By Adedapo Adesanya
The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) said it has discovered a total of 13,000 abandoned projects in the region.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Godswill Akpabio, on Thursday when he submitted the Forensic Audit Report on the South-South part of the country.
Speaking when he handed over the report to President Muhammadu Buhari through the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN) in Abuja, he said, “The report of the audit committee showed that there are over 13,000 abandoned projects in the Niger Delta and even before the submission of the report, some contractors have returned to site on their own and completed about 77 road projects.
“Although the exercise had a checkered history, I thank Mr President and all those who supported and ensured its success.”
The Minister clarified that the exercise was not done to witch-hunt anyone but to ensure that the huge sums of funds committed to the area yearly were justified.
He lamented that the region had remained backwards since 1958 in spite of successive governments’ efforts through the creation of various interventionist programmes and projects.
On his part, the Lead Forensic Auditor, Mr Kabir Ahmed, in a brief overview of the report, said that the team recommended managerial as well as structural changes, chief of which is the downsizing of the NDDC’s board.
He said to reduce cost, the team recommended that members of the team should henceforth be appointed on a part-time basis.
The appointment of members of the board of the NDDC had been suspended until the release of the audit report.
Mr Ahmed also disclosed that oil companies in the country were still in default of their contributions to the commission.
“We recommended that the government should withdraw the license of any oil company which defaults for a period of three years.
“Also, deduction of 15 per cent ecological fund at source and be paid to the commission because both the federal and state governments have failed to make payments to the commission.
“The team recommended as a measure of effective revenue collections, the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) should collect funds on behalf of NDDC from oil companies in the country”.
IPMAN May Halt Fuel Distribution to Sokoto, Kebbi, Others
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Gusau Depot, has threatened to stop transporting petroleum products within Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara and parts of Katsina state.
According to the IPMAN’s Zonal Chairman, Mr Yahya Kamba, the threat came following the federal government’s failure to settle its N40 billion outstanding payment to IPMAN members.
According to Mr Kamba, the payment is based on importation and transportation claims of up to 11 months.
He said the federal government has reneged on the agreement reached with the association.
“It is not a subsidy,” Mr Kamba said, explaining that. “It is money that we marketers contributed. We have to pay a certain amount for every litre we purchase from the government. Just for the country to have a uniform pump price.”
“We contributed this money just the way pensioners contribute their own. So, there is no reason anyone can give us to say they have no money. We are asking for our own contribution.
“Our arrangement is for the Ministry to pay us every week; when you transport this product, you are supposed to be paid within a week; but now we are counting months. We have counted up to 11 months. The payment has stopped since June 2021,” he added.
Amid the recent fuel shortage that rocked Abuja, the marketers had claimed that there was no money to buy the product until the federal government pays the claims and also assist in allocating a cargo of AGO to hasten loading from various loading depots.
EFCC Questions Ex-NDDC Boss Nsima Ekere Over N47bn Fraud
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr Nsima Ekere, has been grilled by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The former NDDC boss was at the Lagos office of the agency on Wednesday to honour an invitation to him to answer questions surrounding an alleged fraud to the tune of N47 billion.
In 2016, a year after losing the governorship primary election of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom State to Governor Udom Emmanuel, he was appointed as the MD of the commission.
He left office in 2018 to concentrate on his ambition to rule his home state and contested the gubernatorial poll in 2019 under the All Progressives Congress (APC) and lost again to Mr Emmanuel.
In 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered a forensic audit of the NDDC from 2001 to 2019 and the report of the exercise, according to the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Godswill Akpabio, said several frauds were uncovered.
The EFCC, reports said, has been trailing Mr Ekere and yesterday, he turned himself in and he was questioned on the allegations of contract inflation and award of fictitious contracts while in office.
This development is coming two days after the anti-money laundering organisation arrested the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Ahmed Idris, over allegations of diversion of N80 billion.
He was suspended yesterday by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainah Ahmed, to enable a transparent investigation into the matter.
Also, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mrs Patricia Etteh, was apprehended on Tuesday by the agency over allegations of diversion of funds for projects.
IPMAN, EFCC Move Against Oil Theft, Vandalism in N’Delta
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has sought the support and intervention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in curbing oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta.
This was disclosed by the Chairman of IPMAN, Mr Bello Binna, during a visit to the Port Harcourt’s Zonal Commander of the EFCC, Mr Nwanneka Nwokike, in his office.
Mr Binna said that the EFCC was the only agency trusted to give solutions on issues of pipeline vandalism and oil theft in the Niger Delta region.
According to him, IPMAN was more comfortable with what the EFCC is doing to curb
“We are here to collaborate with the Agency with which we are more comfortable, and we believe that with your support, our jobs will have a headway.
“In the past, our efforts have been wasted, we were advised that the agency that has the mandate to make our job effectively is the EFCC,” he said.
Responding, the Port Harcourt’s Zonal Commander of the EFCC, Mr Nwanneka Nwokike, said the EFCC was working tirelessly to put an end to the menace of illegal oil bunkering in the Niger Delta region.
Mr Nwokike also stressed the need to educate youths within the region on the ills of oil theft and illegal oil bunkering.
“I assure you that the EFCC has the desire to reduce, if not bring to an end, the menace of illegal oil bunkering.
“We will educate our youths on the dangers of this, which is part of our mandate, educating our youths on why they must leave these illegalities. We must all come together to see how we can tackle this menace. I want to assure you that we will work together,” he said.
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