By Adedapo Adesanya
The Chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Board, Mrs Lauretta Onochie, has appealed to Nigerians, especially people from the Niger Delta region, to give the newly inaugurated board the necessary support to deliver on their mandate.
“We are going to do things differently so that the people of Niger Delta can benefit from what Nigeria has been investing in the region. In the past, many investments in the Niger Delta have found their way to Abuja, London, Dubai and elsewhere,” she pleaded.
Mrs Onochie added that part of the new board’s goal was to change the narratives from the current situation where youths sought Special Assistants jobs to being employers of labour.
She added that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to youth development and would do everything possible to equip youths in the region with the necessary skills to compete with their peers from other climes.
“Since its establishment by the NDDC Act, the Commission has received a lot of flaks from all and sundry. Consequently, the board, in addition to all the guidelines issued by the Honourable Minister, will be looking to review the existing policies and guidelines to enable us to have a clear sight as we hit the ground running.
“We cannot continue working with failed templates and expect to get a different result. Apart from the physical development of our region, we will be paying extra attention to the empowerment of our teeming youth population, equipping them with requisite skills to enable them to catch up with their peers in other parts of Nigeria and elsewhere,” the Delta State-born politicians said.
On his part, the Minister of Niger-Delta Affairs, Mr Umana Okon Umana, charged members of the NDDC governing board to be faithful in the implementation of the recommendations of the report of the commission’s forensic audit.
He urged the board members to immediately hit the ground running, stressing the need for the team and the management to strictly adhere to the procurement act, as well as the financial regulations, to ensure prudence in the management of limited resources.
“Every contract above the threshold of management is to be referred to the Ministerial Tenders Board of the Federal Executive Council. Any breach of contract approval limits will attract severe sanctions.”
Mr Umana also charged the board to look into “allegations of irregular employment from 2019 and follow up on the ongoing personnel audit in the Commission to make sure all cases of employment during the period under review were in accordance with extant rules and regulations of the service.”
The minister also urged the board members to focus on the completion of ongoing projects and advised them to shun the lure of the “award of spurious and indiscriminate new contracts” so as to help in repairing the negative public perception of the NDDC.
Giving his remarks, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, noted that the inauguration of the new board would not have been possible without the collaboration of the National Assembly.
Mr Mustapha, who was represented by a former Permanent Secretary, Mrs Habiba Lawal, urged members of the new board to bring all their expertise to bear to transform the lives and environment of the region.
Violent Protest Erupts in Ibadan Over Naira Scarcity
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
There are reports of a violent protest in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, over the scarcity of old and new Naira notes, Business Post has gathered.
It was learned that residents of the ancient city are venting their anger over the hardship caused by the policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the federal government.
The central bank redesigned the N200, N500, and N1,000 notes and asked citizens to return their old banknotes because they would cease to be legal tender.
However, since the introduction of the new currency notes in circulation on December 15, 2022, many Nigerians have not been able to withdraw their money from banks, fuelling anger in the land.
On Friday afternoon, some residents of Ibadan, especially in Iwo Road, took to the streets to express their frustration at the development, which is coming at a time consumers have to queue for petrol.
They had bonfires on the road and disrupted business activities in some areas of the city.
Recall that today, the Governor of Oyo State, Mr Seyi Makinde, announced the suspension of his campaign activities over the scarcity of Naira and fuel.
Also on Friday, the Governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) met with President Muhammadu Buhari to appeal to him to change his mind on the Naira swap policy because of the effect on the people and the 2023 general elections starting later this month.
The President had earlier been asked not to show up in Kano State because of fears of a violent protest over the development. After the deadline was moved forward, the Governor of the state, Mr Abdullahi Ganduje, said he was safe to visit the ancient city.
However, during his visit to Kano, there were reports of a demonstration, with a chopped stoned by some residents of the state and convoys attacked by angry protesters.
The government claimed the protest was not directed at President Buhari, while the opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said otherwise.
APC Governors Beg Buhari to Allow Use of Old, New Naira Notes
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
President Muhammadu Buhari has been urged to allow the use of old and Naira notes as legal tender in the country until the former is naturally mopped up from the circulation.
This appeal was made on Friday by Governors elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) during a meeting with Mr Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
In a brief chat with reporters after the meeting, the Governor of Kano State, Mr Abdullahi Ganduje, said after the request was made to the President, he promised to look into it.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) last month redesigned the N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes and said the old currency denominations would cease to be legal tender from January 31, 2023.
However, two days before the deadline, the Governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, after a meeting with President Buhari in his hometown in Daura, Katsina State, said the deadline had been shifted to February 10, 2023, noting that Nigerians had a grace period of February 17, 2023, to return the old notes to the bank.
On Tuesday, January 31, he appeared before the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee on the CBN policy to say Nigerians could still take their old notes to banks after the deadline, promising that citizens will not lose their funds.
Today, the APC Governors met with Mr Buhari to discuss the scarcity of Naira in the financial system and also the lingering fuel scarcity.
One of the Governors present at the gathering, Mr Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, had claimed this week that the scarcity of cash and petrol was the handiwork of some elements in the Villa, who do not want the party to succeed in the forthcoming elections.
“We spoke with the President to allow the old and new notes to co-exist until the old notes die a natural death,” Mr Ganduje told newsmen while walking out after the meeting.
“Sir, did you discuss the petrol scarcity with him,” one of the reporters asked the Kano Governor, and he responded, “Yes.”
Oyo Governor Suspends Campaign Activities Over Fuel, Naira Crisis
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Due to the unending fuel and new Naira notes crisis rocking the country, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has suspended his campaign activities.
Mr Makinde is seeking another term in office under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He commenced his campaign activities last month, asking residents of the state to give him another chance to serve them.
But the scarcity of premium petrol spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, and cash has put Nigerians under untold hardship.
Governor Makinde, during the flag-off of the Omi-Adio-Ido Road on Friday, said in solidarity with the people over anti-people economy policies of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led federal government, he would be suspending his campaign.
A statement by the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Wasiu Olatubosun confirmed this.
In the statement, Mr Makinde, who was in Ido to continue his campaign, directed that all campaign activities be suspended until further notice.
Mr Olatubosun said Governor Makinde noted that the suffering of his people was too much, saying he was elected to protect their interests and well-being.
The Commissioner said his boss, in an emotionally laden voice, directed leaders of the party in Oyo State to suspend the campaign.
“As a mark of honour to citizens and residents of Oyo State, the Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, has directed that all campaign activities of the party at all levels be suspended until further notice,” the statement read.
“Governor Seyi Makinde’s love for his people necessitated this unprecedented move at this time. We urge all residents and citizens of the State to remain calm as we navigate through this difficult period together,” he added.
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