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Wike Recovers Rivers Aircraft From Germany

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Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, has said the recovery and eventual return of the seemingly lost asset to the state, Legacy 600 aircraft, was a reality, and not mere politics.

Wike, who had embarked on a short trip to London last Friday, spoke after receiving the Legacy 600 aircraft that touched down at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the State on Tuesday afternoon.

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At the brief reception that took place at the airport, there were some cultural displays staged by Rivers women and youths to celebrate the return of the state-owned aircraft secretly abandoned in Germany by the immediate past administration in the state.

Wike explained that it took an intelligence report for his administration to discover such an asset, owned by the Rivers State government.

Wike further said the immediate past administration flew the aircraft to far away Germany, without any record of it made available to his administration.

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READ ALSO: Osinbajo, Wike, Obi, Adeboye, Kukah, Oyedepo,Others Make List Of 100 Nigeria’s Foremost Thought Leaders

He said, “To the glory of God, the plane is back and Rivers people can see. Nigerians can see. It is not that we are playing politics.

“All we are saying is that we never knew. Nobody told us until we got intelligence that we have this asset somewhere.”

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He recalled that the Legacy 600 Aircraft was purchased by the Dr. Peter Odili’s led administration to serve the interest of Rivers people, but was abandoned with the General Atomics Aerotec in Munich, Germany by the Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Ameachi’s administration since 2012.

“What is very important to all of us here today is that when we came into power in 2015, nobody handed over any report or gave us handover note to let us know where such an asset of the state was, only for us to hear in 2019 that this asset is somewhere,” Wike said.

The governor also stated that so much money was spent by the state government on the aircraft; money that would have been put into other development projects if his administration had known of it quite early.

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According to him, in fixing the aircraft, a certificate of airworthiness certificate, issued by the Nigerian government, was secured for the aircraft to return to Nigeria.

The Rivers State Governor said, “Of course, we did everything we could do and we told Nigerians that by the grace of God, we will not allow this asset to go that way.

“We must return it for the people of the State to decide what they are going to do with it. I am so elated that at the end of the day, all of our struggles are not in vain.

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“I think Rivers people for the support. I thank the Rivers State House of Assembly for the support. I thank the Executive for the support.

“But for their support, it would not have been possible to spend the money we spent. If you hear the money we spent, its money that would have been put in other development projects if we were told on time.”

The Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon.Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, expressed delight that after ten years, the Rivers State government has successfully recovered the aircraft.

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He said the State government will decide how the asset will be used in furtherance of the state’s development.

Senator Barry Mpigi, who represents Rivers South-East District in the Senate, commended governor Wike for his tenacity to defend the interest of the State.

READ ALSO: Wike: Strong Goliaths Will Be Defeated, Atiku Vows, Fires Tinubu

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According to him, the recovered aircraft is additional asset to the government and people of Rivers State.

The chairman, Rivers State Traditional Rulers Council, King Dandeson Douglas Jaja, said governor Wike has once again demonstrated his zeal to protect the interest of the State.

The King lauded the governor for not allowing the State property to get lost in Europe and unaccounted for.

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The former Presidents of the Nigerian Bar Association, Onueze C. Okocha, SAN and Okey Wali, SAN said the State governor has proven his determination to defend the interest of the State.

In the same vein, the Chief Ferdinand Alabraba and His Royal Majesty, Nne-Nwe-Eli Emohua XIII (OLO IV), Ohna Sergeant Chidi Awuse, said recovery of the aircraft remains a credit to the governor Wike’s administration.

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Ex-CAN President Onaiyekan, Cleric Bag Honorary Degrees

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A former national president of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Cardinal John Onaiyekan and the Archbishop of Abuja catholic diocese, Ignatius Kaigama, will be honored with honorary doctorate degrees by an Abuja-based Catholic institution, Veritas University, on Saturday, December 3, 2022.

The Vice-Chancellor of the university, Rev. Fr. Professor Hyacinth Ichoku, made this known in a briefing with selected journalists in Abuja.

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Speaking on Thursday ahead of the convocation ceremony of the university, the don also noted that four countries had indicated interest to send their students to Nigeria to study pontifical degrees in the theology of philosophy.

The development follows approval by the Congregation for Catholic Education in the Vertical City Rome, Italy, to Veritas University Abuja to establish Pontifical Faculty.

The countries are Burkina Faso, Mali, Ivory Coast and India.

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Professor Ichoku said only two countries including Nigeria and Nairobi run the pontifical degree which necessitated the influx of foreign students to Nigeria.

READ ALSO: Nigerian Fielder Bags University Degree

“For the first time, the university will be honoring prominent Nigerians such as the former CAN president, cardinal John Onaiyekan and the archbishop of Abuja diocese, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama.

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‘’Veritas University has been granted the faculty to run Pontification degrees in theology and philosophy by the Congregation of Catholic Education in the Vertical City, Rome. That is in addition to National Universities Commission-approved programmes in theology and philosophy. As a Catholic University to be granted the power of the faculty to run these programmes is the height of our development and in Africa; there are just two granted such faculty, which are, the Catholic University of East Africa, Nairobi and Veritas University in Abuja. It is an exceptional privilege for us,’’ Professor Ichoku stated.

Professor Ichoku said the university would be awarding first-class degrees to 28 students who had distinguished themselves in character and learning.

He noted that the minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola would be delivering the convocation lecture.

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NACCIMA, Nigeria’s Road To Prosperity – SDP Presidential Candidate, Adebayo

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The presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, Prince Adewole Adebayo, has said that the road to prosperity in Nigeria is through The Nigeria Association of Chambers and Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

Adebayo who spoke at the 4th quarterly meeting of NACCIMA in Enugu assured that the SDP, if elected into power, would not be a lawbreaker government but a law abiding.

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He added that one of the difficulties facing the industry is that government does not respect contracts.

READ ALSO: Be Apolitical, Prayerful, SDP Presidential Candidate, Adebayo, Urges Clerics

He posited that times have changed because in the past before government presents the country’s budget, captains of industries are always consulted, and the government doesn’t take decisions without considering the effects.

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Adebayo driving his point and acknowledging the importance of NACCIMA said ‘In the past when you see presidential candidate, governorship candidate, senatorial candidate, you in NACCIMA will say he’s my boy, he use to work for me, he’s a good boy.

He added that Nigeria must return to such lifestyle, because the road to prosperity in Nigeria is through NACCIMA.

 

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True Federalism: Expert Wants NULGE Join CSOs, Others For Constitutional Amendment

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Professor Festus Imuetinyan, federal Commissioner, Federal Character Commission, Abuja has called on the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) to join hands with other unions and civil society organizations working for the amendment of the nation’s constitution to make the constitution truly federal.

Imuetinyan made the call on Wednesday in Benin City at the Edo State chapter of NULGE 2022 week celebration with the theme,”Sustaining an autonomous local government as a catalyst for national development: The role of NULGE”.

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The university don opined that local governments will only become catalyst for national development when they are put in firm control over local affairs as well as encourage the emergency of local solutions to local problems.

He advocated that the local government matters must be removed from the national constitution and placed within the purview of the states to save them from the challenge of forced uniformity in the face of endemic diversity of local problems.

He added that NULGE, as the major trade union in the local government system in Nigeria, has a duty to ensure that the present unified local government system which is unwieldy is jettisoned.

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“Unfortunately, many local government staff are beneficiaries of the present system and do not see any urgent need for changes.

READ ALSO: Governors’ Domineering Treatment Of Local Govt Councils Unfair – Buhari

“Your members are the ones that are made sole administrators when elected council heads are illegally sacked by state governments. Many enjoy posting to areas that they are not conversant with the custom and tradition of the people whose problems they are called upon to solve.

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“Others are promoted in the face of inadequate utilization of available resources to manage waste and protect public utilities within their jurisdictions.

“It is often alleged that many of your members extort money from members of the public and that they enrich themselves at the expense of the development of the communities”, he said.

He further opined that the present local government system is not patterned to achieve any developmental goal rather than a smooth vehicle for the transfer of centrally collected funds to the pockets of States’ political elites.

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Imuetinyan emphasized that the 1999 Constitution makes it possible for state governments to cripple Local Government Councils financially by routing the amount of money standing to the credit of Local governments in the Federation Account (FA) through a joint State Local Government Account rather than directly to local councils.

He asserted that the arrangement adversely affects the fiscal autonomy and viability of most local governments.

According to him, some state governors make inexplicable deductions or unduly delay the release of funds from the joint accounts to local government chief executives.

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“Local government chairmen are bullied by state governors to surrender much of their statutory allocations under duress. When they fail; they find other ways to replace them with caretaker committees of selected loyalists.

“Expenditure and project discretion had become a thing of the past. Most states expect their Local governments to seek and obtain permission to embark on projects. Local government projects are inspected periodically by officials of state governments.

“More financial load has been placed on Local governments’ share of the Federation Account. For example, funds for primary school teachers’ salaries and pension charges are now charged centrally to the Local governments.

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READ ALSO: Why Passport Applicants Face Challenges – Aregbesola

“The central deductions at source of these charges and several other unfunded mandates in environmental and social spending by the State Governments tend to leave many Local Governments with little funds.

“And unfortunately, many Local governments especially those in the rural areas have limited access to productive tax bases”, he added.

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