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Group: NDDC board not delayed by court cases

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A group, Niger Delta Elders’ Forum (NDEF) has taken a swipe at the sole administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Effiong Akwa, and his special adviser, Udengs Eradiri, for what the group referred to as “errant temerity” to state that “the existing Act establishing the NDDC is obsolete”.

Against media reports credited to Rita Lori Ogbebor, the Niger Delta Integrity Group, NDIG, Sunday, said the inauguration of the 2019 screened and confirmed substantive board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC was not being delayed because of pending court cases.

The group in a statement by its President and Secretary, Akpoebide Okotiene and Edet Ekpenyong, respectively, said: “Our attention has been drawn to statements attributed to Rita Lori Ogbebor published in Vanguard Newspaper of Sunday, August 7, 2022 where she, in her usual style, made several false claims regarding the substantive Board of the NDDC.

“Among other false claims, Lori-Ogbebor stated that the Board of NDDC is being delayed because of “pending court cases.” Nothing can be further from the truth.

“The facts are very clear. What happened in the case of the NDDC Governing Board, which was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in October 2019 is that after the appointees were vetted by all relevant agencies of the federal government, screened and confirmed by the Nigerian Senate on the 5th of November 2019, President Buhari asked that the inauguration of the Board should be put on hold pending the completion of the forensic audit, for which an Interim Management Committee (IMC) was appointed for the NDDC.

“The Federal Government announced during the inauguration ceremony of the IMC that the Senate-Confirmed NDDC Board will be inaugurated after the forensic audit. The decision to postpone the inauguration of the Senate Confirmed Board was not due to any court case.

“There is no Court order anywhere in the country obtained by Rita Lori Ogbebor or anyone else against the inauguration of the NDDC Board which was appointed by President Buhari and confirmed by the Senate on the 5th of November 2019.

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“On the 24th day of June 2021, while receiving the leadership of Ijaw National Congress (INC) at the State House in Abuja, President Buhari promised the Nation that the NDDC Board would be inaugurated as soon as the forensic audit report is submitted and accepted. The President said: “I want to assure you that as soon as the forensic audit report is submitted and accepted, the NDDC Board will be inaugurated”. The report has now been submitted to President Buhari.

“In typical fashion, Lori-Ogbebor has deployed lies and innuendos in her dubious narrative, as published in the Vanguard story referenced where she made further false claims to the effect that the NDDC Act provides that her Itsekiri tribe is exclusively entitled to produce the representative of Delta State in the NDDC Board as Chairman or Managing Director based on its oil production. The truth is that there is no such provision in the NDDC Act.

“It is important to note that the NDDC Act does not recognize ethnicity as a basis for appointing persons to its board. To project ethnicity is a call to disharmony and anarchy. The makers of the NDDC Act in their wisdom clearly avoided this path which can only lead to conflicts and hate in the States of the Niger Delta Region.

“The NDDC Act, which is the law that governs appointments into the NDDC Board, in Part 1, Section 2(1) B only requires a member of the NDDC Governing Board to come from an “Oil Producing Area”. An area is a definite geographical space bound by its recognition in the constitution as an administrative space.

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“Thus, an area is a state, a local government area or a senatorial district. In the context of the NDDC act, an oil producing area is coterminous with an oil producing local government area. All indigenes of Oil Producing Local Government Areas in Delta State (whether they are Urhobo, Ijaw, Isoko, Itsekiri, or Ndokwa) are eligible.

“Nobody can be excluded on the basis of tribe as long as he or she is from an oil producing Local Government Area in Delta State. Similarly, all indigenes of Oil Producing Local Government Areas in the Niger Delta are eligible for appointment into the NDDC Board.

“People like Rita Lori Ogbebor have deployed falsehood to build a nest of unearned and undeserved privileges over the years by feasting in falsehood, acrimony and division.

“A decent society cannot allow her to continue to spew lies to attempt to interfere with legitimate processes. All her claims are lies and her strategy is to throw up inaccurate, unfounded claims with the aim of misleading the public. It is instructive that Niger Deltans do not take her seriously.

“Niger Deltans have, over the past three years, endured the abuse of the NDDC Act by the appointment of interim management committees and a sole administrator who are not fully representative of the nine constituent states, and have carried on without regard for due process.

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“Aware of the protests and dissatisfaction of Niger Deltans with that arrangement, President Buhari had promised by himself, on June 24, 2021, that the Board will be inaugurated once the forensic audit report is submitted. That has been done and we call on Mr President to keep his promise, which is the expectation of Niger Deltans.

“With the submission of the forensic audit report to President Buhari eleven months ago on September 2, 2021, the inauguration of the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission should not be delayed any further.

“All Niger Deltans are now looking up to President Buhari to fulfil his promise to inaugurate the NDDC Board to ensure fair representation of the nine constituent states, accountability in the utilization of the NDDC funds, checks and balances, and due process in the Commission in compliance with the NDDC Act”.

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Politics

Court bars Peter Obi, Labour Party, others from protesting at Lekki Tollgate –

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Peter Obi/EndSARS protesters at Lekki Tollgate

The Lagos Division of the Federal High Court has restrained Peter Obi’s Labour Party (LP) and its supporters from using the Lekki Tollgate as a base to hold the ‘Obidatti23 Forward Ever Rally’.

This followed a lawsuit filed by a group of legal practitioners, who sought to halt the rally, specifically in Lagos, Nigeria’s most popular metropolitan city, to avoid a reminiscence of the #EndSARS protest in 2020.

The lawyers, through their lead counsel, Temilola Awosika, had filed a motion at the Federal High Court, asking that Mr Obi and his running mate, Datti Baba-Ahmed, be barred from using the Lekki Tollgate for their rally.

They told the court that holding the rally would cause a breakdown of peace and will result in post-traumatic stress disorder for them and the public.

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In the suit marked FHC/L/CS/1729/2022; Mr Obi, Labour Party, Mr Baba-Ahmed, the Inspector General of Police, police commissioner in Lagos, SSS director-general, Lekki Concession Company Limited, Lagos attorney-general and the governor of Lagos, were among those joined as defendants in the case.

Mr Obi’s supporters had fixed Friday, October 1, 2022, for the rally to draw support for their preferred candidate.

Ruling on Wednesday, Justice Daniel Osiagor asked the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, and the Lagos State Police Commissioner, Abiodun Alabi, to ensure compliance with the court order.

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Mr Osiagor held that while Mr Obi’s supporters cannot stop at the Lekki toll gate, they can pass through the venue to access Falomo Bridge and other venues at which the rally plans to meet.

However, a preliminary objection filed by the defendants seeking to stop the court from hearing the motion on the grounds that it lacked jurisdiction could not be entertained.

The parties to the suit claimed they were yet to be served.

The Federal High Court later adjourned the hearing of the substantive suit to November 4, 2022.

Supporters of Mr Obi, who branded themselves as ‘Obidient’ have being holding rallies in Nigeria’s major towns, to garner support ahead of the 2023 general election.

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Police will ensure credible elections in 2023 like in Osun, Ekiti: IGP

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armed security forces

Inspector General of Police Usman Baba says the police was working to sustain the improvements recorded in the conduct of security personnel at the Osun, Ekiti and Anambra off-cycle polls ahead of the 2023 general election.

Mr Baba, represented by DCP Basil Idegwu, the head of Police Federal Operation, said this at a security policy dialogue entitled “2022 General Election: Insecurity as a threat to constitutional succession”, organised by Cleen Foundation in partnership with Ford Foundation on Wednesday in Abuja.

“We have received great commendation both from international observers and local observers on the conduct and role of security agencies at the Ekiti and Osun election,” Mr Baba said. “This shows the readiness of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies to ensure a credible election come 2023.”

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He reassured that the police will work with sister security agencies to ensure peaceful conduct of the 2023 general election.

“However, it is imperative to note that in matters of security, every citizen is a stakeholder, and that is why this initiative organised to dialogue is highly commended because all hands must be on deck to ensure that the current insecurity is fought to stand still in the country,” he said.

Mr Baba said using the successes recorded in Edo, Ondo and Anambra elections, the police would ensure the peaceful conduct of the 2023 poll.

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He said the police had implemented a series of training for its officers and men to strengthen the security response mechanism,

Gad Peter, Cleen Foundation executive director, urged the police and other security agencies to develop a comprehensive public safety and security roadmap toward the general election.

Mr Peter stated that the dialogue was necessitated by the growth in scale, spread and sophistication of violent threats in the country.

“Security threats such as terrorism, insurgency, banditry, kidnapping, militancy, separatist agitation, farmer-herdsmen clashes, cultism, and proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW),” the CLEEN boss explained. “As well as threatening comments from some non-state armed groups, among others, have increased tension in the country and remain one of the greatest challenges in the build-up to the 2023 general elections if unaddressed.”

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(NAN)

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Emeka Anyaoku: Why I shunned Atiku Abubakar’s book launch

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Emeka Anyaoku Why I shunned Atiku Abubakars book launch

Naija News Today

Former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, has given reasons he did not attend the book launch by the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Wednesday.

Anyaoku said he was not formally invited to the event and was not consulted before his name was published as a special guest of honour.

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According to Anyaoku, an announcement was made in the media which indicated that he would be a Special Guest of Honour at Atiku Abubakar’s book presentation scheduled for September 28 at Chida Hotels Events Centre in Abuja.

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In a statement, Chief Anyaoku said nobody formally consulted him and he never agree to attend the event, adding that he remains nonpartisan while praying for the emergence of a competent leader next year.

The statement read: “My attention has been drawn to the announcement in This Day newspaper of 26/9/22 that I would be a Special Guest of Honour at Atiku Abubakar’s book presentation scheduled for 28th September at Chida Hotels Events Centre in Abuja.

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“Given the understandable propensity to read political meanings in public associations at this time of competition by political parties in the context of 2023 national elections, I wish to unequivocally state that nobody sought and obtained my agreement to be present at this particular book presentation.

“I have accepted the unreserved apologies rendered to me by the organizers of the event, and wish to reiterate that I remain non-partisan in praying that my country Nigeria will in 2023 elect people of proven competence and character whose sole mission will be to serve the national interests.”

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