EFCC makes shocking revelations on how 80 per cent of Niger Delta revenues diverted to private bank accounts

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has said that 80 per cent of revenues meant for projects in the Niger Delta region always end up in private bank accounts.

The South-South Zonal Head of EFCC, Mr. Nnaghe Itam, also stated that a large percentage of projects captured in the budgets of some states in the oil-rich region were either not implemented or abandoned due to corruption.

Itam explained that corruption had remained the primary cause of underdevelopment in the region and even in Nigeria.

He spoke at a stakeholders’ regional conference organised in Port Harcourt by Social Action, a non-governmental organisation, in collaboration with the African Centre for Media and Literacy and the MacArthur Foundation.

The agency’s zonal head pointed out that to achieve any meaningful development in Nigeria, corruption must be defeated.

“As a commission, the passion of the Acting Chairman (of the EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, is to get rid of corruption in all its ramifications if any meaningful progress or development is to be achieved in Nigeria.

“Estimates of up to 80 per cent of government revenues and budget allocations end up in private bank accounts of approximately one per cent of Nigerians, who are linked to political power.

“As high as 80 per cent of projects mentioned in annual state budgets within the region are either abandoned or never implemented,” Itam said.

The EFCC head maintained that the commission was intensifying efforts in advocating continuity of projects by successive governments.

In her remarks, the Director of Programmes, Social Action, Mrs. Vivian Bellonwu-Okafor, stated that though over N7tn had accrued to states in the Niger Delta between 1999 and 2016, not much infrastructural development was on the ground.

She identified corruption, through reckless management of resources, as a major problem affecting the development of the Niger Delta region.

“Records have it that over N7tn accrued to the states and local governments in the nine Niger Delta states in 18 years from 1999 to 2016, based on the 13 per cent derivation principle.

“We, therefore, believe that the more significant problem of the region has not been primarily lack of resources, but rather lack of proper management or outright recklessness in the manner of deployment and management of these resources,” she said.

Bellonwu-Okafor said the purpose of the conference was to promote accountability in creating awareness on mismanagement of public funds by government officials.

“Our 2017 Citizens’ Report on budgets of selected states in Nigeria with a particular focus on the Niger Delta region, titled ‘Abandoned Projects’, reveals a continuation of a pattern of very low capital expenditure performances noticed over the years, despite the increasing level of Nigeria’s foreign reserves.

“The EFCC in June 2018 had promised to visit the Niger Delta region to investigate abandoned Niger Delta Development Commission projects, prosecute those responsible and recover the public funds embezzled in the process,” she added.

“Vote for only candidates that support restructuring”-Ijaw leader tells Niger Delta People

Foremost Ijaw nationalist, Chief Edwin Clark, has ask people of the Niger Delta not to vote for any politician that does not support the restructuring of the country. He said however that they must be careful not to fall for politicians who merely mouth restructuring without really meaning it.

Clark said the people must ask the presidential candidates about their manifestoes to determine whether it meets the aspirations of the Niger Delta before supporting them.

“If it says restructuring, then vote for that person,” he advised, adding: If this country is restructured, within 10 years, the pattern of life will change.

Speaking while receiving leaders of various youth councils in the region led by the President General of the Niger Delta Nationalities Youth Leaders Council, Peretubo Oweilaemi, at his Asokoro Abuja residence on Wednesday, he regretted that the Niger Delta has been marginalised in the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) even though it produces 98 per cent of the crude oil. “The thing we produce in our area feeds the whole country. Yet, we are beggars in our own country.

 

“Could you imagine a situation whereby nine directors in NNPC appointed by President Buhari, six of them are Northerners including the Chief of Staff (to the president), one from South West, one from Niger Delta with all the oil we produce in is country,” he said.

The same thing he said happened in the appointment of NNPC General Managers, which he said had 10 from the North, two from the South West, two from the South-South and none from the East. He pointed out that Imo and Abia states which also produce crude oil got no representation.

He said out the 55 Managers appointed, 36 came from the North and while the remaining were spread among the other parts of the country. “So, they control the oil, they maintain it and what do they say? ‘we are ungrateful for anything they give to us, we are troublemakers and so on,” he added.

Clark further stated: “Today, some people say oil flowed from the desert and came to our area, we don’t own it. They won it. They are now managing it. “We are saying, restructure this country. If you restructure the country, whatever is produced in your area, you manage it at your own pace,” he asserted.

The elder statesman, however, appealed to the youths to remain calm, saying that with God on their side, they will prevail. He said the country must be restructured to allow all the component parts to develop at its own pace as it was in the first republic. The one time Federal Commissioner of Education observed that there is the perception that the country as it is now is “lopsided, deliberately constituted to oppress some people,” saying that the people must continue to speak their minds.

Chief Clark, whose residence was searched by the police last Tuesday, said he decided to accept the police apology over the incident because he wanted to avert war in the Niger Delta.

 

 

He said: “So, they (police) came and apologised, they disowned those boys but I said don’t. We are no fills. Those boys have no powers to come and search my house.

“When they were here, somebody her phoned an Assistant Inspector General of Police and he answered.

“When my people went to their office, the boys did not stop on their own, they took them to their boss. So, don’t lie to me. But the apology, I have accepted it because of Nigerians. “And if I don’t, problem will take place in the Niger Delta. I hear the boys and the girls are already gathering in Port Harcourt, in Yenegoa, WARRI and so on, even up to Arogbo in Ondo state.

“I have to accept it their apology in the interest of peace and in the interest of our country. But go and make it public. And so, they did.”

 

 

He affirmed that he had written a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari demanding that the matter be investigated to fish out those who were responsible for it. Clark said instead of embarrassing him, the police only succeeded in embarrassing themselves.

In his remark, the leader of the delegation demanded that the police publicly parade the officers involved in the search of Clark’s residence, otherwise, it would be seen that the police lied. He said the people of the Niger Delta wanted to know the officers and be assured that they were not merely moved by the police to continue their service other areas.

N’Delta militants issue December deadline for relocation of IOCs headquarters

Except international oil companies operating in the Niger Delta region relocate their headquarters to the region, Niger Delta militants may resume hostilities in that region.

This was disclosed by the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators on Wednesday, saying the refusal of the IOC to relocate will force them back to the creeks to resume their suspended agitation.

The coalition, which also condemned the invasion of the Abuja home of Chief Edwin Clark, described it as an attempt to assassinate Clark for championing the course of the Niger Delta people.

A statement signed by leaders of the militant groups that make up the coalition warned IOCs that failed to relocate their headquarters to the Niger Delta before December 2018 to stop operation or be ready to face the consequences.

The signatories of the statement included John Duku, leader of Niger Delta Watchdogs and the Convener of the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators; Ekpo Ekpo (Niger Delta Volunteers), Osarolor Nedam (Niger Delta Warriors), Henry Etete (Niger Delta Peoples Fighters) and Asukwo Henshaw (Bakassi Freedom Fighters).

According to the coalition, it had played its part by holding onto its pledge to cease fire, adding that with the resumption of hostilities, the agitators would force national oil production to 200 barrels per day within one month.

The militants also condemned the refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill into law, describing it as an attempt to forcefully control the Niger Delta resources by proxy.

The statement read: “We view, analyse and also condemn in strongest terms the unwarranted order by the Federal Government and the Inspector-General of Police to invade the Abuja home of Niger Delta leader and elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, with the aim of assassinating him for championing restructuring and the course of the Niger Delta people.

 

“The recent attempt on the life of Chief E. K. Clark is one of the attempts on the people in the Southern and Middle Belt Forum penciled down for assassination or frame-up by this administration through the office of the Inspector- General of Police, conniving with some top government functionaries from the Niger Delta region, including two former governors who just defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress.

“Our intelligence further revealed that some of the people under the government’s watch list that would either be assassinated or framed up are Obong Victor Attah, Dr Alfred Mulade, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (retd.), Senator Bassey Henshaw, Mr Yinka Odumakin, Prof Chigozie Ogbu, Dr Isuwa Dogo and others for attempting to stand against the killings across the country as well as their stance on restructuring.

“We hereby issue an ultimatum that any oil company that fails to relocate its headquarters to the Niger Delta between now and December 2018 should stop operation and vacate the Niger Delta region or face the consequences.

“The coalition wishes to state here clearly that we had fulfilled our part by maintaining total peace and ceasefire in the Niger Delta since 2017 as advised by the Niger Delta elders and leaders, the oil output during the period have increased tremendously.”

“My recent ordeal was politically motivated”- 91-year-old Edwin Clark blast “ridiculous” search by Police, consider’s legal action

Prominent Niger Delta leader and former Federal Commissioner for information, Chief Edwin Clark, has condemned the raid on his house by personnel of the Nigeria Police Force. He also suggested that the reason for the search could be as a result of his position on pressing political issues.

 

 

Speaking to reporters after the incident, Clark, who maintained that it was “ridiculous” for anyone to think that he is housing ammunition to overthrow the government, expressed his dissatisfaction with the action and hinted at possible legal action.

 

He said: “I believe [it’s] because of the various meetings we’ve been holding [meetings] about the state of the nation. Otherwise, why would they expect me to keep ammunition in my house?

“No sensible man will think that a 91-year-old man in Abuja will be keeping ammunition in his house to fight the government; overthrow the government. This is ridiculous, shameful.”

The South-South leader maintained that he would always express his stand on the state of the nation.

Nothing incriminating was found in his house after the search, and the Nigeria Police Force has denied authorising the raid.

Niger Delta youths kicked against allege plans to reinstate sacked DSS boss

Niger Delta youths under the umbrella of  Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) as described as “unthinkable and an affront” on the sensibility of Nigerians, the Satanic plan by the presidency cabal” to reinstate Lawal Daura, the sacked DSS Director General.

There have been repors of allege plans to reinstate Lawal, who was recently sacked after he drafted personnel to lay siege to the National Assembly, an action which prevented lawmakers from accessing the chambers and their offices.

A statement by Eric Omare, IYC President, read: “The IYC strongly calls on President Buhari to put a stop to the satanic plan by the presidency cabal to replace Mr. Seiyefa as Director General of the DSS because there is no basis for it.

“Mr. Seiyefa is doing a great job in repositioning the SSS and what he deserves is encouragement from the presidency and not replacement. Furthermore, under no circumstance should Mr. Lawal Daura, the notorious human rights violator, be reinstated as DG SSS because that would amount to taking Nigerians for a ride.

“It would interest Nigerians to know that at the time Mr. Daura was sacked as SSS DG, there were hundreds of Nigerians from different parts of the country that were languishing in SSS detention without trial. And part of the first step Mr. Seiyefa took, in compliance with his maiden media briefing to uphold the rule of law and reposition the agency, was to start the process of releasing some of the persons illegally detained and reform the agency to achieve professionalism.”

Noting that the council recognised the President’s “power to hire and fire head of security agencies in the country”, they noted that “the President also has a corresponding mandatory constitutional duty to ensure that such appointments are in line with the federal character principle”.

 

The statement continued: “At as today, Mr. Seiyefa is one of the few heads of security agencies in Nigeria from the southern part of the country; hence it would amount to grave violation of the federal character principle of the constitution to replace Mr. Seiyefa who was appointed less than a month ago with a northerner as alleged.

“These actions taken by the new SSS DG has earned the praise of Nigerians, especially lovers of human rights and democracy. Hence, we are surprised that the Presidency is contemplating to sack such a man who has brought sanity to the agency that was notorious for violation of human rights under Mr. Lawal Duara.

“It seems obviously that the Buhari administration has a hidden agenda to implement his anti-democratic military decrees of 1984 through which many innocent Nigerians were arrested and detained without trial and any security chief who is not ready to subtly implement such anti-democratic actions is shown the way out.”

Uduaghan reveals reason for defecting from PDP to APC

Former governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, who has officially dumped the PDP for the ruling APC, said he ditched his former party owing to President Buhari’s “passionate” interest for the development of the Niger Delta.

Uduaghan in a statement made available to our correspondent on Wednesday morning and titled “Moving On To The Bigger Playing Field”, the former governor noted that despite Buhari inability to score the required 25 per cent in the 2015 election in the region, he has given direct focus to the development of the region.

While listing some of the development efforts by Buhari’s government, Uduaghan said, “Since the inception of the current All Progressives Congress, APC, administration at the federal level, there has been an encouraging interest and activities by President Muhammadu Buhari to bring a permanent solution to the Niger Delta crisis. This has pointed in a direction that is at once progressive and developmental.

“Topmost in these activities are the ‘Engagement Processes.’ Rather than using the military to harass our people, the Buhari administration has embarked on various engagement processes that have led to agreements and brought hope to the people of the Niger Delta. In the last years, Mr. President has personally engaged several regional leaders and youths. Senior officials of his administration also engaged many Niger Delta leaders and youths.

 

 

“Very significant is that Mr. President mandated the Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo SAN, to visit virtually all the oil producing states, engaging various stakeholders. This is unprecedented in the history of the region. Such engagement processes have brought some measure of peace in the Niger Delta. Things can only get better.”

The former governor who is contesting the Delta South Senatorial District in 2019, called on leaders in region to support efforts being made by the present administration to bring lasting peace to the area, adding that his defection to the APC was to offer such support.

“In this era of partisan politics, it is necessary for the people of the Niger Delta, and Delta State in particular, to identify more with the Federal Government led by the APC. By so doing, we can push some of the agreements between our leaders and the Federal Government through, and also engage the government to do more. Politics is about interests.

“The Niger Delta is a major area of interest for me, because I staked my life going into the creeks severally without security and sometimes coming back at night negotiating peace. I will, therefore, give the strongest support to any President that shows commitment in the affairs of the Niger Delta.  I call on, and enjoin, other well-meaning leaders in the region, who have very useful contributions to make, to come on board and join hands in helping this Federal Government to pursue a robust development agenda that would uplift our people. Whatever milestone that appears not to have been achieved yet is not for lack of efforts. Joining hands with and supporting the process will lead to a faster delivery on expectations.

“It is in the pursuit of this noble objective that I’m offering myself to help drive a process that would give the lives of our people in the Niger Delta more meaning. President Muhammadu Buhari needs people who will join hands with him to uplift our people. From my political experience, you have to be well represented and actively so at the “board room” when decisions are being taken. Delta State must be well represented. Niger Delta must be well represented” the statement added.

Uduaghan, who thanked leaders and members of his former party for urging him to stay, added that he prayed fervently divine direction before agreeing to leave the PDP where he served as commissioner, Secretary to the State Government and two-term as a governor.

“I have, therefore, after series of consultations and prayers, taken the decision to leave the PDP and join the APC. In doing this, I want to thank the numerous leaders, supporters and interest groups that have been urging me to remain in PDP. I am happy that after explaining some of the deeper issues to you, some of you that are politicians have agreed to join the APC in the near future.

“So I am going into APC as “John the Baptist” to the numerous Deltans that are coming in, soon – very soon.”