Yenagoa—The apex Ijaw socio-cultural group, Ijaw National Congress (INC), has stated that any further delay in the inauguration of a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is a betrayal of trust.
The INC made this known in a statement signed by its President Prof. Benjamin Okaba on Friday.
According to the group, since the submission of the NDDC audit report to President Muhammadu Buhari, he has not said anything.
While calling on the federal government to make the outcome of the audit report public, INC stressed that six years into the administration of Buhari as President, the NDDC has been without a substantive board, despite public concerns and condemnation.
The statement reads in part: “The INC considers it as a huge integrity test and task on Mr. President to immediately submit the Forensic report, undiluted to the corridors of public domain with the guarantee of free and easy access by anyone that cares, in line with the Freedom of Information Act.
“The ljaw nation is dissatisfied and displeased with the mere mention of figures such as 6trn spent on the NDDC and many others that when weighed and compared with figures from other available benchmarks published earlier by the External auditors and the office of the auditor general, exhibit clear discrepancies and confusion of data.
“Why deemphasize the over 1.3trn owed the NDDC by the FGN? Why no mention of the over 600bn paid to emergency contractors between January 2021 and August 2012 while genuine contractors are still owed several billions of naira?
“Why the passage of the NDDC budget with a provision of N452.2BN in December 2020 when the NDDC had received only 194bn as at that date?
“To allay the fears that the Akpabio orchestrated NDDC Forensic Audit will not turn out to be another scam or instrument of witch-hunting, intimidating and blackmailing perceived enemies and to further short-change the ljaw nation, we demand the immediate publication of the Audit report with highlights on the achievements, strength and weaknesses of the NDDC and recommendations going forward.
“For purpose of transparency and accountability, we also would like to know how much was expended on this audit.
“The federal government should make the outcome of the forensic audit public including publishing the names of those culpable in the mismanagement of the funds of the NDDC and abandonment of projects over the years.
“The INC frowns at the secrecy with which the outcome of the forensic audit is being handled. The people of the Niger Delta region deserve to know every detail relating to the report of the forensic audit.
“The INC also insists that there should be no cover-up or sacred cows in the implementation of the outcome of the forensic audit.
“All the persons culpable irrespective of class, creed and political affiliations should be brought to justice without fear or favour.
“Going forward, the federal government must stop the practice of using the NDDC as a political patronage agency which is controlled and managed from Abuja instead of by the people of the Niger Delta region.
“The NDDC going forward must be accountable to the people it was created to serve and not those in positions of authority in Aso Rock.”
Bayelsa community gives FG, state govt 2-day ultimatum over devastating erosion
Yenagoa—The people of Obogoro Community in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State have given the Federal and State Governments a 2-day ultimatum to address the devastating effect of erosion which has claimed many lives and properties or face any action that would be taken by the community.
The Tide reports that they made this known during a candlelight procession held in Obogoro for men, women, youths and children who have lost their lives due to the recurring erosion in the community.
The Convener of Save Obogoro Community From Erosion Foundation, Coach Ada Gwegwe, said the community has written several letters to both the Federal and State Governments to respond to the community’s demand but all to no avail, adding that the community is planning to stage a protest to drive home their demands.
“We have been crying and nobody wants to listen to us. They came and awarded the contract and started the work but the dredger is just packed there, nothing is going on.
Read also: Erosion: Group set to embark on protest over stalled canalization project in Bayelsa community
“We have done everything to reach out to the government but to no avail, this is the last option we have, to go on peaceful protest”, he said.
Also speaking, the Coordinator of the Save Obogoro Community From Erosion Foundation, Comrade Sunkeme Gbegbe, sympathized with those affected by the erosion and attributed the state of the community to that of a dead meat.
“Erosion has taken so many lives, we are also sympathising with those that are homeless. We have called on the government and the federal level and other relevant agencies, we’ve written so many letters but all to no avail”, Gbegbe said.
Some residents of the community cried out to the government that so many lives have been lost and many rendered homeless due to houses being washed away by the effect of the erosion.
“We gather together with grief in our hearts on what is happening in our community: the houses that are collapsing, the people dying, we are pained, we plead with the government to help us because we are losing our houses and lands”.
2022 Flooding: Bayelsa govt directs fresh distribution of items to communities, acknowledges donors
Yenagoa—Bayelsa State government has acknowledged donations from international agencies, state governments, political parties and their presidential candidates, individuals and corporate organisations in the wake of the 2022 flooding that ravaged the state.
Governor Douye Diri in his opening remarks at the weekly state executive council meeting in Government House, Yenagoa, on Wednesday disclosed that the government received donations in form of cash, foodstuff and other materials from well-meaningful individuals and corporate organisations during and after the floods.
According to a statement by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, Diri restated his administration’s commitment to transparency and assured the people that they would not be left in the dark as regards the flood donations.
He listed the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, the Akwa Ibom and Lagos state governments, which donated N100m and N50m respectively, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar (N55m), and his counterpart in the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Adewole Adebayo (N10m) as some of the donors.
Other donors are Dr. Azibapu Eruani of the Azikel Group, who he said has started redeeming his pledge of N350million worth of items, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Century Energy Group, Chief Ken Etete (N50m).
The governor also disclosed that the South Korean Ambassador to Nigeria donated $100,000, Access Bank N100m, Zenith Bank N20m, Linkage Assurance N20m, Sterling Oil N15m, Paache Construction N10m and AITEO N50m.
According to Diri, organisations that donated items include the Tompolo Foundation 440 cartons of noodles, 595 bags of 50kg rice, 35 jerrycans of 25kg palm oil, groundnut oil 180 cartons, garri 40 50kg bags, beans 20 100kg bags as well as 500 tubers of yam.
Others are Globus Bank 70 bags of 50kg rice and 100 cartons of noodles, Stanbic Bank 146 4×6’ mattresses, 148 pillows and 150 plastic buckets.
The rest are Julius Berger 100 bags of 50kg rice, Redeemed Christian Church of God 100 bags of 50kg rice, Brass Petrochemical and Fertiliser Company 100 bags of 50kg rice, 100 bags of 50kg garri and 100 bags of 100kg beans.
Diri directed the task force on flood mitigation and management and the Bayelsa State Emergency Management Agency (BYSEMA) to immediately resume distribution of items in the warehouse to all affected communities in the state.
He also assured that the donations will be prudently used and urged people of the state to exercise patience with the process of distributing the relief materials to victims.
He further stated that the process will be devoid of political colouration.
His words: “We never played politics with the flood and the relief items for victims. The whole world saw it. Those who came to play politics, the whole world equally saw them.
“In all that we did, we never discriminated against any political party. And we commend particularly our people that bore the brunt of the flood.
“As a government, we will take decisions in the best interest of our people. Everything should not be politicised.“
2023: Diri tasks Bayelsans to shun political blackmail
Yenagoa—Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, has cautioned political actors to desist from character assassination and blackmail in their quest for power in the state.
Diri said it was appalling how some politicians in the state have resorted to maligning the character of opposition party contestants and members in the guise of political campaigns.
The governor spoke on Tuesday evening during the service of songs in honour of late Mama Bebeapere Agbedi, mother of the member representing Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Dr. Fred Agbedi, at the Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha Memorial Banquet Hall in Yenagoa.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as saying that elections would come and go but the people would remain brothers and sisters.
He stressed that the best path to living a long and fulfilled life was showing love and appreciation for one another.
Diri emphasised that as long as power comes only from God, nobody can overturn what has been divinely ordained for the state.
He said: “Political times are here and there is so much in the air – propaganda, lies and blackmails. You do not know which one to believe anymore. That was not the kind of life Mama lived.
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“The fact you want a political office should not make you to malign the character of another person. Elections will come and go, as I always say, but we will all remain brothers and sisters.
“For me, the best path to tread and the best way towards living the kind of life that we are celebrating today is to continue to show love and appreciation. No matter who is blocking it, when God says this is yours, nobody can stop it.”
While extolling the virtues of the matriarch, who lived 111 years, Diri described her as a quintessential woman, who made a lot of sacrifice for mankind.
In a sermon titled: “A Good Name,” Bishop Dotimi Egbegi said for one to be spoken well of after death, the individual must have a good name while alive.
Bishop Egbegi noted that people can only amend their ways while alive and by living for others in order to bequeath legacies that cannot be altered.
Giving a testimony about his mother, Dr. Agbedi she instilled discipline in him and his siblings as well as investing meaningfully in their educational advancements.
The House of Reps member described his late mother as a principled but humble woman, a trait that he said is also found in him.
He thanked the governor for demonstrating love and support towards him and his family by his presence at the event to honour their matriarch.
Also present at the solemn gathering was the Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, past and serving members and colleagues of the chief mourner from the National Assembly, state legislators, chairman of the state Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Solomon Agwana, members of the state executive council, politicians from different political parties as well as top government functionaries and members of the clergy.