Deputy Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, Mr Joseph Bassey, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for ordering a forensic audit of the operations of the Niger Delta Development Commission from 2001 to 2019.
Bassey, who spoke in an interview with The Tide’s source in Calabar, urged the President not to relent in prosecuting the offenders after the audit exercise.
He lamented the poor state of rural development in the South-South region, adding that some few individuals had looted what was supposed to bring collective development to the people.
According to him, the Calabar-Itu-Akwa Ibom Federal Highway is in need of urgent intervention from the Federal Government.
“From the time past, we have had Chairmen and Managing Directors of NDDC from Cross River and Akwa Ibom states and the volume of budgets have been high.
“It is sad that the only road that connects the two sister states is still in a state of decay years after years because some few individuals have taken what belongs to the people.
“I strongly commend Mr President for ordering the audit of the commission. Also, I want to commend the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, for standing firm to that.
“However, I am soliciting for the immediate intervention of the Calabar-Itu road because as we speak, a journey from Calabar to Akwa Ibom that ordinarily should be for an hour is now five hours.
“The establishment of the Commission was to make life meaningful for the people of South South. But some individuals who lack conscience have looted the resources for their personal benefit,” he said.
Bassey alleged that the South South region has the worst road network in the country due to the greed of few individuals, adding that the culprits should be sent to jail after the audit.
“This is not time for PDP or APC, this is above party affiliation because both politicians and non politicians pass on that road.
“The economy of both states has been affected by this very particular road. I want to urge the President to start the audit immediately.
“I pity the common man on the street. As a politician, I feel very guilty passing through that road because you cannot drive for a minute without falling into a major ditch.
“I don’t think anybody who has been in NDDC and was given resources to do that road should be forgiven because most of them are flying around and building houses with the funds,” he said.
He urged South South indigenes to support Akpabio in his drive to ensure speedy development in the region, adding that all forms of distraction towards him should be discouraged.
He suggested that when the funds are recovered from the audit, the focus should also be on immediate rehabilitation of roads in the South South, especially the Calabar-Itu road.
N’Delta Ministry, NDDC, PAP Move To End Pipeline Vandalism
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Umana Okon Umana, has said the ministry was joining forces with the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) to end vandalism of oil facilities.
Umana made the remark in a statement issued by Special Adviser, Media, PAP, Neotabase Egbe, in Yenogoa, on Friday.
The minister, who was speaking while receiving PAP’s Interim Administrator, retired Col. Milland Dikio, in his office, said Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the ministry would consolidate their efforts for a holistic development of the region.
According to him, it is high time the ministry, PAP and the NDDC worked in tandem to develop common practical templates to tackle the problems in the region, especially oil theft related activities.
Umana said such joint rescue plan was required because oil theft and pipeline vandalism were undermining the peace and security of the nation.
“Those of us in the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, the Presidential Amnesty Programme, the NDDC and other stakeholders, including community leaders, should work together to address the burning issue in our region.
“I would like all of us to sit down and come up with a solution to this problem. I challenge all of us to work together to assist the Federal Government to solve the problem,” Umana said.
He acknowledged that Dikio was right in his argument that the region would be better off if the various agencies charged with developing it worked in one accord.
The Minister offered to work with Dikio to achieve the objectives of the recovery plan, especially in training.
Earlier, Dikio informed the Minister that the leadership of PAP embarked on the visit to congratulate him on his appointment and to seek areas of support and collaboration.
He said it was time all the agencies established for the improvement of the region began to work together for optimal impact. Dikio identified infrastructure development as the key element in efforts to guarantee peace and stability in the region.
He added that the amnesty programme had developed a strategy to wean youths in the region from deviancy and militancy through an orientation plan, targeting the age of 13 years and above.
Dikio said the youth reorientation project was part of the stabilisation plan that would create the right atmosphere for development partners to engage with and assist the region in its quest for development.
Edo To Employ 1,000 Teachers, Extends Reform To Sec Education
The Edo State Government is to recruit 1,000 teachers for secondary schools in the State under the EdoSTAR fellowship as part of the reform in the post-basic education sector.
The State Commissioner for Education, Dr Joan Osa-Oviawe, announced this on Friday in Benin while briefing newsmen on the launch of reform into secondary education in the State.
This recruitment, she said, would be in addition to the 3,000 teachers already engaged for the primary and junior secondary schools in the State.
According to her, the action is to address the existing shortage of teachers towards a provision of high quality education.
The commissioner said the reform was meant to prepare students to meet performance expectations in a constantly changing workplace so as to remain relevant.
Under the reform, she said, 60 per cent of the activities in the schools would be for teaching, learning and instructional time, 24 per cent for co-curricular activities, while 16 per cent shall be devoted for brain stimulating activities for students.
She also disclosed that model digital learning would be introduced across the State, commencing with 40 pilot schools in partnership with the UNICEF.
“The quality of education students receive in schools has come under scrutiny recently in Edo State, due to the high rate of malpractice and misconduct reported during major examination exercises in the State, as well as lack of personnel to effectively deliver training across 307 schools dispersed across the State’s 18 Local Government Areas.
“In order to build on the achievements already seen in the Basic Education Sector Transformation (EdoBEST) Programme, the State Government has been compelled to take decisive action under the EdoBEST 2.0 reform agenda in order to address concerns with secondary education,”she said.
Osa-Oviawe explained that school calendar had been designed in a way to ensure students learn for at least 400 hours/450 class periods each term.
“The reform will implement a uniform timetable that guarantees lectures are delivered just about anywhere, reduces the possibility of instructors’ classes conflicting, and maximises the use of the limited teaching staff and resources.
“Implement a uniform scheme of work and scripted lessons to direct teachers in the universally dispensing lectures throughout the state and uphold a high standard of teaching and learning.
“Make it easier to set up in-class libraries in all the state’s classrooms with the goal of enticing students to use the libraries more and learn how to manage books,” said the commissioner.
On the deplorable state of schools in the state, Osa-Oviawe said the present government inherited large inventory of dilapidated schools, but seeking collaborative efforts to strengthening education funding, particularly in the area of infrastructural renewal.
2023: Group Blasts Abati Over Outburst Against PDP Leaders
A group, the Niger Delta Youth Leadership Forum (NDYLF) has slammed the former Presidential spokesman, Dr Reuben Abati, over outburst against leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), for purportedly condoning the alleged excesses of Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike.
The group stated that Abati’s outburst is a clear attempt to malign and denigrate Governor Wike and the PDP leaders, noting that the former’s description that the party’s leaders were ‘hungry men who allowed Wike to take over the party’ was one insult too many on both the Rivers state Governor and the party’s leaders.
President of the Niger Delta Youth Leadership Forum (NDYLF), Richard Akinaka, said the position of Reuben Abati was an hatchet job and a clear indication that it was a case of vendetta against Governor Wike.
This was just as the NDYLF President also added that Abati’s outburst against the duo of governor Wike and the party’s leaders amounted also to his unholy political affiliation and alliance with those who may have commissioned him to use his platform to disparage the character of supposed political enemies.
“Reuben has so far in his conduct not just on Wike but other previous altercations with guests on his programme, demonstrated his partisanship, hence, he is not fit to be on such platforms anymore. His attitude so far is a demonstration that he has failed to remove the sweetness of the lollipop attached to his former office as presidential spokesman where he performed woefully and would want to return to such office to correct his previous failures.
“Wike’s records as a successful career lawyer and politician are an open book for even the blind to read and deaf to hear, having risen to a member of the body of benchers, from council Chairman to Chief of staff, Government House and then to Minister, and finally to one of the best governors in the history of Nigeria and above all, a presidential aspirant who was an embodiment of the aspiration of the entire South as evident in the widespread support he enjoys which is clear frustration to Reuben’s interest.”
“But unfortunately for Abati, there is no record if advancement of progress in his decorated media career of about three decades as he has just been an employee to younger colleagues of his. Abati employed as a TV anchor, mere news reader and columnist by a junior colleague, since all these decades in his profession, he has failed to set up his own structure, should be one of the umpires to feed the Nigerian populace a balanced and unbiased analysis on issues”, the group said.
“A successful Abati in his career at this point should have been an employer of labour in his field to mentor other younger ones, or maybe he like the people he promotes want to perpetuate himself and deprive younger ones from growing.Reuben Abati as a presidential spokesman was not a match to the opposition led by Lai Mohammed who deflated and incapacitated him to the extent that Nigerians never knew Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency was perhaps the best.”
“Reuben’s activities in recent times could be perceived as though he did not work for his former boss – Jonathan from the South in 2015 because some of us are just coming to terms with how he was unable to inform Nigerians on the good things of the Goodluck’s presidency. Maybe it was part of his failure.In politics, his only achievement was an attempt to be a factional deputy governorship candidate of the PDP in Ogun State which he failed.”
“If Arise TV wants Nigerians to take it serious and value their services, they must urgently purge the station of blackmailers and Public Relations Contractors.To some of us unlike the Abati’s, what Wike did for the PDP was an act of excellent leadership to keep our democracy competitive”, the NDYLF added.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa
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