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NDDC Audit: Deputy Speaker Wants Offenders To Face Prosecution

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Deputy Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, Mr Joseph Bassey, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for ordering a forensic audit of the operations of the Niger Delta Development Commission from 2001 to 2019.
Bassey, who spoke in an interview with The Tide’s source in Calabar, urged the President not to relent in prosecuting the offenders after the audit exercise.
He lamented the poor state of rural development in the South-South region, adding that some few individuals had looted what was supposed to bring collective development to the people.
According to him, the Calabar-Itu-Akwa Ibom Federal Highway is in need of urgent intervention from the Federal Government.
“From the time past, we have had Chairmen and Managing Directors of NDDC from Cross River and Akwa Ibom states and the volume of budgets have been high.
“It is sad that the only road that connects the two sister states is still in a state of decay years after years because some few individuals have taken what belongs to the people.
“I strongly commend Mr President for ordering the audit of the commission. Also, I want to commend the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, for standing firm to that.
“However, I am soliciting for the immediate intervention of the Calabar-Itu road because as we speak, a journey from Calabar to Akwa Ibom that ordinarily should be for an hour is now five hours.
“The establishment of the Commission was to make life meaningful for the people of South South. But some individuals who lack conscience have looted the resources for their personal benefit,” he said.
Bassey alleged that the South South region has the worst road network in the country due to the greed of few individuals, adding that the culprits should be sent to jail after the audit.
“This is not time for PDP or APC, this is above party affiliation because both politicians and non politicians pass on that road.
“The economy of both states has been affected by this very particular road. I want to urge the President to start the audit immediately.
“I pity the common man on the street. As a politician, I feel very guilty passing through that road because you cannot drive for a minute without falling into a major ditch.
“I don’t think anybody who has been in NDDC and was given resources to do that road should be forgiven because most of them are flying around and building houses with the funds,” he said.
He urged South South indigenes to support Akpabio in his drive to ensure speedy development in the region, adding that all forms of distraction towards him should be discouraged.
He suggested that when the funds are recovered from the audit, the focus should also be on immediate rehabilitation of roads in the South South, especially the Calabar-Itu road.

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Court Convicts Director, Traditional Ruler Over Landed Property In Cross River

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A Magistrate Court in the Akwa Ikot Effanga Magisterial District has convicted a Director of Administration, Ministry of Finance and a traditional titleholder in Akpabuyo Local Government Area of Cross River State over landed proverty.
Delivering judgment in Calabar, Victoria S. S. Ebaye (Mrs.) deputy chief registrar said that the two accused persons, Chief Felix Effiong Okon Andem, a traditional titleholder and Barrister Ben Tawo Olom Esq who is a director in the State Civil Service were convicted for the four-count charges brought in a charge no MAE/18c/19c.2017 between the Commissioner of Police and the duo.
“The two defendants herein, Chief Felix Effiong Okon Andem and Ben Tawo Olom Esq. are hereby sentenced to a cumulative fine of N20, 000 each which shall be paid forthwith and failing which they shall be remanded in prison custody pending the payment of the judgment fine”
The two accused persons were found guilty of four court charges which included conspiracy, forcible entry, malicious damage and unlawful removal of beacon stones.
Victoria Ebaye said that from the emergence of facts before the court, the two defendants in the case trespassed into a parcel of land under the lawful and peaceful possession of the complainant as shown in the several exhibits tendered by the prosecution to substantiate their claim of right over the parcel of land in question.
The Judge further said that the prosecution called three witnesses and tendered about 20 exhibits. The complainant, Chief Joseph Okon Edem testified as PW1, HRH Etinyin Okon Asuquo testified as PW2 while Inspector Israel Akpan the investigating police officer testified as PW3.
Shortly after delivery of the judgment, the Director of Administration, Ben Tawo Olom, Esq. who was being conveyed in a vehicle was said to have threatened to deal with some newsmen for covering the delivery of the judgment, saying, “you are here to report the judgment, I will deal with you.”
From Friday Nwagbara, Calabar
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Bayelsa Communities To SPDC: Halt Dealings With Mein Cluster Board Chairman …Alleges Misappropriation Against Him.

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The leadership of Bilabiri 1 and 2 communities in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa state have called on the Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, to withhold its dealings with chairman of the Mein Cluster Development Board over alleged misappropriation of funds by his leadership.

The communities leaders in a petition to SPDC and the Bayelsa State governmment, regretted that the autocratic leadership style of the chairman of the cluster board, Mr David Otiti was becoming unbearable, adding that the chairman has abused his office by suspending the rules and terms of the General Memorandum of Understanding, GMoU, agreements and protocols.

The petition which was signed by the Community Trust Secretary of Bilabiri 2, Mr. Ogbare Fun, Community Trust Secretary of Bilabiri 1 Community, Mr Akemey Benson, and the Community Trust Chairman of Bilabiri 2 Community, Mr. Endurance Deboh, stated that if the policy objective of the GMoU is to be achieved, the chairman of the Mein Cluster board has to be called to order.

Other allegations against the cluster board leadership made available to The Tide include, unilateral awards of contract to himself and his

cronies without due consultation with CDB since his assumption of office.

Others are, failure to constitute committees and sub-committees of the CDB, failure to call for board meeting since assuming office, lack of respect for traditional rulers, CDC Chairman, and other stakeholders, and keeping the communities in the dark with regards to the implementation of the GMoU.

“We hereby use this medium on behalf of our humble selves and the good people of Bilabiri 1 and 2 Communities that we represent in the cluster development board to intimate the management of SPDC of our grievances occasioned by the activities of the Mein Cluster Board Chairman, Mr. David Otiti”, they said.

“There have been a myraid of issues since the current CDB was inaugurated on the 9th,October, 2018, owing to the leadership style of the chairman”, the communities added.

“We can no longer tolerate his dictatorial leadership, this protest is coming to you by the reason that the SPDC management appreciate the core value of the GMoU system, thereby adopting same in your operational areas for maximum enhancement of community/company relations.” They noted

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FRSC Decries The Deplorable State Of Roads In C’River

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The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has decried the deplorable states of roads in Cross River State.
Chatting with correspondents in Calabar, the State Acting Sector Commander, Benedict Akunne lamented the state of roads at Odukpani junction in particular.
Akunne said, “presently we are having a pathetic gridlock along Odukpani junction. It is terrible, the place is too bad and today I have dropped a letter to the government of Cross River State, pleading to help us work on the deplorable state of the road so that this traffic gridlock will be over.
“One of our responsibilities or mandates in FRSC is to locate bad spots on the road and communicate with relevant authorities about the bad spot and urge them to come and effect repairs. We have an outpost at Odukpani but what is happening there is terrible, what is happening there overwhelmed our men, we have to move our men from other areas to ensure that traffic congestion and grid-lock is reduced,” Akunne stated.
The Acting Sector Commander explained that the new normal the FRSC has put in place after the lockdown was the reintroduction of Mobile Court in full force.
“The Mobile Court operation will be in full force, we are set to go out to the road because we don’t want people to die anymore. We will move from park to park and ensure that every driver obey the protocol, washing of hands, wearing of facial mask, sanitizing and fumigation of motor parks,” he said.
He said that there was no gain stating the obvious that road traffic crashes are on the increase in some part of Nigeria even here in Cross River State and now that the ban on the interstate travels has been lifted.

According to the FRSC boss, “the first thing we will do is to check how we will stem the rising tide of road traffic crashes, known fully well that people have been hungry, people have been indoors, people have not been travelling and now the roads have been opened, we will experience a whole lot of travels,” he stressed.

“We must ensure that there is social distancing, we will also ensure that people that are entering the vehicles do not contact coronavirus just because they want to travel,” he stressed.
From Friday Nwagbara, Calabar
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