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COVID-19: Disquiet In NDDC Over Alleged Diversion Of N100m

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The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has been enmeshed in a fresh allegation of financial misappropriation.
A youth body, the Niger Delta Youths Forum for Development (NDYFD) has alleged that the management of the commission has diverted the N100million released for Niger Delta youths as palliative for the Coronavirus pandemic.
The group alleged further that the said money was released to the Special Assistant to the Managing Director of the commission on Youth Affairs, Alfred Etuk, who has refused to meet with the youths or set up a committee for the disbursement of the fund.
According to the aggrieved youths in a statement by the National President, Malachy Chukwuka, Secretary, Henry Eke, and Publicity Secretary, Felix Osibakoro, respectively, the refusal of the management to address the issue showed that there is a grand conspiracy to divert the money to private pockets.
In the statement, which also served as a formal petition to President, Muhammadu Buhari, the group regretted that the new management has not departed from the practice of mindless looting of NDDC funds that bedevilled the commission.
They urged the President and the supervising Ministry, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to investigate the release and the alleged diversion of the N100million, to unravel those behind the crime.
According to the statement, “We want to use this medium to register our grievances over what is currently going on at the NDDC.
“We had thought that the days of mindless looting of NDDC money were gone but we are surprised at what is happening now and we want Mr. President to intervene.
“It is most painful that at a time when the government is battling the Coronavirus pandemic and soliciting the support of Nigerians and public institutions, the management of the NDDC is taking advantage of the situation to divert public funds.
“The latest is the N100million released as palliative for Niger Delta youths over the COVID-19, which was given to Special Assistant to the MD on Youth Affairs, Alfred Etuk, against public opinion.
“Since the money was released, he has refused to interact with the various youth organisations in the region nor set up a committee to handle the disbursement.
“Since the money was released, he has gone dark and refused to pick his calls or respond to the several messages sent to his phone and other platforms”.
Meanwhile, all efforts to reach the indicted aide were unsuccessful as he did not take his calls or respond to the message sent to his phone and WhatsApp.
But when contacted, the NDDC Managing Director, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, described the allegation as false.
His reply to the text message sent to him by our correspondent simply read, “totally false”.
Other attempts to get further clarifications from him failed.

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Banigo Felicitates With Justice Wike On Her Birthday

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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.

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Former Nigeria President Jonathan Loses Foster Dad.

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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.

Though no official reports have reached us as to the cause of his death,The Tide learnt that the septuagenerian has been briefly ill shortly before his demise.
The former President, who visited the residence of his late foster father the early hours of Wednesday has not made any official statement regarding funeral arrangement.
Chief Inegite,popularly called ‘holy’ by his admirers and friends was initially reported to have been responding to treatment in an undisclosed health facility where his health later deteriorated before finally giving up  the ghost  at about 11:00 pm,Tuesday 19th day of May,2020.
You would recall that the late Chief Nitabai Inegite was twice reported to have been kidnapped some time between 2014 and 2016 respectively.
The late former president’s foster father was survived by his wife,biological children,grand children and numerous relatives.
By Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa.
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Nigerian Senate Considers Bill For Ensure Food Security

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…seeks establishment of Food Reserve Agency
The Nigerian Senate, in a seemingly proactive stop to forestall anticipated food shortfall  in the country ,  on Tuesday, commenced legislative work on a critical bill to ensure food security in Nigeria through  the establishment of  Food Reserve Agency to plan and implement policies for adequate food production and storage.
The bill  sponsored  by Senator Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West), scaled second reading at plenary , on Tuesday.
Leading debate on the bill, Senator Adamu noted that Nigeria as a nation needs to develop its Agricultural sector to ensure not only alternate economy but also food security .
He further emphasised that this requires  an vibral  agency to drive all attending policies for the growth and sustainability of the sector.
According to the lawmaker, the Food Reserve agency when established, would be responsible for storing food grains and other food commodities for strategic purposes.
His words “Agriculture plays a pivotal role in the development and growth of every nation. Any country seeking to diversify its economy, alleviate poverty, create jobs and ensure food security should prioritize agriculture.
“Nigeria recognizing the important role Agriculture plays has made efforts to place the sector at the fore by introducing different intervention programmes and policies backed by enabling laws.
“A further step to be taken to ensure food security in our country at all times is to formulate enabling laws that will address food insecurity,”
“The agency will implement the overall National Food Reserve Policy to ensure a reliable supply of designated commodities in the country.”
The lawmaker recalled that, “the recent mandate of the President during the COVID-19 pandemic to distribute 70,000 metric tons of grains from the Grains Reserves shows clearly how important it is for a country to have a Food Reserve Agency.”
 Stressing the importance of food security ,he linked the current Covid 19 situation and its Nigeria’s readiness to  ensure the nation don’t wind up in food crises as well.
According to Senator Adamu, with the Agency in place, Nigeria will be taking the right step in the right direction as replicated in other African countries such as Zambia and Tanzania.
“With the existence of the Agency, emergency food crises will be taken care of especially in the period of a pandemic.
“There will also be a reduction in post-harvest losses as silos, warehouses, equipment, ancillary facilities and other suitable storage facilities will be installed and maintained.”  the Senator explained.
After the debate, the President of  the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan referred the bill to the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development chaired by the sponsor of the bill Adsmu Abdullahi.
The Committee  is given four weeks  to report back to the Senate.
Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi.
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