COVID-19: NDDC Distributes Medical Equipment, Relief Materials In Delta

 

As parts of efforts to combat the ravaging coronavirus pandemic and its attendant hunger, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has kicked off the distribution of medical equipment and food palliatives to the 25 Local Government Areas of Delta State.

Flagging off the distribution at Iwhrekeka Community, Ughelli South Council Area, the Acting Managing Director of NDDC, Professor Daniel Pondei, said that the COVID-19 pandemic created health emergency and pangs of hunger the world over, particularly in the Niger Delta region.

Professor Pondei, who was represented by the Delta State Director of the Commission, Mr Gochua Okejoto, said that with the rising cases of the pandemic in Nigeria, there was need for all hands to be on deck to fight the virus with all available resources.

The NDDC Acting Managing Director further disclosed that the Commission in response to the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari, committed funds to aid the fight across the region under its Emergency Support for Health and Social Programme.

He thanked the Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa for his commitment to ensuring that the medical supplies and food items got to the indigent and vulnerable persons in the State.

The NDDC boss said that mechanism had been put in place to ensure that the food palliative got to the right people across the state.

Professor Pondei noted that the medical supplies included special diagnostic and critical care equipment such as ventilators, adding that the equipment would be distributed to the Central Hospital, Warri, Central Hospital, Ughelli and the Teaching Hospital, Oghara.

He advised the people of Delta State to listen and obey the precautionary measures given by governments towards conquering the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that Corona Virus was real.

The Delta State Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr Mofe Pirah, represented by Mr Emmanuel Amiwero, thanked NDDC for complementing the efforts of the state government at mitigating the spread and the negative impact of the Corona Virus pandemic on Deltans.

Also, the Chairman of the NDDC COVID-19 Distribution Committee for Delta State, Sir Bishop Oruefe thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio and the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC for meeting the needs of the grassroots in the region.

A youth leader from the Ijaw nation, Barrister Pele Dimebide also thanked President Buhari and the IMC of the NDDC for its intervention at this critical time.

NDDC Dismisses Allegations Of Missing Funds

Charles Odili

 

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has debunked allegations of missing funds, saying only N33 billion has been paid to its vendors since the inception of the expanded Interim Management Committee, IMC.

Speaking during a press briefing at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt on Monday, the NDDC spokesman, Charles Odili, explained that the N33 billion that was paid was just a very little part of a debt portfolio of about N2 trillion.

“The Commission has paid what we describe as historical debts amounting to about N33 billion from the inception of the expanded IMC on February 20, 2020.

“The historical debts cover debts to our vendors; some persons who have been owed between N1 million and N3 million, some for over seven or eight years,” he said.

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Odili noted that the payments were actually intended to alleviate the sufferings and plight of the people of the region.

The commission’s spokesman explained that “The essence is to save lives and livelihoods of the Niger Delta people because some people borrowed money from banks to do little supplies and some of them got very ill and were in the hospitals and there was nothing that the IMC could have done but to assuage to this very humane issue and I think that any compassionate person anywhere in the world will do same.”

He said the historical debts, which have been settled to a large extent, included the Commission’s obligations to those who do supplies and render services, like hotels and other things to keep the organisation running.

NDDC IMC Relocates To New Headquarters Building

 

 

Members of the Interim Management Committee, IMC, of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, led by the Acting Managing Director, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, have relocated from its offices at 167 Aba Road to the new permanent headquarters on the Eastern by-Pass, Port Harcourt.

The NDDC Chief Executive Officer, who moved with the Executive Director. Projects, Dr. Cairo Ojuogbo, addressed newsmen in his new office at the permanent headquarters, which is almost completed.

Prof Pondei assured that the 13-floor permanent headquarters would be completed and commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari in the very near future.

He said: “It is a privilege to be here with the IMC. It would not have been possible without the effort of President Buhari and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.

“Within the first year of his resumption of office as the NDA Minister, Akpabio took seriously the completion of this edifice. I also remember our brother, Late Ibanga Bassey Itang, who would come for inspections of this project even on weekends.”

READ ALSO: COVID-19: NDDC Reopens Head Office After 2-Week Lockdown

Prof Pondei said that the relocation to the new headquarters would ensure that the finishing touches were properly done, noting: “Project move faster when there are activities on a continuous basis. As we have moved to this place, before you know it, one or two other floors would be completed. The movement will be in phases and our presence here means that the commissioning would not be long in coming.”

He regretted that the COVID-19 pandemic added to the delay in installing some facilities that should have been put in place long before now but were held back due to the closure of border.

The NDDC boss noted that the new headquarters would accommodate all the directorates and departments of the Commission, stating: “It is a one-stop-shop. A place everyone would be happy about. The ancillary building will accommodate facilities such as a medical centre, restaurant, and bank, among others. All the service equipment for the main building, including electrical equipment such as lifts and escalators have been installed.”

He remarked that the old office presented a lot of obstacles, especially in the area of office space, which was taken care of in the new complex. “This new complex is more spacious and there are enough rooms for everyone. Whatever was an obstacle at the old office would not be an obstacle here,” he observed.

Pondei noted that unlike the office on Aba Road, the new complex would be connected to the national electricity grid and provision had been made for an alternative source of power. He wondered why some people were raising controversies over the new building. He said: “Seeing is believing. And you can’t compare the cost of this building to other buildings being done in Nigeria that are even smaller than this. I believe that our presence here will put a stop to all these unnecessary controversies, especially in social media.”

In his own remarks, Dr. Ojougboh observed that the last time the national anthem was sung at the site of the permanent headquarters was 25 years ago during the foundation laying ceremony of this building. “Today, 25 years later, we are able to sing the national anthem in this building as we glorify and thank God for being part of this historic event.

COVID-19: NDDC Reopens Head Office After 2-Week Lockdown

 

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has announced that it is set to re-open its head office on Thursday after a two-week lockdown was imposed to allow for the fumigation of the premises.

The lockdown was in obedience to public health directives from the Rivers State Ministry of Health, following cases of COVID 19 infections.

A statement signed by the Director, Corporate Affairs, Charles Obi Odili, however, disclosed that only staff from Grade 14 and above and those on essential duties are directed to resume.

“Staff on other grade levels are to remain at home pending directives from the Federal Government,” the statement added.

Read Also: NDDC Shuts Down Operations Over Suspected COVID-19 Outbreak

It also noted that the Commission will not be open to visitors at this time.

Meanwhile, the commission also noted that the Acting Managing Director, Prof Kemebradikumo Pondei, and the Acting Executive Director Projects, Dr Cairo Ojougboh, will operate from the new headquarters building at the Eastern bye-pass, Pot Harcourt.

NDDC Shuts Down Operations Over Suspected COVID-19 Outbreak

The management of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has approved the shutting down of the commission for two weeks over the suspected outbreak of Coronavirus.

This takes effect from Thursday, 28th May 2020.

The commission in a memo signed by one of its official, Silas Anyanwu, on behalf of management said all activities in the commission including ongoing matters are shut down for the meantime.

READ ALSO: Over 500 Ghost Projects Approved In 2019 Budget For NDDC – Acting MD

The statement also urged members of staff to go into self-isolation for two weeks and await further directives from management.

Head of security of the commission is also directed to ensure the safety of the commission during workers absence, while administration workers are requested to ensure fumigation and decontamination of all offices and premises in the headquarters during the period.

The immediate closure of the commission follows the report of the death of senior staff of the agency.

Director of Finance and Administration, Bassey Ettang Ibanga died on Thursday from complications suspected to be related to COVID-19.

Over 500 Ghost Projects Approved In 2019 Budget For NDDC – Acting MD

President Buhari ordered a forensic audit of NDDC operations in 2019.
President Buhari ordered a forensic audit of NDDC operations in 2019.

 

The acting managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei has alleged that the agency’s 2019 budget was padded with about 500 non-existing projects.

Professor Pondei, who spoke to journalists in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, explained that a huge amount of money was appropriated for bogus projects.

He was reacting to allegations of corruption levelled against the Commission’s interim management committee.

Pondei, a Professor of Medicine at the Niger Delta University, was appointed by Buhari in February 2020.

In October 2019, President Buhari ordered a forensic audit of the operations of the NDDC.

Pondei is leading the President’s forensic audit.

“We discovered that after NDDC forwarded its budget to the national assembly committees on NDDC, what was sent back to the commission was no longer recognisable,” Pondei said.

“The 2019 budget was classically over padded, with almost 500 new projects inserted to it when it was sent back to us.

“We found out the budget appropriation was done in such a way that meaningful projects were allocated very little sums of money.

“It is unfortunate that the 2019 budget will expire on May 31 without any project executed in the region. It was passed two months to the end of its implementation period.”

Pondei also alleged that some members of the national assembly have put pressure on the agency not to submit certain files to forensic auditors.

Police Assure NDDC Of Adequate Security, Warn Trouble Makers

 

The police in Rivers State have assured the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), of providing adequate security to enable it deliver on its mandate to the people of the region.

The state Commissioner of Police, Mr Joseph Mukan, gave the assurance during a  visit at the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt on Friday while warning those plotting evil against the commission to desist forthwith.

The Commissioner was received by the NDDC Acting Managing Director, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, the Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Chief Ibanga Bassey Etang and the Acting Executive Director, Projects, Dr Cairo Ojougboh.

During the visit, he said: “Policing Rivers State will be incomplete without securing NDDC. I want to assure the Commission that in spite of the threats we saw in the media two weeks ago, the intention of the evil ones to burn down the Commission’s headquarters can never succeed.

“We have put machinery in place as directed by the Inspector General of Police to ensure that the Commission is secured. The IG has given me the marching orders to beef up the security architecture in NDDC.

“We will be proactive in tackling the security challenges facing the NDDC. We will not wait for any negative thing to happen before we start acting. Our machinery is already on ground and I can assure you that the evil plans of the enemy to destroy the NDDC will fail.

“The IG sees the NDDC as very strategic and will do everything necessary to ensure that the good services you are giving to the people of the Niger Delta is not hindered.”

In response, Prof Pondei thanked the police commissioner for cooperating with the NDDC, noting that the bond between the commission and the police would be further strengthened.

He stated that the NDDC was resolute in ensuring that it rendered quality service to the people of the region in line with its mandate.

“We have a cordial working relationship with the security agencies, because without security, we will not be able to intervene as expected in developing the Niger Delta region.

“The police continues to provide security and other logistic services to the Commission. We are very grateful for this cordial relationship and hope that it will continue and be made stronger,” he said.

Pondei also noted that the visit of the Police Commissioner was timely considering a recent publication, threatening arson on the Commission.

“This is something that we cannot take lightly. We know that it has to do with the on-going forensic audit and we are working with the police to make sure that nothing untoward happens to the NDDC,” he said.

Plot To Derail Forensic Audit Will Fail, Says NDDC

NDDC spokesman, Charles Odili reacts to allegations against the commission.

 

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has said that several plots meant to derail the forensic audit ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari will fail.

Speaking in an interview at the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt, its Director Corporate Affairs, Mr. Charles Odili, said that the allegations against the Interim Management Committee were deliberate falsehood orchestrated to undermine the on-going forensic audit exercise.

“When this IMC came in with the mandate to drive the forensic audit, it was well aware that it will have enemies. There are some people who have unjustly benefitted from the system who will be brought to book. They are the people fighting back. People like this don’t have any other arsenal other than to resort to the media because the media gives them space to vent their venom.

“When you say you want to carry out a forensic audit, it is a delicate matter. It requires a lot of courage and forthrightness. It puts you at a certain pedestal where you are most likely going to be judged by people you want to investigate,” a statement quoted him as saying.

READ ALSO: Buhari Extends Tenure Of NDDC Interim Management Committee

While describing as ‘completely untrue’ the several allegations against the commission, Odili noted that IMC did not spend N200 billion in two months contrary to claims in some quarters.

He noted that the IMC received N33billion in three months, out of which N22billion has been spent.

NDDC’s spokesman explained that the expenses covered payments to vendors and suppliers like hotels, and contractors, especially those owed N50 million and below.

Reacting to issue of scammers duping members of the public in the guise of assisting them with agricultural loans, Odili advised those who have genuine businesses with the NDDC to always visit the commission’s official website and other social media handles.

“We got reports from Rivers and Bayelsa states stating that some persons are asking unsuspecting members of the public to pay a certain amount of money so that that they can have access to a loan facility in the Agriculture and Fisheries Directorate of the NDDC,” he said.

Buhari Extends Tenure Of NDDC Interim Management Committee

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has extended the tenure of the Professor Keme Pondei-led Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) from May 1 to December 31, 2020.

This is according to a communique by the President’s special aide, Femi Adesina.

In his statement, the special adviser noted that the extension is to cover the period of the forensic audit of the NDDC, earlier approved by the Federal Executive Council, under the chairmanship of the President.

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In the same vein, President Buhari equally approved that the NDDC provides intervention support to complement efforts of the Federal and State governments against further spread of COVID-19 in the nine States of the Niger Delta region, in the sum of Six Billion, Two Hundred and Fifty Million Naira (N6,250,000,000.00) only.

The materials and supplies are to be done through Emergency Procurement method as provided in Sections 42(b) (c) and 43 of the Public Procurement Act, 2007.

NDDC Sends Key Workers On Mandatory Leave As Forensic Audit Begins

Buhari Appoints Nelson Braimbraifa As Acting NDDC MD

 

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has placed some members of staff on compulsory leave pending the conclusion and outcome of the ongoing forensic audit.

This action according to the Commission was based on the acceptance by the Interim Management Committee (IMC) on the advice of the lead consultant on the forensic audit exercise.

The commission also added that the members of staff are placed on the mandatory leave with full benefits.

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This was disclosed in a statement by the NDDC on Wednesday and signed by its Director of Corporate Affairs, Charles Obi Odili.

“The affected staff falls into three categories including those indicted by security agencies like the police, ICPC and the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for acts of impropriety; those whose acts are the subject of investigations by the forensic auditors; and those who held key and sensitive positions in the commission during the period covered by the forensic audit and whose continued presence in the commission will interfere, impair, undermine or compromise the objective of the forensic auditing of the affairs of the commission,” the statement read in part.

The mandatory leave takes immediate effect and the affected workers have been notified by the NDDC.

 

Beware Of Facebook Impostors, NDDC Warns

Buhari Appoints Nelson Braimbraifa As Acting NDDC MD

 

The Management of the Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC), has alerted members of the public to the fraudulent activities of some dubious individuals who impersonate the Commission’s Acting Managing Director, Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei, in dishonest Facebook Accounts.

According to a statement by NDDC’s Director of Corporate Affairs, Charles Obi Odili, two such duplicitous Facebook accounts used to deceive members of the public, promising them jobs and contracts in NDDC, were operated by a so-called “Dr. Alfred of SDG” with phone number 08148615295.

Mr. Odili revealed in his communique on Wednesday that the Truecaller App identified the phone number as belonging to Engineer Alfred.

He noted that clearly, the Facebook accounts were created for the purpose of duping unsuspecting members of the public and in the process bringing the NDDC and its Chief Executive Officer to disrepute.

The NDDC Director, however, stressed that the security agencies have been alerted to investigate and bring the criminals to justice.

“These criminals, who claim to be representing the NDDC Acting Managing Director, said they were collating a list of contractors with jobs in the Commission and negotiating for payments.

“The NDDC emphasised that Prof Pondei does not have an active Facebook account, as he was occupied with the responsibilities of repositioning the Commission, as the head of the Interim Management Committee,( IMC).

“From all indications, such accounts are cloned buttons activated by scammers to use the name and photograph of Prof Pondei to defraud members of the public.

“The statement warned that anyone relating with Prof Pondei on Facebook does so at a huge risk, stating that neither the Commission nor the person of the Acting MD/CEO had solicited for payment of any kind as a condition for employment or contracts.

“The NDDC advised those who have genuine businesses with it to always cross-check facts at the Commission’s official website and other social media handles.

“The statement urged members of the public to be careful and when accessing the information on the activities of the NDDC, noting that Prof Pondei did not appoint anyone to represent him in any manner or for whatever purpose,” Mr. Odili’s statement partially read.

It further stressed that anyone claiming to represent the NDDC or its Chief Executive Officer in illegal negotiations must be treated as a criminal activity and should be reported to security agencies for appropriate sanctions.

NDDC To Assist Nine States With N1bn To Aid Fight Against Coronavirus

Buhari Appoints Nelson Braimbraifa As Acting NDDC MD

 

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has pledged to support nine states in the Niger Delta region with N1billion.

This comes amid the rising cases of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari declared COVID-19 a dangerous infectious disease.

According to NDDC’s acting Managing Director, Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei, the agency was making available N775 million to support the nine states under its mandate.

He added that another N270 million will be released to fast-track the establishment of isolation centres in the 27 senatorial districts across the region.

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“We are exploring avenues to see if we could intervene in providing ventilators and facilitate the procurement of oxygen.

“We are also looking at the drugs that have been used so far in other climes for treatment. The NDDC is going a step above what others are doing,” a statement from NDDC’s spokesman, Charles Obi Odili, quoted the MD as saying.

The commission also announced a total shutdown of its services as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It, however, reminded its workers to adhere strictly to the World Health Organisation (WHO) standard on preventive measures.

In doing this, NDDC asked the staff to maintain personal hygiene by washing hands with soap and water and sanitizing hands, maintain social distance and stay away from public places when necessary.