Opinion: THE PLASU FEC CONTRACT, Much Ado About Little

Rising from its meeting last Wednesday, the Federal Executive Council, FEC, had approved the sum of over 600 million naira for the construction of the faculty of health sciences for the Plateau State University, PLASU, Bokkos. This is no doubt a very cheering news at first instance, so several political gladiators, including the Plateau State Commissioner of Information, Hon. Dan Manjang tried to make political capital out of it.

However, what they failed to let the public know is that, this was a contract that was awarded the outgone Vice Chancellor, Prof. DDD Sheni since 2018 and construction is already at advance stage. For the purpose of clarity, I wish also to state here that the project was referred to the Federal Ministry of Education,FMOE, in error the current Vice Chancellor, Prof. Yohanna Izam, against extant procurement laws. This is so because any contract that is above procurement threshold of the university is referred to the Bureau for Public Procurement, BPP, for issuance of a certificate of “No Objection”, which Prof. Sheni did and got the necessary approval before awarding the contract.

Now this avoidable and embarrassing situation PLASU found itself would have been averted if only square pegs were put in square holes at the university. For instance, on assumption of duty at the university in 2018, Prof. Izam rather than hit the ground running, embarked on a vendetta by removing all the qualified officers that were heading some key and strategic departments and units in the university. For example, he removed a barrister who headed the Procurement unit and replaced her with someone who read building education, Mr. Raphael Rume, Prof. John Wade’s nephew. Wade is the Director-General, Research, Documentation and Strategic Planning at the Government House, Little Rayfield, Jos.

He did not stop there, he also removed a registered and highly qualified engineer who was heading the works and physical planning department and replaced him with a retired land surveyor who is in his seventies and a contract staff of PLASU. But in view of the recent directive on the appointment of contract staff of the university, Prof. Yohanna Izam, who is a professor of construction management and suppose to be well acquainted with who ought to be the right person to head the works and physical planning department of the university is now set to move the person who read building education, Mr Raphael Rume from the procurement unit to head the works and physical planning department. This is simply because the VC doesn’t want people who are knowledgeable enough to raise procedural objections anytime one is sighted. Secondly, Mr. Raphael Rume is neither a registered builder nor is he registrable with the Nigeria Institute of Builders, NIOB, which is Izam’s professional body, and which is in clear contravention of PLASU Scheme of Service for Senior Staff (Nov. 2018).

Also worthy of note here is that since the expiration of the tenure of the Prof. Attahiru Jega -led Council of PLASU, the plateau state government has not deemed it fit to constitute another one, that is why Prof. Izam is left to supritend over the university like a sole administrator. I am therefore calling on all professional regulatory bodies in the construction industry to rise to the occasion by beaming their searchlights on the unwholesome and unprofessional conducts of Prof. Izam and PLASU. I am also calling on the Plateau State government to, as a matter of urgency, appoint another council for the university before we have another reenactment of another embarrassing scenario.

Furthermore, for the purposes of clarity and better understanding of the issues at stake, I have attached pictures of the ongoing construction projects that were initiated by Prof. Sheni but only came to fruition when he was gone. These are the faculty of health sciences, the schools of management sciences, social sciences, the multi-purpose auditorium, among several others. Copies of correspondences from TETFUND and BPP are also included so as to clarify certain issues. Please also note that the picture of the uncompleted building is the ongoing construction project of the faculty of health sciences that was approved by FEC last Wednesday.

Ogoniland: Concern stakeholders calls for health audit of Residents

By Gom Mirian, Abuja

Concerned individuals of Ogoni ethic nationality of Rivers State have raised alarm for the need to carry out an emergency health audit of residence in the area.

Comrade Nnimmo Bassey, Fouder Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) raised the concern yesterday, during a virtual conference organised by Cordial Strategic Partners on review of process for the implementation of the UNEP report in Ogoniland: successes and challenges.

Nnimmo said many residents are suffering from different ailments due to exposure to the polluted environment, saying the audit would help to find out the cause of the alleged sickness in the area.

“It is important to note that the global Covid-19 pandemic is impacting more heavily on people who have underline health issues, when you live in a contaminated environment, you are already exposed to infections of the deadly virus.

” This is the reason why there ought to be health audit in the environment of the baseline in the ogoniland community to understand what is killing the people and what needs to be done to remedy the situation.

” We have seen health mission outreaches, but have not really seen the health audit and this is what needs to be done. He said.

Comrade Nnimmo, who is also a Member of Board of Directors HYPREP, said HYPREP sedled with the mandate to implement the UNEP’s recommended report is also charged with the responsibility to enhance local capacity for environmental management, strengthen government management and accountability in the region as well as to ensure full recovery and restoration of Ogoni environment.

He however, admitted the delay in the implementation of the UNEP report by HYPREP, explained that the responsibilities are quite cumbersome, due to long number of years damages caused on the land time is required to get the job done.

According to him, one (1) billion US dollars is contributed by the joint ventures partners and other players in the environment over a period of five years, adding that joint ventures are to contribute 90 perc cents of the expected funds, while Refineries and local operators 10 percent.

He said so far two trenches has been received from the joint ventures partners for the year 2018 and 2019, saying nothing has been received from the Refineries and local operators.

“Considering the amount of work done, and the contracts given out the money available is sufficient to cover the scope of work, so finances is not an issue at this point except that we are expecting the trench for 2020 to come into the pulse.

” This money is not seating in the offices of HYPREP, the money is been had by the ogoni Trust Fund, a fund set up by ogoni Board of Trustees where the people are heavily represented in the management of the funds.

” Unep reports shows the extent of pollution of the soil ground waters contamination to the depth of 5 mitres, when one of the lots in Eleme area was excavated we found that pollution has actually gone to 7 mitres depth which means that every year of delay it would still get more entrenched, so there is need to hasten the process.

“Ogoni is a laboratory where remediation is been tested for clean up in the Niger Delta region. He disclosed.

Comrade Celestine Akpobani,National Coordinator of Ogoni solidarity Forum, an ogoni activists On his part, applauded HYPREP for the feat achieved so far in the implementation process.

According to him, it requires alot of struggles to speed up the process of the project, due to heavy community influence on the project.

He however, called on HYPREP to step up on communication to ensure that both community and stakeholders are carried along in the process.

Eid el-Fitr: IGP insists ban on mass religious Gathering Remains

By Gom Mirian, Abuja

The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu has on Friday reawaken the consciousness of the Muslim in the country as they prepare to celebrate the 2020 Eid el-Fitr that the restrictions order by the Federal Government are still in force.

The Force Public Relations Officer, FHQ , DCP Frank Mba, in a statement said, the Covid-19 prevention regulation orders including the inter-state movement restriction orders, national curfew and the prohibition of mass socio – religious gatherings by the Federal Government.

He however noted that these restrictions will be mandatory for residents in Lagos, Ogun, kano states as well as the Federal Capital Territory(FCT).

He states further that the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Mohamed Abubakar Adamu, has congratulated Nigerians as the Muslim Ummah in the country celebrate this year’s Eid el-Fitr.

He notes that the successful conclusion of the Ramadan is a period of self-denial geared towards attaining wholesomeness, reinforces his belief that with the citizens’ collective perseverance and voluntary compliance with the prevention regulations emplaced by Governments at all levels, the nation will surely overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Police Boss, however assured the nation of adequate security during and after the Eid el-Fitr Celebration.

Adamu said that proactive and robust anti-crime measures, including the deployments of tactical and intelligence assets of the Force, are already in place to prevent any untoward incidents in the country.

He therefore enjoins the citizens to observe the Eid celebrations bearing in mind the unusual times occasioned by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic as the Force will leave no stone unturned towards the due enforcement of the orders.

Gov Lalong inaugurates state community policing advisory committee

Plateau State Governor, Simon Bako Lalong has inaugurated the State Community Policing Advisory Committee as part of the efforts to tackle crime through a bottom-top approach.
The Committee which was set up by the Federal Government through the Inspector General of Police is to begin the process of implementing Community Policing in the State.
While inaugurating the Committee, Governor Simon Lalong said Plateau State has longed for the implementation of the Community Policing initiative in order to fight crime and criminality.
He said “This is a welcome development for us as a State because we have since realised that the best way to guarantee the security of our people is by embracing a bottom up approach which emphasizes early warning, intelligence gathering and crime prevention. With a grassroots and people driven approach such as Community Policing, we are more likely to identify and fish out criminals, thereby saving the citizens from the agony associated with loss of lives and properties”.
The Committee has CP Edward Egbuka, Plateau State Commissioner of Police as Chairman and His Majesty, Da Jacob Gyang Buba, Gbong Gwom Jos & Chairman, Plateau State Council of Chiefs and Emirs – Co-Chairman.
The Governor charged the Committee which is the highest custodian of Community Policing in the State to be focused and resolute in carrying out this assignment by shunning every distraction that could arise from religious, ethnic or political pressures.
Lalong said the Government and people of Plateau State will also be looking up to the Committee to act in the best interest of peace and security of all.
Deputy Inspector General of Police, Lawal Shehu said the concept of Community Policing is to ensure that the people are involved in security affairs with more emphasis on intelligence and information gathering.
He said the special constables to be recruited will be people of good standing in society who are gainfully engaged with good record within the community.
He said they are not to take over from the police, but to collaborate with the police under their supervision and as such, they will be thoroughly screened to ensure that criminals are not involved.
Co-Chairman of the Committee, Gbong Gwom Jos, Da Jacob Gyang Buba assured that they will be focused and resolute in carrying out their assignment by shunning every distraction that could arise from religious, ethnic or political pressures.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the Inspector General of Police for their commitment to ensuring that policing is enhanced in line with the Federal system and constitutional provision that Governors are Chief Security Officers of their States.
Members of the the Plateau State Community Policing Advisory Committee are drawn from a wide spectrum of society.

Jos North records the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Plateau

The Plateau Commissioner of Health Dr. Ndam Lar has disclosed that Jos North has the highest COVID-19 cases with total number of 42 positive cases out of the 57 confirmed in the state according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
Lar disclosed this when the State Committee on COVID-19, led by the Secretary to the Plateau State Government, Professor Danladi Atu together with the Commissioner of Information, Hon. Dan Majang and Director of Press and Public Affairs to Governor Simon Lalong, Dr. Makut Simon Macham briefed journalists on government’s position ahead of the Eid-el Fitr celebration on Saturday.
According to the Health Commissioner the reason why Jos North Local Government Areas has the highest number was as result of community transmission especially around Masallacin Juma’a and Duala communities.
He also disclosed that three health workers have tested positive to COVID-19 in the state.
Meanwhile the Secretary to the Plateau State Government, Professor Danladi Atu has disclosed that prayer grounds across the state will be closed during the Eid-el Fitr celebration.

Nig. Navy arrest 10 pirates that hijacked Chinese vessel, Rescues 18 Crew Men

By Matthew Abi

The Directorate of Defense Media Operations (DDMO) has reported that a Chinese vessel, MV HAILUFANG II that was attacked by pirates off the Coast of Cote D’ Ivoire and directed towards Nigerian Waters on 15 of May 2020, has been neutralised at about 140 nautical miles south of Lagos Fairway Buoy.

The Coordinator Defense Media Operations, Maj. Gen. John Enenche who made the disclosure today at the Defense Headquarters said Nigerian Navy Ship NGURU on interception of the vessel that had 18 crew members comprising Chinese, Ghanaians and Ivorians were safely rescued, while 10 pirates were arrested upon serious gun fight.

On the Armed Forces of Nigeria’s intervention in the containment of COVID-19 pandemic, Gen. Enenche said the Military is training additional 220 medical personnel’s
on COVID-19 case Management/Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) rounding it up to 300 as it has trained 80 medical personnel’s earlier due to the rising cases of COVID-19 in the country.

According to him, the training package is a Train-the-Trainer, where the beneficiaries are expected to train other personnel at hospitals, related medical facilities and other places of deployment, to enhance capacity building in the management of the pandemic.

Giving an update on the fight against insurgence in the country, the Coordinator disclosed that the Nigerian Navy Ship DELTA conducted anti-illegal bunkering/Crude Oil Theft (COT) operations around Ugbodede, Uwakeno, Opumami, Banga Communities and around Escravos general area in Warri South LGA of Delta State, adding that during the operation team located and dismantled illegal refining sites and a wooden boat with 3 coolers, 136 dugout pits, 201 surface metal storage tanks and 174 ovens laden with about 14,434 barrels of suspected stolen crude oil as well as 1,385,000 litres of product suspected to be illegally refined AGO.

” Similarly, on 11 May 20, Forward Operating Base ESCRAVOS intercepted 3 large wooden boats around Madangho and Sara Creek in Warri South LGA of Delta State. The boats were laden with about 12.6 barrels of suspected stolen crude oil and 43,000 litres of products suspected to be illegally refined AGO. Equally, on 12 May 20, the team discovered 7 refining units, 13 metal storage tanks and 4 dugout pits with about 440.3 barrels of stolen crude oil and 180,000 litres of products suspected to be illegally refined AGO. The boats, items and products discovered in the course of the operation were impounded.

” In the same vein, on 11 May 20, Forward Operating Base IBAKA patrol team around Effiat Waterways intercepted an abandoned wooden boat laden with 310 x 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice suspected to be smuggled from the Republic of Cameroon. Similarly, on 14 May 20, the Base patrol team intercepted an abandoned medium size wooden boat laden with about 67 drums of products suspected to be PMS around Enwang Creek. The seized bags of foreign parboiled rice, boat and drums of suspected PMS are currently in Forward Operating Base IBAKA custody.

Aisha Buhari donates food items to widows in Plateau State

The first lady, Aisha Buhari, has on Wednesday May 20, 2020, donated food items to widows and vulnerable women in Plateau State as palliatives to cushion the effect of the covid 19 lockdown.

The Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, who was represented by her Personal Assistant, Alhaji Baba Mohammed, said the palliatives were given by the wife of the President to be distributed to the various women groups in Plateau state through the ministry.

The Minister, therefore, urged the representatives of the women groups to make judicious use of the palliatives and to ensure that the most vulnerable and needy women in their respective groups benefitted from the gesture.

Speaking during the presentation, the Deputy Governor and Chairman, Palliative Committee, Plateau State, Professor Sunni Tyoden, represented by Dr Sumayya Hamza, said the gesture would assist widows to manage some of the challenges occasioned by the lockdown, adding that the beneficiaries affected by economic hardship can use the food items to feed their children.

The President, National Council of Women’s Societies, Felicia Bala, Plateau State who spoke on behalf of the Women Groups, commended the effort of the First Lady and the Minister saying that the items distributed were timely as it would provide succour to the women and their families.
She assured the Minister that the items would get to the targetted vulnerable and needy in the various organizations.

The Permanent Secretary, Plateau State, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Hassana Ayika, applauded the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, for the kind gesture to Plateau State citizens, especially the vulnerable.

The items distributed included bags of rice, bags of maize, cartons of seasoning, cartons of Noodles, gallons of vegetable oil and bags of beans among others.