, during the campaigns, our people were beaten, manhandled and others threatened, leaving many dead. But we will not continue to allow these things to happen like that. Members of the PDP were also responsible for killing APC members in Omoku,” Mr Amaechi, who is now the the Minister of Transportation, told reporters.

 

Wike Expresses Worry Over Conduct Of Rivers Rerun

Nyesom Wike, Chibuike Amaechi, Rives RerunThe Governor of Rivers State, Mr Nyesom Wike, says he is not satisfied with the conduct of the legislative rerun election in the state.

He told Channels Television that the collated results were being manipulated in favour of the opposition political party.

Governor Wike claimed that strong effort was made to upturn the results already won by candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He expressed worry over Rivers East, Rivers West, Andoni and Opobo Nkoru federal constituencies, where he said his party’s candidates were set to sweep the polls.

Although the army has since denied involvement in the process, the governor insisted there were video evidences.

Meanwhile, a former governor of Rivers State and Minister of Transport, Chibuike Amaechi, described as baseless, claims that results were manipulated to favour the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Mr Amaechi denied the allegations that the APC was using delayed tactics to tamper with the results in areas where candidates of the PDP were in the clear lead.

A statement from his media office stated that apart from the fact that the minister was not aware of what Governor Wike was talking about, the governor must allow the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to collate and announce results of the rerun elections.

“As governor, Wike cannot be INEC or dictate to INEC how and when to announce election results, it’s sad that Wike is desecrating the office of the governor with all his spurious allegations,” the statement read.

FG To Audit Nigeria’s Ports

Nigeria's PortsThe Federal Government has announced plans to audit Nigeria’s ports as part of efforts to improve the economy and fast track the clearing of goods.

The Minister of Transport, Mr Chibuike Amaechi, said this in Abuja shortly after a meeting with port concessionaires, dry port operators and the management of the Nigeria Shippers’ Council.

He said that the audit of the ports would determine the next step to be taken by the federal government.

He, however, reiterated the federal government’s determination to diversify the nation’s economy.

FG Renegotiates Lagos-Calabar Rail Contract

Railway-NigeriaThe Federal Government of Nigeria said on Friday that it has renegotiated the contract for the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Railway Project.

During a contract signing ceremony in Abuja, the Minister of Transport, Mr Chibuike Amaechi, revealed that the contract was reviewed for $11.117 billion from the $11.917 billion agreed with the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

The reduction in contract sum is attributed to drop in prices of key materials such as steel among others.

On the funding of the project, the Minister said that funding would not pose any hindrance to the smooth commencement and final completion of the project.

The project was part of the controversial points during the budget impasse between the executive and legislature earlier in the year.

The executive had accused the legislature of removing the project from the budget but the legislators said the project was never added to the budget.

FG Introduces Portal To Check Corruption, Sharp Practices At Nigerian Ports

Yemi Osinbajo, KPMGThe Federal Government of Nigeria has launched a harmonised standard operating procedures and port services support portal that will serve as a guideline for operations at all ports around the country.

Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, said that the procedures, policies and automated service portal will cause enhanced port administration, which will bring greater investment into Nigeria.

The portal is also expected to enhance trade and increase business for small and medium enterprises.

In line with the current economy diversification plans of the country, the Vice President expects that an easier business environment starting from the ports would encourage the importation of the components for domestic production and check unwanted imports.

He believes with a better-regulated administration, the ports will play vital roles in the diversification of the economy.

The three priority areas set to tackle about 19 major challenges of port services in Nigeria, require strong collaboration of all government port agencies in what the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Ameachi and other key players guarantee will have far reaching effects on the nation’s economy.

Lagos-Calabar Rail Project: Ministry Of Budget Clarifies 2016 Budget

2016 BudgetThe Ministry of Budget And Planning has come out with its position on the controversies surrounding the 2016 budget.

The ministry in a statement said the President is yet to take a position on the budget after receiving the budget details from the National Assembly on April 7.

On the controversial Calabar-Lagos rail project, the ministry confirmed that there were indeed some errors in the initial budget proposal sent to the National Assembly by the President in December.

The statement, however, added that the errors were corrected, submitted and subsequently accepted by the relevant committees of the National Assembly.

The statement read in part, “It must be emphasized that the two rail projects are part of those for which the President is currently negotiating funding with the Chinese government.

“The 60billion Naira provided in the budget for the Lagos – Kano and Calabar – Lagos rail lines, respectively, is counterpart funding, to support the Chinese financing for the projects.

“These projects are part of the strategic implementation plan of the government which was disclosed by the Minister of Budget and National Planning at The National Economic Council retreat in March 2016, in the presence of state governors.”

The statement added that it was the corrected version that was defended by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and his team.

Mischief

It has been a tug of war between the executive and the legislature over the 2016 budget, as the National Assembly insists that the Lagos-Calabar rail project was excluded from the budget.

At a news conference in Abuja, spokesman of the House of Representatives, Abdulrazak Namdas, insisted that there was no project as to Lagos-Calabar rail in the 2016 appropriation bill presented by President Buhari to the National Assembly.

He criticised the late presentation of the project by Minister of Transport, Mr Chibuike Amaechi.

Also, in a strongly worded press statement, the spokesperson of the Senate, accused the Presidency of setting Nigerians against the National Assembly.

He accused the Minister of Transport of mischief and demanded an apology from him if he is not able to show evidence that the Lagos-Calabar rail project was included in the budget, otherwise he should resign forthwith.

In another development, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Land Transport, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, confirmed that although the Lagos-Calabar rail project was not in the original document presented to the National Assembly by the executive, the Minister of Transport later informed the Transport Committee of the omission and sent a complimentary copy of the Ministry’s budget to the committee with the inclusion of the Lagos-Calabar rail project.

2016 Budget: Executive, NASS Row Over Calabar-Lagos Rail Project

Railway-NigeriaThe back and forth arguments between Nigeria’s Executive Arm of Government and the National Assembly over the 2016 budget appear to be intensifying, as the lawmakers insist that the Calabar-Lagos rail project was not included in the 2016 budget.

Nigeria’s 2016 budget is one of the most controversial bill in recent time, with issues of its late submission to reports of it being missing then found, then reports of appropriation being padded.

After several months of debate and scrutiny, the budget was passed by the National Assembly but the Executive Arm of Government seem not satisfied with the final product from the lawmakers.

There have been reports quoting the executive as saying that the budget was distorted, with the removal of certain items and addition of some others that were not initially in the budget.

One of such projects that the executive claims were removed is a rail project that will connect the south-south region and the south-west – Calabar-Lagos rail project.

Countering the widespread reports that the National Assembly removed the project from the 2016 budget, the spokesman for the House of Representatives, Abdulrazak Namdas, told a news conference in Abuja on Monday that a late presentation of the project by the Minister of Transport, Mr Chibuike Amaechi, was out of place.

He pointed out that the President was the only one constitutionally empowered to make budgetary proposals to the parliament.

Also, the Senate spokesman, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, in a strongly worded press statement accused the presidency of setting Nigerians against the National Assembly.

He accused the Minister of Transport of mischief and demanded an apology from the Minister if he was not able to show evidence that the Calabar-Lagos rail project was included in the budget. He also requested that he should reign if he could not present the evidence.

In another development, however, the Chairman Senate Committee on Land Transport, Senator Gbenga Asahafa, in a statement confirmed that although the Lagos-Calabar rail line project was not in the original document presented to the National Assembly by the executive, the Minister of Transport had later informed the Transport Committee of the omission and sent a supplementary copy of the ministry’s budget to the committee with the inclusion of the Calabar-Lagos rail project.

But the National Assembly apparently did not treat the proposal.

The National Assembly will resume plenary on Tuesday, April 12, and all eyes would be on the parliament to see what its next steps would be on the budget controversy.

President Buhari Arrives In China

Muhammadu-Buhari-Arrives-ChinaNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has arrived in the People’s Republic of China for a state visit.

According to the President’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, President Buhari was welcomed at the Beijing Capital International Airport by China’s Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Cheng Guoping, alongside other senior Chinese government officials.

Also at the airport were the Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun, and the Governor of Yobe State, Ibrahim Geidam.

Other Nigerian government’s functionaries at the airport were the Minister of Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister of Transport, Chibuike Amaechi, Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, and Minister of Defence, Dan Monsur Ali.

The President left Abuja on Sunday for a working visit to China aimed at securing greater support from Beijing for the development of Nigeria’s infrastructure, especially in the power, roads, railways, aviation, water supply and housing sectors.

Considering Chinese Panda Bond

It is expected that in the course of the visit, several new agreements and memorandums of understanding to boost trade and economic relations between Nigeria and China would be concluded and signed.

The agreements include a Framework Agreement between the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and the National Development and Reform Commission of the Peoples’ Republic of China to boost industrial activities and infrastructural development in Nigeria.

Others are a Framework Agreement between the Federal Ministry of Communications and the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, and a Memorandum of Understanding between Nigeria and China on Scientific and Technological Cooperation.

Kemi-Adeosun-Minister-of-finance
Minister of finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, said Nigeria was also considering Japanese bond

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, had told reporters after a meeting with the business and investment community early on Saturday in Lagos, that the government was considering the possibility of issuing Chinese panda bond to make up for the deficit in the 2016 budget.

She said that the government’s objective was to borrow the cheapest possible money.

The breakfast meeting focused on the imperatives for fiscal discipline, investment and diversification of the domestic economy in the face of strong local and international headwinds such as the steady decline in oil prices and weak global economic growth.

Rivers APC, PDP In War Of Words A Week To Rerun Election

Rivers Election APC PDP trade wordsThe political tension in Rivers State has continued to gather momentum, as the State and National Assembly rerun election get closer.

This time, with less than one week to the polls, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state are in a war of words over issues surrounding recent killings and the conduct of the election.

The Minister of Transport, who is also the leader of the APC in the state, Chibuike Amaechi, has temporarily relocated to the state till after the polls

Scores of APC youths are on the streets in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, as leaders and supporters of the party wait patiently for the former Governor and Minister of Transport who is currently engaging the media on trending issues in Rivers politics.

On his arrival, the Minister told journalists that the government of the day should be made to answer questions about the recent killings in the state.

“The only way to stop insecurity is for the Governor to stop supporting these criminals. He has to stop his party from killing APC members. That is not politics,” he said.

He said there was no cause for alarm, as far as threats of insecurity in the state were concerned.

“Tell  them not to be afraid. The President has assured us of security. You will see security that day. Anybody who owns a gun should bring out his gun that day.

“We have one million membership base and if they come to vote, PDP can’t defeat us,” he said in optimism.

The Commissioner of Information in the state, Austin Tam-George, who is keeping tab with the Minister’s statements, believes the reports of killings in the state were cult related.

“Those who were been arrested and are now in police custody are cults kingpins and they have made confessional statements and those people detained have released intelligence that is now being used by the police to track down others,” he told Channels Television.

He accused the APC of claiming that every dead person was its member, a situation he said was unfortunate.

The Commissioner insisted that the election was not a do or die affair, assuring Rivers residents that the Governor’s promise of a free, fair and credible electoral process would be upheld.

“People should be allowed to make their choices in a violence-free atmosphere,” the emphasised.

The people in the streets hope the polls will indeed be peaceful.

FG Determined To Revamp Rail System – Transport Minister

TransportThe Minister of Transport says that the main focus of the Federal Government is to revamp the Rail System to make transportation easy and accessible to all Nigerians.

Mr Rotimi Amaechi made the disclosure to reporters on Thursday at the Government House in Oshogbo, the Osun State capital in southwest Nigeria.

He said that he was in the state for an assessment tour of some Federal Government road projects embarked upon by the Osun‎ State government in line with the directive of the Federal Executive Council.

The Minister also hinted that other sectors in the Ministry of Transport such as maritime, road and aviation would also be given due attention.

He said that the Federal Government, having successfully reached an agreement with the Chinese government, would soon embark on the construction of Lagos-Kano rail line.

Mr Amaechi also disclosed that the construction of four terminal buildings was already underway in Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt ‎as part of the ongoing reform in the aviation sector.

House Of Reps Holds Budgetary Allocation Defence

House-of-Representatives-NigeriaTop officials of Ministries and Agencies in Nigeria appeared before the House of Representatives on Tuesday to defend their budgetary allocations.

One of the agencies at the defence was the Nigeria Prison Service, which made an appeal for extra budgetary allocation to help it take care of the over 65,000 prisoners in its custody.

The Comptroller General of Prisons, Ezenwa Ekpendu, who represented the agency, said more funding would enable the agency upgrade prison facilities to adequately cater for inmates.

He pointed out that most of the prisons in Nigeria were congested, highly exceeding their capacities.

The House of Representatives had suspended plenary for two weeks to allow committees concentrate on the 2016 budget.

Part of the officials of the other ministries that appeared before the lawmakers was the Minister of Environment, Hajia Zainab Ahmed.

She met with the House Committee on Climate Change.

At the interactive session, the Minister said Nigeria was predisposed to severe negative impacts of climate change due to lack of proper coordination to mainstream climate change concerns into national development planning process.

Some agencies under the Ministry of Interior were also before the House Committee on Interior to defend their budgets.

For the Nigeria Immigration Service, it was a chance to speak on their activities, with the Comptroller General, Martins Abeshi, listing the areas that the Service had made impacts.

Meanwhile, the ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives investigating railway contracts from 2010 to 2014 also had a hearing.

The session with the former Chairman of the Nigeria Railway Corporation, Haliru Mohammed, at a point resulted into heated arguments.

The Minister of Transport, Chibuike Amaechi, was also at the hearing.

The investigative hearing panel is expected to submit its findings to the House in plenary for deliberation.

Cross River State Celebrates ‘Green Carnival’

ayadeThe Cross River State Government has added to its roll of celebrations the ‘Green Carnival’, aimed at encouraging the planting of trees to add extra beauty to the state, as well as trap toxic gasses.

The State Governor, Ben Ayade, who initiated the festival and led a procession of people on a tree planting mission at the state’s botanical garden, disclosed that the tree planting exercise is also meant to reduce the effect of solar radiation to the earth’s surface.

Accompanied by state officials, as well as nature lovers from across the globe, including the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amechi, the tree planting festival was in fulfilment of the theme for the 2015 Carnival, “Climate Change”.

According to Governor Ayade, following the effect of climate change on all facet of mankind, tree planting becomes imperative to protect nature. He also added that his administration is poised towards making green millionaires out of tree planting in the state.

The governor noted that his administration will give full support to every young Cross Riverian who intends venturing into tree planting, with a piece of land and capital.

On his part, Rotimi Amechi called on Nigerians and the world to take seriously the tree planting venture, to save mother earth.