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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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Buhari Claims #EndSARS Protesters Wanted to ‘Remove’ Him

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Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday claimed the #EndSARS protests against police brutality that took place in the country last October were aimed at ousting him from office.

Buhari blamed the protests on the dwindling inflow of foreign direct investment to the country.

He insisted that Nigeria’s army of young people that participated in the protests have made it unattractive to investors.

The President stated this Thursday in an exclusive interview on ‘Good Morning Show’ on ARISE News Channel, a broadcast arm of THISDAY.

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Obasanjo Slams Agitators of Secession

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has condemned agitators of disintegration of the country saying that that it will be “almost idiotic” for Nigeria to disintegrate at a time like this when Africa is trying to reintegrate for political, social, and economic development.

He insisted that the country is better together for all the ethnic groups in the country to remain together as one indivisible nation with fairness and equity and where all Nigerians will feel proud, rather than for each tribe to go its separate ways.

The former Nigerian leader spoke at the luncheon and investiture organised by the Nigerian Institution of Surveyor, Ogun State chapter, held at the premises of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) Abeokuta.

The former President called on all agitators for the disintegration of the country to shelve the idea and work for the unity and oneness of the country.

While admitting that the present situation in the country is not palatable, he stressed that calling for the disintegration of the country is not the solution.

He expressed the optimism that, Nigeria will come out stronger from all the challenges currently confronting it if all citizens shelve their personal interests and work together for the unity and progress of the country.

The former president who cited Pakistan, Yugoslavia, and Sudan as countries who have broken away, but are yet to find solutions to their problems, said Nigerians should blame themselves for the country’s woes rather than blaming God.

“If there is any Nigerian who does not feel apprehensive on the situation of the country, the person is a human being without being human.

“Any Nigerian who is human will be apprehensive, if not frustrated with the present situation in the country. We are apprehensive about security situation, apprehensive about economic situation, apprehensive about our political situation and the drum we are hearing is that of disintegration of the country.

“I am a strong believer of one Nigeria, but not one Nigeria at any cost, but one Nigeria where every Nigerian can feel proud that he or she has a stake in this country.

“No Nigerian is born a slave in this country. No Nigerian is born to be oppressed in this country and those of us that have shared part of our blood and sweat for this country, we did that because we wanted a country that every Nigerian can claim as his or her own.

“One thing that gives us strength is our diversity. If all that we have is Republic of Oduduwa for those who said so, their position is understandable. If that is all we have, members of that country will be diminished compared to be a citizen of Nigeria. Citizens of Oduduwa Republic or any other republic from Nigeria will be diminished compared to citizens of Nigeria.

“In this age and time that we are talking about the reintegration of Africa for economic development, disintegration of any country will be almost idiotic if we have Igboland as an independent country, Yorubaland an independent country and Fulani/Hausaland an independent country.

“And as a friend of mine in the military used to say then, what will become of the over 300 minorities – the Jukuns, the Gbasamas? Where will they belong? The only reason they can raise up their heads is because they belong to Nigeria. Are we thinking of them or are we are just being selfish? It doesn’t matter what we do, we will still be neighbours.

“We had seen it before, India was broken into India and Pakistan, they are still at war till today. Yugoslavia was broken into how many countries, they haven’t sorted it till today. Sudan was broken into Sudan and South Sudan, I don’t believe South Sudan is better for it and that is the truth.

“I believe it will cost us less to work for our unity, there are many things wrong, but those things are correctable if we make efforts to correct them and hold us together than what it will cost us to break up and be perpetually at war and all our money will be spent in building an army. I know what an army contains, I know what it means to keep an army, an army that may not be productive, let us think about it”, Obasanjo stated.

Speaking on the importance of survey to national development, Obasanjo said, the entire country should be surveyed to achieve economic development and transformation.

He, therefore, charged the national body of the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors to draft a proposal on the national survey of the country to the Federal Government.

“When I was the president of the country, the project of surveying the entire country began, but it got stuck and I don’t know where the project is now”, Obasanjo noted.

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Continue Using Twitter – NASS Joint Minority Caucus Urges Nigerians

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The Joint Minority Caucus of the Senate and the House of Representatives has met over the ban on Twitter by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government and has restated its condemnation of the embargo as draconian and unacceptable.

This position was contained in a communique signed by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe the Minority Leader of the Senate) and Hon. Ndudi Elumelu the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives.

In the statement, the Joint Minority Caucus also dismissed threats by the APC-led government to arrest and prosecute Nigerians using Twitter and calls on Nigerians to go ahead and use their Twitter as they would not be contravening any law in Nigeria or any international statute.

The Joint Minority Caucus recognized the provisions of Articles 19 and 20 of the United Nations Charter on Fundamental Human Rights, which Nigeria is a signatory to, as well as provisions of Sections 39 and 36 (12) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), and notes that by these provisions no one will be violating any law for using Twitter in Nigeria.

As lawmakers, the Joint Caucus said it is pained by the anguish Nigerians, especially the youths, who find the use of Twitter as a means of livelihood and genuine social interaction, are passing through just because the APC-led Federal Government feels slighted that an individual’s post, was deleted by Twitter for ethic violation.

The joint caucus, therefore, called on Nigerians to use various opportunities offered by technology and continue making use of Twitter since such does not violate any law in our country.

“It is agonizing that Nigeria and Nigerians have been losing billions of naira on daily basis since the ban on Twitter. This is completely unacceptable as it is worsening the already biting economic hardship and frightening unemployment level in the country.

“Moreover, the ban on Twitter in Nigeria appears to be in favour of criminal and terrorist elements, whose activities fester in an environment of suppressed information flow.

“The Joint Minority Caucus sympathizes with the organized private sector, manufacturing and service providing companies, small and medium enterprises, online business owners and other hardworking entrepreneurs across the country, whose genuine business and means of livelihood have been crippled by the unwarranted ban on Twitter by the APC federal government,” the statement partly reads.

The caucus also identified with our students, research-based organization, media houses, the organized civil society, faith-based organizations, community groups among others, whose information-based activities have been violently disrupted by the ban.

In the same vein, the Joint Caucus sympathized with regional, states, local government as well as members of the international community, whose genuine and constructive activities have been crippled by the prohibition of twitter in Nigeria

It also identified with traditional rulers, who have even found Twitter as a means of communicating with the constituents, especially in this era of insecurity in the country.

The Joint Caucus vehemently berated the APC-led government for abandoning its duty of addressing the serious economic and security problems confronting our nation to rather focus on dissipating energy victimizing Nigerians over their disagreement with Twitter for deleting a post by an individual.

The Caucus counseled the Federal Government to swallow its pride, accept its misdoing and go and settle whatever issue it has with Twitter instead of this resort to inflicting pains on Nigerians.

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