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NDDC: Forensic auditors uncovered 12,128 abandoned projects— Akpabio

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Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has said that the interim reports from the ongoing forensic verification exercise of activities of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, have uncovered over 12,128 abandoned projects in the region.

Senator Akpabio, who noted that the abandoned projects have no specific ownership attached to them, stressed further that the development was against the 9,080 projects listed by the government to be considered in the verification process.

The minister, who made the disclosure during the visit of the United Nations, Deputy Secretary-General, Hajia Amina Mohammed, to him in Abuja, however, sought for the collaboration with United Nations to maintain peace and development in the Niger Delta region, which he said remains the most peaceful region in Nigeria.

According to the minister, “Most of these abandoned projects have become sanctuaries to criminals. Projects were embarked on without consultations.

He said that since the discovery of crude oil in the region in 1956, several interventionist agencies had been set up to address the social and environmental degradation of the area, but they all failed to provide the needed succor to the people.

“In other to address the situation, the present administration decided to set up a forensic auditing process to access and evaluate the achievements that have been made by NDDC in the region since its existence.”

The minister acknowledged that Mohammed was a frontrunner in championing the course of the Niger Delta region and the Ogoni clean-up during her tenure as Minister of Environment.

Responding, the United Nations, Deputy Secretary-General, Hajia Amina Mohammed, noted that issues bordering on the Niger Delta region are peculiar to the heart of the UN and would do everything within UN programmes to address all issues of disillusionment in people’s expectations.

She commended the efforts of the Federal Government and the Ministry in the way they have handled the Niger Delta affairs as well as move to sanitise the NDDC.

Mohammed laid emphasis on the need to maintain peace and stability in the region, because without peace there cannot be any meaningful development, especially when the aspirations and rights of the people are not recognized.

In his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr. Babayo Ardo, stated that the Ministry is charged with the responsibility of ensuring developmental programmes and supervises the NDDC.

He added that the Ministry as part of its mandate over the years had provided infrastructure and high impact programmes for youths and women, and the Ministry is willing to collaborate with the UN system in actualising its programmes to improve living standards.

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Former Ogun First Lady celebrates 96th birthday

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Mama Lucy Onabanjo, wife of the first civilian Governor of Ogun State, the late Chief Victor Olabisi Onabanjo (Aiyekooto) celebrated her 96th birthday on Tuesday.

Lucy Onabanjo is the oldest surviving former first lady.

Born in Ijebu Ode on October 26, 1925, Mama Onabanjo was trained as a teacher.

It was after her training as a teacher that Lucy started dating the Late Bisi, who was working with a local newspaper called Gaskiya Tarfi Kobo (Truth is more than a Kobo).

Few months after meeting Bisi , she walked down the aisle and said “I do.”

The humble ceremony would blossom into a life of civil service from teaching to the Government House, Abeokuta and beyond.

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It’s illegal to pay petrol subsidy from federation account, Sanusi tells FG

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Former Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammad Sanusi II, has said the federal government is indulging in illegality by paying petroleum subsidy from the federation account.

The former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor spoke virtually as a panelist on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the just concluded Nigerian Economic Summit held in Abuja.

He also said the Nigerian daily oil consumption data is suspect thus there is endemic corruption in fuel subsidy payments.

“This money coming from petrol belongs to the federation account, and the federal government doesn’t have the constitutional right to pay subsidy on behalf of the federation.

“So it is a fundamental constitutional issue because this is money that should go to the federal, states and local governments. Yet money that belongs to the federation is carried out as federal government expenditure. So, there are so many complex issues, legal and economic issues. We need to stop these issues” he said.

He also advocated for the end of fuel subsidy and electricity subsidy, saying the money saved should be invested in critical sectors like education and health adding that the long-term gains far outweigh the short-term pains.

“I have said this before even as a CBN Governor under the previous government. What I say is not of a particular government. Take petroleum subsidy.

“In 2015 or 2016, Minister Ibe Kachukwu said Nigerian was importing 30 million litres of PMS per day after eliminating corruption. In 2019, the NNPC said we are importing 59 million litres per day after oil prices have gone up. And I have been asking the question, what happened between 2015 and 2019 that our oil consumption has almost double?” he asked.

He noted that “this is what also happened under the previous government. When oil prices go up, NNPC said they are importing more because of the arbitrage. Thus, when the oil prices go high, there is an incentive to inflate the number” he noted.

On electricity tariff, he said it should also be stopped as even poorer countries are paying cost reflective tariffs and enjoying uninterrupted electricity.

The Chairman, the Nigerian Governors Forum and the Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Kayode Fayemi, also agreed that subsidy payments had to end for resources to be free up for critical investments.

He also said that the government must focus on education and healthcare provision.

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PHOTOS: South-west govs visit Tinubu

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