The supremacy battle for the soul of the Niger Delta Development Commission has worsened with both chambers of the National Assembly now united to challenge the activities of the Interim Management Committee allegedly handpicked by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs , Senator Godswill Akpabio.
Investigations by our correspondent revealed that some powerful stakeholders who are currently playing major roles in the All Progressives Congress – led Federal Government and Akpabio, are involved in high level politicking on the NDDC affairs.
The Senate had taken a firm decision to reject the continued control of the agency by the IMC by hurriedly approving the nominees for the Niger Delta board forwarded to the Senate last year and vowed not to interact with Akpabio ’ s caretaker team.
Our correspondent learnt that the Senate concluded the process of screening and confirmation despite the fact that the President , Major General Muhammadu Buhari ( retd . ) allegedly reached out to the Senate leadership to halt the process .
However , the Senate appeared to have lost out in the power game when Buhari refused to inaugurate the board members, who were screened and confirmed by the members of the Senate.
The action of the Presidency , through a statement by its spokesperson , Femi Adesina , announcing plans to recompose a fresh list for the NDDC board , was said to have further angered the senators
While members of the Senate panel on the Niger Delta Affairs ignored the IMC and the combined 2019 /2020 budgets of the agency presented to it by General Buhari , their counterparts in the House of Representatives were romancing the caretaker committee members .
However , the honeymoon between the reps panel and the IMC seems to be over as the leadership of both chambers had allegedly taken a firm position on the crisis rocking the NDDC.
Investigations by our correspondent revealed that the National Assembly leadership had realised that its panels rather than the Akpabio ’ s IMC, should coordinate a forensic investigation into the finances of the agency since its establishment.
A member of the Senate panel, who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity on Friday, alleged that Akpabio hurriedly put the IMC together when the joint panels of the National Assembly announced plans to probe the agency.
He said , “ When we discovered that the NDDC management shunned our invitations to them for the presentation of the 2018 performance , we made up our mind to probe the agency ’ s financial transactions in the last 10 years.
“ There are series of intrigues within and outside the Niger Delta region , regarding the NDDC’ s affairs.
“ The commission ’ s 2019 budget proposal was supposed to have been presented to the National Assembly , and approved before July 31 , 2019 when the commission ’ s 2018 budget expired.
“ We demanded the 2018 budget performance then but the management of the agency deliberately ignored us .
“ We also planned a forensic investigative audit into some transactions of the agency but the management is playing politics with it. ”
A member of the House of Representatives committee on the NDDC , who also spoke on condition of anonymity on Friday , confirmed that the green chamber ‘‘ is now on the same page with the Senate on the agency ’ s affairs. ’’
He said , “ We have discovered that the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs was playing politics by attempting to employ divide by rule tactics with the two chambers.
“ The best thing is for an agency to present and successfully defend the budget performance of an outgoing year before an approval could be given for a fresh proposal.
“ I can confirm to you that both chambers of the National Assembly are united at the moment on the issue of NDDC budgets before us.
“ Granted that there is a smooth working relationship between the President Buhari ’ s- led federal executive and the 9 th National Assembly but we have to do the right thing . ”
Attempts to get the reaction of the Niger Delta Ministry through the Minister of State , Senator Tayo Alasoadura, failed on Friday as he declined comments.
Alasoadura, who did not pick his calls , however replied to the text message sent to him by simply writing “ No comment please . ”
However , the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on the NDDC , Mr Olubunmi Tunji – Ojo , confirmed to our correspondent that the green chamber would await the submission of the agency ’ s 2018 budget performance before proceeding with the processing of the 2019 /2020 budgets pending before his panel.
He said , “ We requested the 2018 budget performance of the NDDC which is a normal thing to do .
“ We are on break now . We hope they will bring it when we resume so that we can continue further work on the budget before our committee. ”
Investigations by our correspondent revealed that the non – submission of the NDDC 2018 budget performance was adversely affecting the processing of the 2019 and 2020 budgets of the agency .
It was learnt that management of the agency , upon expiration of its 2018 budget in July 2019 , started spending some money yet to be approved by the National Assembly.
The development forced the National Assembly , to issue series of queries and summons to the agency ’ s management .
The total size of the expired NDDC ’ s 2018 budget is N 346. 5 bn.
It is made up of N2 . 883 bn for Capital Expenditure , while N 311. 371 bn was approved for development projects.
The sum of N 19 . 521 bn was for Personnel, while N12 . 737 bn was for Overhead Expenditure.
Also in 2017 , the NDDC got a total of N364 bn as its annual budget , out of which N329 . 850 bn was approved for capital projects.
Senate President , Ahmad Lawan had said the current NDDC management had become voided with the confirmation of the appointment of the commission ’ s board.
However , the IMC has continued to manage the commission ’ s affairs with presidential backing .
The minister had said the committee would run the NDDC for six months and oversee its forensic audit, which the National Assembly was also planning to carry out.
Ijaw Thanksgiving Day: CAN Prays For Development Of Ijaw Land, N-Delta
The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has fervently prayed for progress and development to thrive in Ijaw land and the Niger Delta region to alleviate extreme poverty and underdevelopment in the oil-rich region.
The Christian body offered the prayers at the occasion of the 25th Ijaw Day of Thanksgiving, yesterday at Bomadi, headquarters of Bomadi Local Government Area, Delta State.
Chairman of CAN, Bomadi Local Government Chapter, Apt. (Dr) Liberty Usiayo, in his remark said the essence of the annual thanksgiving was to show appreciation to God for His love and care for Ijaw ethnic nationality in all situations.
He said: “the essence of this annual thanksgiving is to appreciate God for His goodness and mercies for Ijaw nation. We’re also here praying for unity and well being of Ijaw land.
“The scripture says in Isaiah 41:21 that we should come to God with a strong reason why He should answer our prayers; our prayer is that God should do greater things for Ijaw nation.
“We’re also using this medium to appeal to Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa to either give Bomadi a higher educational institution or locate faculties of the existing state institutions in the riverine area”.
However, the Christian body rededicated Ijaw land to God with a 14-point prayer list for better living standards which included completion of ongoing development projects as well as prayers against project duplication and the spirit of abandoned projects in Ijaw land among others.
Ijaw Youths Apologize To Sylva Over Misunderstanding With IYC
By Chris Ochayi
Concerned Ijaw youths residing in Abuja, the nation’s capital, have tendered an unreserved apology to the Minister for State Petroleum Resources, Chief Dr. Timipre Silva and his Chief Security Officer Mr. Muhammed Salisu Abdullah for the unplanned altercation with the IYC Abuja Chapter last week.
The group while calling for calm and tranquility in a statement, Tuesday by Taritimi Okoye urged members of IYC Abuja Chapter, the NPF/D S.S, attached to the minister to bask in spirit of the yuletide season to forgive each other and embrace peace.
According to the statement, “ The concerned IJAW youths residing in Abuja, would like to seize this medium to apologies to the entire family members of his Excellency, Chief. Dr. Timipre Sylva, the Honorable Minister for State Petroleum Resources and his Chief Security Officer, Mr Muhammed Salisu Abdullahi for the negatives incidents which occurred last week.
“In the spirit of the Yuletide season, we also use this medium to urge and appeal to injured IYC members and the NPF/D.S.S attached to the minister to forgive each other and embrace peace.
“While, there has been claims in the media as published on 24/ 12/ 2021 by the Ijaw youths council leadership headed by Mr Chief Diplomat Adam Ogomugu Marbo that Mr. Muhammad S. Abdullah who is the Chief Security Officer the minister, was the person who gave the order that led to violence and destruction of properties which occurred at the minister residence on the 21 / 12/ 2021.
“Besides that, we want to equivocally state here that the security operatives on duty on that faithful day, was only carrying out their official duty which is to protect lives and properties of Nigerians and our leader at their respective residence.
“ It is worthy to note, that the manner in which the IYC used it’s bus to barricade the minister’s gate was quite uncalled for and indeed provoking, the worst is that there wasn’t any known prior confrontations or grievances.
“However, because this is not a good conduct as such, it is therefore expected, that all well meaning Niger Deltans, the IYC leadership and Ijaws living both at home and abroad would and should speak against it.
“Generally, this incidents has brought a lot pains to the families of H/E Chief Timipre Silva and his C.S.O, and Injured N.P.F/ D.S.S on that day, as well as the IYC Abuja chapter members who got injured during their invading to the Minister residence, So it won’t be a nice action to make a fuss and categorize this issue as a political issue.
“In the light of the above, we are appealing and also calling on all parties involved to embrace peace and further restrain from all future planned attacks on the Mohammed and the Minister’s image; because the CSO, was only doing his job to protect Nigerians living in the neighborhood and working for the minister.
“Any further attempt to rubbish the image and career of Mr. Abdullahi, a very charismatic Nigerian Police Officer, who has diligently served the nation would be tantamount to amounting more pain for the minister.
“We therefore urge all parties to embrace a peaceful approach to resolve these sad incidents in other to heal wounds and engender prosperity for all Nigerians, “it added.
NDDC: Group Joins Force With Tompolo, Vows To Crumble Nation’s Economy If…
As the 7-day ultimatum given to the Federal Government by ex-Niger Delta warlord, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo to inaugurate board for the NDDC counts to it expiration, group known as Niger Delta Volunteers for Good Governance (NDVGG) has vowed to join force with the ex-militant leader to crumble the nation’s economy should the government fail.
Tompolo had last Sunday issued a 7-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to inaugurate a substantive board for the NDDC, vowing that failure to do so would lead to the nation’s economy particularly in the Niger Delta crumbled.
President of the group, Comrade Ben Bowei aka Lord Major One of the Niger Delta who disclosed this to Info Daily said after exhausting all the available sources for consultations, the group has no option but to join force with other group particularly the well respected ex-militant leader in demanding for justice.
According to the former national treasurer, Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, worldwide, the decision becomes necessary taking into consideration the injustice meted on the Niger Delta people particularly Edo State.
“We have come to the conclusion that after the 7-day ultimatum given to the Federal Government by our leader, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo elapses, we are going to crumble all economic activities particularly oil exploration in the entire Niger Delta region.
“We have vowed to shut down all facilities which will crumble the economy of the nation unless the Federal Government do the needful by correcting the injustice meted on the people of the Niger Delta.
“Enough of this injustice done to us in our region. We will never accept that, and I mean it! A single individual cannot take a whole region made up of millions of people for granted. We are demanding that a substantive board for the NDDC be inaugurated else, the government will see our other side. We are not joking. Immediately after the 7-day ultimatum elapses, we are going to strike,” he vowed.
Comrade Bowei, who happens to be Secretary-General, Edo Restoration Movement, also vowed to take over the East-west road and NDDC office in Benin should the Federal Government fails to set up the board.
He added that the Act that established the NDDC does not recognise sole administrator as obtainable presently hence it is an aberration.
Comrade Ben Bowei, who doubles as the Secretary-General, Edo Restoration Movement, also vowed to take over the East-west road and NDDC office in Benin should the Federal Government fails to set up the board.
Recall that Comrade Bowei and his Edo Restoration Movement, led by its president Comrade Honesty Agingbatse had some months ago protested against the aberration in the NDDC where he demanded that a substantive board be set up for the NDDC as required by the Act.
He added then that the group decided to take over the NDDC office in Benin because of marginalisation of Edo State and the Niger Delta in general.
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