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Rots in DESOPADEC: Sheriff Drags Dr. Uduaghan, Dr. Okowa, DESOPADEC manager to court

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By Abdulateef Bamgbose

A renowned human environmental and development rights advocate, Comrade Mulade Sheriff has dragged the immediate past Governor of Delta State, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, former Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, board of Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) and the Attorney-General of Delta State to High Court, Warri for alleged financial misappropriation.

The claimant, Malude Sheriff said that he decided to drag the two former Governors, the DESOPADEC board, and the Attorney General of the State to court for the interpretation of Section 162 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and section 13 (1) of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) Law of 2006 (as amended), 2007, 2015 and 2018 established to cater for the wellbeing of the Oil and Gas Producing Communities in the State.

According to him, it was worthy of note that the Delta State Oil, Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) Law 2006 (as amended), 2007, 2015, and 2018 respectively was established to expressly execute a clear mandate as stated in Section 13(1) of the DESOPADEC Law which provides thus:

“The commission shall receive and administer exclusively 50% of the Oil Derivation fund accruing to the Delta State Government for the rehabilitation of the oil producing communities/areas of the state other development projects as may be determined from time to time by the communities”.

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The activist recently mobilized host communities under the auspices of the Association of Oil and Gas Producing Communities of Delta State to the headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abuja, calling on the Anti-graft agency to probe, investigate and recover the alleged misappropriated fund back to unfortunately, hem Development the oil producing communities in the State.

“Unfortunately, previous administrations have starved the commission of its legal and lawful entitlement of 50% of the 13% Oil Derivation fund thereby making the commission moribund where projects are claimed to have been executed and commissioned only on papers and media documentary”, the activist lamented.

I am equally dragging them to the court to account for the sum of N1.863,478,177,892.60 (ONE TRILLION, EIGHT HUNDRED AND SIXTY-THREE BILLION, FOUR HNINETY-TWOENTY-EIGHT MILLION, ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-SEVEN THOUSAND, EIGHT HUNDRED NINETY-TWO THOUSAND, SIXTY KOBO) that was received by both administrations in line with the records available to me upon an application to the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation for a Certified True Copy (CTC) of the 13% oil derivation fund from the Federation Account to the Delta State Government between 2007 – 2022, which clearly shows that, the sum of N1.863,478,177,892.60 has been disbursed to the Delta State Government from July 2007 to December 2022, for the Rehabilitation and Development of the oil Producing Communities/Areas in Delta State”, he added.

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Comrade Mulade Sheriff said; “It is very disheartening and callous to note that despite the copious and unambiguous provisions of Section 162 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Section 13 (1) of the DESOPADEC Law of 2006 (as amended), 2007, 201.5 and 2018 respectively, the former Governors of Delta State, their Excellencies, Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan and Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa deliberately and flagrantly abused, violated and breached the above provisions of the Law and misappropriated the said funds for their personal use while at the helm of affairs of the state at the expense of the suffering pain people of the Oil and Gas Producing Communities in Delta State”.

, He pointed out that in Section 13 (1) of the DESOPADEC Law 2006 (as moved) 2007, 2015, and 2018, the commission is legally and lawfully entitled to 50% of the 13% oil derivation fund from the Federation Account which is calculated at N931,739,088,946.3k (Nine hundred and Thirty-One Billion, Seven Hundred and Thirty-Nine Million, Eighty-Eight Thousand, Nine Hundred and Forty-Six Naira, Three Kobo) from the Delta State Government for both administrations but the reverse was the case.

“It is imperative to state that from the information obtained and records available, it is obvious that the Delta Gover, moment grossly underfunded the. Delta State Oil Producing Areas Devthe elopement Commission, particularly under Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa who received the whooping sum of N1.077,450,285,552,17 but consistently and deliberately disbursed less than the sum of N20,000,000,000 (Twenty Billion Naira) only annually for the past Eight Years. This was confirmed by th. e immediate-past State commissioner for information, under former governor Okowa, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, that the state remitted NTHIRTY-EIGHTfrom 2015-2023 to DESOPADEC against N538,725,142.776,085k (FIVE HUNDRED THIRTY-EIGHT BILLION, SEVEN HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FIVE MILLION, ONE HUNDRED FORTY-TWO THOUSAND, SEVEN HUNDRED SEVENTY-SIX THOUSAND, EIGHTY-FIVE KOBO). We hatwenty-fiveg N330,725,142.776,085k (Three Hundred and thirty billion, Seven Hundred twenty-five millikobosone hundred and Forty-Two Thousand, Seven Hundred Seventy-Six thousand, fifteen kobos)”, excluding January 2023 — May 2023, those missing funds must be recovered by every means legally possible for the development of Oil and Gas Producing Communities of Delta State, he stated.

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Business and Economy

Nigerian Minister laments low investment in Infrastructure

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By Iyojo Ameh

Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Atiku Bagudu on Friday said the country has not invested enough in infrastructural development.

According to him, several problems been encountered recently by Nigerian are as direct results of under- investment in several multi- dimension infrastructure.

The minister spoke at the National Assembly during an interactive session with the Senate committee on Appropriation under the chairmanship of Senator Olamilekan Adeola.

The minister was invited to provide insight into the N6.2 trillion supplementary appropriation approval for the 2024 budget by the National Assembly as requested by President Bola Tinubu.

Bagudu commended President Tinubu for the political will yo confront the infrastructure deficit by seeking the N3.2 trillion to fund the projects which include the Lagos – Calabar coastal highway, the Sokoto – Badagry highway and the Trans- Sahara highway.

He commended the President for his confidence that the projects when completed will increase economic activities and shore up the nation’s revenue base.

He added that the projects will encourage massive transformation apart from strengthening economic realities.

The minister while trying to douse the agitation of members of the committee on the fate of other deplorable roads and uncompleted roads projects in their various constituents said the federal government has not abandoned any of the ongoing projects.

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Bagudu categorically stated that the government is not giving priority attention to the innovative projects at the expense of other road projects.

He assured that the Federal Executive Council will continue to consider and give financial approval to other roads as funds are available.

The minister though did not give a detailed statement of the supplementary approval, gave a sectoral overview of both the N3.2 trillion of the Renewed Hope Infrastructure Projects and the N3 trillion increase in the recurrent component of the budget.

Chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committee, Senator Adeola the government has full capacity to finance the 2024 budget.

He , however implore the minister to make available to the committee a full detail and breakdown of the N6.2 trillion approval as soon as possible.

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Economy : CBN announces indices on growth and stability …As Senate interfaces with the CBN Gov

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By Iyojo Ameh

The Central Bank of Nigeria on Friday in Abuja , rolled out indices , signaling improved growth and stability of the Nation’s economy.

This is as the apex bank through its Governor , Olayemi Cardoso , assured Nigerians of better days ahead .

Rolling out the growth and economic stability indices during statutory engagement with the Senate Committee on Banking , Insurance and other Financial Institutions , the CBN Governor said : ” The
spread between official and BDC rates has narrowed significantly from N162.62 in January to N47.22 in June 2024, indicating successful price discovery, increased market efficiency, and reduced arbitrage opportunities.

“The stock of external reserves increased to US$36.89 billion as of July 16, 2024, compared with US$33.22 billion at end-December 2023, driven largely by receipts from crude oil related taxes and third-party receipts.

” In Q1 2024, we maintained a current account surplus and saw improvements in our trade balance.

“Our external reserves level as at end-June 2024 can finance over 11 months of import of goods and services, or 14 months of goods only. This is significantly higher than the prescribed international benchmark of 3.0 months, indicating a strong buffer against external shocks.

“The banking sector remains robust and diverse, comprising twenty-six commercial banks, six merchant banks, and four non-interest banks. Key indicators such as capital adequacy, liquidity, and non-performing loan ratios all showed impressive improvements, underscoring the sector’s growing stability and resilience.

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“The equity market has shown impressive performance, with the All-Share Index rising by 33.81 per cent and market capitalization expanding by 38.33 per cent from December 2023 to June 2024, reflecting growing investors’ confidence.

“While we are encouraged by these positive trends, the CBN remains vigilant and committed to implementing policies that support sustainable growth in our financial markets, while maintaining overall economic stability”

He added by assuring the committee members , that required measures and strategies , have been mapped out to confront emerging challenges .

“To combat inflation, we have implemented a comprehensive set of monetary policy measures. These include raising the policy rate by 750 basis points to 26.25 percent, increasing Cash Reserve Ratios, normalizing Open Market Operations as our primary liquidity management tool, and adopting Inflation Targeting as our new monetary policy framework.

“In the area of banking supervision, the CBN has taken decisive actions to ensure the safety, soundness, and resilience of the banking industry.

” Key measures include intervention in three banks, revocation of Heritage Bank’s license, increasing minimum capital requirements, and enhancing AML/CFT supervision.

” We also introduced new frameworks for Cash Reserve Requirements and cybersecurity and prohibited the use of foreign currency collaterals for local currency loans.

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“We are in the process of reviewing the Bank’s micro and macroprudential guidelines to reinforce the resilience of financial institutions in Nigeria to withstand tightened conditions, thus creating a secure and attractive investment climate.

“We have signaled our plans to re-capitalize deposit money banks in Nigeria to improve capital inadequacy and their capacity to grow the economy.

“Our ultimate goal is to create a more stable, resilient, and efficient financial system that can better serve the Nigerian economy, while adhering to international best practices”, he said .

Earlier in his opening remarks , the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Adetokunbo Abiru said the overall purpose of the interaction , ” is to update the commiittee on efforts, activities, objectives and plans of the Bank with respect to monetary policy”

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Business and Economy

Airlines, Banks, Media Outlets Hit as Global IT Outage Wreaks Havoc

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By Iyojo Ameh

A global tech outage, seemingly linked to issues at cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike and tech giant Microsoft, disrupted operations across multiple sectors on Friday, impacting airports, airlines, media outlets, and banks.

The outage caused significant disruptions in airport and airline IT systems, leading to grounded flights and widespread service interruptions.
Notably, Sydney airport has seen flights halted, United Airlines has ceased operations, and the London Stock Exchange Group’s platform has encountered disruptions.

In Germany, Berlin airport experienced IT problems, causing delays in check-ins due to technical faults.

Also, rail transportation has not been spared, as the UK’s Govia Thameslink Railway reported widespread IT issues across its network, leading to potential cancellations and delays.

The company is actively investigating the root cause and has urged passengers to check their journeys before traveling.

Australia’s Telstra Group also reported service disruptions.

Meanwhile, in a post on X, CrowdStrike CEO George Kurtz said the outage was not a “security incident or cyberattack.”

He said it was connected to a “defect found in a single content update for Windows hosts.” He said the issue has been “identified, isolated and a fix has been deployed.”

Also, Microsoft said in a statement on X that “the underlying cause has been fixed,” however, residual impacts continue to affect “some Microsoft 365 apps and services. We’re conducting additional mitigations to provide relief.”

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The affected services include PowerBI, Microsoft Teams, and OneDrive for Business, among others. The tech giant is working on mitigation efforts and has already restored some services.

However, this global IT outage highlights the interconnected nature of modern digital infrastructures and the widespread impact that technical disruptions can have across various industries.

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