The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide has disagreed with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for admitting that it awarded over N3.8bn contracts for procurement of health equipment to fight Lassa fever under the commission’s former Managing Director, Prof. Nelson Brambaifa.
The commission at the weekend disassociated itself from a document claiming that it awarded N5.5bn contract to Signora Concept Services Limited as claimed by the Ijaw Peoples Development Initiatives (IPDI) saying the document was fake and unauthorised.
But Odili admitted, “In early 2019, there was an outbreak of Lassa Fever in Ondo and Edo states, which overwhelmed the capacity of the state governments to cope.
“The governor of Ondo State made a request to the Commission for intervention. As a result, the then management, headed by Prof Nelson Braimbaifa on 20th February 2019 awarded a contract for the procurement of 21,000 Lassa Fever prevention kits for the region in the sum of N903 million. The items were supplied and distributed.
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“The contractor was duly paid. As the scourge persisted, there was need for further intervention. Another 1,000 protective kits were ordered for N1, 092,283,500. This contract was awarded on March 11, 2019. The last contract for Lassa Fever was awarded on April 16, 2019 in the sum of N2, 425,242,248.
“All the kits were supplied and distributed to the nine states. As at date, the Commission is yet to pay for this last contract. Payments had been suspended on ministerial order due to the need for verification of past contracts”.
Also, the Signora Concepts Services Limited while dismissing a report claiming that it was awarded N5.5bn contract by NDDC to supply Coronavirus personal protection equipment confirmed being among the companies that benefitted from the Lassa Fever contracts.
The firm in a statement signed by its Operation Manager, Patrick Ijeomah, explained that the commission under Brambaifa awarded Signora Concepts and 21 other companies contracts on Lassa Fever kits.
He said, “Some of the materials are still in the warehouse of NDDC till date. Amount paid by a former IMC Acting Managing Director, Dr. Joy Nunich, was N2.9bn and a balance of N972million still outstanding.
“Contracts had various medical accessories ranging from Lassa Fever kits, cholera vaccines and science equipment. It is not true that these items were never supplied as all the companies involved supplied the items and those items were dully inspected by officials of the commission and also distributed to the various communities.
“It will be pertinent to mention that the supply of these items became necessary due to the floods that ravaged the communities of the Niger Delta, which increased the possibility of cholera and Lassa Fever outbreak and made it impossible for women in labour to deliver safely in the various community primary health centres”.
But the IYC in a statement signed by its Chairman, Transition Implementation Committee, Kennedy Olorogun, Secretary and a member of the committee, Frank Akiefa and James Tobin, said there was no evidence of such contracts in the region.
Olorogun regretted that successive management of the commission was marred by controversies especially in the area of fund management.
He said, “Recently, the council was alarmed to the effect that under the leadership of Prof. Nelson Brambaifa and Dr Joy Yimebe Nunieh, the Commission reportedly approved the sum of N2.9 bn with an outstanding balance of N972million for the purchase of medical facilities for Lassa Fever kits, Cholera vaccines and Science equipments.
“And the Commission admitted that these items were supplied and distributed to various communities in the region. Without mincing words, the council frowns at the opaque manner the management of the commission conducts its activities especially as it relates to the management and distribution of the financial resources meant for the development of the region.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the council is up in arms with the commission on the said humongous funds that was approved by the commission for the purchase of medical items that would have been utilized for the benefit of the people of the region but was fraudulently frittered away by the top echelon of the commission.
“At no time was the council intimated about the activities of the commission with respect to the distribution of medical items for maternity purposes. The council has a very efficient and robust administrative structure down to the communities across the States of the Niger Delta.
“Therefore, it is amazing to hear that the Commission distributed medical items to aid safe motherhood delivery in the region as a result of a ravaging flood that affected the region”.
Olorogun urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to probe the Lassa Fever contract and how the health equipment was disbursed in the region.
Heavy Security In Osogbo As Osun Election Petition Tribunal Delivers Judgment
There is heightened security in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, in anticipation of the judgment to be delivered by the Osun gubernatorial election petition tribunal.
The tribunal secretariat had on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, announced that judgment on the petition filed by Adegboyega Oyetola and the Osun All Progressives Congress (APC) against the victory of Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had been slated for Friday, January 27, 2023.
Heavily-armed policemen and Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) were stationed at the Osun Secretariat of the APC, the SWAGA campaign office, the Adegboyega Oyetola campaign office and the Imole House campaign office of Governor Ademola Adeleke.
Also, heavily-armed security personnel were stationed at the Osun State High Court, the venue of the tribunal seating.
The road leading from the Service Lameco area to the Osun High Court has been heavily cordoned off, while from Oke-Fia has also been blocked.
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However, residents in the capital were observed going about their normal routine, with the only cause for concern among commuters being the lingering fuel scarcity.
The tribunal is expected to commence seating at 9 am on Friday.
Recall that Adegboyega Oyetola is challenging Ademola Adeleke on two grounds; Adeleke’s educational qualification and the issue of over-voting during the July 16 governorship election.
Experts Advocate Strict Action Against Gender-based Violence
Experts handling gender-based violence (GBV) in Nigeria have charged authorities to stop paying lip service to the crime and begin to match words with punitive actions to deter perpetrators.
Dr Offiong Enang, the executive director of Gender And Development Action, (GADA) on Thursday in Calabar during a three-day event disclosed that feeling sympathetic towards GBV survivors was not enough.
The three-day training of Gender desk officers in Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) in Cross River was organised by the Coalition for the Promotion of Gender Justice, CPGJ.
Enang said: “Government agencies, Civil Society Organisations and every Nigerian must make noise with facts and vote resources for this fight; we need to stop behaving as if GBV is for other people when it is everywhere around us.
“If perpetrators see that people are doing nothing other than just feeling sympathetic, they will continue but when people respond by carrying out some activities, then the perpetrators would be afraid.”
Speaking further, she said Nigeria should tell itself the truth as it concerns GBV even as she demanded that real data of GBV be put out in the public domain for everyone to see that the malaise was high in the nation.
On her part, Mrs Victoria Emah-Emah, Executive Director, Neighborhood Carewell Foundation, said for the GBV fight to be effective, proper case management including referrals is imperative.
She urged different groups to carry out proper referrals of cases.
She said: “Different persons and groups have different competencies, no one can provide all the services required by a survivor.
“There is need for partnership to ensure effective care of a survivor from psychosocial to medical, legal, protective and all other support required.”
JUST IN: ICPC Re-arrests Ex-JAMB Registrar
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has re-arrested the former Registrar of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Adedibu Ojerinde, on Thursday in Abuja.
According to a statement on Thursday by the Commission’s spokesperson, Azuka Ogugua, Prof. Ojerinde’s re-arrest followed a warrant issued by the Federal High Court, Abuja.
He is expected to face a team of investigators over new evidence uncovered in relation to his ongoing trial for diversion of funds while he was a public officer.
ICPC operatives uncovered two accounts opened in the names of Trillium Learning Centre Ltd and Sapati International Schools Ltd into which funds were diverted using fictitious names of students.
The Commission had on the 12th December, 2022, invited the former JAMB Registrar for questioning over the new evidence but he wrote through his solicitor requesting for 14 days grace to enable him honour the invitation. Ojerinde, however, refused to honour the invitation as undertaken by his counsel after the expiration of the 14 days on 27th December, 2022.
In the course of its ongoing investigation, the Commission unearthed new evidence that suggests that Ojerinde is the sole signatory to various bank accounts operated in the name of Trillium Learning Centre Ltd and Sapati International School Ltd. Ojerinde allegedly operated those accounts using false identities and forged documents in the names of Joshua Olakulehin Olaniran and Akanbi Lamidi respectively. He also allegedly used another false identity, Adeniyi Banji, to operate a separate account in the name of Standout Institutes Ltd.
The ICPC has recovered the cheque books of the companies’ accounts from Ojerinde, who has been taken into custody at the headquarters of the Commission.
The Commission may likely prosecute the former registrar before a court of competent jurisdiction for offences bothering on forgery of documents, stolen identity, money laundering and concealment of gratification if the new evidence is confirmed.
Ojerinde is currently being prosecuted by the Commission at the Federal High Court Abuja and Federal High Court Minna on an 18-count charge bordering on abuse of office and fraud to the tune of about N10 billion while serving as heads of two government agencies, the National Examination Council (NECO) and JAMB.
He had allegedly conferred corrupt advantages upon himself at different times while being Head of JAMB and NECO, thereby violating Sections 19, 24, 25 (1) (a) and (b) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000 and Section 1 (1)(b) of the Advance Fee Fraud Act, 2006.
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