A coalition of Niger Delta agitators have appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to halt any plans aimed at extending the tenure of the present board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
They also called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to initiate a probe on the activities of the erstwhile Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Dr. Habiba Muda Lawal.
The agitators in a statement, yesterday, alleged that Lawal collected billions of Naira from the Chairman and Managing Director of the NDDC, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba and Mr. Nsima Ekere, respectively to extend their tenures to 2020 instead of December 2017 when their time would elapse.
The militants stated that influencing the tenure of current NDDC board officials would breed crisis in the Niger Delta region, warning that they would be forced to resume attacks on the oil installations.
The statement was signed by John Duku for Niger Delta Watchdogs and Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators; Ekpo Ekpo for Niger Delta Volunteers; Osarolor Nedam for Niger Delta Warriors; Henry Okon Etete for Niger Delta Peoples Fighters; Asukwo Henshaw for Bakassi Freedom Fighters; Ibinabo Horsfall for Niger Delta Movement for Justice; Duke Emmanson for Niger Delta Fighters Network and Inibeghe Adams for Niger Delta Freedom Mandate.
Others were Abiye Tariah for Niger Delta Development Network; Joshua Ebere for Renewed Movement for Emancipation of the Niger Delta; Jeremiah Athony for Movement for Actualization of Niger Delta Republic; Francis Okoroafor for Niger Delta Freedom Redemption Army and Nelson Okochi Walter for Niger Delta Liberty Organisation.
The statement reads thus: “The Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators condemns the illegal extension of the NDDC board and demand arrest and prosecution of the immediate past Acting Secretary to the Government of the Federation. It is on record that the tenure of the present board of NDDC elapses by the end of December 2017.
“Our position is that, the peace that is in place in Niger Delta must be oiled further by constituting a new board in accordance with the rules and practices that have been in place. There should be no attempt to extend the tenure of the present board, if the Federal Government is genuinely interested in the peaceful atmosphere that is prevalent in the Niger Delta.
“Presently there is peace in the Niger Delta region; the cease fire which was announced and sustained by all the militant groups last year after the intervention of PANDEF was to give the government a peaceful atmosphere for dialogue and subsequent implementation PANDEF 16-point agenda, rather than extending the NDDC board to create crisis in the Niger Delta.
“Having failed in their bid to escalate crisis in the Niger Delta through the meaningless Operation Crocodile Smiles, the hawks and detractors of the Niger Delta have gone about introducing a very gross illegality in the NDDC board and duration to willfully set one state against another.
“The constitution of the board of NDDC and its tenure has been running seamlessly from inception to date. A seamless and rancor free composition of the Board has followed a defined pattern and each state knows when it will assume the headship of the management team.
“Quite unfortunately, we have been inundated with reports of how Dr. Habiba Muda Lawal abused his privilege of acting as the SGF by collecting billions of Naira from Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba and Mr. Nsima Ekere to influence him (Habiba) to raise a memo that illegally extends the tenure of the current board run for another four years to terminate in 2020.
“Another gross error is that Dr. Habiba Muda Lawal was presumptuous, as the current board was inaugurated by the minister of Niger Delta and as such the NDDC is under the oversight of the Ministry of Niger Delta and not the SGF.
“Secondly, the present board of NDDC does not merit a day extension, the Niger Delta people have witnessed the worst board of NDDC since its inception.
“The present board of NDDC constantly engages in fraud, embezzlement, nepotism, favouritism in award of contract running into billions of Naira, it is a standing order of this present board that such billions of Naira contract be awarded to their family members, friends and political associates, without recourse to due process and the rule of law as contained in the Public Procurement Act.
“For instance, Techsel Products Limited, Gasons Nigeria Limited and many others are few of the companies owned by Mr. Nsima Ekere and brothers and currently handling different NDDC projects running into billions of Naira. As witness by us, majority of these projects are not executed and very few executed are of poorest standard with substandard materials, poor facilities and equipment and are below the globally accepted standard compared with the huge amount such contract was awarded.
“Records in our disposal show that some of the beneficiaries of this ill-awarded contracts are brothers, sisters, in-laws and political associates of the Managing Director of NDDC MD, Mr. Nsima Ekere as well as the cousins, brothers, friends and in-laws to the Executive Director – Projects, including their Aides and relations working in the MD’s office who connived in this illegal adventure of fraud.
“It is a well known fact that the MD’s office has been turn to money making factory by his Aides, the Aides are fond of collecting monies from visitors before allowing them access to the MD without the knowledge of the MD.
“Recently, the MD flooded Akwa Ibom State APC and stakeholders with contract award letters ranging from N150million, N200million, N500million, N800million and above in order to further his 2019 governorship ambition, therefore we and the Niger Delta people in general will resist any attempt to extend the present NDDC board more than December, 2017.
“This action will bring injustice to other states in the Niger Delta which supposed to produce the next MD, Chairman and other board members of NDDC.
“We also wish to alert Mr. President that the recent APC local government campaign flag-off in Akwa Ibom state was funded with N500mllion by the managing director of NDDC, this money was meant for the development of the Niger Delta region, the youth empowerment programme which was embarked by commission was hijacked by the aides of the managing director while water icing contract always given to the youths were shared among the aides and directors in the commission and the state representatives in the commission.
“We hereby demand that: The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should immediately investigate the immediate past Acting SGF and recover billions of naira meant for the development of the Niger Delta region.
“The Civil Service Commission should also suspend the former Acting Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Dr. Habiba Muda Lawal for the role he played in order to fuel crisis in the Niger Delta region.
“We urged Mr. President to disregard the illegal extension of the tenure of the present NDDC board for the interest of peace in the Niger Delta.
“We also urge the EFCC to investigate the Managing Director of NDDC, Mr. Nsima Ekere, his brother Mr. Idorenyin Ekere, his sisters, his Aides, his political associates, Techsel Products Limited and Gasons Nigeria Limited.
“The same investigation should also be extended to Executive Director – Projects, Executive Director – Finance and the Chairman – Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba.
“Finally, the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators shall resume serious attack on oil installation from January 15, 2018 if the Federal Government continues with this illegal extension after the expiration of their tenure.
“We want the Nigerian public and the entire world to be aware of this injustice as we shall not accept any illegal extension of the present board of NDDC. A stitch in time saves nine,” the ex-agitators added.
Rivers LG To Give Grants To 80 Post-Graduate Candidates
The Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, has concluded process of giving grants to 80 indigenes of the area to pursue Masters and Doctorate degree programmes in universities in the state.
The council Chairman, Barrister George Ariolu, disclosed this, yesterday, when the leadership of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) visited him in his office at Rumuodomaya, near Port Harcourt.
Ariolu stated that grants will be given to 50 candidates to pursue Masters degree programme and another 30 to those pursuing Doctorate degree programmes in University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State University and the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education.
He said: “Our main focus as we promised our people is the area of human capacity development. Not that we don’t have interest in infrastructures, we do.
“As it stands today, we are giving grants to our people, those who are interested in advancing their academic qualifications by taking up Ph.D and Masters degree programmes.
“For Masters degree, we have grants for 50 while Ph.D is 30 for now. But because of pressure, we will likely take it up to 50. We set up a committee made up three professors, an academic doctor, who is a senior lecturer and a lawyer. Today, they are conducting interviews for the applicants at the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt.
“Our catchment areas are University of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State University and the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education. Those are universities in Rivers State so that little money we will give will be of immense benefit to them.”
Earlier in his remarks, Chairman of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the NUJ, Amaechi Okonkwo, assured the Council Chairman of the support of journalists throughout duration of his tenure in office.
Okonkwo said: “We have had a relationship with you before now and we are happy with that relationship because we were getting quality service and advise from you.
“So, we deemed it fit and necessary to come to say congratulations to you and to assure you of our support through your stay as Chairman of Council.”
Insecurity: Address Nigeria’s Descent Into Chaos, Nigerians Tell UN Assembly
The Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance (NINAS), yesterday, urged the United Nations General Assembly to take urgent steps to address the country’s alleged descent into chaos, saying that Nigeria has failed as a state.
This was contained in a letter addressed to United Nations Security Council, the Trusteeship Council and the General Assembly by NINAS at the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
The letter was signed by Chairman of NINAS and Ilana Omo Oodua, Prof Banji Akintoye; Prof Yusuf Turaki of Middle-Belt Movement; and Secretary-General, NINAS and Lower Niger Congress, Tony Nnadi.
The letter reads, “We, the Indigenous Peoples of Nigeria at the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York to alert the United Nations, and the rest of the global community that the union of Nigeria has failed irredeemably; and is now at the verge of a violent disintegration with catastrophic consequences for global peace, and security as our population of over 200million would become an instant global refugee nightmare.
“Amidst the extraordinary difficulties inflicted by the imposition and enforcement of Sharia by a section of Nigeria in a supposedly secular union, the immediate reason for this looming catastrophe is the cocktail of mass killing, kidnapping and general banditry being orchestrated against the indigenous peoples of Nigeria by an invading Fulani militia masquerading as herdsmen in an undisguised ethnic cleansing campaign that progressively demonstrate the complicity of the Federal Government of Nigeria headed by President Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani man, who as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria is also the Life Grand Patron of the notorious Miyetti-Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), that proudly takes responsibility for the murderous exploits of the Fulani herdsmen militia designated the fourth most deadly terror group.
“Compounding their impunity, the same Miyetti-Allah Cattle Breeders Association at a recent press conference organised to mock the planned NINAS million-man freedom march to the UN boasted to be in control of the UN through their daughter, the Deputy Secretary-General at the UN, Amina Mohammed.
“An indication that (Amina Mohammed) nominated to that exalted UN position by President of Buhari, is in some way a part of the grand protection design for the Fulani herdsmen in their bloody, onslaught against the indigenous peoples of Nigeria.
“It will be recalled that following widespread extrajudicial killings in Nigeria, the UN in August of 2019, dispatched a Special Rapporteur Mission to Nigeria led by Agnes Callamard. The damning verdict of that Rapporteur Mission was that the widespread extrajudicial killings were flowing from the unitary constitutional arrangements of Nigeria, which operates as a pressure-cooker for injustice and that Nigeria under that Constitution is a danger to global peace and security.
“The report warned that unless something is done urgently, Nigeria would snap, plunging its 200million population into turmoil that will trigger a large-scale refugee crisis of unprecedented magnitude at a time the global terror networks, ISIS, ISWAP and AL-Qaeda are already converging in Nigeria.
“That Nigeria has failed as a State is no longer a subject for debate, having emerged the global poverty capital, and playing host to two of the world’s top four most deadly terrorists’ organisation, with three-quarters of the constituent components (South and Middle-Belt), seeking urgent extrication by way of referendums from what has become a union of death.
“Looking back at the recent turn of events in Afghanistan, this freedom march to the United Nations Headquarters in New York, is to alert the global community of the rapidly degenerating situation of Nigeria, and to invite United Nations, particularly the Security Council, and Trusteeship Council, to initiate urgent steps to arrest Nigeria’s descent into chaos, as besieged communities drift dangerously to self-help.”
Power Sector Revenue Declines By 4.54% In Q2’21
Gross revenue of Nigeria’s electricity market declined by 4.45per cent in the second quarter of 2021, Q2’21, to N176.27billion against N184.27billion generated in the first quarter, Q1’21, latest data from the sector has shown.
The data from the Power Sector Working Group, however, showed that the N360.54billion generated in the first half of this year was 24.57per cent higher than the N271.96billion generated in the last six months of 2020.
A monthly analysis of the power sector financials in the first six months of 2021 showed that revenue has been fluctuating month-on-month.
A total of N64.98billion was generated in January, but revenue, however, fell by 13.30per cent in February to N57.35billion.
Further analysis showed that revenue in March rose by 7.41 per cent to N61.94billion but declined again in April by 8.76 per cent to N56.955billion.
In May, revenue rose by 8.24 per cent to N62.07billion.
It, however fell in June to N57.25billion, a drop of 8.42 per cent.
The Power Sector Working Group blamed poor power supply as well as glitches for the fall in revenue in the second quarter, especially in the month of June.
“June is a bit short due to glitches in the sweep mechanism and a low energy supply (there were gas payment challenges we have been working on).
“Through the collection discipline via CBN there is full visibility to DisCos collections. Collections over the past six months have stabilized at between N57billion to N65billion.
“The regulator and policymakers are focusing in the second half of the year on boosting electricity and rolling out phase 1 of Mass Metering to boost supply to reduce tariff and increase collections.
“Procurement is being completed for most of the CAPEX interventions that will help boost supply”, the group added.
Earlier, the group disclosed that the Federal Government has concluded arrangements for the commencement of the second phase of its metering program tagged National Mass Metering Program which it expects to drastically reduce estimated billing by DisCos, that will ensure consumers are billed appropriately for the electricity they consume by installing meters free of charge in household and business premises that are currently unmetered.
The Federal Government provided funding for the program through loans from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to DisCos.
“Meters are provided to customers free of charge. This is indeed unprecedented and has so far led to the tremendous success recorded so far”.
Speaking on how to grow the electricity market, a leading power sector expert and Managing Director of Target Energy Ltd, Abdullahi Umar, harped on the need to review some of the policies that may be hampering growth and development in the power sector.
Umar said at the weekend that the new Minister of Power, Engr. Abubakar Aliyu, needs to conduct a thorough review of the sector.
“I am part of those stakeholders who are of the view that the declaration of the transitional electricity market (TEM) in February 2015 was too ambitious and premature.
“What should have been was a phased transition into TEM or at the minimum a testing of the market before the full declaration of TEM.
“The errors of such declaration have continued to plague the power sector with a heightened liquidity crisis in 2016 and 2017, that saw a drastic decline of the revenue flows in the power sector, DisCos remittance went from 70 per cent to a sharp decline averaging about 28 per cent – 30 per cent for that period,” he said.
He pointed out that July, 2021, saw the end of Eligible Customer Regulation in the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI), adding that the decision by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), to rescind the ECR, has sent mixed signals across the board.
Umar further stated that “we have seen the accusations and counter-accusations between the generating companies (GenCos) and distribution companies on the issue. The action by NERC has signalled the lack of preparedness of the market to accommodate direct sale between market players.
“It is a case of willing seller, willing buyer and an unwilling infrastructure; the market cannot accommodate any distortion at this time especially as the grid still operates at average capacity.”
The ECR allows GenCos and Independent Power Producers to bypass the Bulk Trader for excess un-contracted capacity within their portfolio and sell directly to eligible customers who can take a minimum of 2MW of power monthly.
“The ECR was issued on the 6th of November, 2017 by the then Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Barrister Babatunde Fashola”, Umar also averred that the “recent repeal of the ECR further demonstrates the weakness in the NESI and the need for more effective and consistent regulation.”
He further advised, “With a new Minister of Power in the saddle, I suggest that a cue is borrowed from the former Minister of Power, Work, and Housing; who commenced his tenure with sector-wide stakeholder consultation and monthly review meetings, it is important that new Minister of Power gets a proper briefing with all market participants in the same room to curtail self-serving suggestions and recommendations.”
“The frequent policy conflict is fast eroding the little gains of the NESI since the declaration of TEM and plunging the sector deeper into uncertainty.
“The new Minister of Power must pursue sector-wide collaboration and effective corporate governance to move the sector forward.
“It is time to go back to the drawing board,” he concluded.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has, however, denied that it has ended or suspended the Eligible Customer Regulations which allowed power generation companies, GenCos, to supply electricity directly to large demand customers.
NERC, in a statement by its General Manager, Public Affairs Department, Dr. Usman Abba Arabi, stated that the Eligible Customer Regulations has not been suspended and at no time has the commission issued a directive for discontinuation of service to any customer.
The commission explained that what it suspended was the unauthorized direct supply by GenCos to big consumers.
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