Individuals and right groups have been calling on the federal government to investigate alleged financial recklessness in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the recent is that of the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) calling on the president to act fast and also suspend all those involved in the allegations pending the time of investigation.
SERAP in an open letter sent to the president, Muhammadu Buhari urged him to set up a presidential investigative panel to probe grave corruption allegations in NDDC and suspend the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio among others.
Recently, the NDDC was alleged to have illegally spent N81.5 billion, on travels, ‘condolences’, consultancy and ‘public communication between January and July 2020.”
SERAP’s deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare in a letter dated 18 July 2020 reacting to the allegations said “Nigerians expect that those who run the NDDC should be free of corruption, and should enjoy no impunity. Nigerians who want to see development and prosperity in the Niger Delta will want you to take the lead to get to the bottom of these allegations and take appropriate and decisive action to address them.”
He stated “a special panel to probe allegations of corruption in the NDDC, and that is able to work closely with anti-corruption agencies would protect the integrity of the forensic audit, remove the possibility of obstruction of justice, and interference in the process by those suspected to be involved in alleged corruption in the NDDC.”
The rights group said “The investigation by the National Assembly has been controversial, and has reportedly turned into a ‘dirty fight’ between the NDDC and the National Assembly. Similarly, the hearings have reportedly indicted lawmakers of both the Senate and House of Representatives.
Also in the letter, SERAP urged Buhari send a strong message of intolerance for grave corruption in the NDDC, and show that you are willing and able to enforce important constitutional, statutory and international principles and obligations.
“SERAP also urges you to instruct the police authorities and security agencies to immediately end the harassment and intimidation of Ms Joy Nunieh, former Acting Managing Director of NDDC, or any other witnesses and whistle-blowers. Suspected perpetrators will escape justice if witnesses and whistle-blowers are intimidated, harassed or threatened.
“More Prosperous Days Will Come Soon” – Lai Mohammed
Minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, wants Nigerians to be patient with president Muhamadu Buhari on the issue of price hikes. He says better days are ahead.
He made the call in Lagos on Saturday during a meeting with online publishers. The minister said it was mere coincidence that the hikes in both the pump price of fuel and electricity tariff happened simultaneously. He said even with the hike in fuel prices, Nigeria still has the cheapest fuel prices and electricity tariff in all of west Africa.
The minister said the government was forced to take some tough decisions in order to mitigate the effect of the economic slowdown and the drastic fall in government revenues. Mohammed said when oil prices collapsed at the height of the global lockdown caused by COVID-19, the government had to deregulate PMS prices.
He said the international prices of crude oil on local fuel prices will not last forever. He also said the emergence of modular refineries in the country will help in lowering the cost of petroleum products.
Rivers State Imposes N100 Million Fine On Violators Of COVID-19 Burial Protocols
The Rivers State government is not joking around with the enforcement of COVID-19 protocols on burials. It has announced a fine of one hundred million naira for violators.
State commissioner for health, Dr. Princewill Chike said in a statement on Saturday the decision to impose the fine on violators was taken at the state’s executive council meeting in Port Harcourt.
He said a directive has gone out to chairmen of local government councils in the state to ensure full compliance with the protocols in their various localities.
Chike said the government’s stipulation still stands forbidding more than fifty persons from attending burials in the state.
Nationwide Planned Industrial Action Averted
The Nigerian Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress have suspended the planned nationwide strike that was to commence today. The strike was planned as a protest against the recent increase in electricity tariff and the hike in petrol pump price.
After a marathon meeting with labor leaders on Sunday, minister of labor and employment, Chris Ngige announced the decision by both parties to suspend the planned strike.
He said a two-week time table has been set for a technical committee of labor leader, government agencies and ministries to look into issues of the electricity tariff hike.
The committee is charged with the duty of harmonizing the basis for the new tariff because of what he said was conflicting information that was not in sync with the national electricity regulatory commission’s policy that guided the tariff hike.
Electricity distribution companies have been ordered to halt the application of the new tariff during the two weeks.
On the issue of fuel pump price increase, both parties have agreed to rehabilitate the nation’s refineries to reduce fuel prices.
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