By Henry Ovie
Notable leaders in the South-South geo-political zone have hit back at the Ovie of Idjerhe Kingdom, Obukowho Monday Whiskey, describing his comments on the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Godswill Akpabio as “reckless.”
“Ovie of Idjerhe Kingdom, Obukowho Monday Whiskey is wandering about alone,” the south-south leader said, further describing the Delta monarch as “a self-seeker, trouble maker and opportunist.”
“The temptation to sell out Urhobo and look out for his own petty interests is great. Ovie of Idjerhe Kingdom, Obukowho Monday Whiskey is prepared to barter away the honour of Idjerhe kingdom and the interests of Urhobo and Ijaw for a job in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) or a handout from top government functionaries,” the leaders said in a statement issued by the Chairman of South-South Front (SSF), Mr John Harry.
They also described Whiskey’s outburst as misleading but commended Mr Akpabio for steering the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to greater heights.
“Ovie of Idjerhe Kingdom, Obukowho Monday Whiskey speaks from a place of deep ignorance,” the statement stated.
The leaders rebuked Whiskey for not bringing critical and unemotional apparatus to the examination of problems in the Niger Delta and praised the Minister for his commitment to greater development and adherence to the principles of transparency.
“The NDDC forensic report marks a vitally important step forward for the Niger Delta region.
“The statement also underscored intelligent leadership, appreciation and respect.
“Senator Akpabio is a quintessential politician. He has done well,” the statement said.
The leaders called on stakeholders in the country not to be influenced by Whiskey and his sponsors.
“The Idjerhe monarch is already losing contact with the purse of the Niger Delta people,” they said.
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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