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Corruption Scandal: NDDC Is A ‘Cash Cow’ For Politicians – Wike

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The recent revelations on the activities of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) may have come as a surprise to many Nigerians, but it is not a shocking development for Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.

Governor Wike believes the agency has since deviated from its original mandate and has become a source of wealth for some corrupt politicians.

“I have said before and it is very clear; my concern is everybody knows that NDDC was set up for the development of the region,” he told Channels Television on Tuesday during an interview on Sunrise Daily in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

He added, “Unfortunately, they have turned it to a different thing; NDDC is a cash cow for politicians. In my own election, NDDC brought N10 billion cash to fight against me.”

The governor’s reaction is the latest among several others following the probe of the agency by lawmakers in the National Assembly in Abuja.

The lawmakers had launched a probe into the fraud running into billions of naira said to have been perpetrated by the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the NDDC between February and May 2020.

This led to the discovery of more scam in the agency which sparked a series of drama and blame games between government officials and lawmakers.

During one of the investigative hearings organised by the National Assembly, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, alleged that about 60 per cent of the NDDC projects were awarded to lawmakers – a claim that sparked more reactions from some members of the Senate and House of Representatives.

They Have Not Invited Us
Amid various responses to the minister’s claim, Governor Wike accused the agency of embarking on projects in Rivers without the consent of the state government.

He also reacted to the probe of the NDDC by the lawmakers, saying it was one-sided as the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the agency led by Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei ought to be investigated as well.

“When they are talking about probing IMC, I said what are you doing only with IMC, what about the other committees? Professor Kemebradikumo and the rest of them. They (the lawmakers) have not invited us and why I don’t want to go is that what am I doing with the IMC?” the governor asked.

He stated, “I am one governor who challenged the NDDC; we went to the Federal High Court, the Federal High Court returned the matter to the State High Court. NDDC went to appeal and we won them and at the State High Court, we have won them.

“You cannot go to a state and begin to carry out projects without the permission of the state government, you don’t know what their plans are. You can’t come into my state to disturb my development plan, you must let me know.”

Governor Wike believes that in order to reverse the fortune of the agency, technocrats and not politicians should be placed in charge of the commission to enable it function effectively.

Explaining the role of governors in the South-South, he said, “Under the NDDC Act, there should be a governing board made up of the governors.

“Since 2015 we have been asking for that board, but it was only last year that the President was able to … constitute a governing board. But that is just theory.”

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Lekki Shooting: CNN Carried Out A Hatchet Job On The Army – International Journalists

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The report by Cable News Network (CNN) on the shooting at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos was a “poor” hatchet job targeted at the Nigerian Army, the International Institute for Investigative Journalism (IIIJ) has said.

In an electronic statement signed by special rapporteur, Francois Deburoiche, on Wednesday, the IIIJ said it came to this conclusion following a careful investigation on the events that led to the escalation of violence at the toll gate.

After forensic analysis of CNN’s report, the International Institute for Investigative Journalism noted that there were some missing details in the American television channel’s piece.

According to the institute, the report was carried out in poor taste, lacking professionalism and objectivity. It added that the claim of use of live bullets and testimonies of victims were all tales.

The institute, however, advised the television channel to retract and admit error in the documentary.

Read the full statement below:

The International Institute for Investigative Journalism is issuing this press statement with the best of intents after a careful investigation on the events that led to the escalation of violence at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos Nigeria during the EndSARS protest.

A team of investigative journalists with extensive experience in conflict situation interrogated the various claims made by the American Cable News Network in its report on the Lekki Shootings and came up with a comprehensive analysis that found gaps that were not filled in the CNN documentation of the events at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos Nigeria.

Our statement:

The CNN documentary on the EndSARS protest in Nigeria was released to the general public with lots of inaccuracies. These accuracies were detected after an extensive forensic investigation by the International Institute for Investigative Journalism.

It is thus our opinion that the report was carried out in the poor taste, lacking in professionalism and objectivity. This is a great betrayal on journalism by the CNN, which indeed violated the known tenets of journalism.

The videos and images used in the CNN report were not subjected to adequate scrutiny. Consequently, it lacked credibility for use by an organization of repute such as the CNN. This fact was also buttressed by the fact that the CNN report was very hasty in its conclusion by indicting the Nigerian Army of culpability in the events at the Lekki Tollgate.

Our position remains that the CNN erred substantially in its report that was highly misleading to the general public in Nigeria and other parts of the world. The documentary also failed woefully to highlight the events that led to the reign of violence in parts of Lagos state but instead rehashed the issues under different subheadings with minimal evidence that indicts the Nigerian Army of wrongdoing at the Lekki Tollgate.

The International Institute for Investigative Journalism concludes that the CNN documentary was prejudiced in its analysis as well as presentation which fall nothing short of a poor hatchet job with the undeniable intent to discredit the Nigerian Army operation at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos Nigeria.

The analysis by CNN in the documentary was hasty in its categorization with regards to the use of live bullets by soldiers at the Lekki Tollgate. The report attempted to portray the use of excessive force by soldiers, while the accompanying videos and images did not depict such.

The credibility of those interviewed in the documentary was also suspect with the choice of words and the facial and body expressions of the victims as well as their relatives. Thus much was revealed by forensic analysis as the emotions portrayed didn’t match their words.

Conclusion:

The International Institute for Investigative Journalism is of the considered opinion that the CNN carried out a hatchet job that is targeted at the Nigerian Army institution. We as a result of this classify the CNN documentary as highly misleading and with the capacity to cause disquiet in Nigeria.

The CNN must retract and admit error in submission in its documentary on the Lekki Tollgate shootings. The International Institute for Investigative Journalism faults the CNN documentary in all ramifications.

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Why Army is Boosting Land Power, Buratai Speaks at War College Lecture

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The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai, has said that the Army War College Nigeria (AWCN) has continued to churn out highly-capable operational commanders, with a very good understanding of operational art and the requisite skills for the effective application of land power.

Buratai, was the special guest of honour at the ‘Graduation Lecture’ of Course 4/2020, in Abuja. The COAS, who had earlier commissioned the War College Office Extension Building, further said the building is made up of offices, Central Auditorium with 450 seating capacity, a lecture hall and a lounge with 180 and 120 seating capacity, respectively.

According to Lt. Gen. Buratai, the War College was conceived to address the observed gaps in the professional military education of Army’s personnel at operational level. The Commandant of AWCN, Maj. Gen. SE Udounwa, expressed gratitude to the Army Chief for tirelessly supporting the College, especially in the area of infrastructural development.

The AWCN was established in 2017 to bridge the gap between the tactical and strategic level training by producing well trained, educated and inspired operational level leaders for the Nigerian Army.

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JUST IN: NLC, TUC Stage Walk Out From Meeting With FG

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Labour union representatives on Sunday staged a walk-out from a meeting with the federal government, barely five minutes after it started.

According to the president of the Trade Union Congress, Quadri Olaleye, on the meeting’s top agenda were the issues surrounding the hike in the price of fuel and electricity tariffs, not issues of palliatives.

In his opening remarks before the closed-door session, Olaleye accused the federal government of dishonesty, playing to the gallery and painting the organised labour in a bad light before civil servants and the public.

Representing the Nigerian Labour Congress was its deputy president, Najeem Yasin.

“This meeting is not going to be as usual,” Olaleye told news men. “Why, because we have seen the insincerity of government and it’s putting us at risk. They are taking us for a ride, which cannot continue.

“We are in the process of discussing, for over three months now. And they made announcement increasing the fuel price again. And no other person than NNPC. When has authority been giving to NNPC to increase the price of PMS? This is unacceptable.

“The meeting agenda is not well prioritised. And because of that, we are leaving the meeting. We will not continue, we will go back to our organ, and we are going to get back to you on the next line of action.”

In attendance from the federal government were the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, the Minister of State for Labour, Festus Keyamo, Minister of State for Petroleum, Timiprye Sylva, Minister of state for power, Goddy Agba and the Secretary to the Government, Boss Mustapha.

“We felt that the item of increase in PMS, having been listed at all as an additional item, would have satisfied everybody,” labour minister, Ngige said after the walkout.

More to come…

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