SERAP Tells Buhari To Publish Names Of Suspected Looters Of N6trn NDDC Funds

A photo combination of SERAP logo and President Muhammadu Buhari

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to “direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN to widely publish the names of those indicted in the alleged misappropriation of over N6 trillion in the running of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) between 2000 and 2019, as documented in the recent Forensic Audit Report on NDDC”.

In a statement on Sunday, SERAP also urged the president “to direct Mr Malami and appropriate anti-corruption agencies to promptly bring to justice anyone suspected to be responsible for the missing N6 trillion, and to fully recover any misappropriated public funds”.

In its open letter dated 25 September 2021 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “It is in the public interest to promptly publish the names of those indicted in the audit report, and to ensure that they face prosecution, as appropriate”.

SERAP said: “Taking these decisive steps would advance the victims’ right to restitution, compensation and guarantee of non-repetition, as well as improve public confidence in the fight against corruption.”

[READ ALSO]‘He Was Six Months Away From Retirement’: Police Narrate How CSP Abonde Was Killed

Buhari To Commission Police Quarters In Rivers

It added that, “Using the audit report to genuinely combat the corruption epidemic in the NDDC and rein in those indicted would alleviate poverty, improve access of Nigerians to basic public goods and services, and enhance the ability of your government to meet its human rights and anti-corruption obligations.”

“Despite the country’s enormous oil wealth, ordinary Nigerians have derived very little benefit from trillions of naira budgeted for socio-economic development in the region primarily because of widespread grand corruption, and the entrenched culture of impunity of perpetrators,” the letter, read in part.

“The level of grand corruption in the NDDC, and the devastating effects on poor Nigerians are serious enough to meet the requirements of crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, to which Nigeria is a state party.

“The public interest in publishing the names of those indicted by the audit report outweighs any considerations to withhold the information, as there would be no prejudice against those whose names are published as long as the information is appropriately framed and truthful.”

“The audit report raises prima facie evidence of grand corruption and its staggering effects in the Niger Delta. Nigerians have the right to know the names of those indicted and other details in the report, as guaranteed under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Freedom of Information Act.

“Publishing widely the report and the names of those indicted would remove the possibility of obstruction of justice, and provide insights relevant to the public debate on the ongoing efforts to combat grand corruption and the longstanding impunity of perpetrators in the country.

“Nigerians are entitled to the right to receive information without any interference or distortion, and the enjoyment of this right should be based on the principle of maximum disclosure, and a presumption that all information is accessible subject only to a narrow system of exceptions.”

According to SERAP, “even if the government demonstrates that the publication of the names of public officials would substantially harm a legitimate interest, it is nevertheless obliged to disclose the requested information if, as it is the case here, the public interest in disclosure is sufficient enough to overweigh any perceived harm.

“We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, the Incorporated Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel your government to comply with our request in the public interest.

“Misappropriation of public funds meant to ensure access to basic public goods and services rises to the level of crimes against humanity, as this has forced millions of Nigerians in the region to live in inhuman or degrading conditions, in violation of the Rome Statute.

“According to our information, the Forensic Audit Report into the activities of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) reveals grim allegations of misappropriation of N6 trillion in the commission between 2000 and 2019, and that there are over 13,000 abandoned projects in the Niger Delta.”

“According to the report, the NDDC operated a total of 362 bank accounts, which resulted in a ‘lack of proper reconciliation of accounts.’

“The missing N6 trillion and over 13,000 abandoned projects in the Niger Delta have continued to have a negative impact on the human rights of Nigerians, undermining their access to basic public goods and services, such as education, healthcare, and regular and uninterrupted electricity supply.

“Public schools have been left to crumble and wither away, and health care facilities in several parts of the region lack even the most basic of amenities.

“Section 15 subsection (5) of the Constitution requires your government to abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power. The UN Convention against Corruption requires your government to ensure effective prosecution of allegations of corruption.

“Specifically, article 26 of the convention requires your government to ensure ‘effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions’ including criminal and non-criminal sanctions, in cases of grand corruption. Article 26 complements the more general requirement of article 30, paragraph 1, that sanctions must take into account the gravity of the corruption allegations.”

The letter was copied to Mr Malami; Professor Bolaji Owasanoye SAN, Chairman Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC); Abdulrasheed Bawa, Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Buhari To Commission Police Quarters In Rivers

File photo: President Muhammadu Buhari presides over the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja on August 18, 2021.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari will on Tuesday commission the Police Barracks, Special Protection Unit (SPU) base 6 at Omagwa in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is expected to represent his principal to inaugurate the project built by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

NDDC in a statement issued on Sunday by its spokesman, Ibitoye Abosede, said the building is a 66-flat residential quarter and administrative block for police officers in the oil-rich state.

The project, previously inspected by NDDC Interim Administrator, Mr Efiong Akwa consists of an administrative block, an armoury, gatehouse, underground cell and 66 units of accommodation made up of the commander’s residence, second-in-command residence and 64 one-bedroom flats.

[READ ALSO]‘He Was Six Months Away From Retirement’: Police Narrate How CSP Abonde Was Killed

Akwa described the completion of the project as another milestone of the Buhari administration.

“When people say that NDDC is not working, you can see that it is not true. The problem is that people don’t get to acknowledge the numerous projects that the commission executed or is executing,” the statement partly read.

On the economic importance of the project, the commission said it would add value to the living conditions of the security officers in the Niger-Delta region.

The commission explained that the project is part of a broad-based partnership with the Nigeria Police Force to add value to their efforts at improving regional security.

It added that as an interventionist agency, it had “a responsibility to make sure that those who take care of our safety were provided with befitting and comfortable accommodation”.

With the completion of the project, the stage is set for  an improved and more secure Niger Delta region.

‘I’ll Feel Bad If APC Doesn’t Give Southeast An Opportunity’ – Weekly Quotes

 

The passing week has been a very eventful one globally with the world still battling COVID-19 and trying to adjust to the new reality.

Nigeria is never left a week without drama, as events continue to take different turns, leading the authorities to take certain drastic actions that got tongues wagging.

Having reviewed most of the major stories from the passing week, both locally and on the foreign scene, here are top quotes that tend to paint a vivid picture of what transpired and perhaps give us a hint of some things we must expect in the coming days:

1. “If I follow APC for this length of time, and they don’t give the Southeast an opportunity, I will feel bad.”

A file photo of Ebonyi Sate Governor, Dave Umahi. Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television
A file photo of Ebonyi Sate Governor, Dave Umahi. Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television

 

Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, says he will feel bad if the All Progressives Congress (APC) does not give the South-East a chance at the presidency, come 2023.

2. “I remain committed to his agenda for our great Nation and shall continue to support him in any way possible.”

A file photo of the former Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, at his office in Abuja. Photo: Twitter- @EngrSMamman

 

Former Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, declares his support for the Muhammadu Buhari administration following his sack by the President.

3. “Today at the executive meeting, (party) president Suga said he wants to focus his efforts on anti-coronavirus measures and will not run in the leadership election.”

Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga leaves at the end of an extraordinary Diet session at the Upper House of parliament in Tokyo on September 17, 2020. / AFP / Behrouz MEHRI

 

Secretary General of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Toshihiro Nikai, reveals that Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will not run for re-election as party leader in September.

4. “The sooner the Taliban will enter the family of civilised people, so to speak, the easier it will be to contact, communicate, and somehow influence and ask questions.”

File photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of the International Military-Technical Forum “Army-2021” held in the Patriot Park, in Kubinka outside Moscow on August 23, 2021. (Photo by Ramil SITDIKOV / SPUTNIK / AFP)

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he hopes the Taliban will behave in a “civilised” manner in Afghanistan so the global community can maintain diplomatic ties with Kabul.

5. “I am the landlord, I didn’t give myself, the constitution gave me that power.”

A file photo of Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/ChannelsTV
A file photo of Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/ChannelsTV

 

Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku issues a stern warning to residents of the Mambilla Plateau, urging them not to sell lands to “selfish politicians” who storm the area in order to benefit from compensations meant for the Mambilla hydroelectric power project site.

6. “The report of the audit committee showed that there are over 13,000 abandoned projects in the Niger Delta and even before the submission of the report, some contractors have returned to site on their own and completed about 77 road projects.”

A file photo of the Niger Delta Development Commission headquarters building in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
A file photo of the Niger Delta Development Commission headquarters building in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

 

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio says the Forensic Audit Report of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) indicates that there are over 13,000 abandoned projects within the coastal region.

7. “Nigeria has 10.6 million cannabis users, this is the highest in the world, isn’t it sad?”

File photo of NDLEA Chairman, Brigadier-General Buba Marwa (rtd)

 

Since January 2021, drugs worth over ₦100 billion have been seized and about 1,630 criminals arrested by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, says Brig. Gen Buba Marwa.

8. “The principle would be a grouping of qualifiers every year, and at the end of the season a major competition, World Cup or continental championship.”

Arsenal’s former coach Arsene Wenger was named FIFA’s world football development director, the Zurich-based body said on November 13, 2019. Ozan KOSE / AFP

 

Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger calls for World Cup to be held every two years in an interview with French sports daily L’Equipe.

9. “This is to confirm to you that suspected kidnappers at about 06:45hrs along Lagos-Benin expressway, by Isuwa, kidnapped five unidentified persons and in the process shot to death one Sowore Felix Olajide, male, a pharmacy student of Igbinedion University, Okada.”

The late Olajide Sowore.

 

The Edo State Police Command confirms the murder of Olajide Sowore, brother to Sahara Reporters Publisher, Omoyele Sowore by suspected kidnappers.

10. “The trajectory into the future is bright. If you see some of the things we have been able to do under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari to exit recession in record time, most established democracies are still battling with the recession.”

A file photo of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha.
A file photo of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha.

 

Despite the current challenges facing Nigeria, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, is optimistic that the nation’s trajectory is good.

11. “For us to reach the level of development that we need in our country, every part, segment and strata of the society must have a developed, deliberately focused leadership, so that what we do at the local level compliments what we do at the state level and from there, terminating at the apex – at the Federal level.”

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, briefs reporters after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on June 24, 2021.

 

Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, attributes leadership deficit as one of the factors preventing Nigeria from achieving sustainable economic growth and development, and addressing insecurity and other socioeconomic problems.

12. “We apologize to anyone who may have seen these offensive recommendations.”

In this file illustration photo taken on March 25, 2020, a Facebook app logo is displayed on a smartphone in Arlington, Virginia. Olivier DOULIERY / AFP
In this file illustration photo taken on March 25, 2020, a Facebook app logo is displayed on a smartphone in Arlington, Virginia. Olivier DOULIERY / AFP

 

Facebook apologizes and disables its topic recommendation feature after it mistook Black men for “primates” in video at the social network.

13. “The committee is to identify grazing routes and work with states and map them. It is not to recover grazing routes, it is to identify the scale of the problem.”

Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu appeared on Channels Television’s Politics Today on September 2, 2021. Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television

 

Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu, argues that mapping out grazing routes will help to identify the scale of the herder-farmer crisis.

14. “Police have located the man and he has been shot. He has died at the scene.”

New Zealand flag.

 

Authorities in New Zealand speak after police shoot dead a man who wounded six people in an attack at an Auckland supermarket.

15. “You come with what you know how to do best.”

A screengrab of Ric Hassani during an interview with Channels TV’s “Sunrise”.

 

Pop singer, Ric Hassani, reveals why his sound differs from the normal “Nigerian music” sound.

16. “He asked me what I was willing to do for music.”

 

In bombshell testimony, a 32-year-old man says he became associated with Kelly’s entourage and pleaded guilty in 2021 to attempting to bribe a woman who would potentially testify against the musician.

17. “What has happened is largely a repeat of the things we have seen in the past.”

Chairman of the Northern Governors' Forum, Mr Simon Lalong made an appearance on Channels Television on February 9, 2021.
Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, Mr Simon Lalong .

 

A former member of the House of Representatives, Bitrus Kaze, says the Governor Simon Lalong-led administration has not done enough to change the dynamics of the conflict in Plateau State and secure the lives of the people.

18. “If you look at the President’s statement, in no place will you see that; not at all. In no place will you see those words that performance was weak, he didn’t say that.”

A combination of file photos of Mr Mohammed Nanono and Mr Saleh Mamman.

 

President Buhari’s media adviser, Femi Adesina, makes clarifications regarding the sacking of two ministers.

19.  “Well, it happened because, perhaps for the first time in the history of the country, and of the NNPC, there is a President who is not using the place like a personal Automated Teller Machine (ATM).”

The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina speaks during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on October 23, 2020.

 

The Media Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari, Femi Adesina, explains why the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) recently declared profit.

Over 13,000 Projects Abandoned In Niger Delta – NDDC Audit Report

The Minister of Niger Delta appeared before a House of Representatives committee on July 20, 2020.
File photo: The Minister of Niger Delta appearing before a House of Representatives committee on July 20, 2020.

 

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio has said the Forensic Audit Report of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) indicated that there are over 13,000 abandoned projects within the coastal region.

Senator Akpabio disclosed this in Abuja on Thursday when he submitted the report to President Muhammadu Buhari through the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN).

“The report of the audit committee showed that there are over 13,000 abandoned projects in the Niger Delta and even before the submission of the report some contractors have returned to site on their own and completed about 77 road projects.

“Although the exercise had a checkered history, I thank Mr President and all those who supported and ensured its success,” the minister stated.

He added that the exercise was not done to witch-hunt anyone, but to ensure that the huge sums of funds allocated for developing the region are put to good use.

According to Akpabio, the Niger Delta region has remained backward since 1958 in spite of efforts by successive governments through the creation of various interventionist programmes and projects, a situation he says is changing.

READ ALSOFEC Approves N722.3m For Audit Of NDDC

Buhari Receives NDDC Forensic Audit Report
Buhari Orders Forensic Audit Of NDDC Operations From 2001

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

 

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed that the Federal Government will ensure it recovers over N6 trillion allegedly misappropriated in the running of the NDDC between 2001 and 2019.

Buhari who spoke shortly after he received the Forensic Audit Report from Akpabio, claimed that there had been evidence of substantial compromise in the execution of at least 13,777 and the existence of “multitude of NDDC’s bank accounts amounting to 362” which lacked proper reconciliation of accounts.

Consequently, the President directed that the report of the forensic audit on the NDDC be forwarded to the Federal Ministry of Justice for necessary action.

Malami, after receiving the report, assured that it would be critically analysed for necessary action and implementation.

In October 2019, Buhari ordered a holistic forensic audit on the activities of the NDDC from when it was established till August 2019, in response to the yearnings of the people to make the Commission more effective and result oriented.

The President said there was nothing tangible on the ground in the region to show for the huge funds committed over the years through the Commission.

He noted that his administration was concerned about the colossal loss occasioned by uncompleted and unverified development projects in the region, and how the citizens have for long been deprived of the dividends of democracy.

NDDC Got N6trn Allocation In 19 Years, Says FG

A file photo of the Niger Delta Development Commission headquarters building in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
A file photo of the Niger Delta Development Commission headquarters building in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

 

The Federal Government on Thursday said it allocated N6trn to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) between 2001 and 2019. 

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami made the comment when he got the forensic audit report of the NDDC from his Niger Delta counterpart Godswill Akpabio.

“It is on record that between 2001 and 2019, the Federal Government has approved N3, 375, 735,776,794.93 as budgetary allocation and N2,420,948,894,191.00 as Income from Statutory and Non Statutory Sources, which brings the total figure to the sum of approximately N6 trillion given to the Niger Delta Development Commission,” Malami said during the event which took place in Abuja.

According to the minister, the figure is an indication that the Federal Government has allocated a good amount of funds to the development of Nigeria’s oil-bearing region.

He, however, expressed concern over uncompleted and some unverified projects in the Niger Delta despite the allocations.

READ ALSO: FEC Approves N722.3m For Audit Of NDDC

Buhari Receives NDDC Forensic Audit Report
Buhari Orders Forensic Audit Of NDDC Operations From 2001

‘Results On The Ground’

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

 

Malami’s remark comes almost two years after President Muhammadu Buhari ordered a forensic audit of the NDDC starting from 2001.

Worried over alleged misappropriation in the Commission, Buhari insisted on knowing how funds budgeted to the region were spent.

“With the amount of money that the Federal Government has religiously allocated to the NDDC, we will like to see the results on the ground; those that are responsible for that have to explain certain issues,” one of the presidential aide, Femi Adesina, had quoted his principal as saying during a meeting with governors from states which make up the Commission.

“The projects said to have been done must be verifiable. You just cannot say you spent so much billions and when the place is visited, one cannot see the structures that have been done.  The consultants must also prove that they are competent.”

In August 2020, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) equally approved N722.3m for the audit, with the payment coming from the Presidency.

Buhari Receives NDDC Forensic Audit Report

A file photo of the Niger Delta Development Commission headquarters building in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
A file photo of the Niger Delta Development Commission headquarters building in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday received a forensic audit report of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The report was received on the President’s behalf by Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.

The President had ordered a forensic audit of the NDDC on October 2019 to probe alleged financial misappropriation.

READ ALSO: Ministers Not Sacked For Weak Performance, Says Adesina

While receiving the report, Malami said the Federal Government doled out approximately six trillion naira to the agency between 2001 and 2019.

“It is on record that between 2001 and 2019, the Federal Government has approved N3,375, 735,776,794.93 (Three Trillion, Three Hundred and Seventy Five Billion, Seven Hundred and Seventy Six Thousand, Seven Hundred and Ninety Four Naira, Ninety Three Kobo) as budgetary allocation and N2,420,948,894,191.00 (Two Trillion, Four Hundred and Twenty Billion, Nine Hundred and Forty Million, and, Eight Hundred and Ninety Four Thousand, One Hundred and Ninety One Naira) as Income from Statutory and Non Statutory Sources, which brings the total figure to the sum of approximately Six Trillion Naira (N6,000,000,000,000) given to the Niger Delta Development Commission,” the Minister said.

We Will Take Keen Interest In Remittance Of Three Per Cent PIA – Senator Akpabio

A file photo of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.

 

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio says his ministry will closely monitor and ensure strict adherence to the remittance of the three percent Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) compensations to host communities.

Senator Akpabio disclosed this on Thursday during the weekly ministerial briefing at the State House in Abuja.

He explained that he is not interested in the percentage (which according to him can be managed) but in the disbursement process.

While Akpabio was confident that no Niger Delta indigene would need to agitate over the disbursement procedure, he raised concerns over the need to properly define host communities.

The Minister also promised that he will intensify sensitization campaigns through the Niger Delta Ministry on the matter.

International Oil Companies Owe NDDC $4bn, Says Akpabio

A file photo of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.

 

Senator Godswill Akpabio says oil firms operating in the Niger Delta have defaulted in their statutory remittances to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to the tune of $4 billion.

Akpabio, who is the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, made the claim on Thursday at the weekly ministerial briefing held at the State House in Abuja.

He noted that oil firms operating in the area are expected to provide three percent of their annual budgets to the commission, but none has complied with this.

Akpabio stressed that the Ministry of Niger Delta will take a keen interest in the implementation of the three percent Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) compensation to host communities.

The former Akwa Ibom governor also stated that the NDDC owes contractors three ₦3 trillion. He, however, explained that not all awarded contracts with costs can be regarded as debt.


READ ALSO: Buhari Approves Committee To Implement Petroleum Industry Act Immediately

READ ALSO: Nigeria Lost $50bn In 10 Years Due To Uncertainty Over Petroleum Industry – Buhari

READ ALSO: [PIA] We Discussed With Labour Extensively, No Job Will Be Lost – Sylva


 

 

On the progress made so far in the Commission, the Niger Delta minister disclosed that about 109 projects – which would be commissioned soon – have been implemented in the South-South.

Funds from the Niger Delta Ministry –  which was established in 2008 with a hundred ₦200 billion –  shrank to ₦19 billion in 2020 and then rose slightly to ₦24 billion in 2021.

The minister revealed that ₦10 billion – out of the allocated fund – has been dedicated to fix the East-West Road.

NDDC: Youth Leaders Summon Emergency Meeting Over Forensic Audit Report

A file photo of the Niger Delta Development Commission headquarters building in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
A file photo of the Niger Delta Development Commission headquarters building in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

 

The leadership of the Niger Delta Ethnic Nationalities Youth Leaders Council, led by Comrade Terry Obieh, has summoned an emergency meeting over the conclusion and submission of a forensic audit report of the Niger Delta Development Commission.

The meeting is also expected to discuss the constitution of the substantive Board of the NDDC.

In a statement, signed by Comrade Terry Obieh, and made available to newsmen, the meeting will be attended by Presidents of various  Niger Delta Ethnic Nationalities Youths organizations.

The meeting is slated for August 13 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered a forensic audit of the NDDC on October 2019 to probe alleged financial misappropriation.

In June, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, had assured that the report would be ready in July, after which the substantive board will be constituted.

EFCC Arraigns Businessman Over Fake NDDC Contract

 

The Benin Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, today Tuesday, June 29, 2021, arraigned one Julius Ejiogu before Justice F.A. Olubanjo of the Federal High Court sitting in Asaba, Delta State.

Ejiogu was arraigned on a three-count charge bordering on forgery.

One of the counts reads: “that you Julius Ejiogu and one Engr E. Eshett (at large) on or about the 2nd of August 2013 at Delta State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did conspire amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit: make a document titled “award of contract for the construction of Obudu- Oleri Road” in Udu LGA, Delta State, on a letterhead paper of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) purported to have been issued or emanated from NDDC for the award of contract, which you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17 of the Revised Edition ( Laws of the Federation of Nigeria ) 2007 and punishable under Section 3 (1) (C) of the same Act”.

READ ALSO: N362m Diezani Bribe: Appeal Court Affirms Conviction Of Former INEC Officer

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against him by the Commission.

In view of his plea, prosecution counsel, Kasimu. Y. Bello prayed the court for a trial date and to remand the defendant in Nigerian Correctional Service’s custody. However, counsel to the defendant, G.O.Edaghese prayed the court to grant the defendant bail.

He told the court that the defendant has been on EFCC administrative bail and has never defaulted in appearing before the EFCC whenever he was requested to do so.

Justice Olubanjo granted the defendant bail in the sum of N500,000 with one surety in like sum. The surety must be resident within the jurisdiction of the court and shall be gainfully employed or owner of a business enterprise within the jurisdiction.

The surety shall also swear to an affidavit and present a three-year tax clearance certificate to the court.

Justice Olubanjo thereafter adjourned the matter till July 27, 2021 for trial.

Youths Protest Against NDDC In Imo Over Marginalisation

Aggrieved youths in Imo protested against the Niger-Delta Development Commission on June 28, 2021.
Aggrieved youths in Imo protested against the Niger-Delta Development Commission on June 28, 2021.

 

Eyitope Kuteyi, Owerri

Youths from the oil producing communities of Ohaji/Egbema local government area of Imo State on Monday staged a protest against the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), alleging marginalization and unfair treatment by the commission over a long period of time.

The protesting youths stormed the NDDC state office located along Port Harcourt Express Road in Owerri carrying placards with various inscriptions and barricading the main entrance gate into the commission thereby stalling activities in the commission.

According to the National President of Ohaji Youths, Ugorji Emmanuel, who led the protest, the youths condemned the recent employment exercise conducted by the Commission.

According to them, the exercise did not include youths from the oil rich communities of Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta LGA.

The youths also lamented absence of electricity, good roads and other social amenities in their area, adding that as the geese that lay the golden egg there’s nothing to show for it.

They threatened to shut down all oil installations in their communities if the issues raised are not addressed immediately.

Akpabio Gives Date For Submission Of NDDC Forensic Audit To President Buhari

Minister of Niger Delta Godswill Akpabio at the State House on Wednesday, June 23, 2021.

 

Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio has revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari will receive the report of the ongoing forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) next month.

Akpabio indicated this while responding to questions from State House correspondents after a meeting with the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari at the State House on Wednesday.

READ ALSO: Why We Won’t Succumb To Pressure From Criminals To Lift Curfew – Wike

He maintained that the exercise was started not just to clean up the mess in the NDDC but to reposition the commission and ensure optimal performance.

The Minister said much progress has been made on the forensic audit.

He further declared that Nigeria cannot afford a crisis in South-South as recorded in other regions of the country because of its importance to the economic survival of the nation.

Akpabio equally noted that he has been meeting with stakeholders in the region as a way of calming tension. He also recommended that political leaders from other crisis-prone regions do the same to curb restiveness.