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Akpabio to Sue Joy Nunieh for Defamation, Denies ‘False Allegations’

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The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, said he 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.

Ms Nunieh in an interview with newsmen had raised some accusations against the former governor of Akwa-Ibom.

But in a statement signed Thursday in Abuja by Akpabio special assistant on media, Anietie Ekong, described all the allegations as “cornucopia of false, malicious and libellous,” adding that the Minister will seek redress in a Court of law.

The statement said: “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 levied against his person by Ms. Nunieh, especially the one bothering on sexual harassment.

“To start with, let it be known that there is no scintilla of truth in all the allegations peddled around by Ms. Nunieh. They are simply false! The Honourable Minister did not at any time, place or circumstance make any form of sexual advances to Ms. Nunieh, not even to put himself in a position or posture suggestive of sexual advances towards Ms. Nunieh, or any female staff of his Ministry or the NDDC.

“For the records, the Honourable Minister, Senator Godswill Akpabio, CON is happily married and contented with his wife. Together they are blessed with children, four (4) of whom are young women. The Honourable Minister is an avid believer of the Affirmative Action and that was visible in the appointments he made as a two (2) term Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State between 2007 and 2015. Under his watch, he appointed several women into various high level positions as

“Chairpersons of Local Government Councils, Magistrates, Judges, Heads of Parastatals, Directors, Permanent Secretaries, and Commissioners.

“He is the first Governor in Akwa Ibom State to have a female Deputy Governor, was also the first to appoint female Chief Justices of the High Court, recommended women for ministerial appointments one of whom was the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, and supported for appointment the first female Vice Chancellor of the only Federal University in the State etc. He has always championed and still champions the cause of women and young children.

“Whilst the Governor of Akwa-Ibom State, the Honourable Minister summoned the political will and effrontery to stop modern day slavery in his state, where young women and children were ferried away from the State to other states in Nigeria to be used for all sorts of menial chores as house maids and most suffered unimaginable unethical trade malpractices and maltreatments. He ensured that anyone caught in that trade was severely punished. He signed the Child Rights Law to protect children, especially the girl child from stigmatization and punishment by ordeal where some were executed or banished on allegation of witchcraft. The Child Rights Law also made primary and secondary education in Akwa Ibom State free and compulsory; educating the girl child was his topmost priority.

“The Honourable Minister has never hidden his admiration and respect for his wife, Mrs. Ekaete Akpabio, Children and sisters, he therefore felt compelled to react to the malicious attack on his person by Ms. Nunieh bothering on allegations of sexual harassment. The Honourable Minister therefore finds the said allegation nauseating and a very cheap blackmail, for Ms. Nunieh to suggest or insinuate that he sexually harassed her, while she was the Acting Managing Director of the NDDC.

“The Honourable Minister also finds it appalling that, Ms. Nunieh, never deemed it fit to report the alleged incident to the police at the earliest opportunity she had, before, during or after her tenure as the Acting Managing Director on 17th February, 2020, if indeed the allegation was true. Waiting till July 10th and 13th 2020 when the National Assembly appears to be probing some of her actions as the Acting Managing Director of the Interim Management Committee (“IMC”) exposes her motive, especially at a time when the momentum for the Forensic Audit”

According to the statement, investigation of the NDDC is heating up and the truth is about to be unveiled for all to see? The critical question is who is afraid of the Forensic Audit at the NDDC? Who is Afraid of the Truth?

“There is no doubt that Ms. Nunieh’s attacks are both personal and sponsored. Those afraid of the truth, and who wish to bury it from seeing the light of the day, are strenuously behind Ms. Nunieh’s vicious campaign of calumny.

“The Honourable Minister has a mandate from Mr. President, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR to unearth alleged looting and financial misappropriation that had gone on at the NDDC since its inception in 2001. He is committed to that mandate through the forensic audit of the NDDC and will not be deterred or distracted from that goal. The aim of this campaign of calumny is simple, get Senator Akpabio out, kill the forensic audit, and continue business as usual at the NDDC.”

On the allegations of the Minister’s involvement in contract racketeering, bombing of oil pipelines, corruption/diversion of funds, the statement said the Minister has stated several times and at various fora that since his assumption of office, he has only awarded three contracts till date- the appointment of the lead forensic auditors which was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC); the emergency procurement contract for COVID-19 intervention in the Niger Delta Area which due to its urgency had his interim approval and Presidential approval in line with the Bureau of Public Procurement Act and the award of Vehicles procurement duly approved by the Bureau of Public Procurement and the Federal Executive Council but yet to be consummated. It is noteworthy, that all these contracts went through due processes.

On her allegation that Akpabio directed her to change the Dollars in the NDDC’s Account, the statement declared that NDDC’s Account is domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“Every inflow and outflow is known and traceable. NDDC gets its revenue in Dollars which is paid directly to its Treasury Single Account (TSA) with the Central Bank of Nigeria. The Dollar is then converted to Naira by the CBN and paid into the NDDC Naira Account still domiciled with the CBN upon a written application from the NDDC. It is therefore impossible for any sum of money belonging to the NDDC with the CBN including the several figures bandied around as missing to be missing.

It is important to state, that unlike in the past where the NDDC had over three hundred (300) bank accounts in different commercial banks, that practice had since changed under the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, which gave full effect to the application of the Treasury Single Account and the NDDC now has its accounts with the CBN. The Honourable Minister does not give verbal instructions to anybody, all instructions are in writing and in response to a request from the Commission.

“On the allegation that the Honourable Minister directed Ms. Nunieh to remove Mr. Kaltungo, same is false. His track record marks him out as a totally detribalized politician and one of the best friends of Northern Nigeria. The Honourable Minister was informed by the NDDC management that over twenty three (23) top Management Staff, from various part of Nigeria including the Niger Delta region, who have evaded leave in the last ten (10) years or had the tendency to influence negatively the ongoing forensic audit were recommended for mandatory leave by the lead forensic auditors. They are still staff of the Commission currently receiving their monthly salaries and benefits.

“The Honourable Minister has taken steps to instruct his lawyers to seek necessary redress in a Court of competent Jurisdiction on his behalf over the defamatory statements made by Ms. Nunieh.

“On a final note, while encouraging all Nigerians to hold their leaders to account, he urges them to take their time to sift between the chaff and the substance before embarking on far reaching allegations, opinions and views.”

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#EndSARS: NDF Hails UK Parliament’s Intervention, Says It Is Testament Of Nigerian Army’s Progress

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The National Democratic Front (NDF) has welcomed the United Kingdom’s parliament’s intervention on the EndSARS protests in Nigeria, describing it as confirmation of the Nigerian Army’s progress under Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai.

According to the NDF, the keen interest shown by the UK indicates that President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is on the right track.

The group, in a statement signed by its National Secretary, Dr Bolaji Abdulkadir, on Friday, noted that this may not be disconnected from the improved human rights record of the troops under the COAS as well as a sustained partnership with his counterparts in the UK.

While urging the troops to continue to make itself accessible to the world and genuine partners like the United Kingdom, the NDF also implored on allies never to give in to the antics of fake news being used by external forces to destabilize Nigeria.

The group, however, called on the authorities in the United Kingdom to sanction those who engage in frivolous discussions with ulterior motives meant to mislead and cause disaffection amongst nations.

Read the full statement below:

The National Democratic Front is issuing this press statement in light of the recent debate by parliamentarians in the United Kingdom Parliament with regards to the state of affairs in Nigeria and concerning the EndSARS protests.

The National Democratic Front appreciates the concerns and interventions of the United Kingdom been an ally of Nigeria in the global scheme of things. This fact is indeed buttressed by the close affinity between Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

We are also appreciative of the fact that events in Nigeria have elicited the interest of the United Kingdom Parliament that eventually culminated in the debate to put issues in proper perspectives with regards to the EndSARS protests and the events surrounding the violence that erupted afterwards.

It is the considered opinion of the NDF that such critical engagements should be sustained given that specific parameters are met, and the sovereignty of countries are not eroded for whatever reason and under any guise. We also believe that such engagement should be based on facts and the highest level of diplomacy.

The UK government has demonstrated that it has much confidence in the democratic ethos and norms of our dear country as being practised under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and cannot be swayed by the enemies of Nigeria.

The NDF wishes to put it on record that indeed some vested interests are out to undermine the efforts of the Nigerian government in addressing the security challenges in the country through the propagation of unsubstantiated information in the public domain, especially with regards to the violation of human rights by the security agencies in Nigeria.

The NDF wishes to inform members of the general public that the recent partnership between the Nigerian Army and the military of the United Kingdom are clear testimonies that the authorities in the United Kingdom have taken reasonable notice of the improved human rights record of our military under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari which has translated to the numerous visits to the United Kingdom by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai to engage other world leaders on the war against insurgency.

The Nigerian Army has been exemplary in the regard with the establishment of a human rights desk at all Nigerian Army units and formations across the country to address cases of human rights abuses by officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army.

It is also on record that the Chief of Army Staff in Nigeria has on numerous occasions been rewarded with awards in the United Kingdom for the success recorded in the prosecution of the war against terrorism in Nigeria. A few of such awards are by the Anti-terrorism Accreditation Board (ATAB) and Global Risk International United Kingdom, where the Chief of Army Staff was awarded the Pave The Way Award for exceptional bravery and peacebuilding in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region under Multinational Joint Task Force which are focal points of DAESH/ISIS.

The second award is – The Certified Master of Anti-terrorism Specialist Award. According to the organizers “Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai is the first African to get this award”. The National Democratic Front sees these awards as notable and in recognition of the selfless services of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai.

Whilst we salute and call our military leadership to continue to make itself accessible to the world and genuine partners like the United Kingdom, we also implore Nigeria’s partners never to give in to the antics of fake news being used by external forces to destabilize Nigeria.

We are by this medium calling on the authorities in the United Kingdom to place a financial tag on those who engage her in frivolous discussions with ulterior motives meant to mislead and cause disaffection amongst nations.

We also call for sanctions were not necessary and equally discipline those that intend to take undue advantage of her democratic culture. It is our considered opinion that this would go a long way in serving as a deterrent to individuals and groups with mischievous intents.

The NDF consequently views the recent report by the Cable News Network as one of such instances where the Nigerian Army has been targeted for public ridicule and condemnation.

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Senator Elisha Abbo Defects To APC , Says He’s Joining Buhari ‘To Build Nigeria Of Our Dream’

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The Senator who is representing Adamawa North in the Senate announced his defection in a letter addressed to the House.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan read the letter during Wednesday’s plenary session.

In the letter, Senator Abbo explained that his decision to defect to the APC is because of the mismanagement of the PDP in Adamawa state by Governor Umaru Fintiri. Abbo also said He’s Joining Buhari ‘To Build Nigeria Of Our Dream’

Senator Abbo has been in the news for assaulting a woman in an adult toy shop in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting in Maitama, earlier in September, awarded N50 million damages against Senator Abbo, to be paid as compensation to Osimibibra Warmate, a female attendant at a sex-toy shop, whom he assaulted.

Justice Samira Bature gave the order in her judgment on the fundamental rights enforcement suit instituted by Warmate against the senator.

Earlier on July 3, 2019, the lawmaker was caught on camera physically assaulting a woman in Abuja, two months after he allegedly committed the act.

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CCTV Footage Has Vindicated Nigerian Army Of Complicity In Alleged Lekki Massacre – Human Rights Lawyer

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A human rights lawyer, Werigbelegha Zinaka has stated that the Nigerian Army has been vindicated of any wrong doing at the Lekki Tollgate incidence. He said this in an interaction with journalists on the sides at the ongoing hearing of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution in Lagos.

The human rights lawyer who serves as an attorney for the International Human Rights Association at the panel also stated that from the CCTV footage that was analyzed, it indeed vindicates the Nigerian Army of any wrongdoing.

“The Judicial Panel of Inquiry has been very engaging with quite some revelations that indeed put issues in proper perspective. Worthy of mention is the revelation from the CCTV footage at the Lekki Tollgate that indeed explained the level of involvement of the Nigerian Army at the Lekki Tollgate.”

“All concerned parties viewed the CCTV footage, and I wish to state that it was clear that the consensus is that the Nigerian Army did not commit massacre as wildly alleged in some certain quarters in the country.”

He further stated that with the various presentations at the panel, there had not been any evidence to substantiate the fact that any life was lost at the Lekki Tollgate.

“This panel has been very meticulous in its analysis, and I can tell you that serious business is going on here. I can also say from all the submissions and reviews; there has not been any evidence to back the claims the lives were lost at the Lekki Tollgate incidence and most especially from the CCTV footage that was reviewed.”

“So it remains an illusion that the Nigerian Army committed massacre at the Lekki Tollgate. This is understandable given the role of fake news in the whole scenario. And ironically, those that were spreading all sorts from their comfort zones have refused to come to the panel to substantiate their claims.”

He further faulted the recently released report by the Cable News Network (CNN) stating that it was done in bad faith and not a reflection of the issues on the ground.

“The CNN report was highly misleading and with an ulterior motive in my candid opinion. It was obvious that the target of the report was the Nigerian Army, and it was very poor in its execution. It was more of a judgmental pronouncement than a news report, and I am not aware that CNN is an arbiter of the law. This much they must be aware of and the need for some level circumspection in analysis of issues of this nature.”

“We must call a spade a spade and understand that what the CNN attempted to do in its report was to influence the outcome of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution with regards to the involvement of the Nigerian Army. The backlash the report has received indeed says it all. And I believe that CNN must have learnt its lessons.”

It would be recalled that in the aftermath of the escalation of violence at the EndSARS protests, the Lagos State Government inaugurated a 7-member Judicial Panel of Enquiry and Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses in the State.

Retired Justice Doris Okuwobi chairs the panel; other members are Mr Ebun Adegboruwa, SAN (representing the Civil Society); Taiwo Lakanu, a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ms Patience Udoh, representing the Civil Society; Mr Segun Awosanya, Human Rights Activist, Mrs Olutoyin, Odusanya, Director, Citizens Mediation Center, as well as a representative of the youth-led protest and a representative of the Human Rights Commission.

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