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.
$23m Abacha Loot: Group Drags Buhari, Malami To Court Over Nigeria’s Agreement With US
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sued President Muhammadu Buhari over the agreement between Nigeria and the United States for the repatriated $23 million stolen by Sani Abacha.
Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) is a respondent in the suit.
The agreement signed in August followed the $311 million Abacha loot returned by America in 2020.
In suit FHC/ABJ/CS/1700/2022 filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, SERAP is asking the court to direct the President and Malami to make the details public.
The body wants to know the mechanisms put in place to ensure that the repatriated funds are not mismanaged, diverted or re-stolen.
SERAP noted that the repatriated $23 million is vulnerable to mismanagement as a substantial part of the estimated $5 billion returned Abacha loot since 1999 remains unaccounted for.
The suit filed by Kolawole Oluwadare and Atinuke Adejuyigbe relies on the Nigerian Constitution, the Freedom of Information Act, and the country’s international obligations.
The lawyers said Nigerians look forward to the court’s favourable judgement as they are entitled to information about the use of public funds.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit which was instituted on Friday.
Delta Community Presents Akanigboro III To Chief Priests Of Ijaw Kingdoms’ Gods
Heir to the traditional stool of Akanigboro, King John Falabu Court, Akanigboro III, a priestly stool of ancient Mein Dynasty, has presented himself to the chief priests of the gods in Mein kingdoms.
Akanigboro III, addressing the chief priests at Ezebiri in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State, who came from the various Mein kingdoms, including from Mein ancestral home of Ogobiri in Bayelsa State and various Mein Kingdoms in Delta State, said he sought to present himself to them to inform them of his ascension to the ancient stool after much hesitations and refusal to the wish of his ancestors.
The meeting, which started with prayers to God in recognition of His supremacy over all creatures, featured questions, answers and advice.
Responding to questions of scrutiny from the chief priests, Akanigboro III, who went into historical lane, said: “The Akanigboro stool is a priestly stool and original kingship stool of Mein, progenitor of Mein clan, who was the first on the stool, being Akanigboro I.
“When Mein passed on, his son, Akan, ascended the stool and was Akanigboro II.
“When Akan passed on, there was a development that stalled the ascension process of a new ruler on the stool, which situation lingered for centuries with the kingdom in disarray without a ruler.
“It was this situation that led the children of Mein to leave our ancestral home, Ogobiri, in the present-day Bayelsa State, and migrated down to the present location called Western Ijaw, where they founded communities and kingdoms. More so, it was that same development that led the heir to the stool to migrate to the present location, Kpakiama and which history is known by all Mein descendants.
“Now, when I was growing up, I began to receive messages from the ancestors in my dreams that I’m the chosen one to ascend the Akanigboro stool, being a descendant of Ogubo, but I did not heed to the dreams.
“But, as time went on, seers from various places started telling me that I’m the chosen one to ascend the stool.
“With all these signs, I was hesitant until it got to a point I was disturbed by the ancestors which forced me to present issues, first to my family members, then to the people of Ogubo-ebede quarters who, in turn, presented me to Kpakiama urban community that I’m the chosen one and that I’m ready to ascend the stool of Akanigboro.
“However, the leadership and people of Kpakiama urban community received the news with joy and prayers to bring alive the ancient stool of their progenitor with the assurance that they’re ready to do the needful to ensure the Akanigboro stool takes its rightful place once again.
“The essence of calling you to converge here is to formally inform you that a chosen heir has ascended the ancient stool of Akanigboro. I was supposed to visit all communities in various Mein Kingdoms to inform you, but to make it easier, I opted to call all of you to Ezebiri. More so, I have earlier visited our ancestral home, Ogobiri, before this gathering here”.
In their response, the priests of the gods in Mein kingdoms, speaking through the chief priest, Mirror of the gods, Ezebiri, Chief Godwin Oroupade, thanked him for informing them and said that the Akanigboro stool rules over only three communities in Mein Clan, stressing they had no roles to play in his priestly stool since he’s not ruling over Mein Kingdoms.
Oroupade, who is the Eseduo of Kerebiri-Mein kingdom and Chairman, Priests of the gods in Mein kingdoms, said: “We have heard you. The Akanigboro stool is well-known but it’s not ruling over all Mein Kingdoms. “Therefore, we’ve no part to play in either confirming or accepting you.
“We, after our deliberations, have resolved to inform you that your stool is not ruling over Mein Kingdoms but it’s ruling over the children of Akan who found three communities, including Kpakiama, Bomadi and Bilabiri.
“So, we advise you to go and consult with your people, and if they accept you and your coronation is made ready, we, chief priests of the gods of Mein Kingdoms will come and celebrate with you.
“Again, I want to emphatically state here that no chief priest is having dominion or rulership over another in Mein Kingdoms.
“We’ve just formed an association where I’m the Chairman and I’m never a superior to any other chief priest, nobody is superior to anybody. We’re all chief priests in our various areas of abode and never a subject to anyone.
“We threw so many questions at you because of the misinformation about this gathering, as some people alleged that we’re preparing to install you in this gathering, which is unfounded because we’re no part of the Akanigboro stool, hence, we don’t have the powers to do so.
“So, go and consult with the people of Kpakiama, Bomadi and Bilabiri on the way forward for your stool”.
However, Akanigboro III thanked them for the warm reception and advice and promised to speak with his people for the successful resuscitation of the ancient stool.
Obasanjo, Okonjo-Iweala, Agbakoba Suggest Solutions To Nigeria’s Challenges
Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Director General, World Trade Organisation, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and former President, Nigeria Bar Association, Olisa Agbakogba were on Saturday among Nigerians who suggested solutions to the challenges bedeviling the country at the 113th Anniversary of Kings College.
The anniversary titled, ‘Building the Nigeria of our dreams,’ was organised by the Kings College Old Boys’ Association.
Obasanjo who led the Kingsweek 2022 colloquium which was held at the Kings College, Lagos, said Nigeria as a country was poor, insecure, and had other challenges because of its choice of leaders.
The former Nigerian leader said, ‘‘We are politically divided, economically disunited we are nowhere, we are down the drain. Diplomatically, Nigeria is not at the table. Before, we had sent troops to Sudan, Seirra Leone but today, we can’t send troops to the Republic of Benin. There are three races in the world, white, yellow, and black. For now, America is leading the whites, the Chinese are leading the yellow race, and Nigeria with 225m people is created by God to lead the black race. When we stop disappointing ourselves we can take care of the continent and the black race. Nigeria has no business with poverty, insecurity, or political division.
‘‘It is the advertently or inadvertently choice of our leaders. It is not God’s choice for us. If God hasn’t chosen that for us we can do better. For Nigeria, we have done a few things right but we have not continued to do it right. We need a government that understands Nigeria and Africa which will be fair and sincere with Nigerians, together with the right government, this nation can become the right leading country to develop Africa.’’
In her speech, Okonjo-Iweala said her dream was for a Nigeria in which 95 per cent of the people had access to potable water, quality education, and more women participation in the political and economic life of the country.
‘‘Nigeria can fight poverty, and improve people’s lives if it is properly managed. Our revenue sources are not diversified we depend only on one revenue. Nigeria lacks a sacrosanct social compact in the country, there should be a guideline that dictates certain things that should be sacrosanct. We should have guiding principles to decide our we manage, save, spend and take vigorous actions on our revenues. As a country, we need to have certain indicators of how our economy should be governed. If we do this, we have so much to gain.
‘‘We have had episodes showing we can sustain strong growth, all we need is to work on all key indicators and move in the right direction.
‘‘If we build a strong governance we need to choose our leaders wisely, we need to ensure we build a strong foundation, we need to get our leaders to accept social compact that will take us into the future.’’
Agbakoba said, ‘‘We have been to a lot of conferences and it is time for us to face the real question. We will never come out of this if we don’t sit and ask ourselves if we are really one until the infractions are tackled. Do we wish to be one because this marriage was imposed on us? What marriage do we really want? Why have we excluded all the nationals at the national conferences we have had?’’
Another guest speaker, former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, enjoined Nigerians to get involved in the political and electoral processes, saying lack of appropriate and quality leadership, selection process, and criteria while choosing leaders were a major challenge in the country.
‘‘Since 1999 till date, there has been a remarkable decline in the quality of leaders. Lack of appropriate selection and criteria in Nigeria’s leadership and electoral process. The country’s challenges cannot be addressed by bad leaders who have come into power through the faulty recruitment process.’’
Former president of KCOBA, Dr Sony Kuku, added, ‘‘If we have the right people who love Nigeria if we can get people into governance without godfatherism, ‘Ghana must go’ the better for us. The older you are the more you want Nigeria to be together.’’
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