FG To Review NDDC’s Policies
As part of activities leading to the virtual commissioning of the new Headquarters of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in Port Harcourt, the Federal Government has said that it would soon review the NDDC’s policies and modules.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio said this at the pre-commissioning press conference of the new NDDC Headquarters in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Akpabio said NDDC was not all about mismanagement in terms of corruption, but corruption-associated with policies, stating that all that would soon change.
He said with forensic audit and the needed changes effected, NDDC must begin to see the money coming in to deliver major regional plans to execute major projects, including linking the entire mandate states by all transport means possible.
According to him, “by the time the forensic audit closes, NDDC will change, so when you look at NDDC, it is not just the mismanagement in terms of corruption, it’s also the corruption associated with policies, corruption associated with the modus operandi. To get paid for a job, by the time you are through with state offices and you come to headquarters to get your money, in the finance department, you need about 26 signatures before payments are done, so any of them that does not sign the paper, it means that person would have to wait for the 5-6 years, so we’ll also look at the internal governing of the NDDC and reposition it”.
Akpabio also said the Federal Government is determined to complete the first to 4th sections of the East-West Road.
He also said that the NDDC would review the scholarship programme for students in order to train more persons.
He hinted that the commission was spending over N300 million yearly as rent for the rented headquarters office in Port Harcourt, saying, “What many didn’t know was that for over 15 years, that office was not connected to the national grid. So, the purchase of diesel also became a racket, so you understand why completing the permanent headquarters was not the focus for so long”.
On the permanent headquarters project, he said the President deserved commendation for approving the desire of his ministry and the commission’s management to ensure its completion where successive administrations have failed to realise the same since the days of OMPADEC, 25 years ago.
The Interim Board Administrator of the NDDC, Dr Effiong Akwa, on his part, commended the Rivers State Government, the Okrika community leaders for their co-operation in the construction of the headquarters.
He said, “I would not end this media conference without appreciating the Rivers State Government for providing us with a conducive environment throughout our work here, we did not encounter community issues and so I also wish to thank the youths of this community particularly the Okrika youths. They are the best I have come across in recent times, they were cooperating with us. the Rivers State Government provided excellent security”.
By: Tonye Nria-Dappa
IPC Condemns Election Day Attacks On Journalists In Lagos, Others
The International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos has expressed regrets over the reported incidents of attacks on journalists and other media professionals who covered the Saturday March 18, 2023 rescheduled Gubernatorial/States House of Assembly elections in some parts of the country including Rivers, Lagos, and Ogun States.
This was contained in a statement signed by IPC’s Freedom Officer, Melody Lawal, and made availabe to the Press in Port Harcourt, weekend.
The IPC noted that its “Journalists’ -Election-Day-Safety-Alert-Desk” confirmed that AIT Reporters and cameramen, Henrietta Oke, Amarachi Amushie and Nkiru Nwokedi were molested and prevented from covering the elections at some polling units in Eti-Osa, Ifako-Ijaiye and Amuwo Odofin Local Government Areas of Lagos State by political thugs and hoodlums.
According to the statement, Nwokedi temporarily lost her phone before it was recovered with the help of Odua Peoples Congress (OPC) men, while Amushie was rough-handled, her camera damaged, and the cameraman beaten under the watch of a political chieftain.
The Alert Desk also established that Arise Television News crew, which comprised of a Reporter, Mr.Oba Adeoye; Cameraman, Opeyemi Adenihun; and driver, Mr. Yusuf Hassan, were also attacked while covering voting in Elegushi area of Lagos.
“The cameraman, Opeyemi Adenihun suffered facial injuries, while drones and equipment were seized”, it said.
In Ogun State, News Agency of Nigeria’s reporter, Adejoke Adeleye, was among journalists molested in Itori Odo Area of Abeokuta South Local Government where they faced mob attack by political thugs who also reportedly assaulted INEC officials with axes and allegedly destroyed ballot boxes.
It also expressed dissatisfactions that some overzealous security agents disallowed INEC approved journalists from executing their jobs in some areas in Rivers State.
The IPC, however, condemed these unacceptable attacks which constituted both the violation of the fundamental rights of the affected journalists and media workers and major assault on press freedom.
“Following the attacks on journalists during the presidential and national Assembly elections on February 25, we had called on the Police, the Political Parties and all concerned to take measures to protect them today.
It is therefore worrisome that such attacks have been repeated”, the statement added.
The statement, further charged security agencies to thoroughly investigate the various attacks and ensure that the perpetrators face the consequences of their illegal and actions on the people.
By: King Onunwor
RSU Commits To Holding Inaugural Lectures
Management of the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, has reaffirmed its commitment to maintaining the traditional holding of Inaugural Lectures to advance knowledge-based research and development of the university, despite the enormous challenges in the country.
Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Nlerum S. Okogbule who stated this during the 85th inaugural lecture held recently at the Senate Chamber of the University, said the institution has kept faith in the importance and essence of inaugural lectures, which, he said, is held monthly, since his emergence as the Vice Chancellor of the University.
Prof. Okogbule, who also stated that the present university management remains committed and focused in rendering laudable services to the state, described the 85th inaugural lecture as unique as it is held before the break of the university for the 2023 Presidential and National Assembly election.
Earlier, the 85th inaugural lecturer and Professor of Mass Transfer of Chemical Engineering, Professor Awajiogak Anthony Ujile, called on various agencies of government to monitor the activities of process industries with a view to determining compliance to regulations on water policies and protection of infrastructure.
Professor Ujile, who spoke on the topic “Contending with Reliability, Availability, Sustainability of Water and Infrastructural Protection Using Chemical Engineering Mass Transfer”, admonished the Federal and State Ministries of Environment to take ground water protection issues as most paramount, and ensure institutionalization and enforcement of waste disposal system to enhance quality water protection in the society.
Professor Ujile urged public office holders to, as a matter of necessity, provide quality water for the people in the country.
Voters Happy With Early Arrival Of Election Materials
Some voters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital on Saturday expressed happiness over the early arrival of electoral materials to their polling units despite the apathy that greeted the exercise.
A cross section of the voters told The Tide that election materials arrived at their polling centres between 8 a.m. and 8:25a.m.
They described the elections as peaceful and commended the orderly conduct of the process, but bemoaned the low turnout.
Emmanuel Nweke said he arrived at his polling centre, Unit 3 Ward 6, Woji, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area at about 8:45 a.m. and met the INEC officials and materials already seated.
“This is how elections should be conducted; in a manner that is devoid of violence and malpractice.
“It did not take me up to three minutes to be accredited and vote. I must commend INEC for this”, he said.
Another voter, Nmasi Gabriel, 49, said she arrived at polling Unit 4, Ward 6 around 9a.m. and cast her ballot seamlessly.
“But I don’t think that I will be able to wait till 2:30p.m. when the actual vote counting will commence.
“If the Presidential and National Assembly elections were organised like this, maybe more people would have come out to vote today and the country would be better for it”, she added.
A voter in Ward 12, Unit 4, Rumuowoji, Port Harcourt Local Government Area, Mr Chima Asiegbe, said he was impressed by the early arrival of the NEC officials with the voting materials.
He, however, lamented the low turnout of voters, but noted that the exercise was peaceful.
Chief Boniface Amadi, another voter, blamed the low turnout on alleged lack of confidence the electorate had in INEC, going by the conduct of the Feb. 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections.
The source reports that the main contenders for Rivers Governorship position are PDP’s candidate, Sim Fubara, and Tonye Cole of the APC, supported by former Governor, Chibuike Amaechi.
Others are former Senator, Magnus Abe of the SDP and the Labour Party candidate, Beatrice Itubor.
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