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.”
Eleme Petrochemicals Co-operatives: EFCC, First Bank Nigeria PLC Disregards Court Order
The last is yet to be heard in the case between Eleme petrochemicals co-operatives investment and credit society limited and the Economic financial crimes commission(EFCC) ,as the later (EFCC) through harassment and intimidation has continued to infringe on the right of the members of the co-operative by denying them access to their funds in first Bank Nigeria Ltd , an action that goes against a subsisting court order.
Hon. Justice N.E Maha had on 15th day of January Ordered that restriction placed on the account of Eleme petrochemicals co-operatives and investment and credit society be lifted.
An order First Bank Nigeria plc has refused to honour , citing treats from the EFCC. The bank is demanding that the co-operative signs an indemnity against claims by the Efcc before obliging to honour its obligations to the cooperative a demand that is contrary to the contract between a bank and its customer and against all extant rules of banking.
While the co-operative have written to the First bank plc to explain if there is any court Order served on them by the EFCC restricting it from honoring its obligations to the cooperative the bank has not produced any such order. but could only refer to harassment from EFCC.
EFCC had sort to pervert the course of justice from the beginning having joined issues with the co-operatives in a suit to enforce the fundamental rights of the shareholders of the cooperative but surreptitiously went behind to another court of co-ordinate jurisdiction to obtain an interim order freezing the account of the co-operatives but all this actions failed as the Court after discovering the attempted sharp practice of EFCC ,granted an order lifting the interim restriction on the said account.
having failed in that regards, the Efcc have resorted to intimidating First Bank PLC to act against the court Order which allows the co-operatives to operate their account without any restriction.
The First Bank Nigeria PLC Continues to act in flagrant disregards to the court order. Meanwhile the Efcc have filed an appeal against the order lifting the restrictions placed on the cooperatives account, no order of stay of execution has not been granted.
it is indeed a long walk to justice for staff of Indoroma Eleme Petrochemicals ltd as the battle for the ownership of their shares continues. in February 26,2009 the federal government through the National Council on Privatization had approved the sale of 10% of its equity shares in Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals ltd, Port Harcourt ,Rivers State to the host community and interested staff of Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals ltd.
The 10% equity shares was shared as 7.5% was allotted to the host community while the remaining 2.5% was allotted to the Staff of Indoroma Eleme Petrochemicals.
Interested Staff came together under Eleme petrochemical co-operatives in compliance to the federal government directive that a special purpose vehicle be formed where all members will belong to enable them buy the shares.
Problem began in 2013 when 10 staffs who initially subscribed to the purchase of the 2.5 equity shares had their jobs terminated from the employment of Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals.
Indoroma Petrochemicals since then began a legal battle as to whether the laid off staff can continue to enjoy the dividends since they were not longer staff in the company and in so doing seeks to replace laid off staff with new recruited staff.
When the shareholding became an issue the laid of staff approached the River State Ministry of Commerce and Industry to arbitrate between it and the cooperative, the Ministry gave an Arbitral Award in favor of the laid off staff and consequently the exited staffs of the co-operative ,approached the federal high court to enforce the arbitral award and as required by law it was granted and the award became a judgment of the Federal High Court.
The newly recruited staff been instigated by their employers Indoroma Eleme Petrochemicals Company limited approached The National Industrial court stating that the arbitral award was illegally procured ,when the right thing to do was to appeal the Federal High Court judgement, the industrial court in striking the case out stated that it can not sit on an appeal over a matter that has been decided by a court of co-ordinate jurisdiction. The newly recruited staff have filed an Appeal over the decision of the Industrial court.
It is to be noted that the Efcc started to investigate the ownership of the shares of the cooperative after the cases at the Federal high court and the Industrial Court had been decided.
The cases pending in various Courts over the ownership of the shares of Indorama was triggered by the BPE which was a party sued in case at the Industrial court, when it petitioned the EFCC over the matter at the instigation of the newly recruited staff of the Indorama and Indorama itself.
The efcc has despite the judgment of the Federal High Court which confirmed the shareholding of the exited staff has continued to intimidate the exited staff and the cooperative this also despite the orders of justice Taiwo .O .Taiwo of the Federal high court in Suit FHC/ABJ/SC/1222/2020 granting an Order stopping the EFCC from arresting, inviting ,detaining and prosecuting or inquiring into the acquisition of shares of Indoroma Petrochemicals ltd.
Heritage Bank Account Used In Defrauding Farmers – AFAN President
All Farmers Association of Nigeria through its National President, Arc Kabir Ibrahim has reiterated that the body neither registers farmers for a fee nor secures loans for them, warning farmers to be wary of a faction led by Mr Faruk Rabi’u Mudi using a Heritage Bank Account to defraud farmers.
In a caveat issued by AFAN, the association stated that farmers from all wards across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja can join the umbrella body of farmers in Nigeria free of charge as enshrined in its constitution.
“AFAN registers farmers free of charge as referenced in AFAN Constitution: Membership Article 7.1-7.10.3 and it does not give loans.
“We dissociate ourselves from any advertisement to register farmers for N2,000 and caution everyone to be wary of Faruk Rabi’u Mudi and his friends as they are lawless and fraudulent.
“Anyone who transacts any business with them does so at their own peril.
AFAN had earlier written the management of Heritage Bank on the 14th of February 2021 referenced AFAN/HERITAGE/FRAUD/CAC/2021/014th February, 2021 on the illegality of the account opened with them in the name of a fake entity claiming to be AFAN.
“We write to inform you that your Branch has inadvertently opened an Account: All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Acct. No.5100311787 without due diligence.
“All Farmers Association of Nigeria Kano Chapter is a nullity as the CAC (Corporate Affairs Commission) has issued a letter dated 22nd June, 2020 (copy attached) to them to change their name within six weeks or it will be cancelled.
“The registration of All Farmers Association of Nigeria Kano Chapter contradicts CAMA as it is not done with the express permission of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), the parent body.
“We implore you to close this account forthwith because it has been opened to defraud the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) and all Nigerian farmers.”
The Faruk faction had advertised the paid registration platform for farmers with the promise of accessing micro-credit loans, benefitting from programmes and interventions. Intending registrants were required to indicate their names, states, and commodity they produce, while making the payment.
However, the executive led by Arc Ibrahim insists that Faruk Rabiu Mudi is not a member of AFAN but a fraud who was dismissed from AFAN after registering All Farmers Association of Nigeria Kano Chapter Rc 93484 which was cancelled by CAC.
Gunmen Kill Five Police Officers, Two Civilians In Rivers
Gunmen have killed at least five policemen and two civilians in Rivers State.
The attack which occurred on Friday night was launched at a police station in Rumuji community, Emohua LGA, and a police checkpoint, known as C4i at the entrance of Emohua from Port Harcourt.
Emohua is a Local Government Area along the East-West road, connecting Rivers and Bayelsa state.
During the attack security vehicles were also burnt.
In another attack, a police station in Elimgbu in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area was attacked and three police officers were said to be beheaded.
One of the officers who was beheaded had his head taken away by the gunmen.
Although the Police are yet to confirm the attacks, a youth leader in the Local Government Area, residents of the communities confirmed the incidents to Channels Television.
This attack comes less than one month after gunmen killed three customs officers, five soldiers, and some police officers at different security formations in Ikwerre and Abua/Odual Local Government Areas.
The attacks in April prompted Governor Nyesom wike to impose a nighttime curfew at various entry and exit points of Rivers State between 8 pm and 6 am, and restriction of movement within the state from 10 pm to 6 am.
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