The Niger Delta Accountability and Development Coalition (NDADC) has raised the alarm about recent actions undertaken by the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) which may undermine the primary presidential mandate for a forensic audit of the operations of the agency.
In a statement jointly signed by its National Coordinator, Johnson Epia, and Secretary, Comrade Ekong Etim, yesterday, the group stated that it was persuaded that “measures announced by the management committee to facilitate the audit are in themselves fraught with fraud and designed to turn the process into a cash cow for the committee members.”
According to the group, the recent inauguration of a 50-man contract verification committee is another example of the cluelessness of the interim management committee, a kind of merry-go-round.
“The committee, which is headed by the Acting Executive Director Projects, Dr Cairo Ojougboh, has directors and staff of the commission as members. While its business is ostensibly to call contractors and verify their projects and claims, we are sufficiently alarmed by recent happenings to believe that the motive behind this committee is anything but objective.
“Our position is informed by the statement of the management committee that the contracts verification committee will screen the contracts across the NDDC member states, and submit a report which the auditors will use as their primary material to audit the commission.”
The coalition recalled the statement credited to Ojougboh and published in newspapers over the weekend that, “It is now common knowledge that some of the awards were not only spurious, but criminal as records available to us show that most of the awards were not backed by budget, has no bills of engineering.”
The coalition then wondered the essence of a verification exercise when the commission already has its own records, which according to Ojougboh indicates that some of the contracts were spurious.
This is especially so when it is considered that the people who make up this committee, aside Ojougboh, are staff of the commission who themselves screened, verified and approved the same contracts that Ojougboh says are fraudulent and which are now being ‘verified’! What rational outcome can we then expect from this exercise? A proper audit exercise should turn out the records of the commission, as they are, to independent external auditors to probe. Anything short of that is a Public Relations stunt, which we do not need, considering the humongous sums that have been poured into the NDDC.
NDADC affirmed that by this and other actions, the interim management committee confirms stakeholders’ fears that it does not have the skill set to supervise the forensic audit ordered by the President, if indeed its actions are not part of a preconceived agenda.
The group re-stated its stand that “What we want is a full audit of the NDDC since 2001 that will not be stage managed by vested interests masquerading as interventionists”, explaining that this is why the coalition and other civil society groups in the region have always insisted that the Federal Government has no business appointing an interim management committee to supervise the audit, a process any duly constituted board can handle.
‘IAUE’s Post Graduate School’ll Be A Class Of Its Own’
On completion of the Post Graduate School Complex of Ignatius Ajuru University of Education (IAUE), Rumuolumeni, the complex will be in a class of its own in Nigeria.
Making this Known recently, during the colloquium held in honour of late Chief Emmanuel W. Aguma, at the auditorium of the university, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Ozo-Mekuri Ndimele, said the facilities at the graduate school are all state-of-the art.
“The Postgraduate school is where we are working very hard to make a difference. We are just three years old, but we have dwarfed and overtaken most of the older Universities around us in postgraduate studies.
“Whereas most of the universities around us have no separate classrooms for graduate programmes, we have built 16 new postgraduate classrooms fitted with modern, Wi-Fi, air- conditioners, and small boards, all within the three years of our administration”, he said.
He continued that “When the complex is ready, our postgraduate school will pride as the best accommodated and the most well equipped in Nigeria in terms of infrastructure”. Prof. Ndimele used the occasion to thank the Aguma family for contributing a 10 lecture halls building to the graduate school in their pursuit of academic excellence.
“ It is gratifying to note that today’s ceremony is in two phases: The first phase is what we are doing now, that is the colloquium, where experts and close associates of the late Chief Emmanuel W. Aguma have been assembled to present on the life and times of the legend himself and much more.
“The second phase of today’s event is the ground breaking ceremony for the proposed Chief Emmanuel Aguma Post Graduate Complex, comprising 10 lecture halls, a language laboratory and offices at the New Haven Layout of the main campus.
“All these are courtesy of the Late Chief Emmanuel Aguma’s family to further immortalise their son, husband and father. We cannot thank the family enough”, he said.
In his presentation, as one of the guest speakers at the colloquium, Chief Emmanuel Aguma delved into the life and times of the Late Aguma from the political perspective.
The life and times and achievement of Sir Aguma is no doubt very important references to the younger generation.
“I have taken pains to go through all these for younger generation to know that here in Rebisi, God Almighty had created a rare human being who realised that mandate of a people is a sacred commission to serve with honour, integrity and truth”, he stated.
Late Chief Emmanuel Aguma was the first provost of the College of Education, which metamorphosed into Ignatius Ajuru University of Education.
RATTAWU Wants Regularisation Of Casual Workers’ Appointment In S’ South
The South-South National Vice President of RATTAWU, Comrade Christian Saro Gonole, has called for the regularisation of the appointment of all casual workers in the services of state owned media and cultural outfits across the South-South Zone.
South-South National Vice President of RATTAWU Comrade Christian Saro Gonole made the call at the 8th Triennial Delta State Delegates Conference of the Union in Asaba.
Comrade Christain Saro Gonole who described the continuous casualisation of its members as a direct rape on the right of employment called for the understanding of respective state Governments in the South-South Zone in the regularisation of the casual workers with dispatch.
The South-South RATTAWU leader said the engagement of a casual worker more than three months tantamount to the denial of the affected worker of his right to gainful employment and violates extant labour laws.
Insecurity, Killings In Nigeria, Worrisome -Catholic Bishop
The Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor, has decried the spate of killings across the country.
The Bishop made a call for the establishment of local and state security organs to tackle security challenges in all parts of the country.
Bishop Ezeokafor made the call in a homily he delivered recently, during the burial Mass of late Mrs Rebecca Mgboye Amatu (mother of the Catholic Bishop of Okigwe Diocese, Most Rev Solomon Amatu), at St Simon’s Catholic Church, Ukpo, Anambra State.
He said there was urgent need for local security apparatus in all the six regions and the 36 states of Nigeria in order to augment the federal security.
He said, “We regret the recent murder of the former chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State, Mr Lawan Andimi, by suspected terrorists. We regret that the sacredness of human life had been ridiculed in this country.”
“The manner in which Mr Andimi was butchered is inhuman. The sacredness of the human life had been desecrated. Human beings are being slaughtered regularly by terrorists who are suspected to have targeted the Christians. Security of life and property can no longer be guaranteed in Nigeria. Worse still is that the Federal Government has not been able to address the menace of insecurity,” the bishop stated.
He said the Federal Government ought to support the local security apparatus like Amotekun instituted by governors of the West so as to ensure that optimum security was maintained. This was even as he called for effective local security system in other regions of Nigeria.
Bishop Ezeokafor recalled how two priests of the Catholic Diocese of Awka were kidnapped in Ondo State and were rescued, using the Anambra State Government’s security apparatus,.
He praised Anambra as being relatively safe, compared to other states of the federation.
He commended Gov Obiano of Anambra State and stressed the need for such good security network to be replicated in other states of Nigeria.
The Catholic prelate called on the government at all levels to provide enabling environment for security of life and property, as well as the necessary amenities the masses needed to enjoy their lives.
He said any government that was unable to better the lives of its citizens should surrender governance.
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