Tag Archives: Akpabio

Urhoghide denies getting NDDC contracts

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Senator Matthew Urhoghide has denied claims he was awarded contracts by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Senator Urhoghide represents Edo South in the upper lawmaking body of the country and was named by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, as one of the lawmakers who benefited from contract racketeering in reports making the rounds.

According to Akpabio, a former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Urhoghide was allegedly awarded six contracts by the NDDC, a claim the lawmaker has denied.

The Senator on Wednesday said the claim by the Minister is unfortunate, describing it as untrue and a ploy to misinform the public and his constituency in particular.

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“For Akpabio to say I have been a beneficiary is unfortunate and is a wicked lie and I just believe whatever mischief he wanted to perpetuate, I think Nigerians, through my own explanation, should be able to read between the lines” the former Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, told Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

The lawmaker claimed that “Akpabio’s records are not even correct. The contracts (NDDC) I have attracted to my constituency are in excess of eleven, adding that “he (Akpabio) does not know what is going on.”

Out of the six contracts that Akpabio mentioned, four are street lights projects which are ongoing with the contractors (gotten through competitive bidding) not paid a dime as mobilization, Senator Urhoghide said.

The lawmaker also clarified that the projects are NDDC projects in his constituency.

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Under Probe

The NDDC has been in the news recently following a probe of the commission over corruption allegations.

During a hearing by the House of Representatives last week, the Niger Delta Affairs Minister had alleged that some lawmakers were part of those who benefited from contracts awarded by the commission.

Following the claim, the Speaker of the House of Reps, Femi Gbajabiamila, ordered Akpabio to publish the names of the lawmakers awarded contracts by the commission and equally threatened to sue the minister over his claim.

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Speedy Probe

For President Muhammadu Buhari, there should be a coordination between the National Assembly for a speedy conclusion of the NDDC probe.

The Nigerian leader wants the probe to get to the root of the matter and reposition the commission

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu quoted his principal as calling on “auditing firms and investigative agencies working in collaboration with National Assembly Committees to resolve the challenges in the NDDC must initiate actions in a time-bound manner and duly inform the Presidency of the actions being taken.”


#Newsworthy…

NDDC: Publicise your claims – Reps ask Akpabio

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The spokesman for the House of Representatives, Rep. Benjamin Kalu (APC-Abia) has alleged that the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, has not proved his allegations against members of the parliament.

In a statement, Kalu challenged the minister to go public with documents to prove that 60 per cent of contracts in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) was awarded to lawmakers.

He recalled that Akpabio had made the allegation at an investigative hearing on the alleged N40 billion financial malfeasance in the NDDC.

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He recalled that the Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabimila, challenged the minister to publish the list of the members within 48 hours.

According to him, instead of publishing the list for the world to see in the interest of transparency, the minister chose to send an eight-paragraph private letter to the speaker.

Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio PHOTO:Twitter

Kalu explained that the letter by the minister made reference to projects of 2018 which pre-date the 9th House of Representatives and had little to do with the bogus allegation.

“The House, therefore, reiterates that the minister was given an ultimatum to publish names and not to write a personal letter to the speaker.

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“The minister is hereby cautioned to desist from spinning tales and is invited to go public as instructed.

“Nevertheless, it will interest Nigerians to know that paragraph three of the minister’s letter fully exonerated the 9th Assembly.

“Also, in paragraph seven, the minister completely withdrew his previous statement about 60 per cent of the NDDC projects being awarded to members of the 9th Assembly.

“It is also instructive for Nigerians to note that the total number of projects in the 2019 NDDC budget was 5959 out of which 5416 projects were rolled over from 2018, which the 9th Assembly obviously had no influence or control over,” he said.

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Kalu said that Akpabio presented an ineffectual spreadsheet of only 266 projects out of which about 20 projects were attracted by past members of the National Assembly as constituency projects.

He said that the projects were given to the members as contractors, but in furtherance of their representative mandate for the constituency.

According to him, the projects presented in the Akpabio’s letter are not within the scope of the investigation and has do nothing to address the leadership’s ultimatum.

Kalu said that contrary to the mischievous narrative being peddled on the internet, the only mention of the Chairman of the NDDC Committee of the 9th House of Representatives, Rep. Olubumi Tunji-Ojo in that letter, was as to his alleged request for the complete payment of 19 contractors.

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The legislator said that the contractors had approached Tunji-Ojo with complaints about NDDC’s non-payment for their services.

He added that the allegation had been completely refuted by Tunji-Ojo and for which there is no evidence linking him.

The spokesman, however, said that the directive to press charges against the Akpabio has not been lifted by the House as the leadership was busy considering the weight of the minister’s letter.

“If it does not clear the doubt and wrong perception, it will be sent to the court for clearance as the speaker stated,” he added.


#Newsworthy…

Reps insist Akpabio must publish names of lawmakers who got NDDC contracts

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The House of Representatives has asked the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, to publish the names of the members of the National Assembly who got contracts from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Spokesman for the House and Committee Chairman on Media Affairs and Publicity, Benjamin Kalu, said this in a statement on Tuesday.

He noted that the minister had alleged that 60 percent of all the NDDC projects were awarded to members of the lawmakers between the months of January and May 2020.

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Kalu explained that following the claim, the leadership of the 9th House issued a 48-hour ultimatum to Akpabio to publish a list of the lawmakers.

He decried that rather than doing as instructed, the minister wrote to the Speaker of the House, adding that the content of the letter was irrelevant to the issues raised.

The House spokesman revealed that the lawmakers were already evaluating the minister’s letter and the directive to press charges against him have not been lifted.

He said if the letter does not address the issues raised, it would be sent to the court for clearance as the speaker had stated.

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Kalu, therefore, urged Nigerians to continue to ask the right questions as to what happened to the N81.5 billion said to have been mismanaged by the NDDC in six months.

A file photo of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, during his appearance before a House of Representatives Committee on July 20, 2020.

Read the full statement below:

SEN. AKPABIO’S PERSONAL LETTER TO THE SPEAKER EXONERATES THE 9TH HOUSE BUT FAILS TO MEET THE ULTIMATUM, THE MINISTER IS INVITED TO PUBLISH THE LIST AS INSTRUCTED

Following a motion unanimously adopted by the House, an investigation was ordered into the activities and financial malfeasance of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and its Interim Management Committee (IMC) between the periods of January to May 2020.

In a coordinated and calculated attempt to distract Nigerians from the ongoing investigation, the Minister of NDDC and the leadership of the IMC raised spurious allegations against members of the National Assembly.

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The Minister claimed under oath that 60% of all the NDDC projects under investigation were awarded to members of the House between the months of January and May 2020.

Following this disturbing allegation, the leadership of the 9th House issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the Minister to publish a list of the legislators allegedly awarded 60% of the entire projects of NDDC between January and May 2020.

Instead of publishing the list for the world to see in the interest of transparency, the Minister in his usual diversionary tactics, chose to send an irrelevant 8-paragraph private letter to the Speaker regarding projects of 2018 which pre-date the 9th House of Representatives and had little to do with the bogus claims he made.

The House, therefore, reiterates that the Minister was given an ultimatum to publish names and not to write a personal letter to the Speaker. The Honourable Minister is hereby cautioned to desist from spinning tales and is invited to go public as instructed.

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Nevertheless, it will interest Nigerians to know that paragraph 3 of the Minister’s letter fully exonerated the 9th Assembly. Also, in paragraph 7, the Minister completely withdrew his previous statement about 60% of the NDDC projects being awarded to members of the 9th Assembly.

It is also instructive for Nigerians to note that the total number of projects in the 2019 NDDC budget was 5,959 out of which 5,416 projects were rolled over from 2018, which the 9th Assembly obviously had no influence or control over.

Therefore, unable to prove his claims, the Minister presented an ineffectual spreadsheet of only 266 projects out of which about 20 projects were attracted by past members of the National Assembly as constituency projects, not as contractors, but in furtherance of their representative mandate.

The projects presented in the Minister’s letter are not within the scope of the investigation and do nothing to address the leadership’s ultimatum for him to publish the list of names of the members who he claimed took 60% of NDDC projects from January to May 2020.

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Also, contrary to the mischievous narrative being peddled on the internet, the only mention of the Chairman of the NDDC Committee of the 9th House of Representatives, Rep. Tunji Ojo in that letter, was as to his alleged request for the complete payment of 19 contractors who had approached him with complaints over NDDC’s non-payment for their services.

This is, however, an allegation which has been completely refuted by Rep. Ojo and for which there is no evidence linking him.

The one member of the House mentioned in that letter only attracted the project to his federal constituency, in the same manner that the NDDC MD, EDFA, EDP, Chairman etc applied to the Commission for attention to the needs of their people and were obliged.

This attraction of projects does not in any way mean that contracts were personally awarded to them.

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Additionally, the letter also listed the names of contract awardees with no evidence linking them to those who attracted the projects to the beneficiary communities. It takes lifting the corporate veil for the directors to be seen and the Corporate Affairs Commission is there to establish who the real owners of the companies are.

Until then, it is wrong to attempt to establish a nexus which currently does not exist. The document remains a mere spreadsheet of people who attracted projects to their communities in furtherance of their representative functions.

Furthermore, the directive to press charges against the Minister has not been lifted by the House as the leadership is busy considering the weight of the Honourable Minister’s letter. If it does not clear the doubt and wrong perception, it will be sent to the court for clearance as the Speaker stated.

Once again, the letter’s annexures showing 2018 projects have no relevance to what was requested from the Minister because it was outside the scope of his claims, it was also not comprehensive but selective by mentioning only one current member for attracting projects to his constituency and not for receiving contracts.

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The House is mindful of a letter currently before it where the Minister also applied to attract several projects to his Senatorial Zone during his time at the Senate, does it mean the contracts were awarded to him?

Nigerians are encouraged to ignore the deflections of the Honourable Minister and continue to ask the right questions as to what happened to the money of the region which has led to a gross disservice to Niger-Deltans.

Nigerians should start asking the right questions and demanding the right answers; and the right question remains, “What happened to Nigeria’s ₦81.5billion under the charge of NDDC in the space of 6 months?”

Signed

Rep. Benjamin O. Kalu

Official Spokesperson


#Newsworthy…

Sen. Nwaoboshi, other denies benefitting from NDDC contracts

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Two members of the Senate have denied the allegations of benefitting from contracts of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The Senate Committee Chairman on Niger Delta, Peter Nwaoboshi, and his colleague from Delta South district, Senator James Manager, denied the accusations on Monday in separate statements.

This followed claims by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, that 60 per cent of NNDC contracts were awarded to members of the National Assembly.

In his reaction, Nwaoboshi who was allegedly named in the said publication of being awarded 53 NDDC projects, challenged Akpabio to send the list to the anti-graft and other security agencies if he could prove the allegation.

He described the claim as unsubstantiated and accused the minister of having an agenda to continuously blackmail him.

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According to the lawmaker, this is aimed at diverting public attention away from the serious mismanagement of the NDDC allegedly by the Interim Management Committee (IMC) under his supervision and under the guise of a phantom forensic audit that has no operating timeline.

On his part, Manager maintained that he does not know of any company owned by him that has ever gone into bidding of government jobs anywhere in the world.

A file photo of Senator Peter Nwaoboshi.

He also challenged his accusers to provide a detailed description of the said contracts, names of the companies, and the beneficiaries of the payments.

“Those who are alleging to defame me must be aware of the consequences,” the lawmaker warned.

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The allegation by the minister had sparked outrage on the part of the lawmakers who dared him to mention the names of those who benefitted from the said contracts.

A file photo of NDDC office in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital

In an interview with Media tv (known to Noble Reporters Media), the House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Media Affairs and Publicity, Benjamin Kalu, had dissociated members of the lower chamber of the National Assembly from the allegation.

He explained that the minister wrote to the House and clarified that members of the 9th Assembly were not among those he was referring to.


#Newsworthy…

Reps should prosecute Akpabio over NDDC contract claims – Ubani

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The controversy trailing the corruption scandal in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has continued to spark mixed reactions in the country.

Amid a series of drama, confrontation, and war of words, the National Assembly is investigating the allegation of corruption in the agency.

Among the latest dramatic events from the probe is the heated argument between a lawyer, Mr Monday Ubani, and the spokesperson for the House of Representatives, Mr Benjamin Kalu, during their appearance on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.

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Ubani, who is also a governance expert, and Kalu, who is also the House Committee Chairman on Media Affairs and Publicity, disagreed over the allegation by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, on the complicity of some lawmakers in the contract scam in the NDDC.

The Powerful Politicians

A file photo of the Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio, during his appearance before a House of Representatives Committee on July 20, 2020.

While the lawyer stressed that there were evidence that some lawmakers have been indicted, the lawmaker insisted that there was nothing of such.

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“We are waiting for them (the House) to initiate criminal prosecution against Godswill Akpabio; when they now try it, they will get to know the names of those that are there with them,” Ubani said.

According to him, the lawmakers cannot initiate any criminal prosecution or civil prosecution when the minister has names of members of the present House that have been indicted.

Ubani alleged that the annexure attached to the minister’s letter to the House contained the names of the lawmakers, including the chairmen of the Senate and House committees investigating the NDDC.

He said, “Both committee chairmen; there are other members of the House that are there, including some powerful politicians.

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“Let me tell you what happened in the House. In the morning, the Speaker was saying that he had referred this particular matter to the Clerk, asking that lawyers should be engaged to initiate criminal perjury and civil defamation against Akpabio when he has not gotten the letter.”

“The moment the letter came that has this list of all the members that are implicated, remember how the Speaker ended? He said ‘this matter is now rested; I will now refer this matter to the Ethics and Privileges Committee’ which means this matter has died a natural death,” Ubani added.

Akpabio Exonerated Us

In a swift reaction, Kalu who is also a lawyer, faulted the allegations by Ubani, stressing that the Akpabio had exonerated the lawmakers in his letter.

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He said, “With due respect to my senior colleague, he is wasting the time of Nigerians and your airtime, what is he referring to? What I have here is a document from the minister; the original document.

The lawmaker, therefore, challenged Ubani to mention the names of the members of the 9th Assembly who constituted 60 per cent of the project of the NDDC as claimed.

He also questioned if the two members said to have been named by the minister as purported beneficiaries of the contracts constituted 60 per cent.

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While he noted that he could not speak for the Senate, Kalu insisted that the name of the House Committee Chairman, Olubunmi Ojo, was not mentioned in the document.

The said document, he stated, referred to the events in 2018 and has no relevance to the probe of the agency between January and May 2020.

“It has no relevance; if we were before the court, it will not be admissible. It will be flung out of the court,” the House spokesman said.


#Newsworthy…

How Assembly’s probe pose threat on NDDC forensic audit

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…Stakeholders Demand International Forensic Auditors
…Forensic Accountants Back Audit, Indigenous Firms Participation
…NDDC Playground For Corrupt People, Including NASS Members – Onuegbu
…Groups Want Nunieh Investigated, Akpabio, Pondei Removed, Prosecuted


There are growing concerns that the outcome of the probe by the National Assembly (NASS) of the allegations of financial malfeasance in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) may impact the forensic audit of the agency ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Even though the Presidency, on Friday, said Buhari would act decisively on the resolution of the legislature at the right time, stakeholders in the region are already expressing doubts about the capacity of the audit firm engaged to do a thorough job, especially with the allegation that high political office holders have their hands in the pie.

Consequently, the aggrieved stakeholders are calling on Buhari to engage globally renowned forensic auditing firms to carry out the exercise. They alleged that since the Procurement Act was abused in the process leading to the emergence of the engaged firm, there is the tendency that the outcome of the audit may be compromised.

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In the midst of this, groups including Youth in Africa Anti-Corruption Network (YIAA Network), and the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI Network) have called for the immediate removal and prosecution of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Obot Akpabio, the acting managing director of the NDDC, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei; Commissioners and everyone, who in one way or the other, is allegedly involved in the grand corruption taking place at the agency.

The groups also insisted that the erstwhile managing director of the commission, Dr. Joi Nunieh, should be properly investigated by the Code of Conduct Bureau, while the National Assembly should re-invite Pondei for a full investigation.

They, however, urged the National Assembly to resist the temptation of discharging Pondei from further investigation and interrogation, alleging that failure to reschedule Pondei’s interrogation means the lawmakers were conspiring to cover up allegations made against some of its members by Akpabio.

THE Coordinator, National Coalition on Gas Flaring and Oil Spills in the Niger Delta (NACGOND), Dr. Edward Obi, while weighing in on the N81b saga said as the NDDC continues to face credibility crisis, Buhari should immediately engage reputable forensic auditors to audit its finances and projects.

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Obi, who said it was illegal to award the auditing contract without due process, stressed that Nigerians should be brought into the discourse as far as the choice of a transparent, reputable auditing firm with international pedigree is concerned to unravel the true state of the alleged malfeasance.

“I stand to be corrected, the NDDC is not all about making Niger Deltans rich; it is not about giving jobs to Niger Deltans; It is about creating opportunities for Niger Deltans to take advantage of what is available to them. So, I don’t believe that giving jobs to Niger Deltans is what NDDC is for, No. If that agency had done what it ought to have done, by now there would have been a multiplicity of opportunities for Niger Deltans and other Nigerians to make business by themselves.”

IN the same vein, a business mogul and 2019 Action Democratic Party (ADP) governorship candidate in Rivers State, Mr. Victor Fingesi, described the scandal rocking the agency as an embarrassment to the country, insisting that concerted efforts must be made through an independent forensic audit that will unmask diverters and plunders of development funds through the NDDC.

“It is time to bring in an international auditor, KPMG, and some of those firms that have international repute to immediately audit the NDDC, and thereafter advise the Federal Government on what to do about the looted funds. If you are given a contract and you don’t execute it, you should bring back the money.

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“Auditing firms in the country have been auditing too many agencies; too many companies, that they all now have friends everywhere. With what is going on today in the NDDC, people can reach people. So, for a thorough, I think we have to bring in an independent auditor that does not operate here. I named one, KPMG,” he said.

THE former board chairman of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives (NEITI), Ledum Mitee, wondered why the Federal Government failed to engage NEITI, which has the statutory responsibility to audit, track revenues from oil to probe the NDDC.

He explained that NEITI in its Fiscal Allocation and Statutory Disbursement 2007-2011, and 2012-2016 audited reports, revealed a lack of accountability and transparency in the financial activities of the NDDC.

“With just half of the money that they are spending on forensic audit, NEITI can do a very thorough job on the NDDC. The whole process of the NEITI audit is not easy to compromise. Mind you, it involves multi-stakeholders as people from the oil companies are there; civil society groups are there, as well as government agencies. But, why do you pay as much as N1b to an auditing firm, that will be superintended over by those already in the eye of the storm, and who have already been indicted? How would Akpabio sit over that? How would the IMC superintend over such an audit…?”

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Mitee pointed out that for every hour the National Assembly spends questioning NDDC officials’ financial recklessness, somebody in the Niger Delta is dying from either preventable diseases like malaria or the contaminated water that they are drinking.

THE National Vice President, Trade Union Congress, Chika Onuegbu, who is an economist cum chartered accountant, said given the level of fraud and irregularities that have taken place in the NDDC, an independent forensic audit, which goes beyond the mere presentation of invoices, names of companies, or certificate of work completed, to unravelling who did what job, and on the spot assessment of jobs awarded and paid for, is needed.

“Payments from banks have to be traced, not just to those companies, but the ultimate beneficiaries. That is why the support of the Central Bank of Nigeria is required. If N10m was paid to YWZ Ltd, who are those authorised to withdraw the money? Who has the BVN? Companies are legal entities, but of course, companies are not human beings, it is human beings that run them. The CBN should avail information and support to the forensic audit so that the final account where the monies ended up would be unveiled,” he said.

Onuegbu described the NDDC as a playground of many corrupt people, including members of the National Assembly, who are deeply concerned about the forensic audit, as opposed to the normal audit.

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“Let the forensic audit go on, let the report of that forensic audit be made public, and let whoever feels aggrieved write a petition for another audit firm to come and check. But let us not scuttle the forensic audit. All of us that are from the Niger Delta know that the NDDC is a colossal failure and the epicentre of fraud in Nigeria.

“The forensic audit is not the solution to the problem of NDDC. It is just a process of unearthing the massive corruption that has taken place in the place. After that, there is a need to review the NDDC Act, either the NDDC is scrapped and the fund channelled to oil-producing communities,” he said.

UCHE Onyeagucha, a former Secretary to the Imo State Government described the NDDC as a filthy institution to the extent that with or without a forensic audit if Nigerians don’t change their attitude towards corruption, not much would be achieved.

“There should be a total, comprehensive audit of every person in the NDDC. And then you can still feel free to investigate all the properties and assets of all the persons, who have served there from the beginning to date. You should also go back and investigate the property and assets of all those who have been members of the NDDC Committee of the House of Representatives, all the NDDC Committee of the Senate, from the beginning to date. Where their property, assets, and bank accounts fail to match their income, they should be made to explain. That is how you will do the cleansing, which has to be comprehensive” he said.

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MEANWHILE, the Global President, Association of Forensic Accounting Researchers (AFAR), Prof. Godwin Emmanuel Oyedokun has lauded the forensic audit but faulted the process that brought up the exercise.

He said: “The only thing that I have a problem with is the process that brought that forensic process up. A forensic audit is necessary and good, but who initiated it? Is it a group or the NDDC office that initiated it, and do they have the power to do so? If there is a problem from the beginning, the process can’t be legal. The Federal Government doesn’t have the power to initiate it. The Federal Government through the management of NDDC should have been the one to do so.”

Oyedokun who is also the President, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), Lagos Chapter, explained that forensic audit is a procurement issue and when carrying out procuring services, it should be the responsibility of the NDDC.

“The Federal Government can mandate the directorate of NDDC to do so. That was the reason that the National Assembly argued that the minister was usurping the powers of the NDDC board to initiate the contract because the forensic audit is also a contract.”

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Contrary to calls by some groups in the Niger Delta that an indigenous forensic firm mustn’t be allowed to carry out the probe, he said it’s an abuse of freedom of speech to say that indigenous auditing firms shouldn’t be involved in carrying out the forensic audit of the NDDC.

For those canvassing for foreign audit firms, he asked: “Are they also ridiculing their professionals and saying that we should go and hire somebody from the United Kingdom to come and do the audit? Would such people know the terrain of Nigeria more than the indigenous experts? It is a misuse of freedom of speech.”

He further said that accounting firms like, KPMG, Deloitte, and PwCs are not foreign audit firms, they are still Nigerian companies only that they are using the network names across the world.

“If a Nigerian joins a network of audit firms, he is still a Nigerian. With international qualifications, you can’t work as an accountant in Nigeria. The Chairman of Deloitte in Nigeria, for example, is a Nigerian and would lead a team of Nigerians and Nigerian facilities to carry out a forensic audit. There is a difference between conventional auditor and forensic auditors. Once the people that selected Olumuyiwa Bashiru & Co., can confirm that the so-called firm has partners that have been trained in forensic auditing, with evidence, then so be it. It must be noted that forensic report is quite different from auditor’s report,” he said.

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THE past president, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Alhaji Rasaq Jaiyeola told The Guardian that Nigeria’s accounting firms have many professionals that can carry out thorough forensic auditing of the NDDC.

He explained that the institute started training members on forensic audits over 10 years ago, stressing that before then, many of its members have been practising internationally.

“We have national firms that are well-grounded in forensic auditing. We have many capable hands with international affiliations. So, I don’t see any big deal in forensic auditing that ICAN members cannot do. As long as they are ICAN members, they should be able to perform,” he said.

According to him, ICAN founded the Audit, Investigations and Forensic Accounting Faculty in the year 2009 and started its certification programme in forensic accounting in 2011.

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“As at December 2014, ICAN had trained and inducted 382 members as Certified Forensic Accountant of Nigeria,” he said.

SPEAKING on behalf of the groups calling for the removal and prosecution of Akpabio and Pondei in Abuja, the President of YIAA Network, Ovo Emokiniovo Otarigho said: “We are dismayed with the accusations and counter-accusations between Senator Akpabio and the erstwhile Managing Director of the commission, Dr. Joi Nunieh, as well as the shameful drama presented by Prof. Pondei. We demand that the people entrusted with the responsibilities of our commonwealth should face justice and be accountable to the citizens, and not to serve themselves. On account of that, we vehemently reject the statement of the Speaker of The House of Representatives, that Prof. Pondei might be excluded from further interrogation. We, therefore, call on him and members of the committee to re-schedule another day for the continuation of the investigation of Prof. Pondei on account of his stewardship. We shall view the failure to reschedule his investigation as an act of complicity on the part of the National Assembly over allegations made by Senator Akpabio.”

“Furthermore, we call on the National Assembly to expose all its members alleged to have been involved in this grand-scale scam to defraud the people of the Niger Delta of their rights to experience development through the NDDC. In the bid to unravel the truth, all witnesses in this investigation must be protected. We, hereby call on the Inspector General of Police to live up to the essence of his duties, which is to protect the lives of the citizens. All attempt by alleged conspirators in this corruption to threaten witnesses to thwart the truth must be discouraged and resisted by the Police.”


#Newsworthy…

NDDC: Reps seek investigation into invasion of Joy Nunieh’s home

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The House of Representatives has mandated its committee on Police Affairs to investigate the circumstances surrounding the invasion of the home of the former acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Joy Nunieh.

The resolution was reached during plenary on Thursday following a matter of urgent public importance raised by the Deputy Majority Whip, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, who queried the motive behind the invasion.

The lawmaker believes the action was done to prevent her from giving her testimony before the House committee on the NDDC.

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Armed security operatives surrounded the home of Joy Nunieh, in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital at about 4 a.m on July 16, 2020, in an attempt to break into her apartment for hours without success.

Ms. Nunieh reached out to the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike who swiftly responded to her distress call and came with his aides to challenge and stop the attempted arrest.

Wike eventually asked the operatives to leave the former NDDC MD’s premise, an order which was grudgingly complied with.

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Afterwards, the governor asked Ms. Nunieh to get into a vehicle in which she was transported back to the State House where she is currently taking refuge.

A file photo of former acting NDDC MD, Dr Joy Nunieh, defending the agency’s 2019 budget before lawmakers in February 2020 at the National Assembly in Abuja. Twitter: @NDDCOnline.

Narrating her ordeal to newsmen, the ex-NDDC boss thanked the governor for his intervention, saying Wike is a man of his word.

According to Ms. Nunnieh, the security operatives stormed her residence at about 4 a.m that day with the intent to whisk her away but she refused because they did not have a warrant.

Terrified, she then reached out to Governor Wike but was not able to get through the first time because his number was switched off.

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“I tried to reach him but the phones were switched off, so I called some people and they said these people might not be real policemen.

“They said they (security operatives) came to take me away, I said for what? Do they have a warrant for arrest? They said no warrant of arrest, so I left it.

“About 6 a.m they broke the gate and later Senator Magnus Abe now called me that he had reached the Commissioner of Police who said he didn’t know anything about it (the arrest).

“So the CP called, I sent him my address, they told me the CP was downstairs but the CP was not downstairs, it was the Deputy Commissioner who was around; so I opened the door, they wanted to grab me, I now pushed back the door and locked it.

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“I got through to my governor, they tried to break the back door, its a security door so they kept hitting for over one hour and they couldn’t get access.

“So my governor came, asked them for their warrant of arrest and why they did not invite me to the police, that I will come, instead of going to take a woman like a criminal.

“So, the governor took me in his car and here I am refuging in the Government House.

“I want to thank his excellency for keeping to his word that nothing should happen to the daughter of Rivers State,” Ms. Nunieh narrated.


#Newsworthy…

NDDC: Reps to set legal suit against Godswill Akpabio

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The House of Representatives has resolved to institute a legal suit against the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, following the expiration of a 48-hour ultimatum.

On Tuesday, the House issued an ultimatum to the minister to publish the names of lawmakers whom he claimed had received contracts from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The clerk has been directed to issue a criminal complaint of perjury and civil defamation suit against Mr. Akpabio.

Meanwhile, the Senate ad-hoc committee investigating financial recklessness in the NDDC has concluded its investigation and has presented its report before the Senate.

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In the report read by the committee chairman Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, he said the NDDC spent 1.3 trillion Naira between 2015 and May 31st, 2019.

Many of these expenses he said contravened the law and were extra-budgetary.

He said the committee observed process errors and infractions, as well as substantial payments, were made to staff in the form of unjustifiable allowances.

File: A collage juxtaposing the Speaker of the House of Reps, Femi Gbajabiamila, and the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio.

The investigation further revealed that the NDDC paid 4.9 billion Naira to staff for numerous allowances including COVID-19 relief, tour duty allowances, overseas travel, and international scholarships.

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Curiously, the payment for overseas travel and scholarship was during the lockdown and cessation of flights abroad.

The committee also observed that the ministry of Niger delta is culpable if negligent supervision of the NDDC.

It further observed that the performance of the interim management committee IMC is a major issue as the record of the IMC has not shown any record of prudence and it should be dissolved.

The committee also raised an alarm over the forensic audit called for by President Buhari, stating that it is at a rudimentary level with the recruitment of the auditors still underway even after eight months.


#Newsworthy…

2 NDDC chairmen know lawmakers who received contracts – Akpabio insist

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The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, on Thursday, insisted that the two chairmen of the committee probing the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), know the lawmakers who received most of the contracts given out by the commission.

This claim was embedded in a letter written by Akpabio, sent to the Green Chambers, and read on the floor by the Speaker, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila.

Mr Akpabio also said he never referred to members of the 9th assembly as beneficiaries of the NDDC contracts.

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The minister further stated that in the 2019 budget there are 19 old contracts amounting to 9 billion naira which the House of Reps chairman on NDDC insisted that the IMC must pay.

Senator Akpabio, however, stressed that he will not make the documents public.

After having the letter read on the floor of the House, the letter was handed to the committee on ethics and privileges for further examination.

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Akpabio’s letter came few minutes after the House of Representatives resolved to institute a legal suit against the minister, following the expiration of a 48-hour ultimatum.

On Tuesday, the House issued an ultimatum to the minister to publish the names of lawmakers whom he claimed had received contracts from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The Minister of Niger Delta appeared before a House of Representatives committee on July 20, 2020.

The clerk has been directed to issue a criminal complaint of perjury and civil defamation suit against Mr. Akpabio.

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Meanwhile, the Senate ad-hoc committee investigating financial recklessness in the NDDC has concluded its investigation and has presented its report before the Senate.

In the report read by the committee chairman Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, he said the NDDC spent 1.3 trillion Naira between 2015 and May 31st, 2019.

Many of these expenses he said contravened the law and were extra-budgetary.

He said the committee observed process errors and infractions, as well as substantial payments, were made to staff in the form of unjustifiable allowances.

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The investigation further revealed that the NDDC paid 4.9 billion Naira to staff for numerous allowances including COVID-19 relief, tour duty allowances, overseas travel, and international scholarships.

Curiously, the payment for overseas travel and scholarship was during the lockdown and cessation of flights abroad.

The committee also observed that the ministry of Niger delta is culpable if negligent supervision of the NDDC.

It further observed that the performance of the interim management committee IMC is a major issue as the record of the IMC has not shown any record of prudence and it should be dissolved.


#Newsworthy…

NDDC: Gbajabiamila gives Akpabio 48hrs to release names of lawmakers awarded contracts

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, has given the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, 48 hours to publish the names of lawmakers who were awarded contracts by Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as well as the details of the contracts.

Should the minister fail to publish the names, the speaker said the House will employ the full wrath of the law to ensure he does so.

The Speaker issued the ultimatum during plenary on Tuesday, a day after the minister claimed that most of the contracts awarded by the NDDC were awarded to lawmakers.

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A bold claim
During a testy appearance before the House Committee on NDDC on Monday, Senator Akpabio claimed that the lawmakers were “the greatest beneficiaries” of NDDC contracts.

Asked how the lawmakers benefitted, he said, “I just told you that we have records to show that most of the contracts in the NDDC are given out to members of the National Assembly”.

The Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio, made his bold claim when appeared before a House of Representatives committee on July 20, 2020.

The Speaker who accused Senator Akpabio of pulling the oldest trick in the book with the claims, believes the minister owes it the country to publish the names in the interest of transparency.

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On Thursday, Mr Gbajabiamila had to intervene in the sitting of the committee after the Acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Daniel Pondei, slumped while being grilled about spendings by the commission.

He had called for calm and assured all those invited to appear before the committee that the invites were in the interest of the country and not targetted at anyone.

Stressing that it was a fact-finding mission, the Speaker wished Pondei quick recovery and urged the committee to proceed quickly and wrap up its investigations, stressing that Pondei had already submitted documents to them.

While issuing an ultimatum to Senator Akpabio about his claims, Mr Gbajabiamila, however, said the committee had the right to invite Pondei again should it feel the need to do so.


#Newsworthy…

NDDC MD, Daniel Pondei leaves hospital after earlier ‘slump’

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Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei has left the hospital.

Prof Pondei who earlier today slumped as the House of Representatives committee on NDDC grilled him is said to have left the hospital where he was taken, about an hour ago.

Pondei was being grilled for over an hour when he slowly slumped over his desk, appearing to have fainted.

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Several people present at the hearing rushed to his aid, propping him up and attempting to stabilize him, while the proceeding was halted.

Soon after, Pondei appeared to be in a seizure with a man holding open his mouth as others held him upright.

Afterward, he appeared to regain and lose composure intermittently and had to be moved out of the session.


#Newsworthy…

NDDC: We didn’t use N1.5bn, but N1.32bn – Pondei

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Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei, the acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has said that contrary to reports that the commission spent N1.5 billion on COVID-19 palliatives, the NDDC only spent N1.32billion.

The acting MD of the NDDC stated this on Monday at the resumed hearing of probes into the operations of the commission by the House of Representatives.

Pondei had in a previous hearing told the lawmakers that the commission spent only N1.5 billion as palliatives for taking care of NDDC staff, but in his latest appearance before the panel, the NDDC boss said he must have not been paying attention when he made the previous declaration.

According to the NDDC chief, the N1.5billion “take care of ourselves” clause which he stated about two weeks ago, was uttered out of anger.

He said, “If I had said take care of ourselves, I must have said that in anger,” Professor Pondei told the lawmakers at the hearing.

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The acting MD of the NDDC also answered questions regarding unpaid scholarships, saying he did not hand out any bursary.

He said the commission processed scholarships for the students, went to various universities for verifications after which letters were drafted and estacodes were prepared.

Pondei stressed that the preparation of estacodes began before he joined the NDDC and as such, the procedures for payment were not laid down by his administration.

The MD assured that at the moment the NDDC has commenced processing of payments. He added that within the week, all scholarship backlogs from 2016 will be cleared.

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The hearing was brought to an abrupt break after Mr. Pondei appeared to have slumped over his desk, causing palpable panic.

Some lawmakers and representatives from the NDDC rushed to give him first aid, a man held open his mouth as others held him sit upright.

After he appeared to regain and lose composure intermittently, he was moved out of the session.


#Newsworthy…

NDDC: Drama as Daniel Pondei slumps during Reps interrogation | Video

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Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Daniel Pondei, appeared to faint as the House of Representatives committee on NDDC grilled him on Monday.

The committee is in its fourth day of public hearing as it investigates alleged financial misappropriation at the agency.

The controversy had seen strong allegations of corruption traded between the Minister and the former MD of the NDDC, Joi Nunei, who appeared before the lawmakers via Zoom on Friday.

Pondei had been grilled for over an hour when he slowly slumped over his desk, appearing to faint.

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Several people present at the hearing rushed to his aid, propping him up and attempting to stabilise him, with the proceedings halted.

He then appeared to be in a seizure with a man holding open his mouth as others held him upright.

Acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Daniel Pondei appears to faint on Monday during interrogation on Monday.

After he appeared to regain and lose composure intermittently, he was moved out of the session.

The development led to a brief discussion about the next step to take. A move to have the session adjourned was shouted before the Deputy Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Thomas Ereyi-Tobi, called for a 30-minute recess.

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Lawmakers investigating corruption allegations in the NDDC had on Friday summoned Pondei and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to appear before them today (Monday) as the country sought to understand how budgetary allocations to the agency had been spent.

This is not the first time an appearance by the NDDC MD before the lawmakers will come to a halt under dramatic circumstances.

The NDDC boss had walked out on the lawmakers on Thursday, last week, after accusing the Chairman of the Committee, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, of being an interested party in the investigation.

He said as long as Tunji-Ojo presided over the investigation, the Commission would not get a fair hearing. He then refused to make presentations before the committee and walked out.

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Angered by the move, the lawmakers resolved to issue a warrant of arrest compelling Professor Pondei to appear before the lawmakers and make a proper submission.

The lawmakers, however, decided to summon him again, and at the start of his appearance, he apologised for his action.

Although he said he “regretted” the incident which happened last week, before he was questioned by the lawmakers, the Chairman of the Committee recused himself from the session, leaving Hon. Thomas Ereyi-Tobi, the Deputy Chairman of the Committee to preside.


#Newsworthy…

Akpabio: Most NDDC contracts ‘awarded’ to NASS members

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The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, on Monday, said most contracts from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) are awarded to National Assembly members.

The Minister made the comment as he was being grilled by members of the House of Representatives committee on NDDC in a public hearing.

The Minister had been invited by the lawmakers on Friday to defend his actions as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and shed more light on financial misappropriation within the NDDC.

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Akpabio’s comment surfaced as he was responding to a question about NDDC expenditure amid a forensic audit.

“We cannot close down the Niger Delta Development Commission because of the fact that we are doing (a) forensic audit,” he said.

“The NDDC plays a vital role in ensuring the peace and security of the region and 90 percent or more of the resources of the country come from there.

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“If you close it down in totality all you will have is chaos. You will have a lot of, not just militancy, you will have a lot of insurrection.

“So it is important that people who have gone to court, people who genuinely did jobs should be paid for their jobs. For me, I am not against it because, of course, who are even the greatest beneficiaries? It is you people.”

A member of the committee took him up on his “you people” allegation and asked him to clarify.

“I just told you that we have records to show that most of the contracts in the NDDC are given out to members of the National Assembly,” the ex-Senator said.


#Newsworthy…

Hand Joy Nunieh over – we need her – Police tells Wike

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Rivers State Commissioner of Police, CP Joseph Mukan, has asked Governor Nyesom Wike to hand over the former Acting Managing Director of NDDC, Joi Nunieh.

Governor Wike on Thursday prevented the arrest of Nunieh from armed Police Officers from the IGP Monitoring Team at her residence in Old GRA, Port Harcourt.

Nunieh is currently taking refuge at Government House Port Harcourt.

CP Mukan while reacting to Thursday’s incident also dismissed the rumour that efforts were made to reach him, insisting that no one reached out to him in connection to Nunieh’s arrest.

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He said the Governor was wrong to have whisked Nunieh away without recourse to the Law.

According to him,

“What people fail to understand is that it is not in every situation that you need warrant of arrest before you can arrest anybody. It depends on the crime of the individual.

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“It is really unfortunate what happened yesterday because when the Governor said he is going to rescue her (Nunieh), he should hand her over to me. I am the Commissioner of Police in Rivers state and I am in a better position to take her.

Wike Nyesom & Joy Nunieh

“Nobody is saying the Governor should not protect his citizens but everything should be done within the confines of the law.

I am the Chief Law officer of the Command and he wants to rescue his citizen you hand her over to the police for safety.

“I still believe he (Wike) is going to turn her (Nunieh) in because the Police were on a legitimate duty.”


#Newsworthy…

Godswill Akpabio moves to sue Joy Nunieh

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The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio has initiated moves to drag a former Managing Director (MD) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Joy Nunieh to court.

Nunieh had among other corruption allegations she levelled against Akpabio also claimed that the former Akwa Ibom governor harassed her sexually while she was working as the acting MD of the NDDC.

Akpabio had denied the claim. He has further directed his lawyer to seek court redress against Nunieh over the allegation.

A statement to that effect, which was signed and released by his Special Assistant on Media, Anietie Ekong, on Friday read: “Akpabio has instructed his lawyers to seek necessary redress in a Court of competent jurisdiction on his behalf over the defamatory statements made by the former acting managing director of the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Ms. Joy Nunieh.

Godswill Akpabio

“The Honourable Minister’s initial attitude was to allow his lawyers and the judicial system vindicate him of the false allegations against him, but he is compelled to react to some of the wayward allegations levelled against his person by Ms. Nunieh, especially the one bothering on sexual harassment.”


#Newsworthy…

N81.5bn: Reps summon AG MD, Akpabio again

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The face-off between the National Assembly, Management of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC and its Acting Managing Director, Prof Kemebradikumo Pondei, over the probe of over ₦81.5bn expenditure within five months assumed another dimension on Friday, as the House of Representatives Committee gave the Minister of the Niger Delta Development Affairs Ministry, Senator Godwin Akpabio and the Acting Managing Director up till Monday to appear before the house or risk being arrested

The Committee, Chaired by Hon Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, took the decision following the continued absence of the Minister to appear before the Committee for three days running without any genuine excuse.

The Acting Managing Director of the Commission, Prof Pondei who appeared before the Committee along with the members of the Interim Management Committee, IMC, of the Commission on Wednesday could not make any submission as they walled out.

However, the Committee reconvened on Friday to take the submission of the Minister and other stakeholders before rounding up the public investigation but the Minister did not show up again while the Acting and Director also stayed off

File Photo

Consequently, the Committee resolved to issue the summon to compel the Minister and to appear before the Committee on. Monday.


#Newsworthy…

Akpabio: NDDC crisis gets dirtier

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…Wike storms Nunieh’s house rescues her from police

…I’m now a refugee in Government House, says Nunieh

…Pondei walks out of Reps proceeding

… Buhari orders speedy probe


Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, yesterday stormed the Port Harcourt residence of a former acting managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Ms. Joy Nunieh, and foiled an attempt by policemen to whisk her away.

Just as the Port Harcourt drama unfolded, the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Prof. Kemebeadikumo Pondei, in Abuja, walked out of the session of the House of Representatives probing into alleged financial mismanagement in the NDDC.

Before the police invaded her home, Nunieh had vowed to expose alleged misdeeds of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, who she accused of being the mastermind of the attempt to abduct her.

The police had, for hours yesterday, occupied Nunieh’s residence at 3 Owuru Creek View, off Herbert Macaulay Street, Amada-Flat until Wike arrived at the scene about 10.30 a.m.

Noble Reporters Media knows that Wike’s action followed a distress call from Nunieh that armed policemen, without arrest warrant had invaded her premises at about 4:00 a.m. and had attempted to break in.

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NRM gathered that as soon as the governor alighted from his car, he asked the policemen for the warrant of arrest but they failed to produce any. At that point, he ordered them to leave the premises.

The following altercation ensued between the governor and one of the police officers:

Wike: What kind of country are we in? I say, out.
Policeman: We will remain here Sir; we are to come with her, with due respect, Sir.
Wike: All of you came to invite her.
Policeman: Even the CP had been here.
Wike: It does not matter. Can’t you invite her? All of you, out.
Nunieh: They broke my back door.

The visibly angry governor, who was escorted by policemen and officials of the Department of State Services, asked Nunieh to come down. She did, entered his car and was driven away to the Government House, a few metres away.

Noble Reporters Media learnt policemen had stormed Nunieh’s residence at about 4 am when she was getting set to leave for the airport to board the first flight to Abuja to appear before the House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating alleged misappropriation of N81.5 billion by the NDDC Interim Management Committee between October 2019 and May 2020.

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Nunieh, while briefing journalists at the Government House, said she was notified of the presence of some persons around her gate.

She said, “I tried to reach the governor because he had told me if I saw any strange movement, I should alert him.

“They said they came to take me away. I said for what? Do they have a warrant of arrest? They said no warrant of arrest.”

She claimed that about 6 am, the policemen broke the gate and forced their way into her premises. Shortly after, she received a call from the commissioner of police, who said he was not aware of the operation.

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She also alleged that a few minutes after, the policemen tried to lure her out of the house, telling her the commissioner of police had come to meet with her but that as she tried to come out, the officers attempted to abduct her.

“They tried to break through the back door, it is a security door. They kept hitting at it for over one hour, they could not get access. So my governor came and asked them for the warrant of arrest and why they didn’t invite me to the police, that I would have come instead of going to take a woman as a criminal. So, the governor took me in his car and I am here. I am a refugee in the Government House. I was supposed to be going today to Abuja to make my submission before the House of Representatives committee,” she said.

She accused Akpabio of plotting to stop her from giving her submission to the House of Representatives. She said though he had succeeded, she was however optimistic that the House would give her another day to appear and open more can of worms.

Efforts made to get the response of the Rivers State Police Command spokesperson, Nnamdi Omoni, on the development was not successful as he neither picked his calls nor replied to text messages.

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Meanwhile, Wike has called on the Inspector-General of Police to investigate the attempted arrest of Nunieh.

The governor made the call while speaking with reporters in Port Harcourt.

He said, “What has happened today is a disgrace. Who knows what would have happened to her if they had gained access to her main room? I went there personally to see things for myself and rescued her. She is supposed to testify before the House of Representatives committee and here we are having armed men wanting to abduct her.

“We came out to protect our daughter and we will do so to every Rivers citizen. That is the oath of office I swore to. It doesn’t matter the political affiliation. We will not allow anybody to destroy Rivers State. It is so unfortunate and I cry for this country concerning the ways things are going. They didn’t have a warrant of arrest but would storm somebody’s house. In fact, the state commissioner of police is not aware.

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“Tell me how something will happen in a state and the commissioner of police is not aware. They said it’s the Inspector General Monitoring Unit. So, we have such a unit taking over the responsibility of crime-fighting in a state and the commissioner of police is not aware. I can also assume too that the Inspector General of Police is not aware. He should investigate it, “he said.

He added, “If there is any allegation of crime against her, I will not back her, but you can’t kill her for no established crime. I don’t know who’s responsible, but whoever is behind it should not take Rivers State for granted because we will fight back. From what has happened now, I want to say that Rivers State is fully out. Anybody who is responsible for this attempted abduction of our daughter should know that enough is enough.

“They can’t treat her like a common criminal. I am sure that President Muhammadu Buhari is not aware of this. All the Niger Delta states should find out if any of their citizens have a hand in the unfortunate incident and call on such people to leave our daughter alone. She is no longer the managing director of the NDDC.”

Also reacting to the saga, President Muhammadu Buhari stressed the need for an investigation. He also directed better coordination among security and other relevant agencies with the National Assembly to ensure that the administration’s effort to bring sanity, transparency and accountability to the management of the resources dedicated to the development of the Niger Delta sub-region was not derailed.

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He directed auditing firms and investigative agencies working in collaboration with National Assembly Committees to initiate actions and inform the Presidency of the actions taken.

The President also directed timely sharing of information and knowledge in a way to speedily assist the administration to diagnose what had gone wrong in the past and what needed to be done..

Read Also;

Storyline: NDDC side Akpabio – indict Nwaoboshi

Buhari said the administration wanted to bring about “rapid, even and sustainable development to the region.”

On the botched House of Representatives hearing, the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Prof. Kemebeadikumo Pondei, said he walked out of the session because the Chairman of the House Committee on the NDDC, Mr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, lacked the moral standing to preside over the probe.

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Pondei argued that since Tunji-Ojo had allegedly committed a “crime” against the NDDC, he could not be a judge in his own case.

Pondei walked out of the venue of the proceedings with other officials of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) in spite of effort by members of the committee to prevail on him to respond to queries revolving around the expenditure of over N81.5bn against the NDDC within the last six months.
Members of the committee, however, passed a vote of confidence in Tunji-Ojo.

In its reaction to the crisis, an anti-corruption advocacy group, Matagu Foundation, called for an independent probe of the activities of the Niger Delta Development Commission.

Founder of the advocacy group, Chief Ekene Enefe, made the call during an interview with newsmen in Awka, yesterday.

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Enefe also condemned what he described as the high level of allegations of financial impropriety and contract scam in the Commission.

He said: “What is required is an independent inquiry into the NDDC, these things have been happening. What has NASS said about budget implementation at the Commission for many years? Some of their members are among those accused of phony contracts.

“If at the end of the day, Matagu Foundation is not satisfied with the way this corruption allegations were treated, we will go to court to demand that the Federal Government set up an independent inquiry.”

The Foundation called on the stakeholders, including the Ministry, to address the issues relating to the NDDC budget and its implementation and shun mudslinging.

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The Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC), in its reaction, asked the embattled Minister for Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio, not to focus only on the NDDC but to also pay attention to the general development of the region.

IYC made the call in a statement signed by its Chairman, Transition Implementation Committee, Kennedy Olorogun, and Director of Information and Publicity, James Tobin.

The statement issued yesterday in Yenegoa, read, “While the Council applauds the President for finding sons and daughters of Ijaw nation worthy to be given national assignments with global significance, the Ijaw nation wants bridges, roads, hospitals, schools, health centres, recreation facilities, oil and gas allied industries in our communities and villages across the Niger Delta.

“The position of the IYC Worldwide is eminently clear. One, the Council has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for instituting the Forensic Audit Probe Panel to expose the many years of rot in the NDDC masterminded and precipitated by some persons from the region and their external collaborators.

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“That the Interim Management Committee is alien to the NDDC Act, therefore it remains an aberration. Whether or not a member of our tribe or ethnic nationality is presiding over the affairs of the region’s interventionist agency does not remove the fact that the Interim Management Committee is clearly not in consonance with the NDDC Act and it is not what the region needs, rather a substantive board with the full powers to develop the region directly under the supervision of the President.”

The statement added, “That those saddled with the responsibility of developing the Niger Delta and in particular the Ijaw nation should be committed to the task and extricate themselves from the fraudulent activities of siphoning financial resources meant for the development of the region.

“Finally, the revelation of heist and sleaze emanating from key actors that have had the privilege of managing the NDDC or are presently overseeing the activities of the Commission are quite pathetic, worrisome and calls for concern from patriotic minds in the region.

“It shows that these persons have thrown decency overboard and are swimming in infamy. The Ijaw nation welcomes any probe that will expose the sordid activities of those given the responsibility to develop the region. Anybody found culpable should be made to face the music”, the statement added.


#Newsworthy…

Joy Nunieh’s life could be in danger – Reno Omokri decries

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… following her damning revelations against Akpabio


Reno Omokri has warned against any form of attack on Joy Nunieh, a former Acting Managing Director of Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission, who recently made some damning revelations about the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.

Addressing the press after she appeared before the Senate ad-hoc Committee investigating NDDC, Mrs. Nunieh recounted her ordeal at the hands of the Minister before she was removed as the NDDC MD.

Among other claims, she said “Nobody makes any payment in NDDC without Godswill Akpabio’s approval. When we first came, on the day of the inauguration, he said to me in the car, ‘Madam MD, if you don’t do what I say, the same pen with which I used to sign your paper is the same pen I’ll use to remove you.

Following her many revelations, Reno Omokri, a former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on New Media believes Nunieh’s revelations could put her life in danger.

Reno Omokri

In a tweet on Saturday, Omokri said, “Nothing must happen to the ex-Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Corporation, Joy Nunieh, who has just made shocking allegations of corruption against @Senator_Akpabio, Festus @FKeyamo and Gen @MBuhari.

“I have been informed of a threat to her life.”


#Newsworthy…

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Former NDDC MD makes damning revelations about Godswill Akpabio | Video

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Former Acting Managing Director of Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Joy Nunieh has made some damning allegations against the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.

The former Acting MD addressed the press after she appeared before the Senate ad hoc Committee investigating NDDC.

Nunieh in the interview recounted her alleged ordeal in the hands of Akpabio before she was removed as the NDDC MD.

Recall with Noble Reporters Media that President Muhammadu Buhari had in February 2020 reorganized the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), replacing Barrister Joy Nunieh with Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei, as Acting Managing Director.

Buhari also approved the enlargement of the IMC from three to five.

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She said “Nobody makes any payment in NDDC without Godswill Akpabio’s approval. When we first came, on the day of the inauguration, he said to me in the car, ‘Madam MD, if you don’t do what I say, the same pen with which I used to sign your paper is the same pen I’ll use to remove you.

“He said the first thing I should do when I get to Port Harcourt is to change the dollars in the NDDC account. I was scared to do that and he claimed that I have a poverty mentality that I’m afraid of money. All of you knew that he accused me of refusing to spend money. It is strange today, it’s about money.

“After that, he came to Port Harcourt two days after the inauguration and told me that the first thing I should do was to change the dollars.

The former Acting MD further accused Akpabio of pressuring her to take the oath of loyalty, but she resisted

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“He told me to take an oath. Though he denied that, he told me, three times until we had a reconciliation at the Villa in the office of Mr. Abba who is the S.A. to the President on domestics.

“In that meeting was Alhaji Maikano and he said the only condition is when I take the oath and I didn’t take the oath and will never take it.

Joy Neueih – Former NDDC MD

“After that, he said, he was going to remove me and he started the campaign of calumny against me. I didn’t even answer him because the fact will speak for itself.

“I refuse to go with him to the FEC meeting to deceive Mr. President and the reason is because the law says if I contravene a section of the procurement Act, it’s five years imprisonment without an option of fine.

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“So if I had gone with him to deceive Mr. President I would have been in trouble because they said it’s the 2020 budget, but Akpabio went and got approval when the budget was not ready.

“One of the issues raised against me was that I awarded contracts without them knowing about it. Am sure that is what they told you people yesterday.

“Apparently, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh never sits in the office, so he never knows the workings and the bureaucracy of payments in the office.

“One, I am just a viewer of a platform that made payments in NDDC. There are different steps to take before payments are made in NDDC. One, there is the issue of Lassa fever which obviously they didn’t carry that one along.

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“Nobody makes payments in NDDC without Godswill Akpabio’s consent.

He said I remove Mr. Katulgo from the legal department and send him on compulsory retirement and he said we cannot have a northerner as head of the legal unit.

“I said, I cannot do that. I do not have the powers because I am just an IMC. It’s a criminal offense, and against public service rules for me to do that. He said I should repost all other directors that refused to take his instruction during my predecessor’s time, that is the person who was there before I came.

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“So, he came and asked me to draft a letter on my letterhead implicating Senator Peter Nwaoboshi for collecting contracts in NDDC. I told him that I will not do that. I am a lawyer and who alleges must prove. He said Senator Nwaoboshi is giving us trouble and besides he didn’t recognize the IMC. I said I will not do that letter. He said I was ungrateful and I refused to do that letter.

“Dr. Cairo now said he will do the letter. He said if Akpabio asked him to kill, he would kill and I said, for me, I will not do that. At that place, there was one Mr. Etiebet who was the only NDDC staff that was present at that meeting. He now asked Dr. Cairo to go and send for letterheads from the office.

“They now went and sent for the letterheads, Dr, Cairo now did a letter which I want to tender at the Ad-hoc Committee before I came late alleging that Senator Nwaoboshi had contracts and I said if I signed any document from me seen by Mr. President, he will believe. So I will only write that the EDP knows about it.

“The next thing he told me is that I should make sure these people leave the procurement. Before I came when he and Festus Keyamo became Ministers, in their first meeting, they awarded 30 contracts of water hyacinths.”


#Newsworthy…

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Storyline: NDDC side Akpabio – indict Nwaoboshi

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The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) had defended the Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio, over allegations of N500 million contracts made by Senator Peter Nwaoboshi. The commission declared that NDDC awarded no contract to Senator Godswill Akpabio.

NDDC in a statement by Charles Obi Odili,

Director, Corporate Affairs, acknowledged

a statement by Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta, that the Commission awarded a contract of N500 million to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, which he did not execute.

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The Commission stated that it has searched through its records and there is no evidence of any contract awarded to Senator Akpabio or any company associated with him by the NDDC.

“From our findings, the person who has questions to answer to the Niger Delta People is Senator Nwaoboshi. Our records show that Senator Nwaoboshi used 11 front companies (owned or traceable to him) to secure a contract of N3.6 billion in September 2016, in what is perhaps the biggest single case of looting of the Commission’s resources,” the statement read in part.

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NDDC identified the companies/business names as:

i. Noan Integrated Services;

ii. De Towers Constructions & Allied Services Ltd;

iii. Franstine Nigeria Enterprises;

iv. Edrihide Company;

v. Isumabe U.K. Global;

vi. Benchmark Construction & Allied Services Ltd

vii. Millstone Allied Builders Ltd.;

viii. Nelpat Nigeria Company;

ix. Agh-Rown Ventures;

xi. Edendoma Stars International; and

xii. Antlers Construction and Allied Works Ltd.

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The Commission disclosed that the inventory records showed that the items were supplied and received on Senator Nwaoboshi’s business premises and warehouse; however, some of the items supplied to Nwaoboshi’s warehouse through his cronies, were later resold to the Delta State government, while the others were sold to other states through contracts awarded to him.

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NDDC revealed that all supply agreements were signed by one and same person, identified as Mr. Agbamuche Nelson, and traceable to Senator Nwaoboshi. “This is in flagrant contravention of section 58(4) (a) and (d) of the Public Procurement Act. No wonder Sen. Nwaoboshi and his cohorts are jittery about the ongoing forensic audit exercise in the NDDC and are doing everything possible to derail it,” the statement indicated.

The commissioner challenged Senator Nwaoboshi to absolve himself of his role in the looting of the resources of the NDDC, demanding that he should step aside from any investigation in the National Assembly against the Commission.


#Newsworthy…

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Akpabio’s EFCC probe – Omo Agege denies involvement.

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The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, has denied asking the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.

He denied the claim in a statement on Sunday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yomi Odunuga.

Senator Omo-Agege faulted a letter which purportedly emanated from the Clerk of the Senate, acting on his behalf and requesting the acting EFCC Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Magu, to investigate the minister.

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He, however, stressed that the letter did not come from him and described the document as fake.

The Deputy Senate President insisted that he never instructed the Clerk of the Senate or any other person to contact the EFCC to investigate any individual.

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“The attention of the Office of the Deputy President of the Senate has been drawn to a letter dated 7th May 2020, purportedly written by the Clerk of the Senate acting on behalf of the Office of Deputy President of the Senate requesting the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate and monitor the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and one other.

“This Office hereby states that the said letter is false, fake, malicious, mischievous and vexatious,” the statement read.

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It added, “This Office never instructed the Clerk of the Senate, or in fact any person, to write to or contact the EFCC in relation to any person.”

Senator Omo-Agege, therefore, urged Nigerians to disregard the purported letter, saying it was the handiwork of persons with criminal intents.


#Newsworthy…

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Senate link Akpabio to huge NDDC project scam.


The Senate on Wednesday linked the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, to the alleged misappropriation of funds of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) over the years.

The Senate had on May 5 set up a seven-member Ad-hoc Committee to probe the alleged misappropriation of N40 billion by Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the NDDC.

The Chairman of the Committee, Olubunmi Adetunmbi, said the panel would carry out a holistic investigation on all issues relating to the alleged misapplication and misappropriation of N40 billion by the NDDC.

He said the panel had four weeks to report back at plenary.

However, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, who made some documents on the alleged involvement of the minister in financial misappropriation in NDDC available to journalists on Wednesday, alleged that in 2017, Akpabio collected contracts worth N500 million from the commission without execution.

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He said: “In a letter dated August 7, 2017, addressed to the Chairman, Senate Committee on NDDC, Akpabio requested that five projects worth N500 million be added to the budget.

“Akpabio as Minority Leader of the Senate then used his office to include projects not budgeted for in the Appropriation bill. The projects as clearly stated in the letter, include, fencing the Federal Polytechnic Ukana, Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District at the cost of N200 million.

“Others are fencing of Federal Government College, Ikot Ekpene (Old site) Akwa North-West Senatorial District. Entrepreneurship training on the use of modern farming implement- Youths in Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District at the cost of N75 million.”


#Newsworthy…

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