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Timi Frank Condemns $15bn Illegal Railway MoU by NDDC’s MD, Urges EFCC, ICPC to Wade in

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Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, on Sunday, strongly condemned a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a $15billion Trans-Niger Delta Railway Project entered into by the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Samuel Ogbuku, with Atlantic Global Resources Inc.

Frank in a statement in Abuja described the action of the NDDC’s MD as illegal and a Yahoo Yahoo abracadabra, that is fraudulently laced with decitful intentions aimed at siphoning the resources of the commission.

He called on any of the anti-graft agencies, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, to urgently wade in, arrest, investigate and prosecute Ogbuku and his co-conspirators for attempted fraud and misappropriation.

He noted that only the Chairman of the Governing Board of the NDDC is vested with powers to enter into contracts with other firms by the Act establishing the agency.

He said: “It is worthy to note, that as part of the responsibility of the Governing Board of the NDDC, as empowered by its establishment Act No 6, 2000, only the Chairman is vested with the sole power to sign contracts or MoUs with any firm or organization.

“It is curious therefore, as to how only the Managing Director and a selected few in conievance with the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs would proceed to sign an MoU without the prior knowledge of the Chairman, but rather justifying an ultra vires action.

“The position of the NDDC management in its reaction affirming that the $15billion Railway MoU was signed for the preliminary process for a railway network and not an award of contract, suggests that ongoing talks with this company is another calculated attempt to defraud the Niger Delta people in the guise of ‘Preliminary Studies’ for a Trans-Niger Delta Railway.

“This shady MoU without due consultation with the board, carried out by the MD of NDDC, Samuel Ogbuku, with Atlantic Global Resources Inc, to build a railway network connecting the nine Niger Delta states can only be described as crass carelessness and outrightly insensitive at this time.

“Mr Ogbuku must be reminded that the struggle for the attainment of a better Niger Delta was a battle fought by many and thus as stakeholders in this struggle, we’re mandated to serve the people relentlessly rather than engaging in the same setbacks of the past.”

He added: “In the light of the above therefore, it is clear that the MD and his partners are clearly toeing the same path as the pre-forensic audit of the commission.

“Besides, in pursuit of a better Niger Delta, we’re poised to applaud laudable projects and disapprove of white elephant projects in this regard.

“It is sad that whilst we continue to hope for overall growth and development of the region, we’re still confronted with weighty and dubious setbacks detrimental to the positive advancement of the zone.

“It will be foolhardy to jump on a Trans-Niger Delta Railway network’s feasibility, when the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had only recently in 2021 awarded a $11.7 Railway contract that would connect states in the entire region from Lagos.

“It is therefore shocking that an agency of government will seek to overide the prior approval of FEC and initiate another MoU on behalf of the NDDC and the Federal Government for the same project in 2023 without due process nor approval by FEC in the twilight of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

“The FEC must make its position clear as regards this recent MoU duplicating the project even as the completion of the East/West Road has since become a mirage with little or nothing done all these years.”

He called on the National Assembly, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, the nine Niger Delta States’ Governors (Advisory Board of NDDC), and all other stakeholders to outrightly reject the flawed MoU as it is of no immediate significance save for personal aggrandizement.

He said: “Any form of support in aiding the commission to secure loans for the purpose of this purported ‘Preliminary Studies’ for the railway construction must be rejected and resisted.

“The Niger Delta people are desirous of more sustainable programmes that positively
affect daily living rather than any phantom project.

“The NDDC must focus on the implementation of its original masterplan, which no board has achieved since inception and concentrate more on Human Resource Development programmes, including training of youths, provision of better healthcare, education, etc., and cease from being used as a conduit in impoverishing the people.”

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Defamation: Emefiele Threatens Lawsuit Against Akpabio, Demands N1bn

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The embattled former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has demanded N1billion damages from Senate President, Godswill Akpabio for alleged defamation.

Emefiele’s lawyer, Matthew Burkaa, in a notice to the Senate President dated February 19, 2024, faulted the “we don’t know what to charge Emefiele with” statement credited to Akpabio on February 18, 2024.

Emefiele, through his lawyer, considered Akpabio’s comment “false, distorted and clearly aimed at disparaging his character and indeed made in bad faith”.

The Senate President at a thanksgiving service by Senator Barinada Mpigi in Koroma, Tai Local Government Area of Rivers State on Sunday, had said Emefiele left the Nigerian economy in a mess and the Federal Government does not know the charges to levy against the ex-apex bank chief in the eye of the storm.

The President Bola Tinubu administration, through anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), is currently probing the affairs of ex-CBN governor.

Burkaa said contrary to Akpabio’s claim, the Federal Government had since August 14, 2023 preferred charges against Emefiele and his client had pleaded not guilty of the said allegations.

Burkaa, in his letter to Akpabio, said: “Your statement attributing the present economic woes of the country solely on our client is most appalling and exposes the inaccuracies in Your assertions, especially, as you were a major player in the immediate Past Administration and worked closely with our client and indeed witnessed the innovations he introduced in the banking sector and its impact on the economy whilst in office, as well as the role he played despite all odds in salvaging Nigeria in the P & ID Saga and the positive result it brought for Nigeria.”

“You are also aware that no single policy was carried out by our client without the approval, directive or authorization of the President and/or the Federal Executive Council of which you were a key and powerful member.

“These baseless and false allegations clearly defames the character of our client and has also caused him great pains and embarrassment as it has lowered his esteem before the right thinking members of the society in addition to the obvious odium and opprobrium from the unsuspecting members of the society as a result of the falsity contained in that statement.

“We, therefore, have our client’s further instruction to demand from you an unreserved apology in writing, published and circulated by the same medium with which you have defamed his character and the sum of One Billion Naira (N1,000,000,000) as reasonable compensation for the willful and unjustifiable denigration of his hard earned reputation.

“In the event that you fail, refuse or neglect to comply with this legitimate demand, our client will be at liberty to seek the appropriate redress available to him under the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

View a copy of the letter:

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We Will Continue to Prioritize Welfare of Our Senior Citizens – Gov Adeleke

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The Executive Governor of Osun State, Governor Ademola Jackson Nurudeen Adeleke, on Tuesday, reiterated his unwavering commitment to the well-being of the pensioners and the populace of Osun State.

This declaration, according to a statement signed by the governor’s spokesman, Mallam Olawale Rasheed, came during the official launch of the free surgery and medical care program for pensioners in the state, a collaborative effort between the Osun Health Insurance Agency and Rotary International.

Governor Adeleke underscored the significance of prioritizing the health needs of senior citizens, stating, “We are here to participate in another event designed to address the health needs of our people, especially the senior citizens, as their well-being is our priority.”

He emphasized the government’s continuous efforts to innovate and implement programs and policies aimed at alleviating the burdens of the people. “Our pro-people activities are multi-sectoral for maximum effect on the citizenry,” Governor Adeleke added.

Furthermore, Governor Adeleke announced the forthcoming commencement of the 3rd episode of the Imole surgical and medical outreach program. The previous episodes provided surgical and medical care to over 50,000 inhabitants of Osun State.

Acknowledging the pivotal role of healthcare providers, Governor Adeleke highlighted recent approvals, including allowances and upgrades, benefiting health workers in the state, thereby ensuring their welfare and motivation.

Dr. Rasaq Akindele, the Executive Secretary of Osun Health Insurance Agency, expressed gratitude to the Governor for his visionary leadership and commitment to prioritizing the health of pensioners and the people of Osun State. He noted that the 23,000 enrolled pensioners under the OHIS scheme have begun receiving comprehensive treatment free of charge since February 1st, 2024, expressing their appreciation to the Governor.

Rotarian Ilori-Olokose Yetunde and Rotarian Ojo Phillip, representing Rotary International, commended Governor Adeleke for his healthcare initiatives, aligning with Rotary International’s core values. They expressed their organization’s readiness to collaborate with Osun State Government through OHIS to further enhance healthcare delivery in the state.

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Osun Govt Inaugurates Asset Recovery Task Force

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The Osun state government has inaugurated a special task force for the recovery of government project vehicles/assets carted away by the officials of the immediate past administration.

The inauguration of the committee followed the release of the white paper of the Asset recovery committee set up by Governor Adeleke through the executive order issued on the day of his inauguration on November 27th, 2022.

The committee which is to be Chaired by the Secretary to the Osun state government, Alhaji Teslim Igbalaye, was inaugurated on Wednesday, 14th February, 2024 with the mandate to “ensure immediate recovery of government project vehicles/assets carted away by the officials of the immediate past administration.

The Head of Service, Mr Ayanleye Aina, while inaugurating the committee on behalf of the Executive Governor, charged the committee to implement the report of Asset recovery committee and retrieve all the state government assets discovered to have been carted away by officials of the past administration.

The full names of the members of the Task force are listed below:

1. Alhaji Teslim Igbalaye (Chiarman)
2. ⁠ Mr Wojuade (Secetary)
Members
3. ⁠ Hon Babatunde Gbadamosi
4. ⁠Hon Gbenga Ikupuluyi
5. ⁠Hon Lekan Alabi Esq
6. ⁠Mr Joseph Ilesanmi
7. ⁠Alhaji Rasaq Oyetunji
8. ⁠SP Kazeem ADEFIOYE
9. ⁠ASP Ahmed Bio
10. ⁠Mr Sikiru Alao
11. ⁠Mr Tajudeen Adelabu
12. Engineer Oyetola Babatunde
13. ⁠ESV AA Oseni
14. ⁠Eng Olanrewaju BO
15. ⁠Mr Gbenga Adeniran

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