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Group calls for probe of NDDC contracts, implementation of projects

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Group calls for probe of NDDC contracts, implementation of projects

As NDDC MD prepares resignation for A’Ibom governorship race

… Ondo, Akwa Ibom battle for Ekere’s replacement as commission’s MD

A group, Akwa Odudu Development Union has described the leadership of the current Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC, Mr Nsima Ekere as a shame to the people of Akwa Ibom State.

The group stated this in a statement issued recently which was signed by its Chairman, Mr Dan Bassey and Secretary, Grace Godson, and made available to our reporter.

According to the group, more than one year after Ekere’s appointment, his tenure has brought nothing but shame and pains to the people of Akwa Ibom. Adding that Akwa Ibom people have endured the pains of what it called “great loss” in silence, but apparently, Ekere and his cronies have failed to appreciate the value of their silence, hence they are compelled to speak out.

They strongly criticized what they described as a brazen abuse of office in the NDDC by Ekere and his gang especially in the handling of contracts that has been characterized by controversy and scandals since he came on board where NDDC contracts has been politicized by Ekere’s led board.

The statement reads in part, “we embarked on an independent investigation to verify Nsima Ekere’s claim. To say that we were shock by our findings will be an understatement. First, we uncovered a massive fraud behind the 72,000 school desks and 72,000 chairs recently donated by NDDC to schools in the Niger Delta region.

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The original cost of each desk was N500 (five hundred naira) only, making it N36,000,000 (thirty-six million naira) only for 72,000 school desks, while the original cost of each chair was N200 (two hundred naira) only, making it N14,400,000 (fourteen million, four hundred thousand naira) only.

In total, the original cost of 72,000 school desks and 72,000 chairs was N50,400,000 (fifty million, four hundred thousand naira) only. However, we were shocked to discover that Nsima Ekere, through one Chief Inibehe Okorie and other APC members in the state, spent over N700,000,000 (seven hundred million naira) only on procuring the desks and chairs alone.

Secondly, we also discovered that Nsima Ekere a few greedy fellows have already started stealing huge amount of money under the guise of building a permanent office for the Commission in Akwa Ibom. We reliably gathered that so far, the Commission has spent over N900,000,000 (nine hundred million naira) only, on “survey and inspection of the site”.

It is important to note the land for the proposed permanent office, which is located along Information Drive, Uyo, was acquired as far back as Dan-Abia’s tenure. The big question is what exactly has Nsima Ekere and his men spent over N900million on when work is still at site clearing level?”.

The statement further reads, “It is intrusive to note that before they move their fraudulent contractors to any site, Nsima Ekere ensures that a pseudo contract agreement is signed in order to enable them embezzle money. Nsima Ekere first used this new tactic on Youth Avenue Road off Oron Road.

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It can be recalled that some time last year, Governor Udom Emmanuel during a church programme around the area, announced that the state government will construct the Youth Avenue Road. Surprisingly, Nsima Ekere’s contractors moved into the road few days later but they were chased out of the place by the youths of the area.

A similar scenario played out on Hospital Road in Abak and like the previous one, the NDDC contractors have abandoned the road. Also, a major road in Oron also witnessed the same incident. Interestingly, these contractors leave the site of the projects without executing them and no refund of the “contract mobilization fee” that they were paid”.

The group called on the National Assembly, EFCC and all other relevant agencies to probe and thoroughly investigate the activities of the current NDDC and ensure that anyone found culpable is meant to face the full wrath of the law.

Meanwhile the trio of former SA to former Governor Godswill Akpabio Anietie Johnny Ufot, former House of Reps man Barr Bassey Dan Abia and ex Akwa Savings MD Barr Effiong Akwa are jostling for the top job of the Niger Delta Development Commission following confirmed moves by Ekere towards resignation.

Sources within the APC hinted our reporters that Ekere who was appointed by the Buhari administration as Akwa Ibom State slot have been having a clear intention to lead Akwa Ibom State as her Governor come 2019.

Our reporter was reliably informed that the FG will actually consider as a replacement for Nsima Ekere a personnel who understands the workings of the NDDC.

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Sources hinted that the three candidates who are early birds in the contest have some wealth of experience in the affairs of the commission but singled out Barr Effiong Akwa as the most experienced of the trio having worked with Sir Bassey Dan Abia for a long time when the senior Abia served as the MD of the commission.

AJU is presently the SA to Nsima Ekere, while Dan Abia is Ekere’s long standing friend and Effiong Akwa appears to be independent of Ekere.

But sources however confided in our reporter that Akwa’s interest may be herculean as he is not officially an APC member.

This is not to say that the battle of Ekere’s replacement is limited to Akwa Ibom State as Ondo State which supposed to have had the turn after the expiration of Dan Abia’s tenure last December is also battling to reclaim the position immediately Ekere resigns.

But all indications are rife that the duo are silently lobbying for the top job of the NDDC as Obong Ekere prepares his resignation letter.

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Akwa Ibom Speaker says 7th Assembly will be People-centric Legislature

The speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Aniekan Bassey has pledged to run a people-centric 7th Assembly

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Akwa Ibom Speaker says 7th Assembly will be People-centric Legislature

Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey receiving a souvenir from Mr Courage Mbon

Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey receiving a souvenir from Mr Courage Mbon

The speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Aniekan Bassey has pledged to run a people-centric 7th Assembly. Speaker Bassey made the promise when Ascend Communications, publishers of Assembly Watch paid him a courtesy visit.

Bassey said he intends to lead an assembly whose legislative engagements will revolve around the constituents, stating that such engagements will be the only way to ensure that the electorate are carried along in the process of legislation.

Speaker Aniekan Bassey said this will be achieved through town hall meetings to gather information on needs of the constituents, constituency briefings to intimate constituents on progress of legislative representation, as well as regular appraisals and briefings. Bassey said these engagements are imperative if the lacuna between the legislature and the electorate is to be bridged.

Speaking earlier, the MD, Ascend Communications, Mr Courage Mbon said the team was in the Assembly to intimate the speaker about “Assembly Watch”, an initiative of Ascend Communications, which aims at informing the general public about activities of legislators both in the State House Of Assembly and the National Assembly.

Mbon said Assembly Watch existed to bridge the communication gap between legislators and the general public; while also appraising performance of legislative representatives both in the state and Abuja.

High point of the visit was the presentation of a commemorative souvenir portrait to congratulate the speaker on his recent election as speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.

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ETINAN LAWMAKER SPONSORS BILL TO CURB RAPE, OTHER VIOLENCE CRIMES IN AKWA IBOM STATE

Rt. Hon. Aniefiok Dennis Akpan, member representing Etinan State Constituency today sponsored a bill to curb rape and other violence crime in Akwa Ibom State.

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ETINAN LAWMAKER SPONSORS BILL TO CURB RAPE, OTHER VIOLENCE CRIMES IN AKWA IBOM STATE

Rt. Hon. Aniefiok Dennis Akpan, member representing Etinan State Constituency

Rt. Hon. Aniefiok Dennis Akpan, member representing Etinan State Constituency

Rt. Hon. Aniefiok Dennis Akpan, member representing Etinan State Constituency today sponsored a bill to curb rape and other violence crime in Akwa Ibom State.

The Bill titled a Law to Eliminate Violence in Private and Public Life, Prohibit all forms of Violence Against Persons and to Provide Maximum Protection and Effective Remedies for Victims and Punishment of Offenders and for Related Matters will ensure stiffer punishment for persons convicted of rape and other violent crimes

Rt Hon. Dennis, in the lead debate,
condemned recent violent crimes in the State and said the Bill when passed into law, will protect women, children and other persons against abandonment, circumcision, domestic and economic abuses.

He said it will also curb forced financial dependence, sexual exploitation, emotional, verbal and psychological abuse and said there must be penalties to discourage offenders from these acts.

The Member representing Ibesikpo Asutan State Constituency, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Uko who is a co-sponsor of the Bill, said violent crimes were not only particular to women, maintaining the Bill when passed into law, will also protect the men from all forms of harassment.

Others who spoke in support of the Bill, including the Member representing Ika/Etim Ekpo State Constituency, Hon. Mfon Idung, that of Ini, Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Ekpenyong; Abak State Constituency, Hon. Udeme Otong;
Ikot Abasi/Eastern Obolo State Constituency, Rt. Hon. Uduak Odudu and Member Ukanafun State Constituency, Dr. (Mrs) Charity Ido, lauded the lead sponsor, Rt. Hon. Aniefiok Dennis for bringing up the bill, saying it will further promote peace in the state.

Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey, Speaker AKHA

Rt. Hon Aniekan Bassey, Speaker AKHA

In his remarks, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey who lauded Members for their interests in the Bill, referred it to the House Committee on Woman Affairs, Social Welfare and Cooperative and directed the Committee to report back to the House within one month.

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Recall in the sixth assembly, Barr
Dennis facilitated a law which seeks to protect Akwa Ibom people from unlawful arrest and detention, the Law amongst other benefits places a ban on the arrest of persons in lieu of suspects, arrests in terms of civil matter and also seeks to eradicate the gender discrimination in bail issues. This was called CRIMINAL JUSTICE LAW.

Barr. Dennis also sponsored a bill which seeks to ensure prohibition of female circumcision or female genital mutilation which is commonly practised in some communities in the state and has lasting negative impacts in the lives of women called LAW THE VIOLENCE AGAINST PERSONS PROHIBITION BILL.

…….Partial contributions from Press Unit, Office of the Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.

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A’Ibom Assembly seeks State Govt’s Intervention on Calabar-Itu Federal Road

Worried by the sufferings encountered by commuters, residents and other road users plying the now deplorable Calabar-Itu federal road, the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has directed the state Ministry of Works to i

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A’Ibom Assembly seeks State Govt’s Intervention on Calabar-Itu Federal Road

by Mfonobong Ukpong

Worried by the sufferings encountered by commuters, residents and other road users plying the now deplorable Calabar-Itu federal road, the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has directed the state Ministry of Works to intervene on the failed portion of the Enen-Itam axis of the road, with a view of alleviating the plights of the road users and residents of the area.

The House gave the directive, Thursday at plenary sequel to a motion of urgent public importance raised by the Member representing ITU State Constituency, Hon. Kufre-Abasi Edidem who informed the House of the deplorable state of the Calabar-Itu road, particularly Enen-Itam axis of the road. He said members of his constituents and other road users were expressing difficulties plying the road, and pleaded that the state government be urged to undertake urgent intervention measures on the road in the interest of the people.

Reacting to the motion, lawmakers argued that the current situation of the road was affecting economic activities as the road connects Akwa Ibom with neighboring Cross River State. Members for Ibesikpo-Asutan State Constituency, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Uko, Nsit-Ubium, Barr. Otobong Bob, Etim-Ekpo/Ika, Hon. Mfon Idung, Uyo, Hon. Anietie Eka, Hon, Abak, Udeme Otong, Ukanafun, Dr. Charity Ido and the Chief Whip, Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Ekpenyong in their separate contributions sympathised with residents of the area and other road users who ply the road. They wondered why the federal government was still dragging it’s feet on the said road, years after it publicised that contract had been awarded for the construction of the road. The Assembly Members agreed that it has become expedient for the state government to intervene on the federal road, since majority of those who use the road are Akwa Ibom people.

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Uyo representative, Ekah said “It is disheartening that the federal government seems to be playing politics on the road. It’s high time we separate politics from human lives”.

Reacting, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey said though the Assembly was aware that the said road is a federal road, it was necessary that urgent intervention be undertaken to ameliorate the plights of the people. He ruled that the matter be referred to the State Ministry of Works for urgent intervention, and directed the Clerk to communicate the decision of the House to appropriate quarters for necessary action.

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