A group under the auspices of Creek Dragons (CD) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister for petroleum, State, Chief Timpre Sylva, to completely disregard calls from the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) not to reappoint the current serving executive secretary of the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMD), Engr. Simbi Wabote.
This was made known to newsmen by the president general of Creek Dragons via a statement signed by self styled Gen. Freedom Adowei, a copy of which was sent to newsmen yesterday.
Taking a swipe on MEND, Creek Dragons revealed that the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) is dead and buried including the purported Jomo Gbomo, acclaimed spokesperson.
The statement reiterated that the Ijaws and indeed Nigerians are very comfortable and proud of the leadership of the current executive secretary of the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board, describing his leadership as impeccable and result oriented.
Creek Dragons revealed that those using the name of MEND to dabble into such issues are the real enemies of Ijaw nation, wondering why people could make such statement when Engr. Simbi is the only remaining Ijaw man serving in the board.
CD explained that the real MEND is dead and buried, arguing that during the active days of MEND, the group was taking proactive steps and was protecting the interests of the Ijaws at every point.
Speaking further, the Dragons stated that what is masquerading as MEND today is the hand work of political jobbers that have in recent times worked against the interest of Ijaw nation to advance their selfish interests.
The statement had also fingered former militant leader, self styled Gen. Boyloaf and others for being behind the recent statements purportedly emanating from the allegedly dead MEND.
Gen. Adowei in the statement challenged Gen. Boyloaf, George Kelly and others not to hide under the umbrella of MEND to front their personal interests, stressing that they should be bold enough to use their names to confront and chastise their interests.
In their words: “Engr. Simbi Wabote, executive secretary of the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board is not found wanting in any way, he should be reappointed to continue his good works for the board and the Ijaw nation as well.
“Anyone say that he should not be reappointed is an enemy of the Ijaw nation. We are therefore urging our dynamic Minister for Petroleum, State, Chief Timpre Sylva to completely disregard such unproductive and fake calls crying for the downfall of fellow Ijaw man against the larger interest of Ijaw nation.
“Engr. Simbi has done more than enough to deserve whatever appointment in that board and beyond.
“We are using this medium to warn all those behind such childish gabbage statements, using the name of our revered but dead MEND, it is in their best interests to desist from this act of betrayal”.
Obanikoro Testifies Against Fayose, Says Ex-Ekiti Gov Got N1.2bn For Election
A former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, on Wednesday, narrated to a Federal High Court in Abuja how N1.219bn cash was airlifted to support the election of a former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose.
According to him, the inability of a defunct bank, Diamond Bank, to handle huge amount of money prompted the airlifting of the money.
Fayose and Spotless Investment Limited are standing trial on 11 charges bordering on money laundering and stealing to the tune of N6.9 billion.
Led in evidence by the counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Wahab Shittu (SAN), Obanikoro explained that the money came from the former National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki (retd.), adding that only he could explain its source.
He added that he only got the information about the money from Dasuki, saying that it was the former NSA who told him that the said money had been paid into the account of Sylvan Mcnamara Limited.
Obanikoro said, “I was a minister under Jonathan’s administration in 2014. Sometime in 2014, we were going to have an election in Ekiti State. I was saddled with the responsibility of coordinating the activities in the election.
“Some days before the election, I got a call from Gov. Fayose asking me if I received any message for him from ONSA, I can recall that prior to that, we had some activities among which was fundraising for that election.”
He also denied taking out the money as speculated in a report by an online media platform.
READ ALSO: Bauchi SEC Approves N300bn 2024 Budget
Obanikoro said, “When Mr. Fayose called, I told him I would call him later. I had a call conversation with the NSA and was told he would get back to me. After, he got back to me that N2.2 billion was paid into the account of Sylvan Mcnamara Lomited..
“The money came came from the NSA. Only the NSA can explain the source of the fund.
The bank lacked the capacity to handle the situation. It was a last-minute decision- to ferry the money to Ekiti.
“I handed over the cash to Agbele for onward delivery to Fayose. I did not take any money or N19 million, contrary to the publication by a Lagos-based online platform.”
When asked about his relationship with Sylvan Mcnamara Limited, Obanikoro said the account was initially opened to tackle terrorism in Lagos after which it was used to disburse funds for elections.
He said, “The account was created to deal with the issue of Boko Haram in Lagos, the account was created by Taiwo Kareem, and the account was used for the purpose of disbursing funds for election.
“I put a call through to let Fayose know that the money had been paid. Diamond Bank had said it did not have the capacity to make the funds available, so we opted to airlift the fund. The funds were airlifted from Lagos in two tranches, the volume was much.”
After listening to Obanikoro’s testimony, the presiding judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba adjourned the case till February 27, 2024.
Northern Elders Forum Gets New Spokesman
The Northern Elders Forum has appointed Abdul-Azeez Suleiman as its new spokesman, following the exit of Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed.
The PUNCH reports that Baba-Ahmed was appointed by President Bola Tinubu, as the Special Adviser On Political issues in the office of Vice-President Kashim Shettima.
Until his appointment, Suleiman was the spokesman for the Coalition of Northern Groups which comprises over 50 civil society organisations in the 19 northern states and Abuja.
NEF’s Convener, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, in the appointment letter he personally signed, said Suleiman’s appointment was a reflection of his contributions towards promoting and protecting the interests of the North and Nigeria.
Abdullahi, a former Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, said, “I am pleased to inform you that I have approved the recommendation to appoint you as the spokesperson for the Northern Elders Forum.
“Your appointment is a reflection of your unwavering dedication and contributions towards promoting and protecting the interests of the North and Nigeria as a whole, during your time with the Coalition of Northern Groups.
“Furthermore, your extensive experience in credible, fearless, selfless, and ethical journalism, also contributes to making you a great fit for this role.
“The NEF hopes that you will utilise your exceptional qualities and experience to enhance NEF’s activities and promote its image through cooperation with its directors and other members of the Forum.
“Congratulations on your appointment, and we look forward to the incredible value you will bring to the NEF.”
Bauchi SEC Approves N300bn 2024 Budget
The Bauchi State Executive Council (SEC) has approved the medium term expenditure of about N300 billion for the 2024 physical year.
Mr Aminu Hammayo, the Bauchi state Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, disclosed this while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the State Executive Council (SEC) meeting on Wednesday.
According to him, the budget estimate was made on the basis of certain assumptions like increase in oil production capacity, increase in Value Added Tax.
Other assumptions he said included the impact of the withdrawal of oil subsidy as there had been an increase in the amount of revenues accrued into the federation account as well as the increase in the cost of goods and services.
“The budget estimate for the year 2024 is about N300 billion and we have a proportion of about 58.8 per cent allocated for capital expenditure and about 41.2 per cent for recurrent expenditure.
“This means the emphasis is basically on capital expenditure so as to generate more revenue in the future.
“This budget estimate is going to be presented as a bill to the state House of Assembly and after the presentation, we will still come back to where there will be a budget briefing to give the details of what the budget is all about,” he said.
Also speaking, the state Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr Usman Garba, explained that a decision had been taken to create a Ministry of Regional Integration so that the problems and challenges of the people would further be attended to.
He said that this decision was taken during the Northeast Governors Forum meeting held in Yola, Adamawa state on Saturday.
“Here in Bauchi state, the governor has decided to merge this new ministry with the ministry of Higher Education.
“So, what we have now is the Ministry of Higher Education and Regional Integration,” he said.
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