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NDDC Contract Scam: ‘How ED Attempted To Bribe EFCC’

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The South-South Zonal Head of Operations of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ishaq Salihu, has told a Port Harcourt High Court, how a former director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Robert Akunne Obuoha, offered him a bribe of N150, 000 in order to compromise an ongoing investigation by the commission.
He gave details of the bribe offer before Justice S.C. Amadi, while being led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, O.B. Akinsola.
Obuoha, a former director, Projects Management of the NDDC, is being prosecuted in a case of contract splitting and over-inflation of contracts.
At the resumed hearing of the case, the EFCC presented its last witness, Salihu, who told the court that, “on February 12, 2016, the defendant came to my office where he told me that he wanted to see me in private, and I asked him, why?
“I categorically told him that it was not possible, and that, whatever he wished to see me about, should be discussed in the presence of the investigators. There upon, he dipped his hand into his pocket, and brought out a sum of N150, 000.00, made up of three bundles of N50, 000.00 of N500 denomination each, and offered them to me.
“I asked him what the money was meant for; the defendant said I should use it to buy recharge cards, and also to establish a relationship with me. This prompted the commission to investigate the matter, and file a charge against the defendant.”
Defense counsel, Sam Nwadigha, asked Salihu whether he had any personal dealings with the defendant “before February 12, 2016?” and he responded “Yes and No”.
“Yes, because he came to the EFCC to write a statement over an ongoing investigation in which his name featured, and he was allowed to go and bring in a surety because of the volume of money involved. As a staff of NDDC, he was asked to go and bring a reliable surety,” Salihu explained.
Obuoha, had in his confessional statement, admitted that he offered Salihu the said money “for him to buy recharge cards in order to build a good relationship with him.”
After listening to both parties in the matter, Justice Amadi adjourned the case to July 13, 2017, for the defence counsel to open its case.
The charge against him reads:  “That you, Robert Akunne Obuoha on or about the 12th day of February, 2016, at Port Harcourt in the Port Harcourt Judicial Division, did corruptly give N150, 000.00, only to Mr. Ishaq Salihu, a public officer and zonal head of operations, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, South-South zone, Port Harcourt, for the purpose of ‘’recharge cards”, and with a view to influence his decision in a case wherein you are being investigated, and thereby committed an offence, official corruption contrary to Section 13 (1) (a) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2003 and punishable under section 13 (1) of the same  Act.”

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FG Mulls Introduction Of Private Firefighters

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The Federal Government says it is proposing to broaden the scope of the National Fire Academy to accommodate private firefighters to address fire incidents across the country.
The plan, if carried out, would lead to the emergence of private firefighters in the country.
Speaking after his first official inspection tour of the academy, the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, said the fire service could have certified private firefighters like the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps’ private guards.
He added that private firefighters were needed to enhance the fire service’s operations as well as improve their response time.
This was contained in a statement by the Minister’s Media Adviser, Alao Babatunde, yesterday.
The statement partly read, “Today, we have over 3 million private guards certified by the NSCDC. We can have something similar for the fire service. We need private fire service men to enhance our service and response time. The President’s #RenewedHope agenda has charged us to be innovative if we must change the narrative.
“As a matter of fact, this is another innovative way to generate revenue because we expect that anyone looking to become a safety or security guard should get trained and certified by this academy.”
Tunji-Ojo urged all institutions and recreation centres to engage certified fire and safety personnel trained by the academy when the plan materialises.
He said: “A lot has been done, but there is still a lot more to be done. With what I have seen here, I can guarantee you that we will work very hard to see that this facility will not only be useful in training officers of the fire service but also for the private sector.
“We must make fire safety a personal affair. Every institution, commercial and social recreation centre should have certified fire and safety personnel, trained by this facility.
“All public and commercial buildings and infrastructure such as banks, hotels, malls, restaurants, or even government buildings should have first responders that can administer basic fire fighting remedy while waiting for the arrival of a full operation squad of the country’s Fire Service”.

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Decentralise Pipeline Surveillance Contracts, Ondo Ex-Militants Urge Tinubu

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A group of ex-militants in Ondo State, on Wednesday, called on President Bola Tinubu to revisit the pipeline surveillance project and decentralise the awarding of the contract.
The group, under the auspices of the Ondo State Niger Delta Coastal Vanguard, said decentralisation of the contract would enhance the security of pipelines on waterways.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Public Relations Officer of the group, Chief Lucky Ajiroba.
The statement is titled, ‘Call on His Excellency President Bola Tinubu to re-visit the pipeline surveillance contract.’
The group faulted the last administration for awarding the contract to only one company, saying the purpose for which the contract was awarded was not achieved as the security situation of the pipelines was getting worse.
The statement read, “We are the members of Ondo State Niger Delta Coastal Vanguard. The group led by Akogun Job Omotuwa comprises ex-militants in the state who voluntarily submitted their arms and ammunition in response to the good gesture of the Federal Government of Nigeria under the amnesty programme in the year 2017, and we have shown our unwavering allegiance to the terms of the amnesty initiative of the government.
“The overall effects of all these are: it has increased considerably the quantum of oil production, it has substantially increased the revenue accruable to the Federation account, and ultimately it allows peaceful coexistence among the people of the oil-producing communities of the country.
“We are aware of the sterling enterprise of this administration to improve on the security architecture of the Nigeria state and all its apparatus, with a particular reference to the pipeline surveillance and secured waterways.
“The last administration made a giant stride by awarding the pipeline surveillance to a sole company in the Niger Delta Area. It is not out of place to state that the purpose upon which the contract was awarded for was not achieved as the situation of the security of the pipeline was worse than ever before since their collaborative effort was not enough to support the constituted military authorities.
“The failure of this was ascribed to the centralization of the contract. In view of this perennial failure, there has been avalanche of agitation from every quarter that the pipeline security contract should be decentralized for the purpose of achieving the desired goal of the Federal Government which is in the best interest of the entire citizens.”
The group, which commended the President for its efforts in repositioning the country’s economy, opined that each ex-militant leader in the Niger Delta Region be identified, and the pipeline security contract be split among them.

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Assembly Tasks Delta Govt On Rising Prostitution, Drug Abuse

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The Delta House of Assembly has passed a resolution urging the State Government to take drastic measures against rising cases of drug abuse and prostitution in the state.
This followed the adoption of a motion by Mrs Bridget Anyafulu (PDP-Oshimili South) at plenary in Asaba.
Presenting the motion, Anyafulu decried rising cases of open sex trade and use of illicit drugs among youths in the state, especially in Asaba and environs.
“Open sex trade and use of illicit drug is not a good example for our children.
“The situation is worrisome considering the fact that both issues are illegal,” she said.
Anyafulu, also the Chairman, House Committee on Women Affairs, Community and Social Development said that urgent measures must be taken to address the situation.
“The twin evil of drug abuse and sex trade represents great danger to the lives of our young people and the society at large.
“They both underline the physical, mental and social well-being of our young people and this will also jeopardize the development, peace and security of our dear state.
“So, I want to state that no nation survives without the youth, the youth and the young general are the life wire of our nation.
“Any nation that ignores the youth is heading for doom, so the importance of the young people cannot be over emphasized, it is therefore very important that we address this ugly trend,” she said.
Also speaking, Mr Oboro Preyor (PDP-Bomadi) decried the negative impact of rising drug abuse and prostitution, saying it must be addressed.
‘‘If this ugly trend is not addressed, it would attract more young people into their folks,’’ he said.
He also urged the government to rehabilitate youths who were addicted to drug and to create other avenues of engaging them in productive activities.
The motion was unanimously adopted by the lawmakers when put to voice vote by Speaker Dennis Guwor.
The lawmakers also called for support from law enforcement agencies to ensure the arrest and prosecution of illicit drug dealers and commercial sex workers in accordance with the law in order to curb the rising trend.

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