NDDC Denies Buying Cars Worth Over N1bn

NDDC Denies Buying Cars Worth Over N1bnThe management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has denied the allegations of procurement of over 70 luxury cars each costing tens of millions of Naira, made by the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Professor Itse Sagay.

In a statement issued on Thursday by the Head of Corporate Affairs at the NDDC, Chijioke Amu-Nnadi, the commission denied making such purchases since its current governing board assumed office on November 4, 2016.

According to the statement, the NDDC Chairman, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, and the Managing Director/CEO, Nsima Ekere, as well as the two Executive Directors are still using their private vehicles three months after assumption of duties.

The statement added that the agency is only now in the process of acquiring work vehicles.

The NDDC said it is adhering strictly to due process which includes seeking approval of the Federal Executive Council, expressing its readiness to open its books for audit at any time.

The statement read: “The NDDC is only now in the process of acquiring work vehicles, and is adhering strictly to due process. These include five (5) Toyota Prado jeeps, 10 Toyota Hilux trucks, four (4) Toyota Land Cruiser jeeps, one (1) Toyota Coaster bus and two (2) Toyota Hiace buses.

“The Commission has just received the Due Process Compliance Certificate from the Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, and is preparing the mandatory memo for the approval of the Federal Executive Council.

Doing What Is Right

“We wish to restate that the current Board and Management of the NDDC is committed to making its transactions transparent, by adhering strictly to processes and procedures of government, as espoused in the Board’s 4-R Initiative of restoring the Commission’s core mandate, restructuring the balance sheet, reforming our processes and reaffirming a commitment to doing what is right and proper at all times in facilitating the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region.

“In this regard, the Commission is also partnering with Bureau for Public Service Reforms (BPSR), Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and Open Government Partnership (OGP) to improve the Commission’s governance systems, procurement and project implementation processes, in order to plug all loopholes and systematically eliminate all incidences of mismanagement and corruption.

“NDDC is always ready to open its books for audit. We are also committed to responding to all inquiries from well-meaning individuals and groups seeking clarification on rumours and possible false information.

“While asking for support from all stakeholders to enable the Commission succeed in the ambitious task of reforms, the New NDDC is evolving as a responsible public institution and members of the public should feel free to get authentic information on its activities to avoid sensationalism”.

NDDC Appeals To Rivers Govt To Rescind Revoked Office Land

We Will Complete All Ongoing Projects, NDDC AssuresThe Chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC), Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, has appealed to the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, to reverse the revocation of the land, which the Commission bought to provide access to the permanent headquarters in Port Harcourt.

Senator Ndoma-Egba made the appeal when he led members of the NDDC board to pay a courtesy visit to the governor, at the Government House in Port Harcourt on Friday.

The NDDC team which included the Managing Director, Mr. Nsima Ekere, the Executive Director Finance and Administration, Mr Mene Derek and Executive Director Projects, Engr. Samuel Adjogbe, and other members of the Board, said “we are confident your excellency will reverse his earlier decision, because Rivers State has since inception shown tremendous goodwill to NDDC.”

He expressed appreciation to the state government for hosting the Commission for the past 16 years and urged it not to relent in its assistance.

“Rivers State promised to give us a headquarters building at inception and it delivered on that. We want the government to help us protect that property which is facing some legal challenges.”

The Chairman told the governor that work was in progress at the site of the permanent headquarters of the Commission, adding that the land that was revoked by the government for public use would provide an access to the new office complex.

“We appeal that the land be given back to us because of its importance,” Senator Ndoma-Egba told Governor Wike.

Governor Wike said that he was aware of the challenges facing the Commission at the temporary headquarters and promised to assist in addressing the challenges.

He, however, held back on the issue of the revoked NDDC land, noting that some security matters needed to be addressed before that could be done.

The governor stated that the NDDC needed the cooperation of the state governments in the Niger Delta to achieve its goal of fast-tracking development in the region.

He urged the agency to embark on projects that would add value to the lives of the people of the oil-rich region.

“NDDC must focus on the core mandate of developing the Niger Delta,” the governor reiterated, adding that that his government was ready to support all efforts in that direction.

Governor Wike advised the NDDC to avoid cases of duplication of projects, stating that the Commission should endeavour to consult the state before embarking on projects in the area.

Senate Holds Valedictory Session, Reels Out Achievements

SenateAfter four years of lawmaking and supervising the works of the executive, where 591 bills were introduced out of which 123 bills were passed, the seventh Senate has officially come to an end.

The Nigerian Senate has held a valedictory session to mark the end of the seventh Assembly, to look back at some of the key moments in the Upper Chamber and set an agenda for the incoming Assembly.

The legislators were joined by some prominent former lawmakers inside the Senate chamber, who came to take part in the valedictory session.

For most of the Senators, it was the last time they would be sitting in the chamber.

The Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, set the ball rolling, speaking on some of the achievements of the seventh assembly.

The floor was then thrown open as lawmakers reminisced on their experiences in the last four years and the lessons learnt.

Despite the achievements of the seventh Senate, the upper chamber did not get around to enacting one critical law, Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which Nigerians expected they would.

The bill was immersed in controversies and lawmakers could not resolve the grey areas in the bill.

The Senate did not also attend to the reports of some critical investigations such as the report on the probe of the Immigration recruitment tragedy and the report on the investigation into the management of fuel subsidy.

The Upper Chamber also left behind the investigation on the mystery of the dead bodies found in Ezu River in Anambra State, the Malabo Oil Field transaction probe, as well as the investigation of the management of funds in Nigeria’s embassies and foreign missions.

No explanation had been given on why the reports were not considered, despite months of investigations.

All these now belong to the realm of history and it is left to the incoming eight Assembly to resurrect these reports, do justice to them and learn from the mistakes of the seventh Assembly.

However, the House of Representatives, on the same day, considered the report of its Adhoc Committee on the Petroleum Industry Bill and passed the bill.

Prepare To Vacate Your Seat- PDP Alerts Remi Tinubu

remi tunubu The Lagos State Chapter of the Peoples Democracy Party (PDP) has vowed to stop the return of Senator Oluremi Tinubu to the Senatorial district, cautioning the Senator to stop her “unparliamentary, unpatriotic and inexperience manner of carrying out ordinary legislative functions and privileges”.

The Party’s stance is on the heels of reports of two interviews allegedly granted in two different National Newspapers, wherein Senator Tinubu “disparaged the Senate as nonentity and also described the hallowed Chamber as not befitting enough of her likes to return!”.

The said interviews were brought on the floor of the Senate, by Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba.

The PDP, in statement by the Lagos State Publicity Secretary, Mr Taofik Gani, noted that the Senate has “asked the committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to investigate the Lagos central Senator following her statement that except the All Progressives Congress (APC) becomes the majority, she has had her fill in the senatorial seat and adding that the Senate has failed Nigerians”.

The party also noted that the Senate Majority Leader warned “Senator Tinubu to stop disgracing the State by her unparliamentary, unpatriotic and inexperienced manner of carrying out ordinary legislative functions and privileges”.

The PDP also vowed that “unless the Senator is lucky to escape reprimand by the Senate, it shall mobilise voters in Lagos Central Senatorial District to invoke section 69 of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution. The said section talks about Powers and Processes to recall a Senator or Member of the House of Representatives.

“First, we want to re-assure Senator Remi Tinubu that indeed she has had her Fill in the Senate and can never return to the Senate in 2015, at least not as a Lagos Senator.

“As a matter of urgency, her completing this present term is hanging and imbalance. Unless she is lucky to scale through the senate and be cleared by the Senate committee asked to investigate her, we shall mobilise voters from her Senatorial District to commence the process of her recall as allowed under Section 69 of our Constitution.

“Lagosians are now too embarrassed by the ignoble actions of this APC Senator who we expected would be a fast learner and graduate from being a rookie Senator to an experienced Senator.

“Indeed, we do recognise her Right of freedom of expression, however, she ought to exercise same within the Rules of the Senate. Persistently making same mistakes shows that she is either Treacherous or inexperienced, consequently Unfit to remain in the Senate” the party said.

Bill on external borrowing passes second reading in Senate

The senate has passed through second reading a request by Presdient Goodluck Jonathan for a $7.9 billion external borrowing plan.

The leader of the senate, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, moved the motion on the “inclusion of the pipeline projects into the Medium Term (2012-2014) External Borrowing Plan.

Despite the approval, the lawmakers were concerned about how the loans will be utilised and if there was need for the loan in the first place.

The request was referred to a joint committee on Local and Foreign Loan Debts and Finance.

Constitution review: Lawmakers kick against calls for referendum

Federal lawmakers have dismissed calls by the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) for a referendum as part of the on-going constitution review process, saying that such a process is not tenable.

The planned review of the 1999 constitution by the 7th National Assembly has commenced with the Senate hosting a public hearing and the House of Representatives has planned its own public hearings in all the 360 federal constituencies in the country.

The process has been commended by a number of professional bodies and civil society organisations but the leadership of the NBA has however expressed some reservations about how the process is being conducted.

President of the association, Okey Wali, had recently stated that there is no clear agenda or known methodology in the ongoing amendment process. According to the lawyer, the one day public hearing session to be held simultaneously in the 360 federal constituencies on November 10, as proposed by the House of Representatives, cannot produce anything meaningful to the amendment of the 1999 constitution.

The Senate Majority Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, on Thursday described the NBA’s stance as ‘surprising’ adding that the NBA cannot “disown” the on-going process which it has participated actively in.

Speaking further on the issue, Mr Ndoma-Egba, explained that the constitution has prescribed the mechanism for amendment and that the National Assembly will be sticking to that.

This is a position shared by the House of Representatives, who through its spokesman,  Zakari Mohammed, said the demand for a referendum as part of the constitution process is one option the National Assembly is not interested in.

Mr Mohammed added the House will not subscribe to what he called extra-constitutional means of reviewing the constitution.

The lawmakers say they are determined to ensure that the proposed amendment enjoys national consensus and acceptance. And that it truly becomes a constitution that belongs to the people of Nigeria.

Senate confirms presentation of 2013 Budget for next week

The 2013 Budget presentation by President Goodluck Jonathan, to the national assembly may hold next week, as confirmed by the leadership of the Senate.

President Jonathan present the 2012 budget to a joint assembly in 2011

President Jonathan had earlier planned to present the 2013 budget on Thursday, the 4th of October, but the date was turned down by the House of Representatives, which claimed it is yet to conclude work on the medium term fiscal framework which is the basis for the 2013 budget.

However, Senate leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, on Wednesday announced that the president will now present the budget next week, but he did not specify the exact date next week when the budget will be presented.

Meanwhile a Senate panel has summoned the Finance minister, the Accountant-General of the Federation as well as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over the non-release of the PTDF fund.

Anti-terrorism bill: Passes second reading at the Senate

The Terrorism Prevention Amendment Bill, which seeks to make provisions for extra territorial application of the 2011 Act, has passed second reading in the Senate.

The Act, when amended, is expected to empower Nigeria’s security forces to tackle acts of terrorism inside and outside Nigeria. It also provides stiffer penalties for sponsors of terrorism.

Sponsor of the bill, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, explained that the motive behind the amendment is to bring the act in line with the new dimension which terrorism has taken in Nigeria.

He added that “the highlight of the amendment sought by this bill is the territorial application of the law because terrorism can be carried out within or outside the country.”

President Goodluck Jonathan requested the modifications to the existing law and a similar push is expected at the House of Representatives.

When operational, Nigerian security forces will be empowered to work with foreign nations, with emphasis on neighbouring countries, to quash extremist threats.

According to Mr Ndoma-Egba, Section two of the original law will be amplified to include “a person who knowingly in or outside Nigeria directly or indirectly does, attempts or threatens any act of terrorism.

The Senate committee on National Security and Intelligence is expected to review the bill ahead of a final reading.