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I Have Never Borrowed Money To Build Any Flyover, Roads In Ebonyi State – Gov Umahi

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I Have Never Borrowed Money To Build Any Flyover, Roads In Ebonyi State - Gov Umahi
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I Have Never Borrowed Money To Build Any Flyover, Roads In Ebonyi State – Gov Umahi

Governor David Nweze Umahi has attributed the successes of his administration to the product of the grace of God in the affairs of the State.

The Special Assistant on Media and Publicity in a statement made available to IGBERE TV said Umahi stated this while speaking with newsmen in Abakaliki on Wednesday.

Governor Umahi who recalled with satisfaction how his administration emerged in 2015 as a product of his covenant with God, expressed happiness that by God’s grace the Government is diligently meeting the aspirations of the founding fathers.

“It was tough for us to be Governor and we made a covenant with God and what you see is the product of the convenant with God.

“Let me say that to help the people at any level of leadership is a product of fear of God, determination to leave legacies. So, I thank God first, the willingness of the people, the sacrifices of those working with me, my determination, and the grace of God are responsible for our modest achievements.

Governor Umahi clarified that despite the mammoth infrastructural achievements of his administration, the Government did not secure loans to execute the projects as speculated in some quarters.

“If I have ever borrowed, it could just be the ones we borrowed internally to enable us to pay salaries before our IGR and Federal Allocation come, so I can vehemently tell you that we have not borrowed to finance any project.

“When it comes to foreign loan, we succeeded in obtaining foreign loan for the Abakaliki 199Km of roads passing through eight Local Government Areas of North and Central, out of that 199, we have completed about 58km on our own, mostly on concrete and the total loan is one hundred and fifty US dollars and from June next year, we will start paying back.

“One success about that is that we insist that it must be concrete that should be used because the experience in this part of the Country shows that as you are doing asphalt, before you will even finish, the failure of some sections of the road will start to occur and then we insisted and we dragged it for two years, I eventually had to sign undertaking that if the cost exceeds the budget, I will put in State funds, so that is for that.

“The other borrowing before I came on board was the National borrowing that all the States did and the other one for Abakaliki Erosion control; one of the most beautiful flood control measures ever seen in any part of this Country. It is about 99% done. These were the two loans and the other loan will be the loan that is common to all the States and that is the excess crude account that is meant for Agriculture and of course, it is centrally deducted, and so, it is important to make this very clearly that we have not borrowed as a State to do infrastructure.

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“The people first, don’t forget, I was Party Chairman, I was Deputy, so within those years of being Party Chairman, being Deputy Governor, I had to understudy the needs of the people.

“The Ecumenical Centre you see which is adjudged even better than the one in Abuja by the President of CAN is part of the convenant that God gave to me to build a worship Center that any Ebonyi man anywhere in the world that is troubled and faces the direction of that edifice and call upon his name that God will answer; so, it is one of the five-fold convenants that I have with God.

The Governor while explaining that the massive infrastructural transformation of the State was driven by his desire to bequeath enduring legacies that would assuage the labour of the founding fathers, said Ebonyi State would be self-sustaining after his administration due to solid foundations already put in place.

“One of my driving forces is to rewrite the history of Ebonyi State to build confidence in the people, to raise the integrity of an Ebonyi man so that the person can compete anywhere because the worst thing is for a man’s confidence to be down and poverty can do that.

“The mall you see did not take me up to ten billion naira including the roads, including all the infrastructure and so now, we have a mall that we can give to any investor to manage. The important thing is that we have that infrastructure which nobody can take away from Ebonyi State.

“In Edda, the flyover there, every year, we lose up to fifty people within that axis and fortunately I was the one who started the project in 2004 under Dr. Sam Egwu. I was the Engineer. Other companies have come and gone, expatriates, they could not do that bridge and that was the time you could do a road without a stone base so I did that project until Dr. Sam left and Chief Elechi inherited the road and then I was able to complete it and it is still one of the roads that is still standing until God brought me in and I now had to reconstruct it by putting concrete all through and I think a section close to Amasiri down to Nguzu Edda is about 45 kilometers and we have about one and half kilometers to go and we would have completed that project.

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“So, why did we go into that Edda flyover bridge? I have been there, I have seen all, I have seen lives lost. I see that there is no big truck that can carry full load and climb that hill. The hill is about 45% slope and so I needed to do something to save the lives.

“So I am constructing the flyover bridge to reduce the slope from 35% to 7%, and that is what we are doing, to reduce it to 7% which is the normal slope for bridges or flyovers, so that is one of the reasons.

“What about the medical college; it was supposed to be a campus of EBSU for medicine but when a Registrar of the university came, he said no, this is simply beyond the campus of another University, allow EBSU to continue to partner with FETHA through the hospital we gave to the Federal Government and let this be the second university of medical sciences. That is what gave birth to that but the idea is to stamp out medical tourism because, in that hospital, you have every facility, You have the cancer center which Mr. President graciously gave to us; the building and the equipment. You have the isolation center by the Federal Government, then part of the structure of the kidney transplant and part of the structure of the eye center are also gifts of the Federal Government but beyond that, everything you see there is Ebonyi State Government from the scratch, and that is not more than two years job. And so, you have the cancer center, you have the best eye center, you have artificial birth, you have the surgery centers that you can stay outside the country and perform your surgery.

“So we have over 6 theaters to perform surgery, you have the kidney transplant, you have the liver transplant. You have the best lab that you can find anywhere in the world. We have all that and we also have the mortuary, then you also have what is not obtainable anywhere in Africa and that is the Dialyzer production.

“The Dialyzer product is the major component that is used to cure kidney disease and transplant and so, we got this company in Switzerland and we sent the Ambassador of Nigeria to Switzerland to go and understudy them and they have done that and we have paid 100% for the Dialyzer plant.

“So we are going to have Dialyzer plant in Ebonyi at that place and we have the patent anywhere that we want to build the plant again in Africa. Ebonyi State is going to be a beneficiary, so that is what I want for Ebonyi State not for individuals, so that Ebonyi state will continue to benefit from the use of that.”

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Governor Umahi said his administration had to prioritize the provision of physical infrastructure and empowerment over stomach infrastructure to secure a brighter future for the State.

He explained that his administration embarked on the construction of the International Airport to open up the State to both domestic and foreign investors and swell its Internally Generated Revenue.

“We are building the first concrete runway for the plane and we are happy doing that. It is over 14 inches thick. The terminal building is the largest you can find anywhere in this country, before the end of January, we would have been able to finish about 2kms of the runway and by the middle of May we should be able to celebrate our 7th anniversary there and it is a must. ”

Governor Umahi while announcing that all was set for the smooth take off of academic activities in the David Nweze Umahi University of Medical Sciences Uburu, said plans are on for the takeover of the University by the Catholic Bishops Conference in earnest.

He also said the State has received over fifty applications from investors for the lease of the just-completed Abakaliki shopping mall, saying that the economy of the State cannot remain the same after the takeover.

On the issue of insecurity in the South East Zone, Governor Umahi urged the agitators to voice their complains to the Ohanaeze Committee to enable the Leaders to articulate them and present the same to the Federal Government for redress.

“On the issue of insecurity in the South East, it’s a little complex. I think we self-inflicted volumes. We started on a good note. Note of mechanization, note of not having equal treatment and I said yes but it needed to be defined.

“You can’t make a blanket accusation and you cannot insult the Governors, you can’t insult the President. Is it part of the agitation? So, I wasn’t in tune with the method of the agitation but as at the time we came together as Leaders and Governors, we said can we know the agitations, it didn’t start today.

“Whatever happened that this agitation went into hate speeches against the leaders of the other regions and of course against us, I don’t know and I didn’t think it is the right way to go. If you want to say no I want to be on my own, you must not use hate speeches to do that.”

He said the Ebubeagu regional Security outfit which has been gazetted in States across the Zone is fully operational in Ebonyi State and it is complementing the conventional Security Agencies to stamp out insecurity in the State.

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High Court Affirms Appointment Of 75 Obas Sacked By Abiodun

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High Court Affirms Appointment Of 75 Obas Sacked By Abiodun
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High Court Affirms Appointment Of 75 Obas Sacked By Abiodun

An Ogun State High Court sitting in Abeokuta on Tuesday affirmed the appointment of the 75 coronet Obas installed by the former Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.

Amosun had upgraded the 75 village heads to Coronet Obas nine days to the expiration of his administration .

But on assumption of duty, Governor Dapo Abiodun set up a committee, which reviewed and recommended that the promotion of the traditional rulers from Baale to Oba be reversed.

In February, Abiodun announced the demotion of the Obas, as recommended by the committee chaired by the Olu of Ilaro, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle.

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Miffed by the development, the 75 Obas dragged the governor and other officials of the state government to court, asking for their reinstatement and payment of their entitlements.

The coronet Obas also got a interlocutory injunction that maintained their appointment as coronet Obas till the Court said otherwise.

The Presiding Judge, Justice Abiodun Akinyemi, in his judgement declared the removal of the Obas, null and void.

Akinyemi also granted the Obas a perpetual injunction, barring the defendants, the Ogun State Governor, State Commissioner for Local government and Cheiftancy Affairs, the Permanent Secretary of the State Ministry of Local government and Cheiftaincy Affairs or its agents from removing them from office except in fulfilment of the law.

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High Court Affirms Appointment Of 75 Obas Sacked By Abiodun

He also ordered that the claimants (the coronet Obas) be paid all renumeration attached to their offices from the date of their installation up till the moment of the judgement.

The Judge also ruled that the Obas were not given a fair hearing by the review committee set up by the State Governor, faulting the process.

On the argument raised by the defending counsel that the then Executive Council was misled before the appointment of the Oba, Justice Akinyemi ruled that there is know evidence of misleading in the evidence presented by the defence counsel and that if there was ever a misleading evidence ,it didn’t come from the claimants.

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He said the misleading evidence came from the State Ministry of local government and Chieftaincy affairs represented by the then Commissioner in the Ministry as a member of the then State Executive Council.

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Malami Begins Probe Into Reported Fraudulent Sale Of FG’s Recovered Assets

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Malami Begins Probe Into Reported Fraudulent Sale Of FG's Recovered Assets
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Malami Begins Probe Into Reported Fraudulent Sale Of FG’s Recovered Assets

Mr Malami says a syndicate reportedly from the ministry reportedly sold federal government’s recovered assets “without his knowledge”.

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has set up a panel to probe alleged fraudulent sale of recovered assets of the federal government.

Mr Malami said the federal government was yet to commence sale of its recovered looted assets.

In a press statement on Tuesday, Mr Malami’s spokesperson, Umar Gwandu, acknowledged a media report, claiming that a “syndicate allegedly from the ministry sells federal government’s recovered properties without the knowledge of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.”

“It is important to set the record straight that the office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice has not officially started the sale of Federal Government’s property,” the statement read in part.

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Mr Gwandu also said the AGF neither approved nor ordered the sale of any property.

“The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, SAN has set up a 5-member Committee to investigate and verify the authenticity of the media report which allegedly claims that syndicate from the Federal Ministry of Justice sells Federal Government’s recovered properties without the knowledge of the office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.”

Mr Gwandu made reference to a circular signed by the Solicitor General of the Federation Umar Mohammed, dated November 29, 2021.

Malami Begins Probe Into Reported Fraudulent Sale Of FG’s Recovered Assets

The circular was titled, ‘The Constitution of a Committee to investigate the alleged sale of Federal Government of Nigeria’s Property by syndicate in the Ministry’.

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“A committee is hereby constituted to investigate the allegation with the view to unravelling the veracity or otherwise of the publication” the circular partly read.

According to the statement, the committee chaired by the Director Public Prosecution of the Federation, was inaugurated on Tuesday.

It is saddled with the responsibility of unveiling the accuracy of the publication and recommend ways of handling the matter in accordance with the provisions of the extant laws.

It is expected to complete the assignment within one week and submit its report of their investigation to the Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice.

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“Individuals, groups, companies, institutions or organisations that claimed to have associated with the alleged syndicate from the Federal Ministry of Justice in relation to purchase of houses, landed property, vehicles, vessels, plants and machineries belonging to the Federal Government are encouraged to come out with any information, evidence or document regarding the alleged sales,” Mr Malami was quoted to have urged Nigerians.

Mr Gwandu said the “Secretariat of the Investigation Committee can be contacted at the Office of the Director Public Prosecution of the Federation, Federal Ministry of Justice and be reached within one week from 1st December, 2021 or via email: investigation.committee@justice.gov.ng.”

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Just in: Members of National Assembly fight over Army recruitment

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Just in: Members of National Assembly fight over Army recruitment
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Just in: Members of National Assembly fight over Army recruitment

Uneasy calm on Tuesday evening pervaded the Senate wing of the National Assembly as members of the Senate Committee on Army clashed over alleged lopsidedness in recent recruitments carried out by the Nigerian Army, NA.

The development happened during an interactive session between members of the committee and the Commander, Training and Doctrine Command of the Nigerian Army, Major General S.O Olabanji.

Trouble started when a member of the committee who doubles as the Deputy Minority Whip of the Senate, Senator Abdullahi Ibrahim Danbaba (PDP Sokoto South) took up General Olabanji on alleged lopsided nature of recruitment carried out by the Army recently.

But the acting chairman of the committee, Senator Abba Moro (PDP Benue South) who presided over the session, ruled Danbaba out of order, saying “this meeting is not for such enquiry.”

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Apparently irked by the development, another member of the committee, Senator Barinada Mpigi (PDP Rivers South East), raised the issue again, saying “lopsidedness in recruitment is not an issue to be put aside or rule against.”

Senator Moro again ruled against the enquiry, insisting that the session was not for review of recruitment made by the Army, but on Tactical Training and Doctrine men and officers.

“The questions being raised by my colleagues on alleged lopsided recruitments are being thrown to the wrong person. The Chief of Army Staff, Lt – Gen. Farouk Yahaya is the one who can do justice to such allegation or enquiry,” he said.

Angered by the insistence of Senator Moro that questions on recruitment should be entertained at the session, Senators Danbaba and Mpigi stormed out of the meeting.

Expressing his anger to journalists on what transpired at the session, Senator Danbaba said he walked out from the meeting with Senator Mpigi based on dictatorial action of Senator Moro.

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“He shouldn’t have ruled us out of order since the military man whom the question was directed to, did not complain.

Just in: Members of National Assembly fight over Army recruitment

“The issue of marginalization in recruitment has never been responded to, it is part of the oversight process of the committee to ensure that whatever is to be done should be done to ensure justice, the Nigerian Army like any institution of government in Nigeria is supposed to comply with provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended and that constitution has made it very clear that the issue of federal character and representation is paramount as a constitutional issue.

“I’m not blaming the Army, the Army has been performing very well, but at the same time, the issue of recruitment is very very important.

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“I left the meeting, I stormed out with Mpigi because we were angry,” he said.

Defending his action, Senator Moro in a counter interview with journalists, said he had no any regret for ruling Danbaba out of order as far as the issue of alleged lopsided recruitment was concerned.

“Danbaba and Mpigi’s questions were directed to a wrong person. What explanation were they expecting from Commander, Training and Doctrine Command on recruitment.

“Besides, the committee had tabled the issue before the Chief of Army Staff few months ago with response bothering on physical and medical reasons for those recruited and those who failed in the exercise,” he stressed.

It was, however, gathered that Senator Danbaba vowed to take the matter to the Leader of the Senate, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi (APC Kebbi North) for formal complaint.

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