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NDDC Acting Chair Who Fainted During Probe Makes Weighty Allegation Against NASS Committees

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Daniel Pondei, Acting MD of the NDDC says the Senate and House of Representative Ad-hoc Committees investigating the commission are weaponizing the forensic audit against the interim management due to the implication of some lawmakers in contract scandal.

Pondei, who was reacting to a newspaper report credited to the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee that he and members of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) were collecting 30% of total contract amount from contractors before paying them, said “it is surprising and disappointing that the Senate Committee can be attributed with unproven allegations as their final report.”

The NDDC boss however said that he is not distracted by spurious allegations perpetrated by those bent on scuttling the ongoing forensic audit of the Commission.

He dismissed the allegations as unfounded and orchestrated plot by those mentioned in the contract sleaze to get back at him for daring to name and shame them for holding the Commission and the region hostage for years.

According to him, the siege on the NDDC has been broken with the naming of those who are behind the financial malfeasance and contract racketeering.

Pondei in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Edgar Ebigoni, denied that no member of the IMC or himself has ever sought for or received bribe or any other form of inducement for performing their duties.

He however said the Committee is not perturbed by “spurious claims and accusations regarding its work”.

Niger Delta Affairs Minister Akpabio and Former Acting MD of NDDC, Joi Nunieh

According to the statement, “the attention of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has been drawn to the above subject of a newspaper report credited to the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee which recently investigated the alleged financial malfeasance in NDDC.

“The Ad-hoc Committee which had Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, All Progressives Congress, APC, Ekiti North as Chairman, had Senators Jika Dauda Haliru, APC Bauchi Central; Mohammed Tanko Almakura, APC Nasarawa South; Abdulfatai Buhari; APC Oyo North; Chukwuka Utazi, PDP, Enugu North, Ibrahim Hadeija, APC Jigawa North East and Degi – Eremienyo Biobarakuma Wangaha, APC Bayelsa East, had grilled the Prof. Daniel Pondei led IMC, in July, 2020, during which Prof. Pondei denied the above allegations and challenged anyone to come forward with evidence to wit.

“The Acting MD stated on oath, during the probe, that he has never requested or received kickbacks of any sort, from contractors. It is therefore surprising and disappointing that the Senate Committee can be attributed with unproven allegations as their final report.”

It continued that, “the IMC is also shocked that the Ad-Hoc committee chose to believe the naysayers who claimed that the NDDC headquarters was not nearing completion; a claim that the IMC denied. Whatever made the Senate Ad-Hoc sit in Abuja to accept a negative report rather than accept the challenge of the IMC to visit the headquarters themselves, for an unbiased assessment, is yet unknown.

“Also in the report, the Senate Ad-Hoc, in a bid to glorify the head of the immediate past IMC, credited the Forensic Audit to her, even when she testified negatively to the existence of the Forensic Audit. In any case, the admittance of the committee that the Forensic Audit is ongoing is a welcome development. We are glad that Mr. President is determined to see the Forensic Audit through, despite all odds”.

The statement added further that, “the IMC has been undertaking a painstaking evaluation of projects before approving any historical debt payment, no matter the level of documentary progress already recorded. Previous project valuations have been slashed and actual value of work done determined. Most emergency contractors are therefore no longer getting the humongous figures they had been promised by their co-conspirators within the Commission. The reduced payment is a saving for the Commission and the Niger Delta, not a payment for the persons in the IMC or the Commission.

“The IMC intends to steer the Commission away from questionable, low-impact projects, with quick-win projects not being excluded), into programmes of regional scale with emphasis on areas already identified in the Niger Delta Action Plan. The programmes will cascade into related projects that will mesh smoothly into a seamless whole on completion. The IMC is looking at the environmental hazards of flooding; inter region transportation including rail transportation, port development, health, education and power sectors. The new NDDC will embark on programmes beyond individual state governments and intensify collaboration with other state players in the region.

“We wish to notify Nigerians that the renewed media attacks on the IMC are part of the orchestrated plot by those mentioned in the emergency contract sleaze to get back at the IMC for daring to name and shame those who have held the Commission and the region hostage for years. The siege is finally broken.

“The Forensic Audit will actually unravel the issue of over invoicing and contract inflation, among other things. It will follow the money trail and expose those who shared such monies with the contractors.

“The IMC is irrevocably focused on delivering on its mandate to the entire people of the Niger Delta and not a select few from within and outside it. It enjoins all people of goodwill to partner with it to achieve this laudable objective.”

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FG, States, LGCs Share N1,208 billion April 2024 Revenue

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Again Fulani Terrorists Attack Omala LGA, Kill 3 in Ajokpachi

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Barely a few weeks after a deadly attack by Fulani herdsmen on the Agojeju-odo Community in Omala Local Government Area of Kogi State,  another community has suffered the same fate.

The Dare Devil Fulani Bandits on Tuesday launched a deadly attack on the Ajokpachi Odo Community, a neighbouring Community killing no fewer than three persons, and carting away Motorbikes, foodstuff while scores of people still missing.
The attack was said to have occurred when the Youths in the area on surveillance mission were ambushed and killed  by the Fulani herdsmen terrorists.
According to the locals , the fulani militia who have been engaging in fierce battle with the Agatus in Benue state for over a week now were relocating when they met the   youths who were holding a meeting in Ajokpachi Odo and openedfire on them.,
Among the confirmed dead were Musa Sule from Ajokpachi Odo , one youth from Bagaji Odo and another one from Ajomachi, a border village in Benue state who were attending  the meeting on how to protect their communities.

Victims of the Fulani herdsmen attack on Agojeju-odo

Unconfirmed reports have it that the terrorists have also earmarked other communities in the local government for similar attacks. This has resulted in the desertion of Agbenema, Opada, Ajedegbo and surrounding communities whose inhabitants are moving in droves to Abejukolo the local government headquarters.
SunriseNigeria could not reach the Divisional Police Officer of the local government as his line could not be reached.
However a Community Leader , Nifu Abuka, who spent all night in the bush for fear of his life  as a result of the incident, said since  the heinous attack on  Agojeju Odo, his people have been sleeping with one eye closed.
He added that the porous security situation in the area has made them vulnerable to incessant Fulani attacks and called on relevant government agencies to come to their rescue.
He explained that the age long  feud between Agatu and Fulani in Benue and Nasarawa states have made his community, which share boundary with Agatu in Benue state -susceptible to attack.
In an interview with our correspondent, a prominent indigene of the local government, Dr James Odaudu reiterated the age-long calls by stakeholders for the establishment of a military base,  especially the Navy, in the area,  since the marauders usually cross the River Benue from the neighbouring Nasarawa State to attack the Agatus in Benue state and and communities in Omala LGA in Kogi State.
He called on the Federal and Benue  state Governments to urgently deploy permanent Security outfits to the communities to save them from unwarranted
deaths in the hands of the heavily armed Fulani herdsmen who have taken over their farms and the  deserted  villages.
According to him, the people are tired of the usual condolences by those whose responsibility it is to protect them and said if left unchecked, the bandits will overrun not only the local government, but the whole of Igala Kingdom.
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Submit Yourself to the Law, Tinubu Media Group Tells Yahaya Bello

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The Tinubu Media Support Group, TMSG, has urged the immediate past governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, to heed the advice of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, and submit himself to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the court of law.

According to the group, it has become necessary for Bello to clear himself of allegations of financial malfeasance while in office.

In a statement issued Sunday and jointly signed by its Chairman, Emeka Nwankpa and Secretary, Dapo Okubanjo, the group described the stand-off between the former governor and the EFCC as unnecessary, saying it is an affront on the sanctity of the law and the integrity of the President’s war against corruption.

The statement said: “We have carefully watched all the drama and subterfuge that continue to trail the invitation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to Governor Yahaya Bello, a senior member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the curious attempts to politicize the routine matter of the request by the graft fighting agency to ask former Governor Bello to meet with its investigators.

“For us, the intervention of the Attorney General of the Federation, Lateef Fagbemi, asking the former Kogi governor to subject himself to EFCC’s scrutiny is a clear signal in this regard, not only on the position of law, but also on the stance of the President Bola Tinubu administration on anti- corruption.

“It should be clear by now to all Nigerians that strict accountability in governance occupies a cardinal place in President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda. To serve this purpose, his government has shown zero tolerance to cases of corruption since assuming office.

According to the statement, the EFCC, by inviting the former governor Yahaya Bello, like it did with past and previous officials of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and others, is in tandem with its policy and character to nurture a culture of probity and accountability in governance.

The group added that as a staunch member of the APC, Bello has no reason to fear.

“We urge him to heed the advice of the Attorney General and make himself available to EFCC’s investigators as required by extant laws.

“We also advise members of the ruling party who have been up in arms against the anti- graft agency to be circumspect in their reaction to the issue,” the group added.

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