Senate probes fresh multi-billion naira fraud in NDDC.
The Senate said it had received fresh fraud allegations against the management of the Niger Delta Development Commission.
The red chamber said the new financial infractions were not captured in the list of the allegation of N40bn reckless spending which a whistle-blower brought against the NDDC to the parliament recently.
The Senate said the fresh probe would be handled by the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions.
The chairman of the panel, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, confirmed the development in an exclusive interview with our correspondent in Abuja.
He explained that the acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Kemebradikumo Pondei, would be summoned after the Senate panel had concluded its public hearing involving the United Bank for Africa Plc and the liquidators of the defunct NITEL/EMTEL, which would take place next Wednesday.
Akinyelure said, “There is a petition that has just been sent to my committee by the leadership of the Senate.
“I received it on Tuesday. It is about the alleged fraudulent practices of the acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission.
“I will take my time to study the petition. Our committee will invite him as soon as we conclude hearing on the case involving the UBA which is before our committee.
“We will invite the MD to come and explain to the whole world how he allegedly misappropriated billions of funds as the head of the agency.”
Akinyelure, who did not give further clue into the content of the petition against Pondei, however, said the embattled MD would also answer questions about allegations of contract scam against some federal lawmakers.
The senator from Ondo Central said, “He (Pondei) will also tell Nigerians about the details of the senators who allegedly took gratification and contracts from him.
“He must come and prove it beyond reasonable doubts. No senator awards contracts. We can only facilitate project allocation for our various constituencies.
“We don’t even know when the executive would advertise those projects.
“Our job is to ensure that the project is executed. If any Senator or House of Representatives member had gone to the NDDC management to take money or contract, we will ask the MD to expose such a person.
“The NDDC should stop blackmailing the entire Senate. We have 109 members in the Senate. We are celebrated Nigerians.
“We were millionaires before we came into the Senate. We had jobs. All the allegations against us are fallacy of the highest order.”
Investigations by one of our correspondents revealed that the fresh petition against Pondei was sent to the leadership of the Senate after the chamber’s ad hoc panel had concluded its probe of the NDDC and even submitted its report.
The report of the panel, led by Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, was considered and approved by the upper chamber before proceeding on its annual vacation last week.
Killings: FG deploys over 7,000 operatives in Borno, Southern Kaduna.
Borno State Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Aliyu, on Friday, said the death toll during Thursday’s attack on Maiduguri by suspected Boko Haram members had risen to six with 27 injured.
Aliyu, who provided the update while addressing journalists, said five more bodies were discovered between Thursday and Friday.
According to him, the victims included one female at Gwange II and five others who were hit by explosives in separate locations within the city.
The police commissioner said following the incidents, the command, in collaboration with other security agencies, had deployed a total of 7,000 personnel to secure the entire city for the Eid-el-Kabir celebration in order to prevent a breach of peace.
He said the personnel, comprising the Police Mobile Force, Counter Terrorism Unit and Special Protection Unit were deployed in 31 designated mosques for the period of the festivities.
Aliyu said, “Also deployed are personnel from the Explosive Ordinance Disposal, Special Anti-Robbery Squad men with armoured vehicles and sniffer dogs, Civilian Joint Task Force, hunters and the Rapid Response Squad to secure the outskirts of the city.”
The police commissioner added that the measure was to ensure a hitch-free Eid celebration and also enhance security in the state.
He urged the people to be on high alert and avoid large gatherings and report any suspicious activities around them to security agencies, while warning youths in the state against any act capable of disturbing the peace.
Meanwhile, the Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, Umar Muri, has deployed more troops in the southern part of the state to stop further killings in the area.
Muri deployed more troops to Kajuru, Zango-Kataf, Kaura, Kauru and Jemaa local government areas, following a 24-hour curfew imposed on the affected communities by the state government.
The police commissioner said the deployment was part of efforts geared towards restoring law and order in the troubled part of the state, following recent incidents of violence in Southern Kaduna.
This followed the order of the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, who ordered the Kaduna police boss to deploy more personnel in addition to the ones on the ground.
Members of the House of Representatives from Southern Kaduna, led by the Minority Whip of the House, Mr Gideon Gwani, had raised the alarm in Abuja over the planned attacks on their communities by militias and armed herdsmen on communities during the Eid-el-Kabir celebrations.
Edo Election: Chief Imam Of Benin City, Enabulele Endorses Obaseki.
Ahead of the September 19 governorship election in Edo State, the Chief Imam of Benin City, Abdulfatah Enabulele has endorsed Governor Godwin Obaseki for the second term in office.
Accompanied by some other Muslim clerics, Enabulele said Governor Obaseki has won his way into the hearts of the people of the state since assuming office in 2016.
According to him, the administration of the Edo Governor has provided exemplary leadership to the people of the state.
“In less than four years in the life span of your administration, majority of those living in Edo State are very proud, happy and satisfied with the purposeful style of leadership Your Excellency has provided the good people of Edo State.
“Your administration has provided progressive, pragmatic and dynamic policies for the lives of millions of people positively across the state and beyond.
“Under your leadership, Edo people have witnessed absolute commitment, the sincerity of purpose, honesty, and respect for the rule of law, transparency, and accountability in practical terms in Edo State.
“Within four years, we saw a government that is responsible and responsive to the needs of the people. We have seen a government that will not make noise but wisely operate in a manner that could be described as ‘the more you look, the less you see.”
The Imam, therefore, prayed for God’s protection on the governor against what he describes as ‘evil manipulations’ involving the Devil and its agents.
How Boko Haram captured, turned us to killing machines, camp attendants –Repentant ex-fighters.
Thirty-eight-year-old Abdulwahab Usman, an indigene of Bama in Borno State, said he was forced to join Boko Haram.
He is one of the 601 who graduated on Saturday from the De-radicalisation, Rehabilitation and Reintegration Camp of Operation Safe Corridor, in the Kwami Local government Area of Gombe State.
He stated that for five years with the sect, before he surrendered to the military in December 2019, he couldn’t count the number of persons he killed.
He added, “I was forced into the group for about five years. I can’t remember the number of people I killed as a Boko Haram member because they are many. Boko Haram people came to our village looking for those who are of school age and that was how my friends and me were forced into the group. Eventually, we escaped from Boko Haram hideout, so soldiers took us to Giwa barracks in Borno.
“I never knew that I wouldn’t be killed because of the various incidents that occurred in the bush. The camp has really changed my lifestyle because I never thought I would still be alive today, not to talk of being useful again to myself and society. We stayed in the bush, looking for people to kill and people too were looking to kill us. I had no peace of mind then but now I have peace.”
Boko Haram has for years been carrying out bloody attacks in the North-East, especially in Borno State, killing villagers, soldiers, aid workers, burning houses and abducting schoolgirls and women.
Usman stated that his expectation was met at the deradicalisation camp based on his experience there.
He said, “None of us was killed during the de-radicalisation process. I really enjoyed my stay in the camp because many of us were not expecting such hospitality from the Nigerian government. We were well taken care of. They taught us different trades. In the camp, we were exposed to skill acquisition such as welding, barbing and carpentry etc. But I chose to learn barbing. When I return to my hometown, I wish to continue with barbing. I will not go back to Boko Haram.”
He called on his former colleagues to surrender to the Nigerian government, adding that, “it is the best thing for them to surrender to the government and drop their arms. It will not help them to continue in what they are doing, because they will one day be killed for peace to return.
Usman described his life while with the sect as horrendous, noting, “Our lives in the bush were in constant danger because every day our thoughts were whether the soldiers would come. Every day, fighter jets hovered over and around us. Some of us were killed while others usually ran for safety. We suffered an attack at Konduga. There, about 763 were killed. I survive death by a whisker. I will never forget.”
He further advised the government to show current members of the sect a legal document to convince them of their safety once they surrendered.
I can’t wish what I experienced for anybody –Survivor of Lagos gas explosion.
His escape from a deadly gas explosion that killed four persons on Innua Muhammed Street, in the Ajao Estate area of Lagos State on Tuesday still remains incredible to him. Trapped in his shop by the impact of the explosion from the gas station located behind his clothing store, Opeyemi Adisa barely thought he would have another shot at life. He was lucky. He escaped death with some scratches on his left hand.
Around 6.30pm that day, Adisa was engrossed in a chat with his two friends when the loud explosion suddenly brought their discussion to an abrupt end.
By the time the dust settled, remains of the owner of the retail gas outlet, Titilayo Adeyanju, her daughter, Funke, their customer, one Alfa, and a tailor at the next shop identified simply as Victor, were gory sights at the scene.
Titilayo had reportedly closed for the day when Alfa, a welder, came to buy gas at her shop. She was said to have initially refused to attend to Alfa, but after much persuasion, she changed her mind and instructed Funke to attend to him.
However, as Funke attempted to transfer gas from one of the giant cylinders into a small one brought by the welder, an explosion rocked the shop and blew up Titilayo, Funke and Alfa. Victor, whose waist was reportedly severed, died shortly after he was rushed to a nearby private hospital.
But Adisa, his friends and salesgirl were lucky, even though his boutique was also located beside the gas shop. “I thank God for preserving my life,” he said, beaming with an unexplainable excitement.
He was at the scene of the incident around 11am on Thursday to salvage some items such as wardrobes and few clothes spared by the explosion. “I cannot thank him enough,” he submitted, as he began to share the horrific incident with our correspondent.
He stated, “The experience is something I don’t want to remember. I was discussing in the shop with two of my friends. Around 6.40pm, I heard a loud explosion that I had never heard in my life. The explosion was so devastating that everything came down on my head.
“For several minutes, I was inside the rubble not sure whether I was dead or alive. I couldn’t say if I was still on earth. Everywhere was dark. I later managed to get out and there were shattered glasses everywhere. I was covered with ashes from head to toe. I started hearing ‘help, help’ from people.”
Adisa told City Round that he did not know the enormity of the damage caused by the explosion until when he saw dead bodies around him.
“When I finally regained full consciousness, I was shocked by the rate of the devastating damage. I saw body parts and blood all around. Since then, I have not been myself.
“My salesgirl escaped with a deep cut on her head. One of my friends had a cut on his palm while the other had some scratches like mine. We just managed to get out,” he added.
Despite losing goods worth millions of naira to the inferno, Adisa was consoled by the narrow escape from death. The explosion and its ruins are horrible tales he would like to forget in a hurry.
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