Reps uncover how NDDC spent N81bn in 4 months without projects
The Nigerian House of Representatives, on Wednesday, uncovered the numerous spendings by the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) from February to May, 2020.
The cumulative sum of N81.5bn was said to have left the account of the NDDC without due process and for no implementation of any known project, since the IMC resumed work.
Chairman of the House Committee on NDDC, Rep. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo disclosed this during the opening ceremony of the ongoing investigation hearing into the alleged financial recklessness at the Commission.
The House of Representatives, had on the 5th May, 2020 deliberated on a motion on the need to investigate the alleged financial malfeasance and other activities in the NDDC.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Rep. Tunji-Ojo said the investigative hearing was not targeted at wicth-hunting anyone, but rather as part of patriotic services of the lawmakers to get to the root of some illness bedeviling the NDDC which was established 20 years ago.
“The visionary eyes of forerunners in our hallowed chambers caught the dire need to develop the Niger Delta region to mitigate the impact of national economic activities in the area. In year 2000, the National Assembly established the Act that birthed The Niger Delta Development Commission with a clear mandate to develop the land and the people.
“20 years after, we must ask ourselves some critical questions as the baton of preservation falls on us, today”, Tunji-Ojo added.
The Lawmaker gave the breakdown of the spendings at the NDDC to include, N1.3bn for Community relations; N122.9m for Condolences; N83m for online media Consultancy; N31.4bn for COVlD—19 palliative and N486m as DTA, in the period of 4 months.
Also within the same period, Rep. Tunji-Ojo claimed the NDDC spent the sum of N790.9m as impress; N1.956bn to fight the spread of Lassa fever; N900m for Legal services; N220m for maintenance and another N85.6m for oversea travel.
The IMC also spent the sum of N1.121bn for Project public communication; N744m on Security; N8.8bn for staff payment related expenditure and N248m for what they described as stakeholders engagement from February to May 2020.
Although the NDDC officially communicated the inability of the management team to appear before the House Committee on Wednesday, a Director of Funds from the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr. Sabo Mohammed, could not controvert the findings of the Lawmakers, even as he admitted his office was a signatory to the NDDC account with the Nigeria’s Apex bank.
Director-General of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Engr. Babatunde Kuye, on his part, confirmed to the panel that the NDDC’s spendings were not in conformity with the procurement guidelines, neither was a certificate of ‘No Objection’ issued to the management to embark on such spendings.
The Speaker of House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, while declaring the investigative hearing open, tasked the committee members to live above board and make Nigeria and the Niger Delta proud by staying on the path of objectivity and truth.
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Organ Trafficking: Ekweremadu, Wife, Doctor Sentenced To Various Prison Terms
The duo of Ekweremadu, former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, his wife Beatrice, and Doctor Obinna Obeta has been senenced to various jail terms for bringing a 21-year-old Lagos street trader to London to exploit him for his kidney.
A judge at The Central Criminal Court, [ Old Bailey], announced the sentence friday.
At a sentencing hearing on Friday, Ekweremadu was jailed for nine years and eight months, his wife Beatrice was sentenced to four years and six months imprisonment while Obeta received a 10-year prison term.
The sentencing follows their conviction in March for organ trafficking, The Ekweremadus’sick daughter, Sonia was cleared of any wrongdoing.
The jury said Ekweremadu, his wife and their doctor criminally conspired to bring the 21-year-old Lagos street trader to London to exploit him for his kidney.
The conviction is the first under the UK’s Modern Slavery Act 2015.
The sentencing comes after pleas from multiple prominent personalities and institutions, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Other petitioners included both chambers of the National Assembly, the Chairman/CEO, Nigeria in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Erewa Dabiri, and the International Human Rights Commission (IHRC).
After months of a pre-trial, the trial commenced on January 31, 2023 and lasted about six weeks, culminating in a guilty verdict against Ekweremadu, Beatrice, and Obeta.
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Reps Seek UK Government Clemency for Ekweremadu
The House of Representatives has write to the government of the United Kingdom seeking mercy in sentencing the embattled Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice.
This is contained in a resolution reached following a motion moved by Toby Okechukwu, a lawmaker from Enugu State.
A UK court found the duo guilty of conspiracy of organ harvesting of another Nigerian. The Ekweremadu couple will be sentenced in the coming days.
Moving the motion, Okechukwu said diplomatic intervention in this kind of case is normal.
“It is a common practice in international relations for nations, including the UK, to seek relief for their citizens involved in situations such as that of the Ekweremadus,” he said.
Speaking on the motion, Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the House, said intervention by the House is not a justification for the charges against the Ekweremadus. He urged the UK government to consider Ekweremadu’s years of public service.
Consequently, the House resolved to urge the UK government and the court to temper justice with mercy in sentencing Ekweremadu, his wife and the doctor.
Also, they urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to take all diplomatic steps and other necessary interventions regarding the travails of the Ekweremadu family.
- Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media and ICT Consultant, Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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HYPPDEC Donates Food Stuff, Clothing to Locals in Kogi to Tackle Cashless Policy Effect
By Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
The Hydroelectric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPPDEC), on Tuesday, donated 400 bags of rice, 250 gallons of vegetable oil and some packaged women rappers to ten Local Government Areas in Kogi State under the agency to cushion the effect associated with the new cashless policy.
Making the presentation to Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State at the Lugard House, Lokoja on Tuesday, a Board Member of HYPPDEC, Alhaji Isah Ozi Salami, said that the gesture is part of the agency’s intervention in times of natural disaster or any hardship situation on citizens.
Salami expressed the commitment of HYPPDEC in tackling the prevailing economic hardship on Nigerians as a result of the Cashless Policy.
“We owe it as a duty to take adquate care of the people in the 10 Local Government Areas belonging to HYPPDEC communities in Kogi
“Our concern under the present economic hardship is to alleviate the sufferings of the people within HYPPDEC communities in Kogi” Ozi Salami told Governor Bello.
He commended Governor Yahaya Bello for the provision of logistic supports that have facilitated smooth operation of the agency in Kogi.
He also told the Governor that HYPPDEC will soon begin the construction of 50 housing units in Kogi for resettlement of last year’s flood victims in riverine communities.
“I appreciate Governor Bello’s magnanimity in providing land for the housing project. The Governor is expected to perform the foundation laying ceremony of the project” Ozi Salami disclosed.
The Chief of Staff to Governor Bello, Jamiu Asuku who received the food stuff on behalf of his boss, hinted that Kogi will key into HYPPDEC’s intervention initiative in the areas of provision of food and security of lives and property for citizens.
Governor Yahaya Bello appealed to HYPPDEC to focus more on Ibaji Local Government Area in its intervention programme as a result of the bad terrain of the area.
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