This report is in two pages

{tab=How Peter Odili looted Rivers State treasury to set up ARIK AIR (saharareporters)}

 

How Peter Odili looted Rivers State treasury to set up ARIK AIR 

 
Saharareporters has uncovered the dirty and corrupt side of President Obasanjo's favored presidential candidate, Peter Odili, the current governor of Rivers State. Peter Odili is one state governor who enjoys 'presidential status' a special status deriving from his closeness to Obasanjo. It was said that during a visit to the US in the company of Peter Odili, Obasanjo told Kofi Annan while on a visit to the UN headquarters: "This Governor is richer than the UN, so if you really need help, talk to him, he can help the UN".

Peter Odili has since graduated from the president's right hand man to his anointed successor, according to inside sources within Aso Rock (Other sources say OBJ has told so many candidates that they are all anointed by him). Though Peter Odili was known to have looted the treasury of Rivers State with the reported acquisition of a huge South Africa-based hospital, two Brazilian made Embraer jets bought with Rivers State resources but converted to his personal use for his Presidential campaigns and an open declaration by Mr. Nuhu Ribadu of the EFCC that he is a "crook". However nothing was done to expose or punish his many shady deals that have left the touted Garden City -Port Harcourt and the rest of Rivers State in tatters. As of today, most of the River State, which Peter Odili inherited in 1999, has nothing to show for the hefty allocations from the federation account said to be the biggest in Nigeria's history. Apart from the proliferation of state sponsored militant groups, killer squads, unemployment, insecurity of life and property, lack of infrastructures Rivers State has nothing to show for these hefty allocations.

It is public knowledge that the Rivers State government since 1999 has received more than N300 billion.

Saharareporters commenced investigations on the Rivers State governor soon as we received hint that governor Peter Odili owns a new start up airline known as "ARIK AIR" in conjunction with President Obasanjo. Saharareporters has since discovered that the questionable payment of the sum of N2 billion to a little known consultant company Rockson Engineering Company Limited with CAC registration number (RC 380929). ROCKSON ENGINEERING COMPANY LIMITED, which was registered on 16th May 2000 to two directors namely Mr. J.I.A Aremeni-Ikhide and Mrs. Mary F. Arumeni-Ikhide as directors to the company, started the ARIK airline idea. The company's address was given as 27 Imadiyi Street off Etete Road, Benin City even though the physical operational location of ROCKSON is 36 Trans Amadi Industrial Layouts, Port Harcourt. The company indicated in its bank account file mandate that it is connected to Ojemai Farms Limited. The company maintains two bank accounts, titled Rockson 1 (0130215327600) &2 (0130215431600). Only bank statements related to ROCKSON 1 account was available, the records and bank statements of ROCKSON 2 account was missing from the computer systems of UBA Plc Olu Obasanjo 2 branch, Port Harcourt.

However, ROCKSON account 1 has a single signatory, Mr. J.I.A Arumemi-Johnson, the public face of ARIK Airline (family sources told us "ARIK" derives from the combination of " Ar-umemi and Ik-hide), a new start up airline in Nigeria that recently bought two brand new Canadian Regional Jets (CRJ) according the website orders made available to Saharareporters and now has almost unlimited routes available to it after sudden aviation accidents in Nigeria gave the Obasanjo government a leeway to suspend many local airline operators. It is also instructive to note that ARIK Air was already allocated international routes even when it has yet to procure aircrafts to fly such routes. Saharareporters in past editions reported that President Obasanjo and Dr. Peter Odili owned ARIK Airline.

Mr. Arumemi –Johnson's ROCKSON also operates an account with Citibank, Port Harcourt.

In a release letter dated November 21 2000, Dr. Peter Odili of Rivers State caused the bank to deposit the sum of N2 billion into the accounts of ROCKSON Engineering barely six months after ROCKSON was incorporated. Shortly afterwards Mr. Arumemi –Johnson also issued two bank drafts  (The bank was then Continental Trust) the first one for N75 million to Zerok Nigeria and another to Mr. Arumemi-Johnson for N60 million. In another letter dated April 12th 2001, the River State Government /Ministry of Finance, the bank was instructed to credit ROCKSON Engineering Company Ltd . The sum of N1.5 billion and an open letter of credit (LC) in favor of ROCKSON Engineering Company were also issued. The Letter of Credit was issued for the procurement of Gas Turbine engines equipments for Rivers State Power projects scattered around the state. The manager's cheques register indicates that ROCKSON Engineering Ltd. issued a lot of drafts in its name especially moving funds to its numerous bank accounts and individuals. Examples of such transactions includes three drafts issued on March 23 2003, February 28 2003,and April 4 th 2003 for N105 million, N7.5 million and N95 million respectively.

From that Manager's Cheques register available to Saharareporters ROCKSON account number 2 (0130215431600) churned out more transactions within a very short time. For instance in the month of December 2001 cheques of various sums were issued to the following entities: N10 million to ROCKSON Engineering Ltd, N19 million in favor of ONUNDA Estate Development Nigeria and N50 million to REFERENCE TERMS Ltd for N50 million. Also in February 2002, the account issued two bank drafts in favor Ruxy International Ltd for N28 million.

Saharareporters investigations also revealed that the Rivers State Government used the Independent Power Projects as the avenue to siphon monies through phony companies, for example it was discovered a UK company, SWISS VER FINANCE was issued with a US$32.6 million confirmed Irrevocable Transferable & Divisible Letter of Credit issued by the Union Bank of Nigeria on behalf of the Rivers State Government, they acted as middlemen to procure two gas turbine engines from unknown manufacturers. The company was promptly paid USD 250,000 whereas the UK Government Companies Registry shows that SWISS VER FIANCE LTD (RC No.04475885) is in Liquidation. The company was incorporated on July 2nd 2002 in the UK as a private Limited Company. It stated as the nature of its business "Other Monetary Mediation, Other Credit Granting and Auxiliary Financial Intermediary". The last member list was July 2 nd 2004 and the mandatory annual returns filing required by the UK Company House were overdue since 2004.  

 

 

Rivers State financial information at a glance:

The Rivers State government (RSG) operates seven (7) different accounts at the Olu Obasanjo 2 branch of the bank.   All of these accounts were opened pre consolidation under the name of Continental Trust Bank.   Below is a break down of the accounts:

General observation of the account opening documentation shows weak compliance with Section 3 ML (P) Act 2003.   None of the accounts had evidence of identifications provided by the account signatories.   Only the main Capital Account had the complete passport photographs of the 3 signatories.   Although all the account-opening packages had notations by the branch that the accounts should be opened with incomplete documentation pending regularization, this had not been done and all the accounts have been in operation since 2000.

Saharareporters gathered that all instructions from the RVSG sighted in the mandate files of the 7 accounts and the various tickets for transactions were signed by the State's Account-General (Mr. G. S. Jaja) and Director of Treasury.   The modus operandi of all the accounts is that the Executive Governors, for amount (we believe to be) above a threshold, writes to the Manager of the bank authorizing the release of the stated sum to the Accountant-General.   The letter is copied to the Honorable Commissioner (Ministry of Finance & Economic Planning) and the Accountant-General.  Based on the letter, the Accountant-General writes a cheque in favor of the Bank and attaches a letter indication the cheques details and the person authorized to sign and cash the cheques on behalf the ministry.

The main Capital Account (013021500200), which was opened on February 24 2000, was the first account to be opened in the Bank.   This was opened along side the Other Charges account. Mr. Hilary Ezenwa Orjinwu (Acting Director of Fin.& supplies for the office of the Deputy Governor) was introduced to replace Mr. Kinakanwo N. Elechi and authorized to collect cash or draft on behalf of the Deputy Governor, Government House.   Inflows into this account were from the Ecological Fund and Recurrent Account, Federal Reserve and reversals of cheques initially paid out to various banks.   A review of the statement of account from 3/701 to 11/9/01 reveals that:

  • Mr. Goodlife Idoku Ben (Accountant, Government House) received outflows in 23 transactions for the total sum of N419, 505,314.
  • Mr. F. D. Brown (Sub-Treasurer, PH) received N202, 485,007.83 in 11 transaction.
  •  Mr. Dagogo R. Abere (Sub-Treasurer, Diobu) received N505, 648, 193.88 in 6 different transactions.
  • On 2/3/01, Cheque No.0103429 was issued for draft of N1.2 Billion to be raised in favor of Rockson Engineering.
  • On 10/7/01 a Managers Cheque was issued in favor of M/SA. Micheletti for N60 million).
  • On 13/3/01, Cheque No.0103439 was issued for a draft of N15 million in favor of M/S Nen-Dandies Nig. Ltd ( N13.5million) & the Sub-Treasurer Dobu ( N1.5million)
  • On 1/3/01, Cheque No.0103425 was issued for a draft of N100million in favor of M/S Manufacturing Constructions (N90million) & the Sub-Treasurer (N10M)
  • N13, 841,131.08 in favor of Mothereat Nig. Ltd.
  • N36, 748,109.33 in favor of Mercury NG & Constructions.
  • On 2/7/01, Cheque No. 103554 was issued for two drafts of N125million & 90million respectively in favor of M/s Jolimair Ltd.   This is based on a domiciliation of payment on an Advance Payment Guarantee issued by the bank for the construction of 500 units of low cost housing in Port Harcourt.
  • On 3/7/01, Cheque No. 103558 was issued for two drafts of N76, 268, 922.88 & N29,408,487.87 in favor of M/s DYS Trocca Valsesia & o Ltd and M/S O.K. Isokariari & Sons Nig. Ltd, respectively.

    On 28/12/01 and 20/02/02, 2 drafts were issued from Rockson Account 2 in favor of Government House, Port Harcourt for N28, 061,950 and N34, 000,000,45 drafts for N1.9 Million each were issued on 02/01/02 for different beneficiaries.  One individual – Mr. Ogolode, signed for all the drafts.  The same person was observed to have signed the Managers' Cheque register for previous drafts on behalf of or requested for by RVSG.

     

    Rivers State Government bank accounts at a glance…

     

    The main RVSG  accounts at UBA Plc.

    The Rivers State government (RSG) operates seven (7) different accounts at the Olu Obasanjo 2 branch of United Bank for Africa PLC (UBA).   All of these accounts were opened pre consolidation under the name of Continental Trust Bank (Continental Trust Bank is acquired by UBA Plc post consolidation).   Below is a break down of the accounts:

    S/NO

    ACCOUNT NAME

    ACOUNT NO

    DATE ACCOUNT OPENED

    ACCOUNT SIGNATORIES

    1.

    Capital Account

    0130215003200

    24/02/2000

    G. S. Jaja, F.G. Harrison & G. E. A. Alobari

    2.

    Capital Account

    013035349700

    13/02/2001

    G. S. Jaja, F.G. Harrison & G. E. A. Alobari

    3.

    Revenue Account

    013031584200

    17/04/2003

    G. S. Jaja, F.G. Harrison & G. E. A. Alobari

    4.

    Project Account

    0130315154500

    08/2000

    G. S. Jaja, F.G. Harrison & G. E. A. Alobari

    5.

    Joint Allocation Account

    0130315921400

    07/11/2003

    G. S. Jaja, N. Y. Harrison & G. E. A. Alobari

    6.

    Ecological Fund Account

    0130315389800

    2001

    G. S. Jaja, F.G. Harrison & G. E. A. Alobari

     

    Saharareporters general observation of the account opening documentation shows weak compliance with Section 3 ML (P) Act 2003.   None of the accounts had evidence of identifications provided by the account signatories.  Only the main Capital Account had the complete passport photographs of the 3 signatories.   Although all the account-opening packages had notations by the branch that the accounts should be opened with incomplete documentation pending regularization, this had not been done and all the accounts have been in operation since 2000.

    All instructions from the RVSG sighted in the mandate files of the 7 accounts and the various tickets for transactions were signed by the State's Account-General (Mr. G. S. Jaja) and Director of Treasury.   The modus operandi of all the accounts is that the Executive Governor, Peter Odili, for amounts above a threshold, writes to the Manager of the bank authorizing the release of the stated sum to the Accountant-General.   The letter is copied to the Honorable Commissioner (Ministry of Finance & Economic Planning) and the Accountant-General.  Based on the letter, the Accountant-General writes a cheque in favor of the Bank and attaches a letter indication the cheques details and the person authorized to sign and cash the cheques on behalf the ministry.

    The main Capital Account (013021500200), which was opened on February 24 2000, was the first account to be opened in the Bank.   This was opened along side the Other Charges account. Mr. Hilary Ezenwa Orjinwu (Acting Director of Fin.& supplies for the office of the Deputy Governor) was introduced to replace Mr. Kinakanwo N. Elechi and authorized to collect cash or draft on behalf of the Deputy Governor, Government House.   Inflows into this account were from the Ecological Fund and Recurrent Account, Federal Reserve and reversals of cheques initially paid out to various banks.   A review of the statement of account from 3/7/01 to 11/9/01 reveals that:

    • Mr. Goodlife Idoku Ben (Accountant, Government House) received outflows in 23 transactions for the total sum of N419, 505,314.
    • Mr. F. D. Brown (Sub-Treasurer, PH) received N202, 485,007.83 in 11 transaction.
    •  Mr. Dagogo R. Abere (Sub-Treasurer, Diobu) received N505, 648, 193.88 in 6 different transactions.
    • On 2/3/01, Cheque No.0103429 was issued for draft of N1.2 Billion to be raised in favor of Rockson Engineering.
    • On 10/7/01 a Managers Cheque was issued in favor of M/SA. Micheletti for N60 million).
    • On 13/3/01, Cheque No.0103439 was issued for a draft of N15 million in favor of M/S Nen-Dandies Nig. Ltd ( N13.5million) & the Sub-Treasurer Dobu ( N1.5million)
    • On 1/3/01, Cheque No.0103425 was issued for a draft of N100million in favor of M/S Manufacturing Constructions (N90million) & the Sub-Treasurer (N10M)
    • N13, 841,131.08 in favor of Mothereat Nig. Ltd.
    • N36, 748,109.33 in favor of Mercury NG & Constructions.
    • On 2/7/01, Cheque No. 103554 was issued for two drafts of N125million & 90million respectively in favor of M/s Jolimair Ltd.   This is based on a domiciliation of payment on an Advance Payment Guarantee issued by the bank for the construction of 500 units of low cost housing in Port Harcourt.
    • On 3/7/01, Cheque No. 103558 was issued for two drafts of N76, 268, 922.88 & N29, 408,487.87 in favor of M/s DYS Trocca Valsesia & o Ltd and M/S O.K. Isokariari & Sons Nig. Ltd, respectively.

      On 28/12/01 and 20/02/02, 2 drafts were issued from Rockson Account 2 in favor of Government House, Port Harcourt for N28, 061,950 and N34, 000,000,45 drafts for N1.9 Million each were issued on 02/01/02 for different beneficiaries.  One individual – Mr. Ogolode, signed for all the drafts.  The same person was observed to have signed the Managers' Cheque register for previous drafts on behalf of or requested for by RVSG.

      RVSG Ecological Fund Account

      The statement of account presented was from 6/6/01 to 06/11/02.  The sources of funds into the account were mainly transfer from Capital Account and 2% ecological fund allocation.   Major outflow was to Vernon (N134, 070857 on 24/11/01) and Mr. Goodlife Ben-Accountant, Government House (N176, 390,00 in 6 transactions).

      OBERVATION FROM UNION BANK OF NIGERIA (UBN) PLC

       

      Accounts maintained by the RVSG in UBN Plc Kingsway road, Port Harcourt are:

      RSG Project Account                             6541040000865

      RSG Project Account                             6541060000920

      RSG Project Account 2                          6541040001003

      RSG Excess Crude Allocation Account           6541040000882

      RSG Joint Local Government Account         6541060000917

      On 15/4/02, RVSG opened a Project Account with the Kingsway Road, Port Harcourt Branch of Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN) Plc.   The Project Account was essentially for the River State's gas Turbine projects.  Subsequently, the RVSG opened its Excess Crude Oil Allocation and Joint Local Government Accounts with the bank.   The accounts signatories were Geoffrey S. Alobari (Director General), Fortunatus G. Harrison (Director, Treasury) and Grant E. A. Alobari (Director, Pensions).   The RSG Joint Local Government Account was later transferred to Continental Trust Bank, Olu Obasanjo Way, Port Harcourt.

      The observations from the customer's mandate file and account statements include:

      • August 20 2002 Letter to Honorable Commissioner on establishment of Confirmed irrevocable transferable & divisible L for US$32.6million in favor of Swiss Ver Finance, UK for the importation of two Gas Turbines & other equipment.   Reference Terms Nigeria Ltd on behalf of the RVSG approached the bank for the U.S.$32.6million Letter of Credit.  Reference Terms Nigeria Ltd is a consulting firm that was mandated by the RVSG to source for offshore funds and it liaised with Swiss Ver Finance to provide the offshore finance for the completion of the last part of the 4-phased Independent Power Project.   According to the Memorandum to the Credit Committee of the bank, the 1-3 Phases of the project valued at N5.01 billion had been completed through internally generated funds and Statutory Allocation while Phase 4 was stalled due to lack of funds. Hitherto, the State Government had approached Union Bank in June 2002 for N2billion Term Loan to part finance the phase 4 of the project which at that time was to cost N3billion.   An Irrevocable Standing Payment Order in favor of the bank for N508million monthly for 9 months (i.e. the unexpired term in office of the administration) is issued by the RVSG.
      • 25/9/02 Continental Trust Bank Cheque No. 0614116 dated 25/9/02 for N508million is issued to Union Bank to represent the first installment of the repayment of the US$32.6million facility.   This is done due to the inability of the Accountant-General of the Federation to effect the RVSG instruction for the ISPO for September 2002.
      • 3/11/04 Letter of Honorable Commissioner on establishment of Confirmed, Irrevocable, Transferable & Divisible LC for Euro62, 277,000 in favor of Schneider UK (E36, 329M) & Nuovo Pignone ( E25.948M) for 7 Substations & 4 Turbines respectively.  Security is ISPO for N550M per month for 21 months (June 04-February 06).  This facility was initially for Euro60.5M but was increased due to delays in signing the contract agreement between the RVSG and the suppliers.
      • A bank document form the branch Manager to the DGM-Energy shows that 21 transactions each for N550million were transferred into the RVSG.   Accounts with the Kingsway road branch, Port Harcourt.  From the account statements, almost all the transfers were made into the RSG Project Accounts 6541040000865 (13 inflows) and 6541060000920 (8 inflows).   The last 2 installments of the repayment were made by Zenith Bank, Port Harcourt instruments (probably from the FAAC Account).  The trends in the statements indicate that these inflows are used to purchase foreign exchange by the FEM Unit of the bank.
      • Correspondence from Schneider Ekectric and Nuovo Pignone were addressed to RVSG c/o Rockson Engineering Ltd.
      • 28/6/05 Mega Trend Investment Co. Ltd was paid N180million with cheque no.03875721.
      • 9/7/05 N368, 729,430.18 was paid from RSG Project Account 654106000920 to Committee on RSG to Supreme Court.

        The bank is the lead Underwriter and placement agent in a N5 Billion syndicated fully Underwritten Notes Issuance Facility availed the RVSG for the Independent Power Project.  The scheme involves the construction of four Gas Turbines Generation Stations to be reintegrated into the new grid system.   The total estimated cost of the project is over N10 Billion and this is to be executed in 2 phases.   2 electrical engineering firms viz Messrs Rockson Nigeria Limited and Negris Nigeria Ltd. Consultants known as Oska-Jo & Partners conducted the feasibility report are executing the Project .    The facility repayment mode is an Irrevocable Standing Payment Order of Federation Account.   The N300million monthly deduction is credited to Continental Trust Bank Account No.637 with the CBN, Port Harcourt.   The deduction commenced December 2000 for 24 months to November 2002.   However, in a memo to the Accountant-General of the federation dated June 12 2001, the N300M monthly deduction on the Irrevocable Standing Payment Order (ISPO) was transferred to Union Bank of Nigeria, PH branch, for the account of Union Homes Savings & Loans Ltd.   The participating banks in the syndicated facility include Liberty Bank, Union Homes Savings & Loans, Wema, Associated Discount House, and City Express.

        The RVSG Recurrent Account sources of inflows were Statutory Allocations, Excess Crude Oil Allocation, VAT Allocation, and transfer from Capital Account.   The outflows consist of payments made to Government House, Mr. Goodlife Ben Ibuoku, Colleges and other banks that belong to the N5 Billion Notes Issuance Syndication.   On 15/3/02, N189, 738,944.95 was transferred to Rockson Account 2.  N40million was transferred to BGL Ltd on 18/3/02.

        The Joint Local Government Account (JAAC) was transferred from Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN) Plc, Kingsway branch, Port Harcourt Account No.6541060000917 to Continental Trust Bank Ltd, Port-Harcourt Account No.013035921400 in November 2003.  Mrs. Cecilla E. Iwori who is the Chief Accountant in charge of JAA account was officially introduced to the Bank.

        As the name implies, major outflows from the Joint Local Government Account were made to the various local governments.   The Team observed from the account statement that payments were made to over 24 individuals twice monthly from the account.   On further enquiry from the bank, it was discovered that the cheques were written out in the names of the Treasurers of each local government.   Payments were also to Traditional Rulers and past Councilors.   It was also observed that Continental Trust Bank cheques for N250, 000,000 and N500, 000.00 were issued to the Hon. Commissioner of LG Affairs and SS on 12/12/2003 and 13/5/04 respectively.   The Primary School Board, at the end of every month received N318, 204,854.66.   A cheque for N300, 000,000 was issued to Government House, Port Harcourt on 29/6/04.   Payments were made twice with the narration "Chairman/MD" for N24, 000,000 each on 31/8/05 and 6/9/05.   In February 2005, it was observed that various payments were made to various banks such as Hallmark, Citizens, Union, All States, and Reliance.   Rolex Oil Nig is the only company.

        •  Finance to provide the offshore finance for the completion of the last part of the 4-phased Independent Power Project.   According to the Memorandum to the Credit Committee of the bank, the 1-3 Phases of the project valued at N5.01 billion had been completed through internally generated funds and Statutory Allocation while Phase 4 was stalled due to lack of funds. Hitherto, the State Government had approached Union Bank in June 2002 for N2billion Term Loan to part finance the phase 4 of the project which at that time was to cost N3billion.   An Irrevocable Standing Payment Order in favor of the bank for N508million monthly for 9 months (i.e. the unexpired term in office of the administration) is issued by the RVSG.
        • 25/9/02 Continental Trust Bank Cheque No. 0614116 dated 25/9/02 for N508million is issued to Union Bank to represent the first installment of the repayment of the US$32.6million facility.   This is done due to the inability of the Accountant-General of the Federation to effect the RVSG instruction for the ISPO for September 2002.
        • 3/11/04 Letter of Honorable Commissioner on establishment of Confirmed, Irrevocable, Transferable & Divisible LC for Euro62, 277,000 in favor of Schneider UK (E36, 329M) & Nuovo Pignone ( E25.948M) for 7 Substations & 4 Turbines respectively.  Security is ISPO for N550M per month for 21 months (June 04-feb 06).  This facility was initially for Euro60.5M but was increased due to delays in signing the contract agreement between the RVSG and the suppliers.
        • A bank document form the branch Manager to the DGM-Energy shows that 21 transactions each for N550million were transferred into the RVSG.   Accounts with the Kingsway road branch, Port Harcourt.  From the account statements, almost all the transfers were made into the RSG Project Accounts 6541040000865 (13 inflows) and 6541060000920 (8 inflows).   The last 2 installments of the repayment were made by Zenith Bank, Port Harcourt instruments (probably from the FAAC Account).  The trends in the statements indicate that the FEM Unit of the bank uses these inflows to purchase foreign exchange.
        • Correspondence from Schneider Ekectric and Nuovo Pignone were addressed to RVSG c/o Rockson Engineering Ltd.
        • 28/6/05 Mega Trend Investment Co. Ltd was paid N180million with cheque no.03875721.
        • 9/7/05 N368, 729,430.18 was paid from RSG Project Account 654106000920 to Committee on RSG to Supreme Court.

{mospagebreak}{tab=RIVERS STATE ALLOCATION June 1999 - December 2005 (nigerianmuse)}

RIVERS STATE ALLOCATION June 1999 - December 2005

TOTAL
STATE

TOTAL
LGS

GRAND TOTAL

RIVERS

286,395,088,148.55

71,110,954,311.22

357,506,042,459.77 

June-December 1999

3,013,113,840.22

1,446,135,712.15

4,459,249,552.37

2000

17,805,477,881.28

5,009,958,551.63

22,815,438,432.91

2001

22,128,460,166.41

5,834,579,216.45

27,963,041,383.86

2002

30,169,480,704.58

10,138,755,602.43

40,308,238,309.01

2003

40,928,181,912.36

12,651,950,180.26

53,580,134,095.62

2004

57,554,867,305.55

16,501,930,927.39

74,056,800,236.94

2005

114,795,506,338.16

19,527,644,120.92

134,323,152,464.08


 

 

RIVERS STATE BUDGET 2006   ["Budget of Sustained Consolidation and Development"]
 
Budget # 1:  N160 billion (presented by Governor Odili on December 7, 2005)
Budget #2:   N168 billion (i.e. N8 billion added by State Assembly on December 30, 2005; revised budget signed January 3, 2006)
Budget #3:   N191 billion  (N23 billion added as supplementary budget on November 30, 2006 for the rest of the year (one month))
 
RIVERS STATE 2007 ["Budget of Sustained Consolidation for Posterity"]
 
Budget #1:  N179.4 billion (Presented by Governor Odili on November 3, 2006)

 

THE TIDE
 
Rivers Assembly meets, considers N23bn supplementary budget
Goodman Nathey • Friday, Dec 1, 2006
 
A supplementary appropriation bill of twenty-three billion, two hundred million naira for the 2006 fiscal year has been given its first reading in the Rivers State House of Assembly.
The bill was presented, Thursday by the Deputy Leader, James George Fuayefika (Okrika), who explained that the budget would cover supplementary provisions for the rest of the year.
The Speaker, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, ruled that the document would come up for debate on Tuesday next week when the House reconvenes.
The state Governor, Dr. Peter Odili had presented a budget of one hundred and sixty billion naira for the 2006 fiscal year, but the sum was raised to one hundred and sixty eight billion by the state Assembly before it was passed.
The prompt response of virtually all members of the House to the sitting and the presence of the mace invariably made nonsense of rumours carried in some local tabloids that members of the House had become discontent and disloyal to the speaker and the governor.
Deliberation on the supplementary budget comes at a time that the House is also deliberating on the 2007 appropriation bill.
Supplementary Budget
• Sunday, Dec 3, 2006
It is now a twice-told tale that the Rivers State House of Assembly is considering a 2006 supplementary budget of N23.2 billion following last Thursday sitting, the matter of added significance was that the House sat.
Thus, if the House does not make any radical adjustment, the sum will add to the N168 billion the lawmakers had already approved for the 2006 fiscal year.
The deputy leader, James George Faayefoba (Okrika) presented the supplementary appropriation bill indicating that it was for the rest of the year, while the speaker Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, presided honourably, consideration of the bill will go concurrently with deliberations on the 2007 appropriation bill which is now before the state legislators.
Still against the backdrop of rumors, even carried in local tabloids, the sitting raised questions.
Questions about the source of rumours that the lawmakers were no longer as loyal as they had to the Speaker and the former. Or that the mace had been seized. And that there was a real thrust of impeachment.
But "naturally" this is the moment that the rumour will operates to full capacity, with him any who stand to benefit engineering stories to tickle the ears of gullible Nigerians. Even while the House resume deliberations next Tuesday, the rumours engineers will not be deterred by the fact that such sitting make nonsense of the rumors that had been generated.
There will be another rumor and many of us sitting pretty the bandwagon of the gullible will spread it.
But back to the supplementary appropriation bill. Deliberating on it may follow the procedure for considering a regular appropriation bill until after the second reading it may afterwards follow the following course.
(a) The debate shall be adjourned until the next sitting day;
(b) Not more than such number of days as the Business Committee may determine shall be allotted for the second reading; and
(c) Not more than such number of days as the Business Committee may determine shall be allotted for the consideration of the Bill in the Appropriation Committee and thereafter in the Committee of Supply.

----------------------

THE TIDE
RSG budgets N179.4bn for 2007
Felix Okogbule • Saturday, Nov 4, 2006
 
The Rivers State Governor, Dr. Peter Odili, yesterday, presented the 2007 Appropriation bill of N179,384,098,500 to the State House of Assembly for consideration.
A break down of the figure shows that the capital budget provision for 2007 stands at N135 billion, while the recurrent estimate is N43.5 billion, representing a difference of N11,353,265.000 from the 2006 budget of N168,030, 823.00
The appropriation bill christened the "Budget of Sustained Consolidation for Posterity," shows an increase of 6.7 per cent above the 2006 while the previous year's actual receipts stood at N152 billion or 90.6 per cent of revenue performance.
Governor Odili said the expected estimates for the 2007 include statutory allocation, N21 billion, 13 percent derivation fund N98 billion, value Added Tax N5.7 billion, internally generated Revenue N22.4 billion, Ecological fund N50 million, Excess crude oil fund N22 billion, the difference of Petroleum tax and Royalty for 2004 and 2005 N5 billion while capital receipts is expected to be N120 billion.
He therefore urged the Assembly to approve the deployment of expected accruables to the following sectors, the economy N46.5 billion, Social sector N22 billion, Environment Sector N10 billion and General Administration N57 billion bringing the total to N135.8 billion.
Dr. Odili who reiterated his administration's resolve to compete all on-going projects embarked upon by the present government, stressed that "he does not intend to leave any uncompleted burden to the incoming government", as the 2007 budget was the last to be presented to the State Assembly as Governor.
He disclosed that the State substainable Development Programme (RSSDP) is expected to syncronise wealth creation, employment opportunity and urged the lawmakers to expedite action on the appropriation bill before them to give impetus to the programme.
Accordingly he said, that the Independent Power Project (IPP) especially the Omoku gas plant soon to be commissioned will make power available to the State, while attention in that sector will now be shifted to rural electrification to give the people uninterrupted power supply.
The Governor hinted that the State government will support the food processing efforts of the local government councils provide storage facilities and announced that the Supabod Breweries will go into production very soon.
Similarly, Dr. Odili assured that Special attention will be paid to the establishment of a proper water Map in the State, emphasizing that already the government are collaborating with a foreign company to tackle the water needs of the State and will tenaciously push for rapid completion of the initiative. Dr. Odili promised to redouble efforts in the demolition of all illegal structures, and produce a new Master Plan for the City of Port Harcourt and its environs while a programme of Urban renewal at the water fronts will begin soon to rid the State capital of slum by enhancing tourism potentials.
The Chief Executive's presentation which Catalogued the achievements of the government in other sectors of the State administration thanked the Assembly for the Unique and unprecedented collaboration on providing unparalled leadership for the people of the State.
He explained that the people of Rivers State now have a new sense of pride, satisfaction of equal stakeholding, frugality of wealth, mutual respect and united as people and prayed that those who will take over the leadership of the State should endeavour to continue with the legacy and never to go back to the old days.
Responding, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi congratulated Governor Odili for proving himself a worthy leader, having discharged his responsibility very well and thanked him for the support he has given to them.
Amaechi who said this will be his last in presiding over budget presentation at the State Assembly disclosed that they had disagreements with the Executive and among themselves but such agreements were settled maturedly and prayed God to make it possible for Dr. Odili to lead Nigeria while assuring of quick consideration of the appropriation bill.
-------
 
THE TIDE
 
RSG signs 2006 budget to law
Felix Okogbule • Sunday, Jan 8, 2006

Rivers State Governor, Dr. Peter Odili within the week signed the 2006 appropriation bill to law and the Revenue Court Law passed by the State House of Assembly.
After appending his signature to the two documents at the new Executive Council Chambers of Government House, Dr. Odili said the 2006 budget which is N8 billion higher than the projected amount would be judiciously deployed to the process of ensuring sustainable growth and holistic development of the state.
According to him, it is believed that the revenue law would increase the state's capacity to generate internal revenue and provide adequate response mechanism to tax evasion.
He expressed satisfaction with the speedy approval of the appropriation to enable the government swing into action to employ more hands into the state public service to strengthen service delivery and support agricultural development.
Governor Odili explained that the government is expected to ensure the transmission and distribution of electricity from the Omoku Power Station to Port Harcourt within the next few months and assured that at the end of the year, all the communities in the state would enjoy uninterrupted power supply.
Furthermore, Dr. Odili harped on the importance of electricity in the economic and industrial sustenance of the fight against poverty, pointing out that in reviewing the 2005 budget government identified project monitoring as an area of weakness in the implementation of the law and therefore, promised to set up an effective monitoring agency for 2006 to ensure that projects are properly carried out.
In another development, the governor received the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Edmund Dakoru who led other stakeholders in the Niger Delta issue on a courtesy visit and to present a blue print of the solutions to peace in the area.
The governor assured the stakeholders of his government's determination to support efforts that would reduce violence associated with oil and gas production in the Niger Delta region.
He noted that Mr. President's insistence on local content in the oil and gas industry was born out of the need to reduce agitation from the host communities by allowing them participate actively in the business.
Again, Dr. Odili who received the Minister of Solid Minerals on a condolence visit, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili said that public office holders should appreciate the responsibility of their office with the fear of God and avoid cutting corners.
The state chief executive said the sad incident of December 10, 2005, in a Sosoliso plane crash at the Port Harcourt International Airport was a dark day for the nation and prayed God to grant the souls of the departed eternal rest.
The governor also received the representative of Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade at Government House who came to commiserate with him over the monumental loss of the ill-fated plane crash.
Odili assures strict budget implementation
Felix Okogbule • Wednesday, Jan 4, 2006
Rivers State Governor, Dr Peter Odili, yesterday signed two bills passed by the state House of Assembly into law including the Rivers State Appropriation Law, 2006 and the Revenue Court Bill 2005.
Signing the two documents at the Executive Council Chambers of the new Government House, Port Harcourt, Dr Odili said the 2006 budget, which is N8billion higher than the projected amount, would be judiciously deployed to the process of ensuring sustainable growth and holistic development of the state.
He noted that the revenue bill would increase the state's capacity for internal revenue generation and provide adequate response mechanism to tax evaders, pointing out that this accounted for the increase in the projected figure for 2006 budget.
Dr Odili thanked the state Assembly for the speedy approval of the appropriation, expressing the hope that the laws would sustain the very rigorous fight government has waged against poverty as well as build a solid base for infrastructural, economic and industrial growth in the state.
The state chief executive remarked that the proposal for 2006 was fashioned on the principle of utmost frugal utilisation of available resources to the agricultural sector, and in government's poverty reduction effort, maintaining that these efforts were aimed at ensuring that only the lazy man in the state would remain hungry by the end of 2006.
Governor Odili, who promised that the executive branch would ensure compliance to the law just signed in terms of implementation, thanked members of the state Assembly for the cooperation and support the executive has enjoyed from them.
Dr Odili also thanked President Olusegun Obasanjo for the thorough investigation of complaints made by Rivers State over the unfavourable position it was placed in oil and gas production in the nation, explaining that Mr President understands uprightness and belief in justice and fairness has made Rivers State to move to the number one position.
"For over four years, we kept petitioning to the centre, complaining that Rivers State position was being diverted to others in the oil and gas production sector and the revenue accruing therefrom", Dr Odili said.
The governor disclosed that the president's gesture has, in so small way, reflected in the increase of the revenue profile of the state, saying that Rivers people would continue to be indebted to him and supportive of his administration.
Dr Odili used the forum to challenge all public office holders to encourage their people to take advantage of the opportunity offered by government to better their lot.
"If you put one billion naira on the table and leave it there, it will be there from January to December, nothing will happen and nothing will be added. It requires people, it requires institutions to utilise the opportunity to produce the desired results", the governor noted, pointing out that the desire of government is to ensure economic and finance stability of the people
 
 
THE TIDE
 
Assembly increases Rivers budget to N168bn
• Saturday, Dec 31, 2005

 
The Rivers State House of Assembly has reviewed upward, the 2006 budget proposal presented by Governor Peter Odili earlier this month, from N160 billion to N168billion (One hundred and sixty eight billion naira).
The modifications on the budget proposal or appropriation bill were unanimonsly approved by the 26 legislators present, Friday as the Speaker, Chibuike Amaechi called for all those in support of the fresh estimates to signify by raising their hands.
Following a motion by the House Leader Tamunosisi Gogo Jaja (Opobo/Nkoro) and his deputy, James George Fuayefika, the appropriation bill was given a third reading and passed. The lawmakers also agreed to resume legislative business on the 9th January, 2006.
The appropriation bill tagged "Budget of Sustained Consolidation Development" will become law as soon the governor gives his assent. The governor presented the budget to the House on Wednesday, December 7, 2005.
A break down of the budget as approved by the House shows that N43billion will be spent on recurrent expenditure while capital projects will attract N124,804,328.
Details of the new budget showed that the states government interest in Aviation is to be bolstered with the acquisition of an helicopter, construction of hanger, as well as the construction of a runway.
Sectoral breakdown also indicated General Administration will be assigned 51 billion, Environment 9billion, Economic sector N45billion, while the social sector gets 19billion.
The lawmakers are also hoping that the budget will ensure proper attention on projects like phases three and four of the new Government House, the new Judiciary Complex and the new Assembly Complex which is already at an advanced stage.
In the same vein, the speaker hinted that the assembly may hold a thanksgiving service at the auditorium of the new complex as early as 3rd January, 2006.


 
THE TIDE
 
Budget 2006: Restoring our dignity
• Saturday, Dec 24, 2005

 
The Rivers State Government will spend the sum of 160 billion naira for its services in the 2006 fiscal year. Presenting the budget to the Rivers State House of Assembly on December 7, 2005, the Governor, Dr Peter Odili said, the state had collectively made conscious efforts to build and sustain a virile, united and egalitarian Rivers State where every Rivers man and woman stood tall among his/her fellow Nigerian compatriots with restored dignity. This, he stressed, was done with focused vision and accompanying mission.
Indeed, the State Government has done well in the past six and a half years. The citizens have felt the positive impact of the government in all the sectors of the society. That is how it should be. After all, a government that identifies and solves the problems of the governed will ever remain green in their minds. Government should therefore continue with the good job it is doing.
However, of the 160 billion naira budgeted for year 2006, recurrent expenditure will gulp 43 billion naira while capital expenses will take 116 billion naira. Government plans to complete the electricity generation and supply programme in 2006. Furthermore, ongoing construction of transmission lines, distribution network through the state 132 KV double circuit transmission lines and the 33 KV submarine cable lines will be completed and put into use in 2006. Clearly, if these are completed as promised electricity supply and distribution will be stabilised; and when power is steady and regular economic activities will flourish and domestic circumstances will improve. The intention in this sector should therefore be lauded.
The importance of agriculture in any society cannot be over stressed. Without food no human being can have the energy and create for the progress of society. In this connection, we praise the intention to boost massive food production in the year 2006 with concentration on cassava, maize, yam, palm produce, fisheries and forestry to address the problem of unemployment. Obviously, if this is pursued to its logical conclusion many unemployed people will be meaningfully engaged.
Government's intention to support fishermen and farmers in this sector is also praiseworthy. If fishermen and farmers are properly motivated there will be an increase in our gross domestic product. Government intends to complete all ongoing projects in the housing sector including housing estates. This is an interesting intention. There are many estates crying for completion in the state.
Some of them like the Igbo-Etche housing estate are now being occupied by strange fellows simply because they have not been completed. Hopefully, Government would fulfill its promise of completing these estates. We are aware that one of the basic needs of mankind is accommodation. No human being will feel complete without a home to return to after the day's hustle and bustle. The interest shown in this sector by Government should therefore be commended.
Government's commitment to the development of the younger generation remain unshaken. The administration will therefore continue to subscribe to the sustenance of the free education programme in primary and post-primary schools. Government will also intensify efforts in the ongoing renovation of schools, improved laboratories and libraries. Government will also give renewed attention to our tertiary institutions to make them more relevant to current trend. We are pleased to note these intentions. Without human development society cannot move forward. It is when we develop the younger generation that the foundation is laid for future progress. Government should therefore be appreciated in this regard.
The importance of health is obvious in any community. Without health we cannot do anything. It is when we are healthy that we can scale great height. It is therefore interesting to note that in 2006 government will continue to focus on prompt and efficient healthcare services with the best infrastructure and facilities. All free medical programme and subsidy for HIV/AIDS treatment would be sustained and strengthened in 2006. Government should be commended for this policy in the health sector. Health, we have always been told, is wealth. It will be recalled that more than fifty-two thousand persons have benefited from the state government's free medical care services. In addition, forty health institutions cutting across the twenty-three local government areas are rendering free healthcare services to the rural communities. All these are cheering developments in the health sector. We appeal to government to continue with the good job it is doing. At this stage, we laud government for a well thought out budget.


Written by Dr. Tolofari a staff of Rivers State Ministry of Information
 
THE TIDE
 
RSG budgets N160bn for 2006
Felix Okogbule • Thursday, Dec 8, 2005

Rivers State Government yesterday, announced the sum of N160 billion as its budget estimate for the 2006 fiscal year, with the determination of sustaining the gains of the present administration in the state.
A breakdown of the budget proposal has N11,827,598.079 as total consolidated capital expenditure while the capital expenditure estimates stand at N116,492,578,715.
Comparatively, the recurrent estimates account for 27.2 per cent while the capital expenditure proposals represent 72.8 per cent.
Presenting the appropriation bill to the state House of Assembly, christened, "Budget of Sustained Consolidation and Development", the Governor, Dr Peter Odili said the 2006 budget projections, when compared to 2005 appropriate law with N104,728,226, 939.00 represents nine per cent rise.
The governor explained that the thrust of the 2006 proposal is predicated on the imperative of further consolidation at the gains of the past six and half years, noting that the proposals when improved will address the critical issues of improved infrastructure, poverty reduction and accelerated economic growth.
A sectoral analysis of 2006 capital estimates puts general administration ahead of others with N45,179,328,715, with the economic sector following closely with N44,102,000,000 while the social and environmental sectors have N18,061,250,000 and N9,150,000,000, respectively.
According to the budget estimates, recurrent expenditure has the overhead costs for ministries and departments as tops with N15,600,488,178, followed by salaries for parastatals while loans repayment takes the rear with N1,986,750,121.
Dr Odili disclosed that the revenue estimate for 2006 is put at N160 billion with a difference of N55,271,773,064 from the 2005 appropriation law, and it represents a 52.8 per cent rise.
A further breakdown of the revenue protections puts the 13 per cent derivation at the apex with N85 billion, followed by internally generated revenue with N27.5 billion.
Others are statutory allocation, N21 billion, excess crude funds, N19 billion, Value Added Tax, N5.3 billion while ecological fund is to generate N2 billion and capital receipts, N250 million.
The governor stated that his administration will continue to judiciously apply the principle of frugality in the execution of laudable programmes in all sectors of the economy, including economic, social, environmental and general administration as well as expenditure in the payment of personal emoluments made up of salaries and pensions.
He hinted that the state government will consolidate the gains of the previous year by sustaining the welfare programmes in education, healthcare delivery, empowerment and other social services geared towards full restoration of the dignity of the state.
Dr Odili said the present administration made monumental achievements in the four major sectors, which obviously manifested in the flow of investments into the state as well as the payment of due attention to the security of lives and property.
The state chief executive, said the achievements of the present administration in the power generation sector places it first in the country in pioneering Independent Power Project with the Eleme Gas Plant, Trans Amadi and the Omoku power stations ready for commissioning.
Other areas include the transportation sector with the acquisition of an executive jet, first by any state government in the country, the free healthcare scheme for children and adults above 60 years, the massive renovation of school buildings across the state as well as the free school buses.
The Home Grown School Feeding for pupils and free education with robust bursary and scholarship scheme, has continued to uplift the moral of indigent students to pursue their education.
In the information sector, Dr Odili said the state has established a functional website and internet connectivity while the Rivers State Newspaper Corporation is being equipped with a state-of-the-art printing equipment to enhance its productivity, and commended the management of the corporation for sustaining the newspaper to an enviable position as the best government-owned newspaper in the country.
The massive road construction, desilting of drains and the clearing of sewage remained a major achievement of government in the ongoing budget year, despite the torrential and persistent rainfall that tended to hinder construction work, while some major roads in Port Harcourt and its environs have been rehabilitated while work is in progress on a substantial number of others.

http://www.kabissa.org/members/ihrhl_press_release.html
 
Time for Public Debate on Rivers State Budget
Monday, 08 May 2006
After the Nigerian Federal Government's announcement of new interventions in the Niger Delta the President Obasanjo called for State Governments to make their own commitments to addressing problems in the Niger delta.

The Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law believes that there is more that the Federal government can and should be doing and notes that the so called 13% allocation to states in each barrel of oil still only comes to $4.55 per barrel in the 2006 budget.

However taking the 168 Billion Naira Rivers State Budget, which has not genuinely been released to the public or properly debated, we wish to draw attention to the fact that there are many allocations which are highly questionable and could be better deployed.

Examples of apparently excessive budget lines include:


• •4.3 Billion Naira allocated for grants and donations to be made from Government House (over $92,000 per day)
• •10 Billion Naira for special projects which have not been explained
• •5 Billion Naira for 'state' helicopters and hanger facilities
• •3 Billion Naira travel & transport for Government House (over $65,000 per day  and 50% more than the travel allocation of the Presidency)


The share of funds for overheads for government departments also does much to explain why there is minimal function in many offices. The amounts now being sent to Government House  for overheads vs. that  to ministries now seems extraordinary:

•        Government House: 
 
• 10.7 Billion Naira [342 staff up from 4.9 Bn in 2005]
 
•        State Assembly:
 
•  2.3 Billion Naira [183 staff up from 1.5 Bn in 2005]
 

In comparison to these allocations which have doubled from 2005 figures other ministries are asked to manage operations on a fraction of such funds:
•        Ministry of Works:
 
• 43 Million Naira for overheads [584 staff]
 
•        Post Primary Teachers Board:
 
•   223 Million [8,358 staff] incl staff leave payments of 180 Million Naira
 

When these are broken down there are many more questions. The training and staff development budget for the State House of Assembly is 250 Million Naira compared to just 3 Million Naira allocated towards training and staff development for the Ministry Education Baord overseeing 8,000 secondary school teachers and other staff.

There are many round figure allocations where we think the amount being spent and the benefit to the state deserve much closer scrutiny and afford opportunities for savings or better allocation. These include:


• •1.5 Billion to a new international market and 1 Billion for spare parts market
• Additional 1 Billion allocated for the completed Government House
• •1.5 Billion allocated under Government House for 'refuse and drains evacuation'.
• •3 Billion Naira in new funding for 'school feeding – more than the entire salary bill for teachers in the state

We have also observed many items where sacrifices could be made by  leadership in the state which would show genuine commitment to facing our current problems such as:


•  500 Million Naira 'Gifts for visitors to Government House'
• • 390 Million Naira for international travel for members State House Assembly
• •500 Million Naira Catering for Government House
• •1.5 Billion for new vehicles for Government House

"We cannot understand a situation where the allocation for catering at Government House reaches 500 Million and exceeds the entire overheads allocation for the Ministry of Health. We believe there is an urgent need for the State to radically change how it is allocating money and show that its claimed commitment to poverty eradication is genuine" said Anyakwee Nsirimovu, Executive Director IHRHL

"At a time when there is so much growth in the state budget we wish to point out that the 3 Billion Naira travel budget for Government House is equivalent to salaries for around 10,000 workers at 25,000 Naira per month"

"The purchase of corporate jets last year, followed by billions of Naira for helicopters this year and many items in this budget have sapped confidence that this state is concerned about dealing with poverty. We think the State Assembly which passed this budget must now act to restore confidence of the people in their priorities."

"We are calling on the Rivers State House of Assembly to convene a public debate and hearings on how there can be an emergency and ongoing redeployment of the 168 Billion Naira ($1.32 Billion) state budget to address frustrations with the lack of social and grassroots economic development in the state."

"A clear effort to dramatically re-prioritise could be an invaluable fist step in shifting the trend towards growing militancy and conflict in the state and could lead the way in the Niger delta generally."


PRESS RELEASE
Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
2 Railway Close, D-Line, Port Harcourt  Ph (084) 231
716, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.