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Buhari Sacks NDDC Administrator, Names New Mgt Team, Governing Board …Names Audu-Ohwavborua Acting MD …N’Delta Elders Kick

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President Muhammadu Buhari has sacked the Interim Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Effion Okon Akwa. Akwa’s dismissal was with immediate effect.
In a statement in Abuja, yesterday, the Director of Press, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Patricia Deworitshe, said the President also approved the constitution of a new Management Team and Governing Board of the NDDC, in line with section 5(2), of the NDDC Act; 2000.
“The names of the nominees for the new management team and Governing Board are to be transmitted to the National Assembly for approval,” the statement said.
The statement with the title ‘NDDC sole administrator relieved of his appointment’ reads: “President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the disengagement of the Interim Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Effiong Okon Akwa, from his post with effect from today, October 20,2022.
“Mr Akwa was appointed interim administrator of the Commission for the duration of the Forensic Audit into the operations of the NDDC, which has now been concluded.
“President Buhari has also approved the constitution of a new Management Team and Governing Board of the NDDC in line with section 5(2) of the NDDC Act, 2000. The names of the nominees for the new management team and Governing Board are to be transmitted to the National Assembly for approval.”
However, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, appointed a new Managing Director, Engr Emmanuel Audu-Ohwavborua, for the Niger Delta Development Commission.
According to a statement released by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, the appointment is in an acting capacity pending the appointment of a substantive managing director.
The statement said, “Sequel to President Muhammad Buhari’s approval of the disengagement of the Interim Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission from his position, the President has further approved that the most senior director in the commission should take over the running of the affairs of the commission in line with the Federal Government Circular dated December 4, 2017, with Ref. No. 50/S./C.2/268, pending the appointment of a substantive Managing Director and members of the Governing Board.
“Accordingly, Engr Emmanuel Audu-Ohwavborua (FNSE) will perform the duties of the Managing Director in an acting capacity pending the appointment of a substantive Managing Director and members of the Governing Board.”
Reacting to the president’s decision, the Niger Delta Elders’ Forum (NDEF), again, aligned with what it described as the “legitimate demands of Niger Delta authentic stakeholders” to urge President MuhammaduBuhari to “comply with the law setting up NDDC and inaugurate the substantive board to manage the commission for the benefit of the people of the nine Niger Delta states.”
In a statement by its National President, Chief TonyeOgbogbula, it stated that “the most salient issue that the authentic stakeholders of the Niger Delta has consistently demanded, and which the President also made commitments on is to end the illegal interim management/sole administratorship at the NDDC and inaugurate the board of the commission upon receipt of the forensic audit, in compliance with the law.”
According to the group, Buhari made the commitment “to the nation on June 24, 2021, when he received the leadership of Ijaw National Congress (INC) in Aso Rock, Abuja,” and re-affirmed the commitment in his “recent announcement, on July 28, 2022, that the board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) will soon be inaugurated,” thereby restating his “commitment to end the ongoing illegal sole administratorship at the NDDC and inaugurate the board of the commission in compliance with the law.”
The forum’s statement read in full, “In tandem with the legitimate demands of Niger Delta authentic stakeholders, we again urge President MuhammaduBuhari to comply with the law setting up NDDC and inaugurate the substantive board to manage the commission for the benefit of the people of the nine Niger Delta states.
“The most salient issue that the authentic stakeholders of the Niger Delta has consistently demanded, and which the President also made commitments on is to end the illegal interim management/sole administratorship at the NDDC and inaugurate the board of the commission upon receipt of the forensic audit, in compliance with the law, and which commitment he made to the nation on June 24, 2021 when he received the leadership of Ijaw National Congress (INC) in Aso Rock, Abuja.
“Following the recent announcement, on July 28, 2022, by President MuhammaduBuhari that the board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) will soon be inaugurated, he also restated his commitment to end the ongoing illegal sole administratorship at the NDDC and inaugurate the board of the commission in compliance with the law.
“President Buhari restated his commitment to inaugurate the NDDC Board on July 28, 2022 while declaring open a retreat for management of the ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and NDDC at the State House Banquet Hall, Presidential Villa, Aso Rock, Abuja.
“We also recall that he had earlier made a commitment to the nation on June 24, 2021 when he received the leadership of Ijaw National Congress (INC) in Aso Rock, Abuja. The President said: ‘‘Based on the mismanagement that had previously bedevilled the NDDC, a forensic audit was set up and the result is expected by the end of July, 2021. I want to assure you that as soon as the forensic audit report is submitted, the NDDC Board will be inaugurated.’
“The forensic audit report has been submitted to President MuhammaduBuhari over a year ago, on September 2, 2021. Regrettably, the NDDC which is the foremost Niger Delta regional development agency and which was set up to right the wrongs in the Niger Delta is still being run by a sole administrator appointed in breach of the NDDC Act.
“President MuhamnaduBuhari had forwarded to the Senate for confirmation the appointment of a board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) via a letter dated October18, 2019.
“Specifically, President Buhari in the letter sought the Senate’s confirmation for Dr Pius Odubu (Edo) as chairman of the NDDC Board, Chief Bernard Okumagba (Delta) as managing director, EngrOtobongNdem (AkwaIbom) as executive director, projects, and Maxwell Oko (Bayelsa) as executive director, finance and administration. Others listed in the President’s letter of to the Senate included Prophet Jones Erue, representing Delta State, Chief Victor Ekhalor (Edo), Nwogu N Nwogu (Abia), Theodore A. Allison (Bayelsa), Victor Antai (AkwaIbom), Maurice Effiwatt (Cross River), OlugbengaEdema (Ondo), Hon UchegbuChidiebereKyrian representing Imo State.
“The rest are Aisha Murtala Mohammed from Kano State, representing North-West, ShuaibArdoZubairu from Adamawa representing North-East, and AmbAbdullahi M.Bage from Nasarawa representing North-Central, on the board, respectively.
“The president’s letter personally signed by him reads: ‘In accordance with the provision of Section 2(2)(a) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) (Establishment) Act, 2000, I write to forward, for confirmation by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the under listed nominees for appointment into the NDDC board, to occupy the positions indicated against their names.’
“President Buhari, in the letter, expressed hope that ‘the Senate will consider and confirm the nominees in the usual expeditious manner’.
“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 NDDC, to carry out screening exercise on all the nominees and report back within a week.
“The Senate’s standing committee carried out the screening exercise on 15 out of the 16 nominees on Thursday, October 31, 2019, upon which the Senate in Plenary confirmed their appointments on November 5, 2019.
“However, after the nominees were screened and confirmed by the Nigerian Senate on the 5th of November, 2019, President Buhari asked that the inauguration of the board should be put on hold pending the completion of the forensic audit, for which an Interim Management Committee was appointed for the NDDC.
“The forensic audit report has been submitted to President MuhammaduBuhari over a year ago, on September 2, 2021. Regrettably, the NDDC which is the foremost Niger Delta regional development agency and which was set up to right the wrongs in the Niger Delta is still being run by a sole administrator appointed in breach of the NDDC Act.
“President MuhammaduBuhari had already nominated a Board for the NDDC in October 2019 whose members were vetted by all relevant agencies of the Federal Government following which they were screened and confirmed by the Nigerian Senate on November 5 2019. They are waiting to be inaugurated. Mr President has restated his intention to inaugurate the board on the completion of the forensic audit, which commitment he restated on Thursday, July 28, 2022 while declaring open a retreat for management of the ministry of Niger Delta affairs and NDDC at the State House Banquet Hall, Presidential Villa, Aso Rock, Abuja.
“We, therefore, urge President Buhari to inaugurate the board and management of the commission, in compliance with the law to ensure that the nine constituent states of the region will have fair and equitable representation in the commission in line with the NDDC Act 2000 which brought the interventionist agency into existence and made it mandatory for the President to appoint a board and management for the commission, subject to confirmation by the Senate.
“We align with other authentic stakeholders to restate that the preservation of a sole administrator or an interim administration in the management of the commission is not only a breach of the NDDC Act 2000 but an affront on the long-deprived people of the region who have had to endure three years of the foremost agency being arbitrarily run in breach of the law – the NDDC Act and in utter disregard of their need and the region’s development.
“We also wish to remind President Buhari, the Federal Government, and indeed the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) that the continued administration of the NDDC by a sole administrator is illegal because the NDDC Act has no provision for this illegality as the NDDC Act only provides that the Board and Management of the NDDC at any point in time should follow the provisions of the law which states that the board and management is to be appointed by the President, subject to confirmation by the Senate. In effect, nobody is supposed to begin to administer the NDDC and utilise the huge funds accruing to it on a monthly basis without passing through this legal requirement as stipulated in the NDDC Act.
“We also remind President Buhari and the Federal Government that whereas the North-East Development Commission (NEDC) has been allowed to function with its duly inaugurated board (since May 2019) in line with the NEDC Act, thereby guaranteeing proper corporate governance, accountability, checks and balances, and fair representation of its constituent states, the NDDC on the other hand has been arbitrarily managed in the past three years by interim administrations/sole administrator, in flagrant violation of the law establishing the commission.
“As stakeholders in the Niger Delta region we align with other credible voices in the region to emphasise that the Federal Government, President Buhari, and indeed the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), should be concerned about the disdain of the Niger Delta people over the manner the NDDC has been handled, most especially administering the commission with illegal interim managements/sole administrator contraptions for five years in this administration’s seven years in office, and therefore needs to end the ongoing illegality in NDDC if this government is to be remembered for good in the Niger Delta.
“All stakeholders are now awaiting the earnest inauguration of the NDDC Board appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate since November 2019 in line with the NDDC Act to ensure fair representation of the nine constituent states, accountability in the utilisation of the NDDC funds, checks and balances and due process in the administration of the commission”.

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June 12: DSS Issues Stern Warning Against Protest

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The Department of State Services (DSS) has warned individuals and groups planning to stage protests on June 12, Democracy Day, to desist from any violent or disruptive actions.
The warning was contained in a statement signed by the Director of Public Relations and Strategic Communications, DSS, Dr Peter Afunanya, yesterday.
The Service said it has received intelligence on plans to incite violence and disrupt public order during the protests.
The security agency vowed to maintain public safety and national security and urged citizens to resist any persuasions to engage in lawless acts.
The DSS also encouraged disgruntled persons to channel their grievances through appropriate channels and procedures.
Afunanya said: “The attention of the Department of State Services (DSS) has been drawn to plans by certain individuals and groups to stage physical protests in some parts of the country on 12th June 2024. These protests are designed with sinister objectives to coincide with the Democracy Day Celebration.
“While citizens may have the rights of assembly and expression, such freedoms should not be used to undermine public safety and national security. The determination by some non-state actors to incite mass disaffection through demonstrations that may turn violent will not be tolerated.
“Citizens are, therefore, called upon to resist any persuasions to be lawless or cause disorder and anarchy in the nation. Displeased persons are rather encouraged to appropriately channel their grievances through the right channels and procedures.
“The Service, while felicitating the government and citizens on this auspicious occasion of celebrating 25 years of unbroken democracy, calls for continued patriotism, unity and commitment to building a Nigeria of our collective dream.
“The Service will sustain collaboration with all relevant stakeholders, including sister security agencies, to maintain the peace as well as protect lives and property across the nation. Law-abiding citizens are enjoined to go about their businesses without fear.”

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Court’s CTC Validates Our Position On Amaewhule, Others -Rivers AG …Advises Media Against Misinterpretation Of Judgements

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The Rivers State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Dagogo Israel Iboroma, SAN, has said that the State High Court neither declared nor affirmed Martin Amaewhule as Speaker of the House of Assembly, stressing that the certified true copy (CTC) of court judgment validates the government’s position.
Mr Iboroma also urged media practitioners to desist from giving interpretations to court judgments by fiat, emotional or other shades of persuasions.
Rather, he advised that they should first obtain the judgement in order to read it thoroughly to gain proper understanding or at best, seek competent legal advice before going to press.
Mr Iboroma gave the advice yesterday night while briefing newsmen after obtaining the certified true copy (CTC) of the Monday court judgment in Port Harcourt.
The briefing was to restate his earlier position that there was no court ruling that ever declared or affirmed Martin Amaewhule and 26 others as members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Rivers State House of Assembly.
Iboroma said: “Yesterday (Monday), I briefed the press and made the point that there is a misrepresentation of the judgment of the High Court of Rivers State in Suit No. DHC/20/CS/2024 in social, print, and electronic media.
“My position has been confirmed and vindicated by the Certified True Copy of the court order in Suit No. DHC/20/CS/2024.”
Mr Iboroma stated that a court order embodied the enforceable decisions of a court, adding that in this case in focus, the enforceable orders of the court will necessarily entail the specific pronouncements of the court.
He listed the three orders of the court in the judgment to include: “That this Suit be and is hereby dismissed/struck out for want of jurisdiction.
“That the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) be and is hereby joined as 4th defendant.
“That the claimants’ case be and is hereby dismissed for lacking in merit.”
Mr Iboroma further said: “Contrary to the false claims and misrepresentation in social, print and electronic media, the court did not make a declaration that Martin Amaewhule is the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, neither did it make a declaration that Martin Amaewhule and 26 others are members of the Rivers State House of Assembly and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“If it were so, it would have been embodied in the court orders which have been circulated to you all and displayed by me here for the purpose of clarity.”
Mr Iboroma regretted that by the deliberate misrepresentation of yesterday (Monday), the court was painted in bad light and the public misled with such misinformation.
He said: “Whatever finding of fact that is not included in the court order is an Obiter Dictum, which has no binding force.
“Once again, I respectively urge the media to desist from giving any interpretation to any judgement without first reading the content of the judgement and seeking legal advice,” the attorney-general added.

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Sexual Harassment: Minister Drags Perm Sec Before Head Of Service

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The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar, has formally lodged a complaint with the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation regarding allegations of sexual harassment levelled against the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Ibrahim Lamuwa.
In a letter addressed to the HOCSF dated May 27, 2024, Tuggar expressed his concern over the serious nature of the allegation levelled against the permanent secretary by Mrs Simisola Ajayi.
He emphasised the importance of addressing the matter urgently and thoroughly.
The letter was titled, “Re: Official Complaint Regarding Sexual Harassment Of Mrs Simisola Fajemirokun Ajayi By Ambassador Ibrahim Adamu Lamuwa (Permanent Secretary Ministry Of Foreign Affairs.
It read, “I am compelled to write to inform you of a formal complaint against the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Ibrahim Adamu Lamuwa, on allegations of sexual harassment.
“Bearing in mind the gravity of the matter, I feel it necessary to draw your attention to it and ask that you handle it accordingly,”
The letter included an attachment of the complaint received via email, and Tuggar assured the HOCSF his full cooperation in the investigation.
“May I also assure you that I remain available to provide you with any assistance required in discharging your responsibilities,” he added.
Ajayi, had a petition dated May 29, 2024, addressed to Tuggar, accused the permanent secretary of serial sexual harrasment.
Ajayi, through her lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), called for a thorough investigation into the actions of Amb. Lamuwa.
The petition, signed by Adebayo A. Oniyelu LP of Falana & Falana’s, was titled “Request For An Investigation Of Amb. Ibrahim Lamuwa’s Conducts Of Sexual Harassment At The Place Of Work, Abuse Of Office, Official Intimidation And Discrimination.”
According to the petition, Ajayi narrated multiple instances of harassment allegedly by Lamuwa, which have created an unsafe and uncomfortable working environment.
She claimed for instance that during a policy retreat on October 7, 2023, Lamuwa allegedly made inappropriate advances towards her, suggesting she joined him in his hotel room.
He reportedly continued with inappropriate remarks throughout the retreat.
She also cited an incident on November 10, 2023, where Lamuwa allegedly invited Ajayi to travel to Hong Kong, promising significant personal benefits from the trip.

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