Politicians Squander Niger Delta Resources In UK, Dubai-Onochie


Chairman, Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission,Lauretta Onochie,has said that the money meant for development of Niger Delta was squandered in Abuja, Lagos, United Kingdom, Dubai others by people whose responsibility was to develop the region.

Onochie,who disclosed this when she addressed management and staff of the commission at its (NDDC) headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Thursday,said the development was responsible for increased poverty in the region.

She expressed regret over the impact of the agency on the region, describing it as shameful not just to the Niger Delta region and Nigeria.

She said:”Today is a historic day. I’m not just for the people of Niger Delta, but for the women of Nigeria. And being a historic day, we have a lot of things going on today.

“Like the MD had said earlier, he has said a lot I would have said. But, let me remind us why we are here. This (NDDC) is an organization, a commission that was commissioned specifically for the people of Niger Delta. It is an interventionist agency that is supposed to bring about prosperity; it is supposed to bring development in our region.

“This organization was set up in the year 2000. And, if you go round the Niger Delta till date, there is little or nothing to show for it. NDDC has been a shame of the Niger Delta and a shame of our nation. For the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has been determined to turn things around.

“As I said yesterday, at our inauguration, he (Buhari) never does things in his own interest. Everything he does, he does in the interest of Nigerians. And this board you see here represents that interest. We are here to reposition NDDC. We are here to serve people of the Niger Delta and by extension people of Nigeria. We are here to do things differently.”

Earlier, the new Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) of the commission, Samuel Ogbuku, said it was an auspicious day, which witnessed official handing over from outgoing managing director to the successor.

“We are not here like one party handing over from one party. We are not here to fight anybody. We are all people from Niger Delta. I want all of you to be rest assured that, based on your competence, you are going to be working with this administration. We are definitely not going to look at mediocrity. Everything has be based on your competence. If you show ingenuity, you have a chance to work with us.”

He assured that a enabling working environment would be provided for the staff for them to demonstrate their ingenuity, because they were carriers of stigmatization.

He added:”Out there, everybody believes that NDDC has failed. So, you are stigmatized to the part of the failure. I am saying what people out there are saying. It may not be fact, it could just be an assumption. But, the staff work here seems to have some level of stigmatization. I don’t blame you; may be, you have not been given the enabling environment”.

Reply, Reply All or Forward

Bayelsa Community Shuts Conoil’s Facility Over Breach Of MOU

Koluama community in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State Friday closed the Ango 2 Oilfield operated by the Conoil Producing Nigeria Limited for its alleged failure to implement a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) the company signed with them.

The embattled protesters comprising elders, men, women and youths, stormed the oil facility carrying placards with different inscriptions like, “No MoU, No Crude Oil Exploration”; “ConOil Pack And Go, We Are Tired Of Suffering”; and “Koluama People Are Suffering”.

The chairman of Koluama Oil and Gas Committee, Jonathan Amabebe, said they were fed up with Conoil and that it should stop operations in their environment.

According to him, the oil company reportedly failed to implement the agreement which contained social obligations to be carried out for the host communities.

He states their demands as clean-up of oil-spill impacted sites around the various communities and medical outreach to solve health challenges of the people.

He said other demands include issuance of employment letter to a qualified member of the community, who was successful in Conoil’s recruitment exercise in 2015, and award of contract across the five host communities of Koluama clan namely, Tamazo, Koluama 1, Koluama 2, Olobia and Kalaweiama as captured in the MoU.

Speaking, Technical Assistant to the Bayelsa State Government’s Special Adviser on Oil and Gas, Tare Ekubo, blamed Conoil for the action of the community,adding that the indigenous oil company allegedly refused to implement the MoU and decisions reached at meetings despite warnings from the community, interventions by government, and letters sent to it to prevent any breach and break down of relationship.

He promised that the government would engage the oil firm and the aggrieved people of Koluama with a view to resolving the problems.

Bayelsa SSG’s Mom Regains Freedom

Kidnapped 80-year-old mother of Bayelsa SSG regains freedom after 32 days  in captivity
Madam Betinah Benson, the kidnapped  mother of the Secretary to the Bayelsa State Government (SSG), Mr Konbowei Benson, has been freed
She was brought home to her Old Assembly Quarters residence in Yenagoa on Sunday evening,according to a witness .
The octogenarian was kidnapped from the same residence on July 20 by gunmen who were dressed in military camouflage. She spent 33 days in their custody.
The kidnappers had on August 5 reportedly contacted Madam Benson’s family and demanded N500m ransom to set her free.
The SSG confirmed his mother’s release on his  on Sunday evening.
“Thanks to the Almighty God, my sweet mother is back to Yenagoa,”he said.
The Police Public  Relations Officer, Bayelsa Command, SP Asinim Butswat,also confirmed the release of Benson’s mother,saying : “Yes, she was rescued this (Sunday) evening but awaiting details from the team.”
FG  Plotting To Sweep NDDC Audit Report Under Carpet-Group

Final forensic audit report of NDDC ready by July—Akpabio - Vanguard News
Social Action ,a non-governmental organization,has  raised alarm over deliberate attempt by the Federal Government to sweep the forensic audit report of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) under the carpet.
The group hinged its claim on the failure if the Minister of Niger Delta,Godswill Akpabio to release the report after confirming receipt of same.
It recalled that following a public outcry over the monumental level of corruption exposed by the Senate Ad-Hoc committee on NDDC in October 2020 President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated a forensic audit of the financial records of the Commission.
This was preceded by several reports of unprecedented and monumental corruption manifesting in extensive contract frauds, Procurement law infractions, non-budgetary and extra-budgetary spending, audit violations, cronyism, fiscal recklessness and flagrant disregard to procedural rules as well as other financial malpractices levelled against the management of NDDC.
It said:”The commission has failed to meet the needs and aspirations of the people of the Niger Delta. Rather than promoting the region’s development agenda in line with its mandate, the NDDC has become a cesspool of corruption for which many of its past and present leaders have not only been complicit, but have been indicted (in both past and present probes and investigations). These heavily weighted malfeasances are all in the open before citizens of Nigeria we, therefore, see no reasons why the outcome of the report should be locked in secrecy.
“With the forensic audit completed, it is the hope of Nigerians and the Niger Delta people that probity will be restored to the commission and that it will be re-positioned for efficiency. However, as an organization committed to ensuring accountability and transparency in governance, we are concerned about the bureaucratic procedure around the submission of the report which may further delay the report from being made public and its recommendations being implemented.  We hereby call on the president to promptly implement the recommendations of the audit report and anyone found wanting be prosecuted with immediate effect.
” The Ministry of Niger Delta affairs should also be mandated to make the forensic audit report available to the public as soon as possible. This will help build trust in the government and restore citizens’ confidence in the governance process.  Doing this will dispel any trepidation of any attempt to cover-up the sins of some considered to be in high places or any plans to present a watered-down version of the report”
It   implored President Muhammadu Buhari to release the forensic audit report report recently submitted to the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC)
The group said  NDDC is a public institution, adding that every document relating to it should be made public including the forensic audit report.
It said availing this document to the public will establish a concrete  proof that the current government has zero tolerance for corruption.
It added:”We call on the government to interrogate the forensic report with the view to bringing about the needed sanity into the commission by implementing its recommendations to the full”.
612 Ghost Workers On Payrolls Of  Bayelsa Primary Schools 

Panel uncovers 612 'ghost' workers in Bayelsa primary schools - Punch  Newspapers
The Bayelsa State Government,has uncovered  612 ghost workers in primary schools in the state,according to the chairman, Committee on the Review of Grade Levels and Steps of Local Government and Primary School Staff, Timipre Seipulou.
He  disclosed this while submitting the committee’s report to Deputy Governor Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo in Government House, Yenagoa, on Monday,a statement said.
Seipulou was quoted in a statement as saying that the 33-member committee, which was inaugurated in April 2021, reviewed a total of 14,258 cases in the various local government areas.
According to him,the figure comprises  7,207 primary school teachers, 5,893 council staff and 1,189 health workers.
Seipulou said, “The committee conducted a staff verification exercise using the March 2021 payroll as a template and discovered some anomalies. The committee observed that out of the 7,207 primary school staff, 612 were confirmed by headmasters as ghost workers in their schools.”
He further said that 573 staff were not in the payrolls but were said to be physically present in the schools, while the names of 10 dead and 13 retired staff were found in the payrolls.
Seipulou, who is also the Technical Adviser to the Governor on Revenues and Accounts, said the committee equally observed irregular progressions across board, improper updating of files and indiscriminate award of special promotions, among other irregularities.
According to him, the committee’s recommendations include the setting up of a special team to review cases of staff who appear in the payrolls but are not in schools as well as removal of dead and retired staff from the wage bill.
He said the committee also advised government to use the April 2021 payrolls, grade levels and steps report as a basis to conduct  physical verification of all staff with an Oracle Team on ground to capture the biometrics of the workers during the verification exercise.
Seipulou said “the government should review the issue of health workers conversion from the consolidated public service salary structure (CONPSS) to consolidated health salary structure (CONHESS)” and correct cases of staff who go to work but whose names are not in the payrolls.
Bayelsa, South Korea Deepen Economic Partnership 

Bayelsa, South Korea Consolidate Economic Partnership – Independent  Newspaper Nigeria
The Bayelsa State Government and the Republic of Korea are strengthening  their partnership in the areas of agriculture, maritime, construction and manufacturing for mutual economic development.
The South Korean Ambassador to Nigeria, Kim Young-Chae is in Bayelsa State on a two-day visit as a follow-up to his meeting with Governor Douye Diri last month in Abuja, to further explore areas of the partnership between the state and the Republic of Korea.
Speaking in Government House, Yenagoa, as a guest of the state government,  Young-Chae noted that the state had the potential to be as developed as his country.
According to him, Bayelsa and South Korea shared a lot of similarities, noting that they would make economic co-operation between both parties beneficial.
Young-Chae while expressing the readiness of his country to make the partnership a reality commended the enthusiasm of Governor Diri for the development of the state.
In his remarks, Diri expressed the willingness of the state to forge economic relationship with South Korea as a way of harnessing its potential.
He stressed that Bayelsa was peaceful and open for business even as he expressed the optimism that by partnering with one of Asia’s economic giants, Bayelsa can move from poverty to riches.
The governor described Bayelsa as an agrarian state, saying that the state was interested in partnering with South Korea in agriculture and other areas of economic development.
Diri said, “Bayelsa is peaceful, safe and open for business. Having listened to you, we are sure that we are on the right track. By partnering with you, Bayelsa can go far. We can move away from poverty to riches like South Korea with this partnership. You have mentioned areas of partnership, especially in agriculture, and we are very ready.
Infractions:Group Urges Buhari To Decline Assent To  PIB

PIB: South-South group urges Buhari to withhold assent, rejects 3%  allocation - WuzupNigeria
The Mangrove People Leadership Initiative (MAPLI) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to decline his assent to the controversial Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) passed by the National Assembly.
The group also rejected the three per cent allocated for host communities and the 30 per cent proposed for oil exploration activities in the frontier basins contained in the harmonised PIB.
MAPLI made its position known in a communique read to journalists after its two-day second South-South grassroots conference in Yenagoa,  the Bayelsa State capital, on Friday, with the theme “South-South and The Politics of Petroleum Industry Bill.”
The national secretary of MAPLI, Mfawa Ofegobi,who read the communique, said the region would not accept anything less than 10 per cent for the oil-bearing communities.
He argued that the entire processes leading to the passage did not take into account the plight of oil-bearing communities whose people had suffered large-scale environmental pollution and epidemics resulting from oil exploration by international oil firms.
Ofegobi said, “We appeal to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari to decline his assent to the PIB as passed (by the National Assembly).
“MAPLI rejects the 30 per cent allocated for oil and gas exploration in the frontier basins in the North while the oil-producing region is bedevilled by oil spillages and illnesses.
“We also reject the three per cent allocated to Host Communities Trust Fund. We insist that the PIB should be specific on the definition of host communities. What constitutes host communities? Is it where oil is found, where there are pipelines, refineries or depots?”
The organization warned that the South-South people would be forced to confirm their fear that they were no stakeholders in “the contraption called Nigeria” and seek an alternative if their concerns were not addressed adequately.
MAPLI also commended the governors of the region for their resolve to lawfully ban open grazing of cows by the end of September 2021, urging them to however establish the BRACED Security Outfit to secure lives and property in the area.

The Centre for Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Crusade (CHURAC), has said that the percentage approved for the  oil bearing communities as their equity share in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) passed by the Senate is not only demeaning, but an insult for the environmentally degraded host communities.
Barrister Alaowei E. Cleric, the National President, Centre for Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Crusade (CHURAC), who disclosed this in Lagos,wondered what 3% could do to cushion the effects of the years of degradation and exploitation of the ecosystem.
He said: “When the bill was introduced by Yar’Adua government at the time of the militants’ agitations for equity and fair share in the production quota, 10% equity share was voted in the proposed bill for the host communities.
“The same was one of the bargaining lines of discuss to lull the restive Niger Delta people. We commend the House of Representatives for approving 5% in their version of the bill, even though we are demanding for the original 10% host communities share.
“The members of this 9th Senate seems to have forgotten so soon that the 10% equity share for the host communities in the then PIB was one of the reasons why the aggrieved Niger Delta people reluctantly accepted the presidential amnesty.
“The Federal Government cannot renege on its promise now that the region is peaceful. It is ridiculous that the Senate approved in the Bill a whopping 30% for the NNPC to explore oil across the country.”
He said  the Senate was more concerned about what they never see than what the naton have.
He added:“The host communities should continue to suffer from the environmental abuse occasioned by the oil exploratory activities without any environmental remediation?The communities should continue to suffer neglect and marginalisation on the altar of national infrastructure development without their interest being protected by the petroleum law?
“The House Joint Committee should look into the danger in passing bill into law. Niger Delta people need nothing less than 10% equity share as originally agreed.The National Assembly should strive to consider the interest of the people who bear the brunt in passing the PIB. 3% will sure resurrect agitations in the region.”
Akpabio Blames Oil Coys For Militancy In Niger Delta

Niger Delta Youths Condemn Attacks on Senator Akpabio, Call for Unity —  First Reports
Minister, Niger Delta Affairs Ministry, Senator Godswill Akpabio, says arrogance on the part oil companies and absence of Corporate Social Responsibility was responsible militancy in the Niger Delta Region.
Akpabio,who  said this while receiving in courtesy, the Charge d’ Affaires a.i of the Embassy of Ireland in Nigeria, Mr Conor Finn, in his office in Abuja,emphasized  the commitment of the President Mohammadu Buhari- led administration to changing the negative narrative in the region.
He said: “Arrogance and absence of Corporate Social Responsibility by oil operators in the region, which caused the indigenes their source of livelihood, led to militancy in the region. It was a situation where the owners of the land ate crumbs that fell off the table of the investors, while the investors lived in opulence with no regard or concern for the living condition of the host community.”
” Oil spillage caused serious economic hardship to the people of the Niger Delta, whose major source of income are fishing and farming. As a result of this unbearable condition of the host community, President Buhari is more than determined to change the negative narrative for the good of the people, through the implementation of the recommendations by the Forensic Auditors”, he said.
Akpabio noted that the government at the centre, ” is ready to listen to the demands of the people on the constitution of the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). Things are certainly not not going to remain the same again. We will no more encourage the moving of individual’s pockets forward, but we will now insist on moving development and empowerment of the people forward. The first and second sets of the Forensic Audit reports have already been submitted and we are awaiting the final report which would form the basis for the take off of the new board”.
Akpabio called  for a change of attitude from the people of the region by insisting on provision of sustainable infrastructural projects as source of livelihood, instead of engaging in militancy. “Oil companies and the attitude of our people are also the problem of the region.”
” The NDDC, as an interventionist agency was over the years turned into an avenue to finance political ambition of some politicians, while neglecting the core mandate of alleviating the sufferings of the people.”, he stressed.
In his remarks, Finn reaffirmed the determination of the government of Ireland to partner with the Niger Delta Ministry for continuous peace and development in the region, he lauded Akpabio in his efforts at nipping in the bud, the activities of militants, through empowerment  of the youths and provision of infrastructure.
“Let me reiterate our readiness to make ourselves available in support of the programs of the Ministry. We hope to see more effort towards alleviating the suffering of the people in the days to come.”, he assured.
Bayelsa Seeks  South Korea Support In Agric, Maritime 

Bayelsa Solicits South Korea's Support In Agric, Maritime – Independent  Newspaper Nigeria
The Bayelsa State Government is seeking the partnership and support of South Korea in areas of agricultural, maritime and infrastructure development of the state.
This was the outcome of a meeting between the state Governor Douye Diri and the South Korean Ambassador to Nigeria, Kim Young-Chae, in Abuja on Friday.
Diri, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, said that given its maritime similarity with Bayelsa, the state also needed the South Korean expertise and partnership in developing deep-sea fishing, aquaculture and rice cultivation.
He said the state was equally interested in partnership in education, science and technology as well as in oil and gas.
Diri said, “Bayelsa has huge potential in agriculture and marine resources. We seek foreign investment in aquaculture and deep-sea fishing. Our terrain is good for aquaculture to thrive as well as rice cultivation and production with the large expanse of land already in Peremabiri and Sampou.
“We are trying to revive the culture of farming in our state. The government is interested in commercial farming as against the culture of subsistence farming that a lot of our people engage in.
“The South Korean expertise is also required in the production of plastics, in science and technology and the oil and gas sector.”
The governor noted that such partnership would help in empowering youths of the state that would be given training in order to check youth restiveness and militancy.
In his remarks, the South Korean Ambassador, Kim Young-Chae, said that South Korea nationals work with Daewoo, which is located in Bayelsa, and other firms in different states of the Niger Delta.
The envoy, who invited a delegation from Bayelsa to the 2021 Korea oil and gas summit in November, said the state was among six states in Nigeria to benefit from the South Korea government-funded scholarship scheme.