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Niger Delta

Refund N2.5bn For Failed Contract, NDDC Writes Senator

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The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has demanded the refund of N2.5billion from the senator representing Delta North, Chief Peter Nwaoboshi, for contracts his companies allegedly failed to execute.
The commission made the demand in a letter to the senator, which was made available to newsmen in Port Harcourt.
However, the names of the errant firms were not disclosed in the letter addressed to the lawmaker.
But, in the letter, the commission insisted that Nwaoboshi must refund the money within two weeks.
The letter, dated July 5, 2020, and signed by the Director, Legal Services of the NDDC, Peter Okoro, requested the senator to pay back the money meant for the supply of plastic chairs and desks for primary and secondary schools in the Niger Delta region in 2017.
Part of the letter reads, “Instead of supplying the chairs and desks to the commission’s warehouse in Port Harcourt or to any of the NDDC offices in the nine Niger Delta states, the items were supplied to a warehouse described as ‘Akuede Akwis’ located at Benin Expressway, Okpanam, before Wichetech Aluminium Company.”
According to the letter, the lawmaker’s firms were paid to supply the plastic chairs and desks to schools in Delta North Senatorial District, including desks and benches to selected schools in the Niger Delta.
The NDDC noted, “Despite having fully paid for the 2017 contracts for the production of chairs and desks, the items have not been supplied to the commission.
“The resultant effect is that the commission and the Niger Delta region have been deprived of the use of the desks and chairs.”
When contacted, the NDDC spokesperson, Charles Odili, confirmed the authenticity of the letter.
In response, Nwaoboshi, in a statement by his media aide, Awele Onokwai, last Friday, said the matter was already before a competent court of law, adding that the senator had yet to receive a copy of the letter purportedly addressed to him from the NDDC.
Nwaoboshi described the letter as fake as it was not officially addressed or signed, stressing that the letter did not link him to any of the contracts.
The statement read in part, “Our attention has been drawn to the purported subject matter above, credited to one Peter Claver Okoro, Esq, posing as the Director, Legal Services of the Niger Delta Development Commission, and we make bold to state the following:
“That the purported matter is subjudice as it is already before two law courts of competent jurisdiction in Nigeria, wherein, Distinguished Senator Peter Nwaoboshi sued the NDDC, Mr Charles Odili and relevant newspapers for defamation of character.
“The purported letter addressed to Senator Peter Nwaoboshi was written on the 5th of July, 2020, and as of today, 7th of August, 2020, the said letter has not reached Senator Peter Nwaoboshi – either in person or office or by substitution.
“The purported letter, unlike any formal letter emanating from a recognized government ministry, agency or department is not signed, therefore, can easily be denied.
“Nowhere in the contents of the purported letter was it stated that the contractor is directly linked to Distinguished Senator Peter Nwaoboshi.
“Nowhere in the purported letter was it stated that the warehouse, where the plastic chairs were domiciled, belongs to Distinguished Senator Peter Nwaoboshi”, the senator’s response, indicated.
It would be recalled that Nwaoboshi, his colleagues in the National Assembly and some former ex-governors have denied being contractors to the NDDC.
Similarly, the embattled management of the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC) has issued a seven-day ultimatum to the former acting Managing Director under the Interim Management Committee (IMC), Dr Joi Nunieh, to refund N1.96billion allegedly collected for the fight against Lassa fever in the region.
The Director, Legal Services of the commission, Peter Clever Okoro, made the development agency’s position known in a letter addressed to Nunieh, and made available to newsmen, in Port Harcourt, at the weekend.
He said the ultimatum to refund the money was in compliance with the order of the Senate.
Okoro, in the letter, entitled, “Demand for the refund of N1.96billion to the Niger Delta Development Commission”, said the demand was in respect of the failed payment for requests for Lassa fever kits dated January 17, 2020 from the director, Education, Health and Social Services, when she was acting MD/CEO of the commission.
It would be recalled that, Nunieh, while speaking to journalists after the final session of the Senate Ad-hoc Committee, last month, had stated that no payment was made by the NDDC under her watch without the knowledge of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
She said only N8billion was expended by the agency from October 29, 2019 to May 31, 2020, when she held sway contrary to the figure being bandied around.

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Niger Delta

Eastern Obolos, A’Ibom Bicker Over 56 Oil Wells

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At least 17 local communities of Eastern Obolo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State have vowed to resist the state government over its alleged redesigning of the state map which completely denies them the host status of more than 56 oil wells situated in their lands and waters.
At a press conference by the apex socio-cultural and political organisation of the Eastern Obolo people, called Ilima Obolo, held in their common town hall, President and General Secretary, Uye-awaji Zephenaih and Dr Amah Williams, respectively said the purported alteration and adjustment of the original Akwa Ibom State map is a vain imagination of both the state legislature and executive that will never be allowed to hold sway.
They alleged that the state governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, who hails from Onna LGA of the state, is the finger behind the state House of Assembly’s speedy move to redraw the map in order to also make Mkpat Enin, Ikot Abasi as well as his own Onna, littoral LGAs access to the Atlantic Ocean where these wells are situated.
President Muhammadu Buhari finally assented to the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) a few weeks ago. The Bill, now a law, allows oil-bearing communities in Nigeria to benefit from 3% oil derivations.
On 16 September 2021, a member of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly representing Eket State constituency sponsored a motion, which made the assembly direct the state surveyor-general to urgently redraw a ‘generally accepted’ map of the state.
The assembly also ordered that all other enactments relating to any old maps must be jettisoned and abrogated, urging the state governor to cause the new map so drawn by the state surveyor-general to gazette it.
Williams who addressed the press on behalf of the group said “The purported readjustment of the boundaries of Eastern Obolo and Ibeno LGAs which hitherto were the only two that had access to the Atlantic Ocean is a pointer and a further confirmation of the grand plot towards the extinction of their minority people in the state.”

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Niger Delta

Organised Labour Resumes Indefinite Strike In C’River

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The organised labour under the auspices of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress, as well as the state Joint Public Negotiation Council in Cross River State have asked workers to begin an indefinite strike to press home their 14-point demands.
In a bulletin issued by the labour unions on Monday in Calabar, all state and local government workers were asked to “down tools to press home our demands.”
According to the bulletin titled ‘Commencement of strike action’, the workers’ union leaders stated, “Dear comrades, whereas an enlarged Congress of organised labour, met on Wednesday, 6th October, 2021 at Nigerian Civil Service Union (NCSU) Secretariat, to deliberate on the many issues troubling the workers of Cross River State; whereas the Congress, after extensive deliberation, resolved that all the workers in the state and local government should down tools to press home our grievances.
“Workers are hereby called upon to stay at home, from Tuesday 12th October, 2021. Comrades stay at home until you hear from us.”
At their October 7, 2021 Congress, the workers had summed up a total of 14-point demands as contained in a statement issued after the congress and jointly signed by the state Chairman of the NLC, Ben Ukpepi and the state Trade Union Congress Chairman, Monday Ogbodum, and four other officials.
The demands and grievances of the workers include implementation of promotions of both state and local government workers, non remittance of deductions from workers’ salaries, full implementation of minimum wage to both state and local government workers, and non implementation of full 27.5 per cent teachers’ enhancement allowance.
Others include, stoppage of tax exemption and allowance for teachers, payment of hazard allowances for medical and health workers, inclusion of all staff employed but not yet payrolled by the state, reinstatement of pensioners wrongly removed from payroll, nonpayment of gratuities to both state and local government workers, among other demands.

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Niger Delta

Edo Warns Against ‘Fake’ Nursing Schools Admission

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The Edo State Government has alerted residents on the activities of fraudsters selling fake hard copy admission forms into Edo State College of Nursing Sciences.
Permanent Secretary, Edo State Ministry of Health, Dr. Osamwonyi Irowa, said there are no physical forms for admissions into the College, noting that all forms must be obtained from the official College’s portal.
Irowa reiterated the need for “applicants to avoid dealing with any person purportedly acting as an agent of Edo College of Nursing Sciences in respect of the sales of admission forms into the College, as anyone who elects to deal with such persons, does so at his/her own risk.”
The statement reads: “The attention of the Edo State Government has been drawn to the activities of some fraudsters, who in a bid to defraud unsuspecting members of the public, have resorted to the sales of fake hard copy admission forms into Edo State College of Nursing Sciences.
“We state unequivocally that there are no physical forms for admissions into the College. All forms must be bought from the official College’s portal.
“It is also imperative to inform members of the public that the state government has not appointed any agent, neither is it considering appointing an agent to liaise with applicants on its behalf.”
Irowa further stated that “the government has alerted security agencies to the nefarious activities of these fraudsters and will spare no resources in ensuring that they are fished out and made to face the full wrath of the law.”
“Applicants are however advised to visit the College’s portal or call 08104797237 and 0803 530 4611 for clarifications and further information, as those are the only official channels of communication for the sales of admission forms into the Edo College of Nursing Sciences,” he added.

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