Strong indications have emerged that crisis looms following the transfer of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) from the Presidency to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs as lawyers and a group under the aegis of Accountable Leadership for Better Nigeria Initiative (ALBNI) have kicked against the action.
Subsequently, the lawyers and the group have written a letter of protest to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, to, as a matter of urgency, carry out a holistic investigation into why President Muhammadu Buhari took the decision to transfer the agency to the ministry.
According to them, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and former Akwa Ibom State governor, Senator Godswill Akpabio wrote to the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari, requesting the transfer, which was approved.
In a letter to Malami, signed by Tolu Babaleye, on behalf of the group, Akpabio has been given a 14-day ultimatum to reverse the action, warning that failure to do that would force them to approach the court for redress.
In the letter dated October 10, and entitled, “Illegal Transfer of Niger Delta Development Commission from Presidency to Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs: Demand for Immediate Reversal”, the group expressed displeasure and sadness over the recent illegal, and what it described as unlawful action taken by the duo of Akpabio and Abba Kyari.
The group warned that if not checked, the development might lay a bad precedent in the country, hence it became imperative to bring the action to the notice of the chief law officer of the federation and Justice Ministry to unearth the underlying factor which necessitated such action.
The letter read, “We are the solicitors to Accountable Leadership for Better Nigeria Initiative of No. 9A, Nnewi Street, Area 2, Garki, Abuja, and Act Initiatives of Suite C10, PEB 04 Plaza, Plot 2027, Dalaba Street, Wuse, Zone 5, Abuja, (hereinafter freely referred to as our clients), and it is on their instructions and behest that this letter is caused to be remitted to you.
“Our clients are reputable non-governmental organizations with commitment and passion for an orderly society and a better Nigeria where things are done by leaders in accordance with the laid down legal standards to engender good governance for the betterment of the citizenry.
“Our clients, as good governance watchdogs, wish to use this medium to express their displeasure and sadness over the recent illegal and unlawful action taken by the duo of the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio and the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr. Abba Kyari, which, if not checked, might lay a bad precedent in the country, and our clients feel very strongly that this must be brought to the notice and knowledge of the chief law officer of the federation and Justice Ministry to unearth the underlying factor necessitating such action.
“Your Honourable Sir, via a letter dated September 2, 2019, with Reference No. SH/COS/81/A/1900 signed by Mr. Abba Kyari, and addressed to Honourable Minister, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, which is under the supervision of Senator Goodwill Akpabio, the former granted the request of the latter by transferring and purportedly delegating the management and control of the Niger Delta Development Commission to the ministry under Senator Goodwill Akpabio without consultation with the relevant stakeholders; which action is against the law of the land as the Office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is by virtue of Section 7 of the Niger Delta Development Commission Act charged with the sole responsibility of overseeing the affairs of the commission and same is not delegate-able to any person or body. The principle is delegatus non-potest delegare.
“Our clients are left in awe as to the rationale behind the actions of Messrs Kyari and Akpabio and the pecuniary gains they intend to get in brazenly circumventing the law.
“As stakeholders in the Nigeria project, our clients are greatly concerned and profoundly worried about this patently illegal and unlawful act being perpetrated by men on whom President Muhammadu Buhari rely to help him drive his administration mantra which is based on Next-level goal and good governance.
“This is disheartening and disconcerting, to say the least. Our clients are of the strong opinion that this ugly development must not be allowed to be swept under the carpet, hence this letter of petition to your exalted office for reversal of this infraction of our Constitution and NDDC Act.
“In the light of the foregoing, our clients hereby unequivocally demand immediate reversal of the action of Messrs Kyari and Akpabio and restore the Niger Delta Development Commission to its appropriate and original statutory domain as an autonomous commission which is the Office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the interest of the Nigerian public, public probity and good governance.
“We on behalf of our client believe that your exalted office should be able to work on the reversal and achieve it within 14 days of service of this letter on you including the date of service.
“We shall take to our client’s outstanding instructions of taking the matter to court at the expiration of the time stated above if the matter is not resolved to the knowledge of Nigerians.
“While waiting for feedback from your exalted office on this petition, please, accept the esteem of our due professional regards and warmest compliments of our clients.”
Meanwhile, as reactions continue to trail the planned transfer of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) from the office of the Presidency to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, a non-governmental organization, the Niger Delta Youth Coalition (NDYC) has opposed the move, saying it would be counter-productive.
The National Coordinator of the NDYC, Prince Emmanuel Ogba, said such move would make the commission less effective in delivering development to the Niger Delta region.
Ogba said in an interview with our correspondent, yesterday, in Port Harcourt, that, “If the commission is finding it difficult to make needed impact on the people when it is under the direct supervision of the Presidency, it will even be worse under the supervision of the Niger Delta Ministry”.
He described those behind the new move as enemies of the region, urged the Federal Government to rather think of a better way of reviving the commission to provide development as an interventionist agency than transferring it to the ministry.
“The whole idea is funny in the sense that even the Niger Delta Ministry we are talking about is showing obvious sign of a failed ministry. It needs help.
“Since its creation, what reasonable impact can you attribute to the ministry in terms of meaningful projects’ execution?
“So, transferring the supervision of the NDDC from the Presidency to the Niger Delta Ministry will kill these two organs of development and that will spell doom for the region”, he said.
He advised President Muhammadu Buhari to disregard the suggestion, stressing that such idea could only come from those who do not mean well for the region and also want Buhari’s administration to fail in the region.
The NDYC boss called on Buhari to focus on unmasking those who defrauded the commission and made it fail with huge number of abandoned projects.
“Trace the stolen wealth of the commission and strengthen the supervision of the agency, and you will see remarkable difference”, Ogba said.
Ogba further pointed out that the move to transfer the commission away from the Presidency contradicts the act that established the commission.
RSG Warns Owner Of Proudest Hotel To Stop Blackmailing NCDC
Our attention has been drawn to a recent misleading petition, signed by one Mr. Needam Promise Gogorobari, Owner, Prodest Hotel and dated 24th May 2020,
to the effect that the convicted Manager of Prodest Hotel, Mr. Bariledum Job Azoroh, who recently tested positive for Covid-19 disease amongst 27 others, in a result released by the National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, may have allegedly been infected on the instructions of the Rivers State Government.
Much as we had restrained ourselves from responding to previous similar publications by this same person, since the subject matter was still before a court of competent jurisdiction, we are now compelled to reply this obviously spurious, deliberately misleading and intentionally provocative petition with a proper response, to set the records straight and caution the sponsors of this action from further pedlling such falsehoods in the public space.
For the avoidance of doubt and for the information of the general public, let us state categorically here that the FACTS of this matter are very clear, viz:
1. A Port Harcourt Senior Magistrates’ Court on May 18th, 2020 CONVICTED Mr. Bariledum Azoro, Manager of Prodest Hotel, Eleme and sentenced him to a fine of N50,000 for contravening paragraphs 3 and 4 of Executive Order RVSG 07 2020 on closure of hotels, guest houses and related outfits and provision of manifests in the state.
2. The Senior Magistrates’ Court also ordered that th convict,Mr. Azoroh should be quarantined at the Isolation Centre in Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Elekahia for 14 days to ascertain his coronavirus status.
3. That while in the Court Ordered Quarantine, competent health officials carried out mandatory tests on all suspected Coronavirus individuals at the centre, including Mr.Bariledum Job Azoroh, to ascertain their Covid-19 status.
It is important to state here that COVID-19 tests undergo World Health Organization, (WHO) and NCDC guidelines and are conducted under strict established medical protocols.
4. That prior to the publication of the test results, the owner of PRODEST Hotel Eleme, Mr. Gogorobari Needam had published one of his misleading petitions in an attempt to preempt the outcome of the test and the question we want to ask is: ‘Why did the hotel owner try to preempt the outcome of the test. Was he trying to cover up something?
5. That on Sunday, 24th May, 2020, the NCDC announced that Rivers State had 27 recorded positive cases including Mr.Bariledum Job Azoroh, from tests carried out in the state.
6. That following the official announcement of the result and confirmation of his Manager’s Covid-19 positive status, the PRODEST Hotel owner has once again released another statement and this time is now calling for a state of emergency in Rivers State because his manager tested positive for Covid-19.
7. Rivers people will recall that on May 19, 2020, we raised an alarm intimating the world of a clandestine plot by some Abuja politicians hiding under the cover of Covid-19 to instigate a State of Emergency in the state. Today, a hotel owner in Eleme, who lives in Lagos is also now calling for a State of Emergency. Is there any wonder therefore as to who is beating the drum for him?
8. Indeed there seems to be more to this than meets the ordinary eye and we are calling on all well-meaning people to see the need to interrogate this man and know that he is acting out a script. Infact, the entire petition sounds and reads like something lifted directly from the copy book of those who have been desperately trying to run down the Rivers State Government. This is desperation taken too far.
9. We even recall vividly that Mr. Needam Promise Gogorobari had, in an interview published in the Punch Newspaper of May 15, 2020 titled: “No ill feeling towards Wike for demolishing my hotel – Gogorobari”, actually stated categorically that he holds no grudge against Governor Wike for demolishing the hotel. His words: “Who am I not to forgive him? I don’t hold any grudge against him. I just feel that God wanted it to happen that way”. So what happened to make him change his mind? Is it not obvious that the agents of evil and those who do not mean well for Rivers State have reached him and are now beating this drum of dissent for him?
10. Again, We want to state categorically here that Government doesn’t conduct Covid-19 tests. Trained Health professionals follow the relevant medical protocols set down by WHO, the Federal Ministry of Health and the NCDC, to conduct these tests.
11. The claim therefore that the PRODEST Hotel manager, Mr. Bariledum Job Azoroh, was infected while in detention is not only laughable and preposterous, but sadly and dangerously exposes the amazing ignorance and naivety of Mr. Needam Promise Gogorobari and those sponsoring him about the deadly nature of the Covid-19 disease. How does one even carry such a deadly virus around and infect people with it?
12. Rather than commend the Rivers State Government for stemming the tide of infection that would have arisen if the Hotel used for clandestine parties was not demolished and the Manager arrested, the owner is crying wolf where there is none.
13. We also want to caution Mr. Needam Promise Gogorobari to be very mindful of his claims that his hotel Manager “has been framed up by an unorthodox hired medical officers recruited by Governor Wike with a report that he has tested positive to COVID-19 whilst in detention with the Rivers State Government”.
This is a clear accusation and indictment of the reputation and authority of the NCDC.
14 We also want to call the attention of Mr. Needam Gogorobari that we take exception to his description of the Isolation Centre in Port Harcourt, as an “illegal detention facility in Stadium, Elekahia, Port Harcourt” and to inform him and his sponsors that the Director General of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu and a team from the World Health Organization, were in Rivers State on a working visit in April this year and not only praised Governor Nyesom Wike for his leadership and handling of the Covid-19 outbreak. but also applauded his medical health team and all the facilities put in place in response to the Coronavirus.
We will therefore be keen to know how the NCDC will react, when they read your description of a facility they approved, as ‘a detention centre’.
15. Finally, we want to assure the good people of the state that the Rivers State Government remains resolute in its fight to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in the state and we will not be deterred by cheap blackmail and misleading propaganda.
16 Governor Wike is determined to employ and deploy appropriate strategies to keep Rivers State safe.
17. We call on all residents to work together with the Governor to defeat Covid-19 in Rivers State and by the Grace of God we will be victorious.
Commissioner for Information and Communications
May 26, 2020
Banigo Felicitates With Justice Wike On Her Birthday
Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Mrs. Ipalibo Harry Banigo has felicitated with the wife of the State Chief Executive Hon. Justice Eberechi Suzzette Nyesom Wike as she celebrates her birthday on Saturday, 23rd May, 2020.
In a statement from the Government House in Port Harcourt on Friday, 23rd May 2020, Dr. Banigo described Hon. Justice Wike as a humane and God fearing woman who is a great pillar of strength to our amiable Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.
While wishing her many happy returns the Deputy Governor prayed the Almighty God to continue to protect and bless Hon. Justice Eberechi Suzzette Nyesom Wike.
Former Nigeria President Jonathan Loses Foster Dad.
The family of former Nigerian President,Goodluck Jonathan and the Otuoke community of Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa state has been thrown into mourning as the News of the sudden demise of Chief Nitabai Inegite,the former president’s foster father reached them.
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