Bu Obiaruko Ndukwe
NDDC2O YEAR SIEGE OVER
Finally, sanity coming to the most violated, plundered, pressed, squeezed, ravaged and raped institution East of the Niger- Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
19 years siege on the Commission is over as the Interim Management Committee led by Prof. B
Pondei and backed by the supervising Minister, Godswill Akpabio dare to tread where others failed!
For the first time, the real tormentors and looting experts at the Nddc from the defunct OMPADEC have been axed.
Since the President approved a Forensic Audit of the bleeding Commission, all hell has been let loose as Senior Civil Servants have been massively transferred out of the Dappa Biriye Building, Headquarters of the Commission.
The last straw was the conspiracy by a serving Director in charge of procurement who in cahoots with some National Assembly Members decided to award a contract for the supply of COVID-19 equipment to the nine states under the NDDC.
The letter which was unauthorized by the Management alleged that the contract had been awarded to a company called SIGNORA to the tune of N5 billion. And when the Management found out, they canceled and sought to investigate those behind it. The senior staff involved in the illicit award letter quickly played a fast one by making the said letter public, in a bid to indict and cause public opprobium against the IMC and the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio.
A game of wits you may say. Of course the scandal trended in the social media space.
Not deterred though rattled by the public outcry against the IMC and the Minister, the Management, yesterday after a meeting, took a stern decision to punish all those who were part of the sleaze and the plot to further cast aspersions on the integrity of the Commission. They were ordered to go on compulsory leave, from where, they would be retired.
It is no longer news that these set of Civil Servants have held the Commission hostage with fake and inflated contracts, fraudulent payments and padding of emergency jobs which they award to their companies through some of their cronies and other youth organizations.
They have consistently blackmailed every politician appointed into submission, to either do their bidding or be petitioned out.
Every document in the Commission is photocopied and transmitted to certain “Youths” who are on their payroll to carry out the nefarious activities of holding Press Conferences and petition writing to EFCC and ICPC.
This group of public servants claim to run things in the Commission and have ways of covering their tracks. Yes they have been their for too long!
They aid and abet the politicians assigned to manage the affairs of the Commission. With a huge financial war chest, they can prosecute any media war against any management who would not suit their purpose.
Unknown to many, these set of senior staff flaunt their wealth unhindered. They own porsche hotels and houses all over and even overseas.
The latest trend in the media and sponsored attacks on the present Management was catalyzed by the audacity of Akpabio and the IMC to transfer over 50 of them, who have held the Commission and the Niger Delta region hostage for almost 20 years.
The decision by the President for a forensic audit over 6 months ago is another reason for the heightened media attacks and trial of the Management.
For the 19 year period under probe, the PDP held sway for 15 years under President Obasanjo, Yaradua and Jonathan, while the APC under President Buhari has been in charge for 4 years.
Presently, the Senate Committee on NDDC at the National Assembly is headed by PDP members who were alleged to have paid their ways into those Committees. They have been at logger heads with every management appointed by Buhari to head the Commission, contrary to the easy passage of Budgets and approvals in the past when their party held sway.
Surprisingly, the NASS is controlled by the ruling APC, yet, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for the APC controlled Management of the Commission to have easy access to funds for the development of the region. Who is then responsible for this mess? Is it an orchestrated plot by some people to frustrate the development of the oil producing states which have been the pillar of the Nigerian economy?
The intrigues and power play behind the scene will shock many as details of those involved will be unveiled soon.
Stay with me as I bring you more shocking revelations.
– Oby Ndukwe
Lawyer raises alarm over N15 billion NDDC payments
A legal practitioner, Mr. Godwin Ojeh, has lamented what he called corruption of self-enrichment in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), calling on President Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Nigerian Senate , Ahmed Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Femi Gbajabiamila to stop the payment of N15 billion to contractors.
‘’The Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission has thrown caution to the winds. It is about to pay for jobs not done. The committee is processing the payment of a whooping amount of N15billion on spurious contracts in the name of ‘’Desilting of Waterways’’.
He particularly decried the misappropriation in the management of the funds of the commission.
‘Is the 2020 budget of the commission ready? Where are they spending from? ’Recently, the Senate set up an ad hoc committee to probe the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) over alleged mismanagement of N40billion. The Senate also requested for 2019 budgetary performance. The commission doesn’t have power to expend public money. There is no budgetary provision’’.
In a tone suggestive of his hatred for corruption, the Benin based lawyer asked the National Assembly and the executive arm of the government to stop the commission from wasting the country’s resources.
In a statement in Benin, Ojeh described the intention of the NDDC Interim Management Committee as ‘’a move that will endanger development of the region
‘’There is no greater danger to the development of the Niger Delta region than the payments for fictitious contracts’’ the statement said.
He also harped on the need for transparency in government organizations, saying ‘’it is necessary for the National Assembly and the executive arm of government to adopt a collective position on the allegation of corruption in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)’’.
Credit: Ebireri Henry Ovie
ABEOKUTA AND ITS PERENNIAL FLOODING: GOV. ABIODUN TO THE RESCUE
By Elijah Udofia
Saturday, July 4, 2020, is a day the people of Abeokuta, particularly those living very close to the city’s waterways, would not forget in a hurry. Like in the days of Noah, the floodgates were opened and the showers came down heavily, causing floods of havoc that ravaged portions of the city. For somebody who was in the capital city of the Gateway State for the first time, the sight of flooded roads, with water subterranean enough to swim, floating household possessions, evacuated trees, washed way bridges and people congregating on high rise buildings, waiting for the water to recede, is something he or she will live to remember for a long time.
On that day, the heavens opened and brought with it sorrows, but thankfully, without blood. The torrential rain which started at about three in the morning did not stop until six in the evening, thereby thrashing hard on the ancient city for 16 good hours, non-stop. It is instructive to note that July of every year, has always been a period when the city experiences great flooding, occasion by torrential rain. Apart from the destruction of critical public infrastructures, mostly roads and bridges, it is always a time when those living close to the canals, have their hearts in their mouths. Hardly a year passes without these areas experiencing flooding which lead to loss of properties and in some cases, life or lives as the case may be.
The recent one affected mostly areas are; Isale-Oja, Kuto, Ago-Ijesha, Ijeun-Titun, Ijeja-Igbore road, Gbangba, Elite-Lantoro road and Oba Adeleye’s recreational park. One is however happy that areas like Ijaye and Isale-Igbein, which used to experience serious flooding had been taken care of, by the construction of Lafenwa, Sapon, Idi-Aba, Ajebo road and Onikolobo, Omida and Sapon road. It should be noted here that the issue of flooding in Abeokuta is not new, as previous governments, including military administrations, had course to contend with this menace. The presence of the Vice President, who came to inspect the extent of damage caused by flooding two years ago, is an indication that the issue is not a child’s play. What is disturbing however is that the damages caused are becoming more devastating, which calls for concern by all and sundry?
Being the head of a government that came to power on the popular mandate, the State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, immediately the rain ceased on Sunday morning, ordered a team of government officials, led by the Environment Commissioner, Hon. Abiodun Abudu-Balogun took a tour of the areas affected by the flood and came up with a report to enable the government to respond accordingly.
As if that was not enough, the Governor, the following day, personally went round the affected areas to see things for himself. Prince Abiodun who was shocked due to the extent of damage caused not only to public assets, but to the property of the people, there and then, promised that his administration would assist them in mitigating the effect of their loss.
“I am here to look at the damage caused by the rain that fell on Saturday. Though I have sent my Commissioners and other government officials to inspect the damages, I decided to also come and see things for myself. I am happy that no life was lost, though you lost properties.
“I want to assure all of you who lost property to the flood that we will support you. In a few days’ time, government officials will come to see you to take down your names and properties affected, so that we can look at how to compensate you”.
On what the government intends to do to settle the matter once and for all, Prince Dapo Abiodun said the dredging of the canal that crisscrosses the State capital was on-going, while clearing of refuse in the gutters, was also carried out. He then informed the people that the government has assessed the damage caused to the roads and bridges with a view to carry out a comprehensive and proper channelization of the waterways.
“I want to assure you that we will repair the damaged roads, expand the gutters and bridges so that when rain falls, the gutters and the bridges would be able to accommodate the large volume of water. With this, the problem of erosion would be a thing of the past”, he promised
Governor Abiodun attributed flooding in the State capital to rapid development, besought the people to desist from dumping refuse or building structures on the waterways as these also contributed to the flooding. Collaborating the position of the Governor on the ways to find permanent solution to the menace of flooding in the State, the Commissioner for Environment, Hon. Abiodun Abudu-Balogun, noted that regular dredging of the waterways, converting some old culverts to bridges as well as delisting drainages to allow free flow of water will be done by the government.
The Commissioner disclosed that dredging is currently going on at Isale-Oja to Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library up to Orange Valley View Estate, adding that the government is not only looking at Abeokuta alone, as dredging is also ongoing in 16 places across the State. Though the government ultimate goal is to find a permanent solution to the problem, in the meantime, a temporary arrangement according to the Commissioner, was going on at the sites, as allowing the affected areas to remain unattended to, will adversely affect the socio-economic well-being of people and adds to their suffering. The Commissioner appealed to residents of the State to properly dispose of their refuse and desist from dumping them on waterways, to minimize the effects of flooding.
For Alhaji Bello Mohammed, Secretary, Isale-Oja, Kuto, Community Development Association, his community has been experiencing flooding on a yearly basis in the last 10 years. He opined that proper channelization of the canal with an adequate drainage system, would bring an end to the flooding. Also, Mrs. Abike Awosanya and Abideen Musibau, residents of Ago-Ijesha, in Abeokuta South Local Government, said that they want the government to urgently find lasting solution to the flood problem, as it has affected their means of livelihood and make life unbearable for them.
Also bearing his mind, Mr. Raphael Anthony, a motorcyclist, who plied Ijaye-Kuto route, appealed to the State government to regularly dredge the waterways and expand the drainages system as the existing ones can no longer accommodate large volumes of water, during heavy rain. More so, Mrs. Florence Adegbite, an apprentice hairstylist at Ijeun Titun, opined that, “from what I am seeing, I think the State government would need help, particularly from the Federal government to permanently address this problem, a huge amount of money will be involved.
Though Government has a big role to play in bringing an end to the flooding issue, l observed with pain that the actions and inactions of the people are not helping in this regard. A walk through the State capital, one will see the non-challant attitude of the people as they dump refuse even at places where they are not supposed to.
Some simple questions I would like to ask are, what is refuse doing on road medians? Why do people turn gutters, drainages which are supposed to carry water to the canal, to refuse dumpsites? Why do people find it difficult to clear gutters, even those in front of their houses? And most importantly, why do people build structures on waterways that were invented/constructed to serve as drains to the river. All these questions need urgent answers, if the problem of flooding in Abeokuta, is to be addressed.
Now that Governor Dapo Abiodun’s government is showing commitment by putting in place measures that will permanently solve the problem of perennial flooding in the capital city, it is imperative for citizens to also play their parts, because as the African saying goes, “one cannot clap with one hand”.
Udofia, Head of the Governor’s Press Crew, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
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