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.”
CGI Babandede Bows Out With Glorious Light, Global Acclaim
The 11th Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Babandede, MFR, was pulled out from Service Monday in grand style, razzmatazz and pageantry, after a transparent and diligent service to his country – Nigeria.
The occasion took place at the NIS Parade Ground, Sauka, Abuja, and was graced by the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who was Special Guest of Honour; Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Muhammad Badaru Abubakar, MON, mni; Service Chiefs, Inspector-General of Police, IGP Alkali Usman Baba and other heads of sister security agencies. Also at the occasion were top traditional rulers, Captains of industry, community leaders, youth groups, women groups and members of the diplomatic corps.
Speaking during the ceremony, the Minister of Interior, Aregbesola, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari, paid glowing tributes to CGI Babandede for rebranding and repositioning the Nigeria Immigration Service as a top class migration management agency globally.
Continuing, Ogbeni Aregbesola, enjoined Babandede’s successor and NIS management to effectively harness and utilize the ultra-modern technological infrastructure established by Babandede for continued policing and surveillance of Nigeria’s borders, adding that the innovation is world-class and must be properly maintained at all times.
The Minister of Interior poured encomiums on the out-going CGI, applauded the gigantic transformational milestones and legacies left behind by the outgoing CGI
In the same vein, the Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Muhammad Abubakar Badaru lauded the sterling leadership qualities of CGI Babandede, patriotism and monumental achievements of the outgoing CGI, noting that he is a shining ambassador of Jigawa State, whose footprints are written on the sands of time in building a harmonious relationship with sister agencies; was unparalleled and must be exploited to the fullest for enhanced productivity and service delivery.
He enjoined other chief executive officers to borrow a leaf from the mercurial service record of CGI Babandede who has made Jigawa State proud.
Meanwhile, other stakeholders are also unanimous that CGI Babandede will continue to be a reference point, in the annals of efficient service delivery, transparency and patriotism in Nigeria, alluding that he has changed the narrative and paradigm shift of the NIS in compliance with best international practices.
Also, a prominent civil society group, Guild of Civil Societies and Media Executives for Equity, Justice & Transparency (GOCMEJ), was full of praises for CGI Babandede for redefining service delivery, accountability, transparency and patriotism in Nigeria’s public service. The organization, which is an amalgamation of over 350 CSOs, NGOs and media executives, recommended the outgoing CGI for higher national office, stating that his invaluable service record must not be sacrificed on the altar of officialdom. Emphasizing that CGI Babandede is brimming with resourcefulness, youthful energy and zeal for service to humanity and his fatherland.
NDDC: GPMI Hails Sen. Akpabio , Says Detractors Should Leave Him Alone
The Global Peace Movement International UK has described the Niger Delta Minister, Sen. Godswill Akpabio as a man who claimed fifteen story building without a steer case.
The group also said Senator Godswill Akpabio is a proven performer. Since he became the Minister of Niger Delta, he has been working diligently to develop the region. It is on record that massive work is going on in the region in different sectors.
In a press statement signed by the media officer, Augustine Aminu (KSM) on behalf the President General of Global Peace Movement International UK, Dr. Mike Uyi who currently lost his sister, Pastor Rose Uyi.
He said, prior to the minister’s assumption of office at the Niger Delta Affairs ministry, activities at the ministry were in dire need for reformation. Therefore, it took the frugality in his resource management and political determination to turn around the entire gamut of the Niger Delta community for the better within his short stay in office.
According to Uyi, the mandate of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs is to formulate and execute plans, programmes, and other initiatives as well as coordinate the intervention activities of agencies, communities, donors, and other relevant stakeholders involved in the development of the region. Akpabio has promised never to deviate from the mandate.
“NDDC was meant to address the development challenges in the Niger Delta region but the commission has only enriched a few people in the past leaving the mission and vision not actualized. Faceless contractors have pocketed funds for projects and were never executed”.
“Akpabio is tested and trusted. As commissioner, senator and governor, he performed excellently. Unarguably, Akpabio is among the ministers that would perform very well in this administration and should be allowed to concentrate on transforming NDDC. GPMI believes that he will do greater things if given a higher national assignments”.
Under the supervision of Senator Akpabio, a forensic audit was carried out to unravel corruption and bad corporate governance in the commission.
“The Minister as we know him has been a detribalised and generous individual. His personal aides and workers hail from different states in the Niger Delta region and the country. Besides, the minister is known for presenting opportunities to people based only on their competencies”.
“He has carried all stakeholders in the Niger Delta along and that is why the region has remained peaceful since his emergence as a minister”.
Less Than 3 Percent Of Kaduna Residents Have Health Insurance – KADCHMA
Less than 3 percent of people out of about 9 million are covered by medical insurance under the Kaduna State Contributory Health Management Agency (KADCHMA) it has been revealed.
The revelation was made during a stakeholders meeting organized by the Kaduna Maternal Accountability Mechanism (KADMAM) with Partnership to Engage and Learn (PERL-EC) and Lafiya Programme.
Speaking on the matter, the representative of KADCHMA and Director of Operations, Dr Juliana Bungon said that apart from the state government employees only about 2000 individuals from the informal sector are registered with the scheme.
She added that getting the informal sector to participate in the scheme had been difficult because they are not organized as the organized informal sector who are part and parcel of the trade unions.
She however added that the state government is making arrangement with farmers in the rural area to batter harvested food items with relevant agency so that they can be captured in the scheme.
” we are also going to vigorously involve cooperatives, desk officers in local governments as well as embark on massive sensitization with media to drive home the matter, ” she said.
Speaking earlier, Mal Mustapha Juma’are said that people must be part and parcel of the scheme so that the issue of out of pocket expenditure which hitherto had been a stumbling block to Nigerians resident in Kaduna state can be minimized.
Mal Juma’are who frowned at the paltry percentage of residents who have embraced the scheme called on participants to help in galvanizing the populace so that they can embrace it and make it their own.
Also speaking, the Co-Chair of Open Government Partnership (OGP) Hadiza Umar said that action in the area of sensitizing and enrolling the people of Kaduna state is necessary in order to curb or reduce the number of people dying daily from treatable diseases.
She said that Kaduna State will remain open in all its activities as she urged participants and stakeholders to share the information especially in the informal sector.
Mr Abel Adejor, on behalf of PERL-EC and Lafiya programme said that the aim of the meeting is for associations and organizations that are in the informal sector to be properly mobilized with adequate information for them to key into the scheme.
He further said that the civil societies and Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) will continue to give support to program for it to succeed in the state.
The meeting was made possible by the KADMAM in collaboration with KADCHMA and support from PERL-EC and Lafiya programme in partnership with UKAID.
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