UDOM EMMANUEL IS THE PRIDE OF A’IBOM STATE, THE PDP AND NIGERIA–PAUL EKPO …as Political Affairs Bureau flags-off Sign-On for Udom crusade

5 Jul

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By Edifon Abasi-Obot

Governor Udom Emmanuel has been described as the pride of Akwa Ibom State, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) both in the state and national levels and of Nigeria as a whole.

The Chairman of the PDP in Akwa Ibom State and Chairman, Forum of PDP Chairmen in Nigeria, Obong Paul Ekpo made the pronouncement at the official flag-off ceremony of the Sign on for Udom programme, initiated by the Bureau of Political/ Legislative Affairs and Water Resources.

The PDP Chairman, on behalf of his party, commended the leadership of the Bureau for the initiative and for being steadfast and dedicated to the government of the Governor Udom Emmanuel.

Obong Ekpo said his party and the Bureau enjoy a healthy partnership. He maintained that the duo is on the same course, hence that the party strongly identifies with the Bureau in the Sign On programme, which he described as a laudable course.

Obong Paul Ekpo expressed appreciation for the various party men and women who form themselves into various group to support the effort of the Governor and the Party. He however urged them to be equipped with their Permanent Voters’ Cards and be ready to convert their support to victory for the party in due course.

He charged the supporters of Governor Udom Emmanuel and the PDP to take the Sign On back to their various villages, units and wards and to make sure that the Sign on for Udom reverberates at those points.

The host, Special Adviser at the Bureau, Rt. Hon. (Barr.) Ekong Sampson described the event as symbolic of the love, respect and principally the support that Governor Udom Emmanuel enjoys in Akwa Ibom State.
Ekong Sampson reiterated that there is a huge current that Governor Udom Emmanuel is doing very well and needs to return for a second term to implement expansive road map that he has our people.

He said the Sign On marks a major intersection in the determination of the people of the State to consolidate the good governance, visionary leadership and innovation brought to bear by Governor Emmanuel.

Sampson said Sign On was one in a mosaic of activities designed to promote good governance, support excellence, deepen bonds and show the whole world that Governor Udom Emmanuel gas earned the love and respect of Akwa Ibom people and indeed Nigerians, sufficient to earn him a second term in office.

He added that the galaxy of eminent Nigerians in Akwa Ibom State stepping forward to Sign On for Governor Emmanuel is indicative of the fact that the people have found in Governor Udom Emmanuel a leader who is committed to true values and have lined up behind him.

Highpoint of the event was the unveiling of the statue of support, a signature board for the actual sign on exercise.
The ceremony which was performed by the Obong Paul Ekpo in company of the Senators Anietie Okon, Effiong Bob, Emmanuel Ibok Essien, the Special Adviser at the Bureau, Barrister Ekong Sampson, State Secretary of the PDP, leaders of frontline socio-political groups and stakeholders in the Akwa Ibom polity that were present at the event, was followed immediately by appending of signature, indicating firm support for Governor Udom Emmanuel.

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Akwa Ibom: Former Gov Akpabio spends billions on #WhiteElephant projects, while its education system rots away.

2 Jul

, Premium Times

Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State 3 _ Photo credit_ Mapio.netRelated NewsGov. Emmanuel presents N651.5 billion budget to Akwa Ibom Assembly Poverty killing Akwa Ibom residents, supporter tells Akpabio. How corruption and poor governance are killing Nigeria, By Godswill AkpabioAkwa Ibom people not free under Gov. Emmanuel — Ex-MinisterEx-Akwa Ibom deputy governor defies Akpabio, picks PDP Guber formIn 2008, the Akwa Ibom State government embarked on the construction of a multi-billion naira massive leisure and business complex, with the hope of turning the oil-rich Nigerian state into ‘Dubai’.The complex, named Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre, sits atop 168 hectres of land in Uyo, the state capital.It has a 14-floor storey building, the tallest in the state, meant for a 258-room five-star hotel, a Cineplex (six cinema halls), shopping mall, 5,000-seat convention centre, and a theme park, comprising wet and dry parks.“My vision is to produce a small Dubai within the Niger Delta (region of Nigeria),” the then governor of the state, Godswill Akpabio, who initiated the project, said in early 2012.By then the cinema was already open to the public, while the other components of the ambitious project were still under construction.“I have given them Dubai standard Cineplex,” Mr. Akpabio had boasted in a government-sponsored TV programme aired on Africa Independent Television (AIT). “So, you walk in there to watch films and you think you are sitting down in Dubai.”The complex was scheduled to open for business by the end of 2012.But 10 years after take-off, and three years after Mr. Akpabio left office, the Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre, remains unfinished, despite the huge money sunk into it; except for the Cineplex and the bar close to it, the rest of the complex has been abandoned. The tall building and the area meant for the theme park look desolate.A popular retail business, Shoprite, in August 2015, laid a foundation stone for the building of its mall at the Tropicana. After a long lull, Shoprite just started work on its proposed mall in June 2018, PREMIUM TIMES learned.The Akpabio administration had said its construction would cost the state N33 billion, but three people familiar with the project said the cost was later reviewed upward to N120 billion.Aerial view of Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene _Photo credit_Skyscrapercity.com ” data-medium-file=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Aerial-view-of-Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-_Photo-credit_Skyscrapercity.com_-1.jpg?fit=349%2C349&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Aerial-view-of-Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-_Photo-credit_Skyscrapercity.com_-1.jpg?fit=604%2C604&ssl=1″ src=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Aerial-view-of-Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-_Photo-credit_Skyscrapercity.com_-1.jpg?w=600&h=600&crop=1&ssl=1″ width=”600″ height=”600″ data-original-width=”600″ data-original-height=”600″ itemprop=”http://schema.org/image” title=”Aerial view of Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene _Photo credit_Skyscrapercity.com” alt=”Aerial view of Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene _Photo credit_Skyscrapercity.com” style=”margin: 2px !important; padding: 0px; border: none; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-size: 14px; font-family: georgia, “times new roman”, times, serif; vertical-align: middle; height: 600px; background: 0px 0px; box-shadow: none; max-width: 100%; width: 600px;”>But while the government shelled out such humongous amounts on white elephant projects, it left its schools decrepit.Hundreds of schools – primary and secondary – received little attention, a year-long investigation by PREMIUM TIMES revealed.In some terrible situations, pupils and students sit on bare floor to learn in roofless classrooms.Kids between the ages of three and four have been found sleeping on bare floor, in at least two schools in the state.The science colleges in the state are in ruin too. Same with the technical colleges. In one particular case, a top multi-billion naira technical college in the state have been closed down, strangely, and left for several years to rot away.Poorly-motivated teachers in the state, who sometimes go for several months without salary, are known to have resorted to corrupt practices, including collecting money to allow students cheat in examinations.Meanwhile, government officials and elites in the state send their kids to world-class private schools owned by one of them.The current administration of Governor Emmanuel, just like his predecessor, is yet to tell the Akwa Ibom people how much has been spent so far on the Tropicana project.The Commissioner for Housing and Special Duties, Akan Okon, whose ministry supervises the Tropicana, did not respond to calls and text messages sent to his phone line by this reporter.Mr Okon served for one year between May 2014 and May 2015, as commissioner for finance in the Akpabio administration. He continued briefly as finance commissioner under Governor Emmanuel before he was posted to the ministry of housing and special duties.The former governor, Mr Akpabio, who is the Senate Minority Leader, declined PREMIUM TIMES’ request for interview.Silverbird Showtime Ltd, a company owned by a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senator from Bayelsa State, Ben Murray-Bruce, was awarded contract for the construction of the Tropicana. (This was before Mr Murray-Bruce was elected senator in 2015).Mr Murray-Bruce said during the flag-off of the construction in 2008 that the Tropicana would create up to 5,000 jobs in Akwa Ibom State when completed.For now, only about 45 persons, including casual workers, are employed at the Cineplex and the bar, which is far less than the 5,000 envisaged, a top-level administrative worker at the Cineplex told PREMIUM TIMES.Former Gov. Godswill Akpabi and the present Gov. Emmanuel Udom Having lunch with an associate ” data-medium-file=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/THETHE1.jpg?fit=473%2C349&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/THETHE1.jpg?fit=604%2C445&ssl=1″ src=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/THETHE1.jpg?w=600&h=442&crop&ssl=1″ width=”600″ height=”442″ data-original-width=”600″ data-original-height=”442″ itemprop=”http://schema.org/image” title=”Former Gov. Godswill Akpabi and the present Gov. Emmanuel Udom Having lunch with an associate” alt=”Former Gov. Godswill Akpabi and the present Gov. Emmanuel Udom Having lunch with an associate” style=”margin: 2px !important; padding: 0px; border: none; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-size: 14px; font-family: georgia, “times new roman”, times, serif; vertical-align: middle; height: 442px; background: 0px 0px; box-shadow: none; max-width: 100%; width: 600px;”>An average worker in the two sections earns about N25, 000 ($69) as monthly salary, this newspaper learnt.Both the cinema and the bar are also run by Mr Murray-Bruce’s Silverbird.The company has not made returns to the Akwa Ibom State government since the Cineplex was open for business in 2011, according to sources within the Akwa Ibom government.The top-level worker at the Tropicana said lack of formal agreement between the government and Silverbird is the reason the latter has not been making returns.“Silverbird isn’t paying anything to government yet until there is a formal contract,” says the worker who did not want his name mentioned because he was not authorised to speak on the matter.The worker said Silverbird wants to “recoup millions of naira” they claimed they spent on fixing lightings in the Cineplex.He said Silverbird has been spending money to maintain the facility, as well as buy diesel to power it (the Tropicana was not connected to electrical grid, until May 2018).In addition, PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the state government would not want Silverbird to run the cinema in a businesslike manner, so as not to hurt the locals who may not have the money to pay for the services.Akwa Ibom, rich in oil and gas deposits, is among Nigeria’s richest states. But poverty and unemployment levels in the state are amongst the highest in Nigeria, largely due to corruption and mismanagement of public funds.The state occupies the second position among the states with the highest unemployment rate in Nigeria, according to 2018 data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).It is a low-income economy, where most working class people earn moderate salary working as government employees.At Silverbird cinemas in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, and in Lagos and Abuja, moviegoers pay about N2, 000 for a single movie on weekdays, and N2, 500 on weekends.But at the Tropicana, Uyo, ticket is sold at N1,500 for foreign movies and N1,000 for Nollywood movies.Front view of Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre, Uyo_ Photo credit_Skycrapercity.com ” data-medium-file=”https://i2.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Front-view-of-Ibom-Tropicana-Entertainment-Centre-Uyo_-Photo-credit_Skycrapercity.com_-1.jpg?fit=524%2C349&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i2.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Front-view-of-Ibom-Tropicana-Entertainment-Centre-Uyo_-Photo-credit_Skycrapercity.com_-1.jpg?fit=604%2C402&ssl=1″ src=”https://i2.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Front-view-of-Ibom-Tropicana-Entertainment-Centre-Uyo_-Photo-credit_Skycrapercity.com_-1.jpg?w=600&h=400&crop&ssl=1″ width=”600″ height=”400″ data-original-width=”600″ data-original-height=”400″ itemprop=”http://schema.org/image” title=”Front view of Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre, Uyo_ Photo credit_Skycrapercity.com” alt=”Front view of Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre, Uyo_ Photo credit_Skycrapercity.com” style=”margin: 2px !important; padding: 0px; border: none; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-size: 14px; font-family: georgia, “times new roman”, times, serif; vertical-align: middle; height: 400px; background: 0px 0px; box-shadow: none; max-width: 100%; width: 600px;”>In the past, a movie ticket was sold for as low as N250 and N500 at the Tropicana.With billions of naira coming into the state coffers as oil derivation fund from the nation’s Federation Account every month, it seems, clearly, that Akwa Ibom’s development challenge, unlike most other Nigerian states, is not really about paucity of fund, but how to judiciously spend the much they have.In five years alone, between 2013 and 2017, the state received N1.029 trillion (about $2.8 billion) from the country’s Federation Account.This is beside the revenue it generates internally.Comparatively, a state like Osun, South-West of Nigeria, receives less than one-tenth of what Akwa Ibom gets from the Federation Account.While construction work was going on at the 258-room five-star hotel at the Tropicana, the state government was also building a 144-room four-star hotel at the nearby city of Ikot Ekpene which is about 20-minute drive from Uyo.Besides these two, Akwa Ibom already has its premier 163-room five-star hotel, Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, at Uruan which is about five-minute drive from Uyo.A Turkish company, Ronesans Holdings, handled the construction contract for the four-star hotel in Ikot Ekpene whose value government insiders put at about N50 billion.Photo showing the five-star hotel section of the Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre, Uyo _ Photo credit_ Mapio.net ” data-medium-file=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Photo-showing-the-five-star-hotel-section-of-the-Ibom-Tropicana-Entertainment-Centre-Uyo-_-Photo-credit_-Mapio.net_.jpg?fit=262%2C349&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Photo-showing-the-five-star-hotel-section-of-the-Ibom-Tropicana-Entertainment-Centre-Uyo-_-Photo-credit_-Mapio.net_.jpg?fit=604%2C805&ssl=1″ src=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Photo-showing-the-five-star-hotel-section-of-the-Ibom-Tropicana-Entertainment-Centre-Uyo-_-Photo-credit_-Mapio.net_.jpg?w=600&h=800&crop&ssl=1″ width=”600″ height=”800″ data-original-width=”600″ data-original-height=”800″ itemprop=”http://schema.org/image” title=”Photo showing the five-star hotel section of the Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre, Uyo _ Photo credit_ Mapio.net” alt=”Photo showing the five-star hotel section of the Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre, Uyo _ Photo credit_ Mapio.net” style=”margin: 2px !important; padding: 0px; border: none; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-size: 14px; font-family: georgia, “times new roman”, times, serif; vertical-align: middle; height: 800px; background: 0px 0px; box-shadow: none; max-width: 100%; width: 600px;”>The then governor, Mr Akpabio, said in January 2015 during an interview with AIT that he was “struggling to make sure” both hotels were finished and ready to host visitors expected in the state then for a friendly football match between Nigeria and Brazil.The friendly, which was to take place on March 29, 2015 at the 30,000-seat stadium built newly then by the Akpabio administration, was later called off by Brazil.“Akwa Ibom can’t afford to put additional money in Tropicana”Governor Emmanuel is frustrated with the “mega” projects initiated by his predecessor, Mr Akpabio.In a leaked audio clip of Mr Emmanuel’s meeting with some leaders in the state, the governor is heard explaining his frustration and what he intends to do with the Tropicana in Uyo and the Four Points by Sheraton hotel, in Ikot Ekpene.The meeting most likely took place at the Government House, Uyo, but the date is, however, unknown.“We are in recession, we can’t manage Tropicana,” the governor said, in the audio.“I am going to lease out that place, people will run it, they will give me money and I will use that money to do something. Whenever they run it and take their money, we take back our asset in the future.”Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State ” data-medium-file=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-Akwa-Ibom-State-1.jpg?fit=465%2C349&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-Akwa-Ibom-State-1.jpg?fit=604%2C453&ssl=1″ src=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-Akwa-Ibom-State-1.jpg?w=399&h=299&crop&ssl=1″ width=”399″ height=”299″ data-original-width=”399″ data-original-height=”299″ itemprop=”http://schema.org/image” title=”Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State” alt=”Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State” style=”margin: 2px !important; padding: 0px; border: none; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-size: 14px; font-family: georgia, “times new roman”, times, serif; vertical-align: middle; height: 299px; background: 0px 0px; box-shadow: none; max-width: 100%; width: 399px;”>Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State 3 _ Photo credit_ Mapio.net ” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-Akwa-Ibom-State-3-_-Photo-credit_-Mapio.net_-1.jpg?fit=465%2C349&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-Akwa-Ibom-State-3-_-Photo-credit_-Mapio.net_-1.jpg?fit=604%2C453&ssl=1″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-Akwa-Ibom-State-3-_-Photo-credit_-Mapio.net_-1.jpg?w=197&h=147&crop&ssl=1″ width=”197″ height=”147″ data-original-width=”197″ data-original-height=”147″ itemprop=”http://schema.org/image” title=”Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State 3 _ Photo credit_ Mapio.net” alt=”Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State 3 _ Photo credit_ Mapio.net” style=”margin: 2px !important; padding: 0px; border: none; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-size: 14px; font-family: georgia, “times new roman”, times, serif; vertical-align: middle; height: 147px; background: 0px 0px; box-shadow: none; max-width: 100%; width: 197px;”>Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State 2 ” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-Akwa-Ibom-State-2-1.jpg?fit=465%2C349&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-Akwa-Ibom-State-2-1.jpg?fit=604%2C453&ssl=1″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-Akwa-Ibom-State-2-1.jpg?w=197&h=148&crop&ssl=1″ width=”197″ height=”148″ data-original-width=”197″ data-original-height=”148″ itemprop=”http://schema.org/image” title=”Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State 2″ alt=”Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State 2″ style=”margin: 2px !important; padding: 0px; border: none; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-size: 14px; font-family: georgia, “times new roman”, times, serif; vertical-align: middle; height: 148px; background: 0px 0px; box-shadow: none; max-width: 100%; width: 197px;”>The governor said an incredible amount of money is needed to complete the Tropicana. “I can’t afford it,” he says.He says of the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, “That building is not yet a hotel!”Continuing, he says: “I can’t help it; we must still put in more money. I have heard a lot of people make noise that the governor has refused to open the hotel. Sorry, building is different from hotel. I need $7.2 million to turn that building into a hotel. As at today, I have paid a deposit of $4 million. It is remaining $3.2 million.”Governor Emmanuel also talked about the premier five-star hotel in the state, Ibom Hotel & Golf Resort, which he said has not been making returns to the state government.“Unfortunately, Le Meridien has not been audited in the past 10 years, and they don’t render account to the government. I have just discovered they don’t give even one naira to the government from all the money that is made in the hotel.“At the same time they didn’t even remit their technical management fees to their home office, so they want me to come and pay those technical fees for 10 years.“But in order to keep them, so they won’t leave, I just remitted $900,000 to them, so that they can stay for us to audit them,” Mr Emmanuel said.The governor said he eventually insisted that Marriot, the managers of the hotel, must leave.It’s not clear, however, if the state government claimed any money from Marriot.Interestingly, building of white elephant projects in Akwa Ibom has become a relay race where one leader hands over the baton to another; Mr Emmanuel, taking off from where his predecessor stopped, is currently building a second Akwa Ibom governor’s lodge in Lagos, and an international worship centre in Uyo, despite huge opposition from the people.The design of the International Worship Centre, Akwa Ibom State ” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/The-design-of-the-International-Worship-Centre-Akwa-Ibom-State.jpg?fit=526%2C296&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/The-design-of-the-International-Worship-Centre-Akwa-Ibom-State.jpg?fit=604%2C340&ssl=1″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/The-design-of-the-International-Worship-Centre-Akwa-Ibom-State.jpg?w=600&h=338&crop&ssl=1″ width=”600″ height=”338″ data-original-width=”600″ data-original-height=”338″ itemprop=”http://schema.org/image” title=”The design of the International Worship Centre, Akwa Ibom State” alt=”The design of the International Worship Centre, Akwa Ibom State” style=”margin: 2px !important; padding: 0px; border: none; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-size: 14px; font-family: georgia, “times new roman”, times, serif; vertical-align: middle; height: 338px; background: 0px 0px; box-shadow: none; max-width: 100%; width: 600px;”>Mr Emmanuel’s administration is also constructing a 21-storey office building project in Uyo. The cost of the project has not been made public by the government.Some people in Uyo who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES said the administration is “strategically” preparing office accommodation for Mobil Producing Nigeria, in order to put pressure on the oil company to relocate from Lagos to Akwa Ibom State where it is drilling oil.PREMIUM TIMES could not verify the information, as government officials in Uyo declined comment on the matter.Inibehe Effiong, a Lagos-based lawyer from Akwa Ibom, travelled to the state to lead a street protest in March 2017 against the building of the new Akwa Ibom governor’s lodge in Lagos.“Mr Governor, you took an oath of office as the governor of Akwa Ibom State. You did not take an oath of office as the governor of Lagos State,” Mr Effiong said to the crowd.“You took an oath of office to protect Akwa Ibom people, not Lagos State. Mr Governor, you do not need another lodge in Lagos!” he said.In the tension that ensued, several government officials were dissing out conflicting figures as the project cost. One senior government official said then that N10 billion was budgeted for the new lodge, while another said it was “less than N10 billion”.In responding to the criticism, Mr Emmanuel said the government was going to spend a “paltry” N1.6 billion for the new lodge which he said is meant to host people who would want to invest in Akwa Ibom. The old lodge in Lagos is dilapidated, he claimed.“Will Akwa Ibom people feel proud for me to host so many consular-generals, investors in those kinds of dilapidated buildings?” Mr Emmanuel said.Akwa Ibom State also has a governor’s lodge, said to be one of the most sophisticated, in the nation’s capital, Abuja.“Lagos State is a commercial capital of Nigeria, no doubt. But it is not the only entry point into Nigeria. It is also not a mandatory stop-over for potential investors, especially the ones who are interested in investing in Akwa Ibom State,” said Uyo-based lawyer, Imo Akpan, who was among those who protested against the building of the new lodge in Lagos.“The best place to receive an Akwa Ibom bound investor is Akwa Ibom. This is where to exhibit our rich cultural background; this is where to showcase our potentials; this is where to discuss and negotiate hands-on the deals that will move this state forward.“If you have investors who are attracted to the Lagos skyline, chances are that they will not invest in Akwa Ibom.“But if you have serious-minded entities that are committed to genuine business and must be hosted in Lagos, the best place will be to welcome them into the existing state government-owned Liaison offices in Lagos,” says Mr Akpan.How Funds Sunk Into Tropicana, Other Projects Would Have Helped EducationN120 billion Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre, UyoIbom Tropicana Entertaiment Centre, Uyo _Photo credit_ Ubong Ephraim ” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Ibom-Tropicana-Entertaiment-Centre-Uyo-_Photo-credit_-Ubong-Ephraim.jpg?fit=526%2C296&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Ibom-Tropicana-Entertaiment-Centre-Uyo-_Photo-credit_-Ubong-Ephraim.jpg?fit=604%2C340&ssl=1″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Ibom-Tropicana-Entertaiment-Centre-Uyo-_Photo-credit_-Ubong-Ephraim.jpg” style=”max-width:100%;” />

MD Anderson Fined $4.3 Million For HIPAA Violations

23 Jun

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An administrative law judge has ruled that MD Anderson Cancer Center must pay $4.3 million to the HHS Office of Civil Rights due to multiple HIPAA violations. This is the fourth largest penalty ever awarded to OCR.

OCR kicked off an investigation of MD Anderson in the wake of three separate data breach reports in 2012 and 2013. One of the breaches sprung from the theft of an unencrypted laptop from the home of an MD Anderson employee. The other two involved the loss of unencrypted USB thumb drives which held protected health information on over 33,500 patients.

Maybe — just maybe — MD Anderson could’ve gotten away with this or paid a much smaller fine. But given the circumstances, it was not going to get away that easily.

OCR found that while the organization had written encryption policies going back to 2006, it wasn’t following them that closely. What’s more, MD Anderson’s own risk analyses had found that a lack of device-level encryption could threaten the security of ePHI.

Adding insult to injury, MD Anderson didn’t begin to adopt enterprise-wide security technology until 2011. Also, it didn’t take action to encrypt data on its devices containing ePHI during the period between March 2011 and January 2013.

In defending itself, the organization argued that it was not obligated to encrypt data on its devices. It also claimed that the ePHI which was breached was for research, which meant that it was not subject to HIPAA penalties. In addition, its attorneys argued that the penalties accrued to OCR were unreasonable.

The administrative law judge wasn’t buying it. In fact, the judge took an axe to its arguments, saying that MD Anderson’s “dilatory conduct is shocking given the high risk to its patients resulting from the unauthorized disclosure of ePHI,” noting that its leaders “not only recognized, but [also] restated many times.” That’s strong language, the like of which I’ve never seen in HIPAA cases before.

You won’t be surprised to learn that the administrative law judge agreed to OCR’s sanctions, which included penalties for each day of MD Anderson’s lack of HIPAA compliance and for each record of individuals breached.

All I can say is wow. Could the Cancer Center’s leaders possibly have more chutzpah? It’s bad enough to have patient data breached three times. Defending yourself by essentially saying it was no big deal is even worse. If I were the judge I would’ve thrown the book at them too.

Your #BigData Assumptions May Be Flat-Out Wrong

23 Jun

 

It’s an article of faith in healthcare circles that leveraging big data stores can improve patient care. But what if this cherished assumption is flat-out wrong?

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that big data number-crunching might actually undermine providers’ ability to improve patient health.

To conduct the study, researchers from UC Berkeley, Drexel University and the University of Groningen compared data collected on hundreds of people, including both individuals with psychiatric disorders and healthy individuals. They found that group results didn’t capture some wide variations in symptoms from person to person.

Researchers concluded that big data analyses are a poor substitute for working with individuals, noting that these analyses are “worryingly imprecise” and that the variance between individuals is four times larger than those captured by big data. In other words, it concludes that big data analyses minimize differences between patients dramatically.

The authors said that it doesn’t work to generalize conclusions about individuals, whose emotions, behavior and physiology can vary greatly.

“Diseases, mental disorders, emotions, and behaviors are expressed within individual people, over time,” said study lead author Aaron Fisher, an assistant professor of psychology at UC Berkeley in a prepared statement. “A snapshot of many people at one moment in time can’t capture these phenomena.”

At this point, you’re probably thinking that this is terrible news. But Fisher believes that there are practical ways to address the problem. “Modern technologies allow us to collect many observations per person relatively easily, and modern computing makes the analysis of these data [points]  possible in ways that were not possible in the past,” Fisher said.

I don’t know about you, but I doubt that gathering loads of individual patient data will be as easy as Fisher suggests. Our current methods for documenting patient encounters in EHRs already impose significant burdens on physicians. Asking them to do more probably won’t fly, at least for the near term.

Not only that, there’s the question of how to work with this new data. We’d all like to see patients get highly individualized care, but current systems used by providers probably aren’t up to the task just yet.

I guess the bottom line here is that while Fisher et al are on to something, it will probably be a long time before healthcare organizations get there. In the meantime, it’s good to see that researchers are challenging our assumptions and keeping us on our toes.

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MD Anderson Fined $4.3 Million For HIPAA Violations

Jun 21, 2018 02:10 pm

An administrative law judge has ruled that MD Anderson Cancer Center must pay $4.3 million to the HHS Office of Civil Rights due to multiple HIPAA violations. This is the fourth largest penalty ever awarded to OCR.

OCR kicked off an investigation of MD Anderson in the wake of three separate data breach reports in 2012 and 2013. One of the breaches sprung from the theft of an unencrypted laptop from the home of an MD Anderson employee. The other two involved the loss of unencrypted USB thumb drives which held protected health information on over 33,500 patients.

Maybe — just maybe — MD Anderson could’ve gotten away with this or paid a much smaller fine. But given the circumstances, it was not going to get away that easily.

OCR found that while the organization had written encryption policies going back to 2006, it wasn’t following them that closely. What’s more, MD Anderson’s own risk analyses had found that a lack of device-level encryption could threaten the security of ePHI.

Adding insult to injury, MD Anderson didn’t begin to adopt enterprise-wide security technology until 2011. Also, it didn’t take action to encrypt data on its devices containing ePHI during the period between March 2011 and January 2013.

In defending itself, the organization argued that it was not obligated to encrypt data on its devices. It also claimed that the ePHI which was breached was for research, which meant that it was not subject to HIPAA penalties. In addition, its attorneys argued that the penalties accrued to OCR were unreasonable.

The administrative law judge wasn’t buying it. In fact, the judge took an axe to its arguments, saying that MD Anderson’s “dilatory conduct is shocking given the high risk to its patients resulting from the unauthorized disclosure of ePHI,” noting that its leaders “not only recognized, but [also] restated many times.” That’s strong language, the like of which I’ve never seen in HIPAA cases before.

You won’t be surprised to learn that the administrative law judge agreed to OCR’s sanctions, which included penalties for each day of MD Anderson’s lack of HIPAA compliance and for each record of individuals breached.

All I can say is wow. Could the Cancer Center’s leaders possibly have more chutzpah? It’s bad enough to have patient data breached three times. Defending yourself by essentially saying it was no big deal is even worse. If I were the judge I would’ve thrown the book at them too.

Beware of the mystery shopper scam

22 Jun

#GFK #Secret #Shopper

The mystery shopper scam has been stealing money from unsuspecting victims for years.

It begins when you answer an advertisement or an email to become a “mystery shopper” —  someone hired by a company to shop at a certain store and then report on the experience for quality control purposes

Secret shopper 1

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The tipoff that these solicitations are scams can be immediate and obvious. Consider this copy of an email for a mystery shopper scam that I recently received, with its glaring grammatical errors and missing words:

“Hello, We are a company engaged in the mystery shopper field.
We need a team filled some people with age, residence location, experience and other different.

“Description;

“You will be assigned to visit the shop, store, bank, etc
You have to pretend to be normal potential customers who’re looking for a specific product/service
You will then complete questionnaires online to share with us your customer’s experience
Get $350/assignment, at least 2 assignments/week will be assigned.

“Requirements;

“18 years old or above
Can read and write English
Can speak the local language well”

And the registration part,

“Registration;

“If you are interested reply this email fill out the information below to get started:”

. . . Which asks for name, address, etc., . . .

“So we can look at your distance from the locations which you have to put your service, and your address would also be the need for your payments.”

The bottom of the email identified a copyright date of 2005-2017 for the “Agent Center for Mystery or secret Shoppers.”

One reason this type of scam works so well is that there are real mystery shopper jobs. But keep in mind that so many people are interested in this work that the real mystery shopper companies have no need to advertise to hire people. So, they do not send out unsolicited emails such as the one above.

Once a victim takes the bait, they are sent what may appear to be a certified check. The victim is instructed to deposit it into his or her bank account and use the money to make the assigned purchases.  The check is for more than the amount the mystery shopper is instructed to spend.

The victim is told to keep a specified amount as payment and wire back the remaining funds.  It is only after the money has been wired from the victim’s own bank account that the victim learns that the check was counterfeit and has bounced. Of course, the funds wired from the victim’s bank account to the scammer are gone forever without any effective recourse.

This problem is made worse because banks give provisional credit to deposited checks after a few days so it could appear at first glance that the check has cleared and the funds are fully available.   But provisional credit can be rescinded once a check bounces.   It can take weeks for a check to fully clear and the funds actually be transferred into the account of the person receiving the check.

Many victims of the mystery shopper scam have thought they were prudent because they waited a few days to confirm (or so they thought) that the check was legitimate. Only later do they find out they only had received provisional credit for a check that was in the end no good.

The sending of a check for more than is actually owed and requesting the remainder be wired back is the basis of many scams. These include the sale of products in response to online advertisements placed by legitimate sellers who are scammed into sending their own money to scammers pretending to purchase their items for sale.

Another variation of the mystery shopper scam involves thieves that solicit payments for information about becoming a mystery shopper or offering a certification program or registration program for which you have to pay.

MSPA Americas, which was formerly known as the Mystery Shopping Providers Association of North America, is a trade organization made up of legitimate mystery shopping companies.  Scammers will often send emails or make telephone calls posing as either MSPA Americas or one of its member companies.  But of course neither the MSPA Americas nor any of its member companies will ever ask you to deposit checks and wire excess funds to them.

So how do you recognize and avoid this scam?

1.  Simply ignore emails or advertisements for mystery shopper jobs.  They are scams.
2.  Research online particular mystery shopping companies you may want to consider contacting to make sure they are legitimate.
3.  Don’t pay a fee to get a list of mystery shopping opportunities.
4.  Don’t pay to become certified as a mystery shopper.
5.  Always be skeptical when you are asked to wire money in any business transaction.  Unlike credit card payments where you can get fraudulent payments erased or sending a check that you can stop payment on, wired funds are irretrievable from the moment they are sent.

And the most important tip of all:

6.  Never deposit a check for more than you are owed and wire money back to the person sending you the check, and never consider a payment you receive by check as being in your account until it has fully cleared.

Steve Weisman, an expert in preventing cyberscams and identity theft, is a lawyer and professor at Bentley University. He writes the blogscamicide.com, where he provides daily updated information about the latest scams. His new book is Identity Theft AlertSecret shopper 2Secret shopper 3Secret shopper 4

#FAKEJOBS, #FAKECHECK: SCAMMERS ON THE LOOSE

22 Jun

#Share before reading!  #GFK #Secret #Shopper

This is a new trend of which fraudsters claim to give you job to work at home.

They will send you a check and pressurize you to cash it and buy a gift card and send to them. They ask you to keep about $350 as commision.
After cashing the check and withdraw it, the bank will tell you the check was a fake and bank will withdraw money from your account and you will be penalized for that.
Another method these scammers use is to hide under the faces of politicians, ie use politicians name on Facebook, to chat with you and gain your confidence. Then they will ask you to buy a something for them, like a house, computer, phones, etc.
They have already defrauded hundreds of people using companies like GfK – Secret Shopper and others.
Don’t accept advance check or collect a check to buy any product.
Ask to chat with them on Whatsapp-video, Facebook-video or Skype. They will run.
Share this now.Secret shopper 1Secret shopper 2Secret shopper 3Secret shopper 4

Zimbabwe:: #WomanWithTwoHusbands and They All Live Under One Roof Explains How She Enjoys Sex With Them. Is This An ABOMINATION???

22 Jun

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling

For more than a decade, Jack Chako, 38, has been living happily with her two husbands, Michael Hwita and Liford Chimoto, with whom she shares one bed.
Chako is the head of the family. On how she gets maximum sexual satisfaction from her husbands,

Read Down:::::

 

“We are a happy family, I live with my two husbands and we love one another. My two husbands are best friends and they are always together. Chimoto is the elder husband, while Hwita is the junior.

I married the second Hwita because Chimoto is elderly and increasingly becoming weak in bed and was starving me sexually. In terms of conjugal rights I favour Hwita. He gets me there. I only do it with Chimoto as a token.


At times, I feel pity for Chimoto and give him token conjugal rights and he appreciates that. The rule is no one gets out of the room, because he is not on duty. Whoever is not on duty, just watches us at it.
I am in charge and my two husbands are now used to sleeping side by side in one bed.” Speaking further, the mother of five, three children from a previous marriage and two from this polyandrous affair, said, “I use some concoction to pacify my husbands. .

It is not a secret that I used a concoction to cow them down. I also sell this concoction to other women to cow down their errant husbands and make them compliant. None of my two husbands wishes to leave me.”

The husbands, Hwita and Chimoto, on their parts, said they don’t have problems taking Chako says their joint wife. Chimoto said, “I know my failings and I appreciate the decision which was taken, we have various duties and life goes on.”

Hwita said, “I see no problem. She loves both of us and we understand our situation. “I respect Chimoto as the elder husband because I found him here.”#Youneedtoknow#

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