Governor Wike Presents N480bn Appropriation Bill For 2019

 

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike 2019 on Monday presented the 2019 Appropriation Bill of N480billion to the State House of Assembly for consideration and approval.

Presenting the 2019 Appropriation Bill to the House, Governor Wike said the strategic thrust for the 2019 budget is to promote economic growth and diversification, create jobs and reduce unemployment; take as many of Rivers people out of poverty and improve the standard of living of Rivers State.

The budget is premised on an oil price bench mark of 55 United States Dollars per barrel, which is 5 dollars lower than that of the Federal Government.
The 2019 Rivers State Budget is Christened: “Budget of Sustainable Growth and Development.”

The governor proposed N323, 288,970,085.00 as capital expenditure, while Recurrent Expenditure will gulp N157, 122,354,564.15.

He said: “The capital allocation of 323,288,970,085.00 for the 2019 fiscal year represents 65 per cent of the total budget. This sum is, however, less than the figure for 2018 by N57, 708,717,319.00 due to the reduction in the total size of the 2019 budget as against that of 2018.

He said because the 2019 Appropriation Bill has set priorities for human capital development and infrastructural provision, a substantial part of the capital budget is allocated to the Ministries of Agriculture; Education; Employment Generation and Empowerment; Health; Sports Development; Women Affairs; Works; and Youth Development.

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The governor proposed N72, 911,765,640.21 billion naira for the construction and improvement of the State’s road network and transport infrastructure.

He said: “This sum, which constitutes about 24 per cent of the total capital budget, will be utilized to continue with the funding of the construction and completion of roads”.

The sectoral allocation of the capital budget is as follows: (Proposed) Administration Sector; N17, 820,704,443.79 ,Economic Sector: N99, 053,565,640.20 ; Law and Justice Sector; N 4,350,000,000.00; Social Sector; N127, 292,200,000.00 and ; Special Heads, N50, 347,500,000.00; Loan Repayments , N24, 425,000,000.00.

Governor Wike said the following roads will be completed in 2019. They include: the dualization of Kira – Sakpenwa – Bori – Kono road; the Andoni – Opobo Unity road; the Oyigbo town – Ebete road; Tema – Ifoko road the Mbano camp road; Eleme – Obete road; Eteo – Sime – Bayayira-Nonwa-Kira road; Rumuji – Ibaa – obele – isiokpo road; Akabuka – Omoku road; Flyover bridge at Garisson Junction abd Abonnema ring road.

Others are: Abua-Degema – Emoh-Iyak-Ighom-Elok road; Ula Ehuda – Odioku – Anwunugboko – Ubeta – Ihuechi – Odiereke road; Rumuche road in Emouha Local Government Area; Flyover bridge at Rumuokwuta roundabout; Flyover bridge at University of Port Harcourt Junction Ahoada – Odiemerenyi – Ihugbogo-odieke road; Isiodu roads , Ahoada – Ekpena road; Omoku-Aligwu-Kreigani-Oduoboburu road, Odieku internal roads; Bolo internal roads; Rumukpakani internal roads; and Umuogba – Umuokpurukpu – Umueke – Umunju Umuelechi – Eberi roundabout link road.

 

Governor Wike proposed the sum of N17,112,000,000.00 for the Bureau for Special Projects to fund the completion of land reclamation at Bakana in Degema Local Government Area, land reclamation at Abalama in Asari Toru Local Government Area; land reclamation and shore protection at Kula in Akuku Toru Local Government Area; the Secretariat buildings for Trade Union Congress, Nigeria Labour Congress, National Union of Rivers State Students and Rivers State Students Union Government; and the Fruit Garden market in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area.

The governor stated the administration allocated the sum of N25, 300,000,000.00 to fund healthcare delivery in the State. He said key projects in the sector will be completed and delivered in 2019.

Governor Wike said his administration will continue to give security of lives and property all the attention that it deserves in spite of the obvious lack of cooperation from the Federal Government.

He said: ” The sum of 18,000,000,000.00 has been proposed to fund all aspects of securing and keeping Rivers State safe, peaceful and secure, including the operationalization of the recently established State Neighbourhood Safety Corps programme.

“The Neighbourhood Safety Corps programme is very dear to us as a government. Apart from the number of youths that it will employ, the programme has the potential to enhance our collective security. And so we are prepared to do whatever it will take to ensure its implementation in the course of 2019”.

Governor Wike noted that the sum of N4, 350,000,000.00 only has been proposed for the Law and Justice sector to further strengthen and enhance the justice delivery system in the State.

For the recurrent expenditure, Governor Wike proposed to spend as follows: Personnel Emolument , N79, 585,058,808.60; Overhead
N 17, 025,380,000.00; Pension N 33,000,000,000.00 and Others
N27,511,915,255.55.

Through the recurrent proposals, Governor Wike accommodated the expected new minimum wage for the state and the handling of the pension challenges facing the state.

Governor Wike said: ” With this, the State Government will be in a position to pay the minimum wage whenever the National Assembly approves it. We also made provisions for staff promotion arrears and new recruitments into the State’s civil service.

“The sum of 33,000,000,000.00 is proposed for the settlement of pension liabilities. The challenge about the plight of pensioners has lingered for too long and we are determined to tackle it this time around. Certainly, our senior citizens deserve better treatment than what they are presently getting”.

The 2019 Rivers State Budget will be financed as follows: Internally Generated Revenue N120, 492,891,302.00 ,Statutory Allocation; N73, 169,813,022.00 : 13% oil minerals fund; N145, 070,991,780.00 ;Value Added Tax; N26, 377,628,543.00 ;Refunds ; N27, 337,926,155.08 ;Local Credits; N45, 000,000,000.00; International Credits; N30, 000,000,000.00; Capital receipts; N300, 000,000.00 Exchange gain; N8,000,000,000.00 Prior year Balance; N4,662,073,844.92: N480, 411,324,647,00.

Governor Wike said for the 2018 Budget as at November 2018, total revenue receipts from all sources (except internal and external loans) stood at 288,721,423,336, which represents about 79 per cent performance on the revenue side with respect to the totally projected IGR and FAAC receipts for 2018.

The governor said that the aggregate capital releases to MDAs as at November 2018 stood at over 65 per cent of the total capital expenditure.

Governor Wike said despite inheriting a collapsed economy from the immediate past APC administration in the state, his administration has revived the state’s economy.

He said: “We came in with a clear vision and mission: a vision to repair and renew the promise of our State; a mission to pull our people from the cesspool of despair and restore our hopes for brighter future.

“Three and half years after, we have substantially achieved our commitments on all directions of human advancement.

Under our watch, Rivers State has emerged from the brink of economic disaster to an era of fiscal sustainability. Today, our Gross Domestic Product has increased and our economy is growing at a rate above the national average and attracting new investments even when the national economy continues to be weak, wobbly and troubling.

“Under our guardianship, we have invested at record levels to provide critical social and economic infrastructure across the State; especially roads, schools, and health facilities.

In the process, we created hundreds of thousands of jobs across the construction value chain”.

He said the 2019 budget is intended to consolidate on the administration’s achievements and enable it to put the State on an irreversible path to sustainable economic growth and development.

Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Mr Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani said the House will give the budget the required consideration in the interest of the state.

He noted that the House has already approved the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, which will form the basis of the budget’s consideration.

The budget passed through its first reading after the State Governor laid the budget on the table.

Rivers APC, PDP Trade Blame Over Chidi Lloyd’s Burnt Home

Buhari's Resignation, PDP, APC, Imo, Election, Imo NorthMembers of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State are in war of words as to who was responsible for the burning down of the home of former majority leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Chidi Lloyd.

The country home of the former lawmaker in Akpabu Community in Emohua Local Government Area was completely razed down by unknown gunmen, with property worth millions of Naira destroyed.

The State Police Command, which confirmed the incident, said investigations were going.

This comes as the attempted murder case brought against Chidi Lloyd from the crisis that rocked the Rivers State House of Assembly in 2013 has been revisited by the new administration in the state.

Amaechi Says Wike ‘Not Doing Enough’ To Protect Lives

Rotimi AmaechiNigeria’s Minister of Transportation has claimed that the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, is not doing enough to protect lives and property of Rivers people.

Mr Chibuike Amaechi, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, accused Governor Wike of allowing violence to thrive in the state.

“The crisis in the state has gotten to a point where people’s lives and property are lost. I thought that the responsibility of the Governor is to protect lives and property.

“The only offence that is constitutional and you can refer to as impeachable, is when the Governor is not able to protect lives and property,” he emphasised.

The Minister, however, dismissed claims by the Police that the crisis in Omoku was as a result of cultists’ activities.

“Does the Commissioner of Police mean that the Peoples Democratic Party cultists are fighting against the All Progressives Congress members.

“Whether they are cultists or not, the reason why lawlessness is surviving is because you don’t punish those who break the law,” he said.

At least six persons were killed in Rivers State when Omoku community in Onelga, came under heavy gunfire on February 13.

Police said it was a cult battle for supremacy.

The attack occurred less than 48 hours after a former lawmaker, who represented ‘Onelga Constituency One’ in the Rivers State House of Assembly between 1999 and 2003, was killed by yet to be identified gunmen in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State.

Giving his opinion about the way forward to stop the crisis, the Minister said that “the Governor has to stop supporting violence”.

“If he doesn’t encourage the militants, they won’t be doing what they are doing. If anybody is found to have broken the law, punish him,” he added.

Former Rivers Lawmaker, Monday Eleanya Killed By Gunmen

EleanyaA former member of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Monday Eleanya, has been killed by unknown gunmen in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Ahmad Mohammad, confirmed the incident.

He told Channels Television that the victim’s identity was not clear when the report first filtered in, hours after the victim was shot on Thursday, until later in the evening.

According to DSP Mohammed, the former lawmaker was on his way out of his house when he was accosted by armed men suspected to be robbers.

He said that although Eleanya’s car was not stolen, the assailants left him for dead and fled.

Mr Eleanya represented Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Constituency 1 between 1999 and 2003.

Speaker Of Rivers State Assembly Ikunyi Awaji-Ibani Resigns

RiversThe Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Honourable Ikunyi Awaji-Ibani, has resigned.

Honourable Ibani’s resignation came shortly after the Assembly passed the state’s 307 billion Naira Budget for 2016.

Though the former Speaker did not give reasons for his decision, he claimed to be stepping aside for reasons best known to him.

He said; “In life there is time for everything. I was called to serve and I think I have served you well. At this juncture, I want to announce that I am stepping aside”.

Honourable Adams Dabotorudima, representing Okrika Constituency, has been elected as the new Speaker.

Dabotorudima recently had his election upheld by the House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja.

Senate Committee Quizzes DSS Over Rivers Election  

dssThe Senate Committee on Ethics on Thursday said the Department of State Services (DSS) does not have the authority to interfere in electoral disputes.

The Committee on Thursday invited DSS officials over a petition from the Rivers State House of Assembly, accusing the agency of unduly interfering in the Rivers State Election Petition pending before the Election Petition Tribunals.

The DSS described the allegation of undue interference as a blatant lie by the lawmakers.

However, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senate Caucus had earlier appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to look into allegations of witch-hunting of party members by the DSS.

In a swift reaction, the Chairman of the Senate Adhoc Committee on Media dismissed the allegations of the PDP Senators.

Also, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr Lai Mohammed, has assured that the APC will never interfere with anti-graft probe, be it on APC members, its past governors, officials or others, asking the members of PDP who might have erred, to face consequences of their actions.

The Committee is expected to present its report after investigating the matter to the Senate.

Amaechi Denies Rift With Rivers Assembly Members

rotimi amaechiThe Rivers State Governor, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, has denied the rumoured rift between him and members of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

This denial was contained in a statement by the State’s Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs Ibim Semenitari.

“The Rivers State Government is surprised at news reports of a rift between Governor Amaechi and members of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

“Governor Chibuke Amaechi holds members of the Rivers State House of Assembly in high regard”, she said.
The statement further added that “having served in that same house for 8 years, he (Amaechi) appreciates the strategic role of the Assembly in ensuring that government is held accountable to its electorate and will work with them to guarantee the rights of all Rivers people”.

The Rivers State Governor also “wishes to reiterate the fact that it is committed to paying civil servants their hard earned pay because it is their due and not a privilege.

“It is however important for government to confirm that it has paid salaries of its workers for the month of March and will very soon commence the payment of April salaries.

“Once again government wishes to appreciate the kind understanding of Rivers workers as it strives to ensure that it meets its obligations to them”, she said.

Rivers Lawmakers Suspend Councils Caretaker Committee Chairmen

The Chambers of the Rivers State House of Assembly
The Chambers of the Rivers State House of Assembly

The Rivers State House of Assembly has suspended the Care Taker Commitee Chairmen of Asari-Toru, Ahoada East and Khana Local Councils over insecurity and financial mismanagement.

The suspension is coming less than 48 hours after some aggrieved members of the All Progressive Congress in Rivers State from Asari-Toru and some local councils staged a protest against the outcome of the party’s primaries.

Declaring the suspension, the Deputy Speaker of the House, Honourable Liyel Kwane, who presided over the Assembly insisted that they were not witch-hunting anyone.

The house also summoned five commissioners, including the Commissioner of Finance, Charmberlain Peterside and that of Information, Ibim Sementari, to appear before it to explain why pensioners and workers in the state have not paid for the past six months.

Shooting Of Jonathan’s Billboard Causes APC, PDP Crisis In Rivers State

Goodluck-Jonathan12Political crisis erupted in Omuma Local Government Area of Rivers State on Saturday after a group accused a police orderly attached to the chairman of the council, Emeka Wogu, of shooting the billboard of President Goodluck Jonathan.

The incident occurred days after the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria’s rally in Port Harcourt.

The members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state led by Mr Wogu expressed their worries to reporters about what they called the use of ‘federal might’ by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to intimidate and harass supporters of the APC.

According to them, the latest victim is the Omuma Local Council chairman, who claimed he was treated like a common criminal for the misconduct of a police orderly on assignment with his wife.

He claimed that the suffered an ordeal in the hands of a PDP member of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Kelechi Wogu.

Honourable Kelechi told Channels Television that he had no regrets for his actions claiming that he only reported the matter to the police.

For him, it is the APC that is intimidating the PDP in the state and not the other way round.

The Rivers State Commissioner of Police, confirmed the incident but declined further comments.

Some of the PDP members are accusing the police of being partisan and they had reiterated that, as the 2015 general elections approached the challenge for the police was to enforce law and order without being partisan, a situation that many hope will not be a tall order.

Lawmaker Blames 1999 Constitution For Controversy In Rivers State Judiciary

Golden ChiomaThe Chairman of the Rivers State House of Assembly Committee on Judiciary, Mr Golden Chioma on Tuesday blamed the 1999 Constitution over the appointment controversy being witnessed by the Rivers State Judiciary.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Mr Chioma said “ the format of the 1999 Constitution did it in such a way that the other two arms of government- executive and legislature- has ample opportunity to checkmate who becomes” the chief justice of a state.

“If the National Judicial Commission (NJC) makes a recommendation, the governor has the right to accept or reject the recommendation” insisting that “it is not sacrosanct that when the nomination comes the governor must accept it”.

He further noted that the issue has become a subject of litigation because “it has not happened before” adding that “the Rivers state governor had to go to court because he didn’t like the recommendation.

“If the House of Assembly votes on that issue and the votes are against the recommended person, that recommendation aborts at that time”, he added.

Debunking claims that the refusal by the governor to appoint the judge nominated by the NJC has some form of stripping the judiciary of its independence, he said Justice Akanbi had “dealt on it” in his judgment, and urged Nigerians to look at the judicial interpretation of the recommendation that was subject to litigation.

He slammed the NJC for rejecting the first person nominated by the Rivers State Judicial Service Commission (JSC) for having “rejecting” qualities adding that “it smacks of some funny issues.

“The JSC that is on ground and has cause to interact with the parties, should be given more credit” and accused the “NJC of having some other issues which, the other people that went to court were not satisfied with” maintaining that the “most important thing here is having gotten a judicial interpretation, I will want all parties to abide by the law”.

On Tuesday 18th of March Justice Lambo Akanbi nullified the recommendation of Justice Daisy Okocha, by the  NJC as the most senior judge of the state High Court to occupy the position of the Chief Judge of Rivers State.

He faulted the recommendation of the NJC which specifically recommended Justice Daisy Okocha as “wrong, null and void.”

Justice Akanbi also stated that Governor Amaechi cannot be compelled to accept whatever name the NJC sends to him because “the governor is not a rubber stamp.”

Akanbi stated that “the letter of the NJC of July 2, 2013, and received by Amaechi that only the most senior judge must be appointed contrary to the recommendation of the JSC is wrongful and null and void.”

Akanbi, who cited examples of Kwara and Osun as states where the presidents of the customary courts of appeal have been appointed as judges, pointed out that Rivers State would not be different, emphasizing that the reason given by the NJC was insufficient.

Meanwhile, the other nominee, Justice P.C. Agumagu, sworn in by Governor Rotimi Amaechi has been suspended by the NJC as a judicial officer.

His suspension came after he accepted a the appointment as the Chief Judge of Rivers State. The NJC insists that the ‘appointment’ is very flawed, and that Hon. Justice Agumagu should not have let it happen.

Bomb Explodes At Rivers High Court

A bomb has gone off at the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, secretariat located within the premises of the Ahoada East High Court in Rivers State, South-South Nigeria.

Reports say that no lives were lost and nobody was injured in the blast which went off at about 2:00 am, local time, on Monday.

Within the court premises, is the court presided over by Justice C. N. Wali, the judge who on December 16, 2013, made an interim order barring Evans Bipi, a member of the Rivers State House of Assembly, from parading himself as the Speaker of the House.

The impact of the explosion was said to have destroyed the office of the Nigerian Bar Association.

No one has claimed responsibility for the bomb blast.

We will keep you updated on this development.

Police Arrest Rivers Lawmaker, Chidi Lloyd Over Alleged Murder

The Rivers State Police Command has arrested the Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Mr. Chidi Lloyd, for alleged murder of Mr Kingsley Ejeuo and a Police Sergeant, Mr Urang Obadiah.

A statement issued by the spokesman for the police, Mr Ahmad Mohammad, said that “Mr. Lloyd was arrested on his way to join the state governor, Rotimi Amaechi, in his private jet in order to escape justice”.

The statement added that “Mr Lloyd knocked down Mr Obadiah while pursuing Ejeuo, identified to be his political opponent”.

According to the police, Mr. Lloyd, who is still standing trial for his involvement in the fracas that took place in the Rivers State House of Assembly on July 9, 2013, was said to have rammed into Ejeuo’s Passat car with a bulletproof vehicle and killed him (Ejeo).

The statement read: “Hon. Chidi Lloyd on December 30, 2013 while pursuing his political opponent knocked down Sgt. Urang Obadiah while he (Obadiah) was trying to stop him. He killed him and went ahead to crush the Passat car which Mr. Kingsley Ejeuo was driving and killed him.

“The Police thought that it was a mere accident, which ought to have been manslaughter.”

The Commissioner of Police had directed ACP Aliyu Garba, the Area Commander Metro, to visit Mr Lloyd in his hospital bed and commiserate with him but Mr Lloyd, conscious of what he did, had relocated to another hospital before Mr Garba got there.

The police further stated that Sgt. Urang Obediah died on the spot.

The statement added that late Ejeuo, who hailed from the same place with Lloyd, was believed to be in the PDP camp led by Mr Felix Obuah.

Distorted And Untrue Account

The Leader of the House allegedly escaped from the hospital where he was being guarded by four policemen.

However, in a swift reaction, the Senior Special Adviser on Media to the Rivers State Governor, Mr Paul Iyofor, in a telephone interview with Channels Television faulted the police’s claims, saying that the “Rivers State Police Command had released a completely distorted and untrue account of the circumstances surrounding the arrest of the leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Chidi Lloyd on January 2, 2014.”

He pointed out that “it was when the governor got to Abuja that he was told that Chidi Lloyd was arrested in his house; in the presence of his family and lawyer.

“The lawyer confirmed to the press that the arrest was made in Chidi Lloyd’s house.”

He noted that the State Police Commissioner had grounded the plane that “was supposed to take the governor from Port Harcourt to Abuja because he was about to escape with Chidi Lloyd.”

“Chidi Lloyd was not with us. He was nowhere near us,” he insisted.

“While the governor was speaking to the I.G, the commissioner was shouting at the top of his voice, he showed disrespect and disregard to the governor. He was shouting, trying very hard to disrupt the conversation between the governor and the Inspector General of Police,” he explained.

Iyofor berated the strained relationship between the governor and the police commissioner and urged him to respect the office of the governor of Rivers State if he would not respect Rotimi Amaechi.

Lloyd is currently facing trial for hitting another lawmaker, Mr. Michael Chinda, with a mace on the head some months ago.

He presented himself to the Nigeria Police after the video clip of the unruly act went viral.

A six-count charge, including attempted murder was filed against him, but he was granted bail in order to receive medical attention after sustaining injury during the July 9, 2013 free-for-all, in the chambers of the Rivers State House of Assembly.