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#NDDCProbe: Most contracts in NDDC are given to lawmakers — Akpabio

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The majority of contracts in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) are given to National Assembly members, ⭐Godswill Akpabio⭐ has said.

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs also maintained that only three contracts have been awarded since he came on board.

The former Senator stated that his job as the minister of Niger Delta Affairs was to supervise and not to run the NDDC, adding that the Commission is where it is today because of lack of monitoring” and supervision.

The former Akwa Ibom State Governor was speaking when he appeared before the house of representatives committee investigating the NDDC, on Monday, July 20.

He equally defended the decision for the appointment of Dr Cairo Ojougboh as acting executive director of the commission on projects.

“The greatest project today is medical – and that is COVID-19,” Akpabio said, but was immediately interjected by a female member of the committee who asked him if there was COVID-19 when Dr Ojougboh was appointed.

But Akpabio, apparently asking for permission to continue, said: “Mr Chairman, Sir, am I protected? Am I protected? Mr Chairman, am I protected? Mr Chairmnan Sir?,” he asked repeatedly.

The Committee chairman said: “You are protected.”

Akpabio said: “Thank you Mr Chairman for protecting me because my sister wants to eat me raw.”

He continued: “Sixty percent of the budget of the NDCC every year is medical. And you also have to know that malaria has killed more children in Nigeria.

“So, who would best fit the position of an executive director [projects] in the NDDC than a medical doctor who would implement the 60 percent of the budget?”

He then answered a second question explaining that the NDDC couldn’t have been closed down because of the audit.

“Who are the greatest beneficiaries? It is you people [Lawmakers].”

The Committee chiairman then said, “It’s okay, it’s okay.”

But the female committee member butted in again: “Can I ask you a question?” she said, referring to Akpabio. “What is the benefit that the national assembly is benefitting from the NDDC?”

The Minister answered: “Are you asking me the benefits of the national assembly?”

He went on: “I just told you that we have records to show that most of the contracts in NDDC are given out to members of the national assembly but you don’t know about it.

“The chairman can explain it to you. That is why you must not allow the two chairmen to approve the budget every year.”

Politics

I’m leaving PDP for APC – Gov Umahi of Ebonyi State

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The Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, told the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party in Abuja on Tuesday that he was leaving the party.

He said he would join the ruling All Progressives Congress which he claimed would protect the interest of the South-East in the 2023 elections.

Our correspondent gathered that Umahi told the members of the National Working Committee of the PDP that his decision to join  the APC was irrevocable.

The members of the PDP NWC, who were led to the meeting by its National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, were said to have tried in vain to convince the governor not to abandon the party.

Apart from Secondus, among those that were at the meeting at the Ebonyi Governor’s Lodge in Abuja were Deputy National Secretary, Agbo Emmanuel; National Organising Secretary, Austin Akobondu; Financial Secretary, Abdullahi  Maibasira;  National Women Leader, Mariya Waziri  and Senator Sulieman Nazif.

The governor was said to be friendly when he received the PDP delegation, but stuck to his decision to leave the PDP when the issue came up.

It was gathered that the PDP delegation impressed it upon the governor that there was no need leaving the PDP for the APC, which they argued had become unpopular.

Sources at the meeting, however, said the governor was not convinced, insisting that  the APC was planning to zone the 2023 Presidency to the South-East.

He was said to have promised to stay in the PDP if the party could make a pronouncement that it would zone the Presidency to the same zone.

One of the sources said, “I think his (governor’s) mind was made up. We told him there was no need for him to abandon the party that had made him a deputy governor, state chairman of the party, two-time governor and all that. But he refused.

 “He wanted us to unilaterally zone the office of the Presidency to his area. We cannot do that. Parties are not run that way. He told us he was leaving. That is what we got from him.’’

When contacted, Secondus confirmed that the party’s leadership met with Umahi.

 He, however, refused to declared the details of the meeting, insisting that the meeting was on ‘‘national issues.’’

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Crime

We Spent ₦2.2 Billion On Prayers Against Boko Haram – Adariko

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An Economic and Financial Crimes Commission investigating officer, Adariko Michael, on Tuesday, alleged that N2.2 billion was spent on prayers in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia to win the war against Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria.
Mr. Michael was giving evidence as the first prosecution witness (PW1) in the trial of Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser (ONSA) to President Goodluck Jonathan, in the alleged two billion dollars arms deal fraud.

Others charged with Mr. Dasuki, a retired colonel, are a former General Manager with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Aminu Baba-kusa, Acacia Holdings Limited, and Reliance Referral Hospital Limited.

The EFCC charged them with 32 counts bordering on misappropriation, criminal breach of trust, dishonest release and receiving various sums of money before Husseini Baba-Yusuf.

Led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, Mr Micheal said N750 million was allegedly transferred from the ONSA special account to Reliance Referral Hospital Limited’s account with First Bank.

He added that N650 million was also transferred to Acacia Holding Limited’s account with EcoBank, while another N600 million and N200 million were transferred to the company’s account with UBA.

“Between September 27, 2013, and April 16, 2015, N50 million was credited to Reliance Referral Hospital’s account.

“Based on responses from the banks involved, as investigating officer, we found out that money was transferred to several individuals and companies.

“When we went through the account statement, we asked the second defendant (Aminu Babakusa) the reason for this.

“He informed us that the money was used to hire clerics to pray for the nation as regards Boko Haram crisis.

“When we asked him to provide the names, contacts and phone numbers of the clerics he hired to pray for the nation, he mentioned only two,” he said.

Mr Dasuki spent four years in detention, following his arrest in 2015 over alleged misappropriation of N2.2 billion meant for arms purchase during his time as National Security Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan

After the Federal Government had consistently failed to honor court orders granting him bail, including an ECOWAS court judgment in 2016, he was finally released on December 24, 2019

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Politics

This is why we froze accounts of 20 EndSARS protesters – CBN reveals

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) sought an ex parte order to freeze the account of 20 members of the EndSARS movement in what has been generating a whirlpool of reaction. The reason for the action has now been unraveled as contained in a case with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1384/2020, filed before Justice A. R. Mohammed of Abuja Federal High Court Legit.ng reports

The affected individuals have been identified as Bolatito Racheal Oduala, Chima David Ibebunjoh, Mary Doose Kpengwa, Nicholas Ikhalea Osazele, Ebere Idibie, Akintomide Lanre Yusuf, Uhuo Ezenwanyi Promise, and Mosopefoluwa Odeseye.The affected individuals have been identified as Bolatito Racheal Oduala, Chima David Ibebunjoh, Mary Doose Kpengwa, Nicholas Ikhalea Osazele, Ebere Idibie, Akintomide Lanre Yusuf, Uhuo Ezenwanyi Promise, and Mosopefoluwa Odeseye. Others are Saadat Temitope Bibi, Adegoke Pamilerin Yusif, Umoh Grace Ekanem, Babatunde Victor Segun, Mulu Louis Teghenan, Mary Oshifowora, Winifred Akpevweoghene Jacob, Victor Solomon, Idunu A. Williams, Gatefield Nigeria Limited, Bassey Victor Israel and Wisdom Busaosowo Obi.

Read Also: #EndSARS Protest, a fallout of COVID-19 Pandemic, says UN

It has now been revealed that the apex bank, while requesting the court order, argued that the funding of the EndSARS movement might have emanated from terrorist activities, The Punch reports.

CBN said the money flow into the account of the EndSARS protesters was found ominous following investigation by head of the economic intelligence unit, Joseph Omayuku. “There is a grave allegation that the defendants are involved in suspected terrorism financing via their bank accounts in contravention of the provisions of extant laws and regulations. The aforesaid transactions undertaken by the defendants, using their bank accounts, can cause significant economic and security harm to the public and the Federal Republic of Nigeria if left unchecked.”

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