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NDDC: Buhari Should Inaugurate Board To Douse Tension In N’Delta, Group Urges

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President Muhammadu Buhari has been told to listen to the voice of reason from all well-meaning Niger Deltans, and the elected governors of the region, the true representatives of the people, and inaugurate the Senate confirmed Board of NDDC, which the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, had promised will be inaugurated on April 1, 2021.

The National Chairman, Niger Delta People’s Forum, Chief Boma Ebiakpo, stated this in a statement in Port Harcourt, yesterday.

Ebiakpo said that beyond the well-stated and established case of the illegality of interim managements, not known to the law establishing NDDC, but which have been superintending over the affairs of the commission since November, 2019, there was also the urgent need to douse the rising tension in the region, which has reached fever pitch.

The statement reads in part, “The patient but long-suffering people of the Niger Delta are beginning to lose their cool over an unending forensic audit that has been used as guise in the past 18 months to hold down development of the region despite a whopping approved budget of N799.5billion that has been squandered with no single project to justify this humongous amount.

“Notable groups kicking against the continued stay of the Interim Administrator and demanding the immediate inauguration of the Senate-approved substantive Board include the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide, Urhobo Progressives Union (UPU), Pan Niger-Delta Forum (PANDEF), and the Movement for the Survival of the Izon Ethnic Nationality in the Niger Delta (MOSIEND). Like the governors of the South-South, the groups had insisted on the inauguration of NDDC board by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, April 1, in accordance with the Act setting up the intervention agency.

“Mr. President, these groups, the IYC, PANDEF, MOSIEND, and UPU have said that anything short of inauguration would amount to an aberration, and ‘would be resisted by Niger Delta people’.

”We also wish to remind President Buhari that during their March 8 meeting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, the South-South Governors’ Forum (SSGF) chaired by Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State also advised that apart from payment of workers’ salaries, NDDC funds   should be reserved in an escrow account, pending the inauguration of the board.

“We recall that the Minister, Senator Godswill Akpabio, had assured Niger Deltans in October, 2019, that no contract will be awarded and no contractors will be paid pending the conclusion of the Forensic Audit which he stated will be completed within six months, to terminate by April, 2020.

“The expectation was that he would quickly conclude the forensic audit within the stipulated timeframe without expending the resources of the commission and then inaugurate the substantive board with representatives from the nine constituent states in line with the Act establishing the commission.

“Sadly, it has taken one year and six months for an audit that should not last longer than six months. In this intervening period rather, there have been established cases of misappropriation, kleptomania, fleecing of the commission’s treasury and gross underdevelopment in the region as was revealed in the Senate probe of May, 2020, which report was adopted at plenary in July and subsequently submitted to the Presidency.

“We are also further saddened that the Federal Government had approved and released N799.5billion for the 2019 and 2020 budgets of the commission with no tangible projects that the Minister, Senator Godswill Akpabio, can lay hand on as his initiatives under the period in view.

“Matter of fact, reports detailed in the National Assembly probe of the Interim Management Committee and other revelations by whistleblowers have indicated that several billions of naira have been squandered by the Interim Managements with nothing to show on ground.

“Billions have been frittered away by the interim management committees over the last 18 months with no visible projects apart from N10billion expended on the headquarters building which was already 70% completed! We are also aware that billions of Naira have been spent by the various Interim Management arrangements at the NDDC since November, 2019, for unverified contracts.

“During this time not one single project has been commissioned.

“These payments are not unconnected to illegal emergency contracts.

“As we stated earlier, tension is rising in the region and President Buhari should listen to the voices of the Niger Delta people and put a halt to management charade at the NDDC by putting in place the Governing Board for the NDDC comprising the representatives from its nine constituent states in line with the NDDC Act.

“We recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had in exercise of his constitutional powers forwarded to the Senate for confirmation, the appointment of a 16–member board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) via a letter dated 18th October, 2019, personally signed by him.

“Specifically, President Buhari, in the letter, sought the Senate’s confirmation for Dr Pius Odubu, former Edo State deputy governor as chairman of the NDDC, Chief Bernard Okumagba as managing director and 14 others as members of its board.

“Accordingly, the written request, which was read on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday, October 22, 2019, by its President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, was given expeditious consideration by the upper legislative chamber, which directed its Standing Committee on Niger Delta, to screen all the nominees and report back within a week.

“The Senate screened and confirmed the appointments of 15 out of the 16 nominees on Tuesday, November 5, 2019, based on the report tabled before it by the Committee on Niger Delta. We, therefore, call on President Buhari to be sensitive to the complexities and sensibilities of the Niger Delta people.

“Moreover, NDDC is a creation of the law which the President swore to abide by, protect the constitution and the law.

“It is in the best interest of the region and country, for the President to activate the spirit and letters of the extant laws by inaugurating the Board,” Ebiapko added in the statement.

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Residents Nab Man Dumping Fresh Corpse In PH

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A middle-aged man has been caught dumping the fresh corpse of a male with suspected machete cuts on it.
The suspect identified as Israel Israel, who claimed to be a native of Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, was apprehended, last Friday, while carting away a truck used in dumping a fresh male body on the Cherubim Road Bridge, Mile 3, Diobu axis in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area of the state.
A local security personnel in the area, Richman Jogwe, said the suspect was apprehended with the truck used in dumping the dead body.
Jogwe said: “This truck was used in dumping a dead body with machete cuts in the face, head, leg and hands. So, in early hours of today, this man came to take the truck, and we got him arrested.”
He further disclosed that the suspect had been handed over to the Nkpolu Divisional Police Headquarters, Mile 3, Diobu, for interrogation.
In his reaction, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Nnamdi Omoni, said he was aware of the incident, but insisted he had no detailed information.
Omoni was quoted as saying: “I am aware that the man who brought the truck has been arrested. When I get the full details, I will let you know.”

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Wike, Real Madrid Sign Cooperation Ratification Pact

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Real Madrid and the Rivers State Government have signed a cooperation ratification agreement for promotion of sports amongst children and youths at the Real Madrid Academy, Port Harcourt.
The signing of the ratification of the framework for cooperation agreement between the international football club and the Rivers State Government took place over the weekend at the Auditorium of Real Madrid Sport City, Fuerzas Armadas Avenue, 402, Madrid, Spain.
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, on behalf of the Rivers State Government; the Executive Vice President of the Real Madrid Foundation, Mr. Enrique Sanchez; and President of Interact Sports, Mr. Jihad Saade; jointly signed the agreement.
Speaking at the event, Wike commended the Real Madrid Foundation and the Interact Sports for the opportunity given to the Rivers State Government to partner with the Real Madrid Football Club in order to encourage Rivers’ youths to develop their talents and skill through sport.
He said the state government was pleased to ratify the agreement with the Real Madrid Foundation, and assured that everything has been done to fully kick-start the Real Madrid Academy in Port Harcourt.
Wike, who was accompanied by the Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, and the Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor (SAN), explained that the initial intention was to admit only boys as students into the Real Madrid Academy, but following the huge application received from prospective female students, the state government had to reconsider the policy.
“We had to stop to include the girls. We are very ready to kick-start the school, and we believe that this is a very good opportunity for our people. We are honoured to be identified with the Real Madrid; it is a good brand for us.”
Wike reaffirmed his belief that sport was an important factor in social integration and in the promotion of ethical values such as solidarity, participation, team spirit, respect for one’s opponent and non-discrimination.
The Real Madrid Foundation maintained its resolve to continue to promote sports amongst children and youths in the understanding that sports contributes to the comprehensive development of a young person’s personality, offering positive alternatives to situations of risk and fostering healthy habits and ways of life amongst children and youths.
On his part, the President of Interact Sports, Jihad Saade, said that Interact Sports has been an active contributor to the dynamic transformation of Nigeria, moving forward with modernity without forgetting Nigeria’s rich culture and heritage.
All the parties mutually acknowledged that they have the necessary legal capacity and authorisation to execute and subscribe to the protocol.
The Real Madrid Foundation is the instrument by which Real Madrid uses to promote, both in Spain as well as abroad, the values inherent in sports, and the latter’s role as an educational tool capable of contributing to the comprehensive development of the personality of those who practice it.

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…Omehia Hails Wike On Feat

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Former governor of Rivers State, Sir Celestine Omehia, has said that The Sun Man of the Year 2020 Award conferred on Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, was very fitting and timely.
Omehia also expressed gratitude to The Sun Publishing Limited, publishers of Daily Sun, Saturday Sun, Sunday Sun and Sporting Sun for recognising the achievements of Wike for the third consecutive time.
In a statement, yesterday, Omehia said that Wike was deserving of the award considering the giant developmental strides he has recorded in Rivers State.
He described Wike as an astute administrator and a distinguished politician who listens to the needs of the people of Rivers State and implements them accordingly.
Omehia said that Wike has during his over six years’ stint as governor of Rivers, performed excellently in the different facets of the lives of the Rivers people.
He maintained that as someone who has had the opportunity of occupying the coveted office, he can bear testimony to the fact that the Nyesom Wike-led administration has done excellently well.
According to Omehia, “his records in infrastructural development, security, urban and rural development, human resources development, including his political prowess, are unrivalled.
“Governor Wike has deployed the resources of the state to the benefit of the people, justifying the mandate massively and duly given to him by the people of Rivers State.”
Omehia also called on the opposition political parties in the state to emulate the leadership qualities of Wike, and join hands with the performing governor to move the state forward.
While noting that in unity, the state stands to gain in all ramifications, Omehia stated that division would do no one any good, irrespective of his status or political affiliation.
He further said he was not regretting his performance during his short stay in Government House, Port Harcourt as governor of the state, saying that he left significant landmarks for residents of the state.

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