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NDDC has collapsed, its now a cash cow for politicians – Governor Wike

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Nyesom Wike, the governor of Rivers State has declared that the Niger Delta Development Commission ( NDDC) has collapsed, losing its capacity to deliver development to the Niger Delta.    

Speaking during a courtesy visit by the interim management committee of NDDC to the Government House Port Harcourt on Wednesday, Governor Wike said that the NDDC has degenerated into a cash cow for politicians.

“Those who fought for the establishment of NDDC will weep that the Commission has deviated from its mandate. NDDC has collapsed. NDDC has become a cash cow for politicians.  

“NDDC is now a political institution. NDDC stole our money. There was an agreement for the Rivers State Government and NDDC to collaborate for the construction of the Mother and Child Hospital. NDDC refused to pay her counterpart fund. Even the N800 million paid by the Rivers State Government, the NDDC only paid N400m to the contractor and diverted N400 million.  

“If they don’t pay our money, we will Institute a legal action against NDDC to retrieve our money,” he said.  He said the immediate past Board of the NDDC expended N10 billion during the 2019 election to stop him from getting a second term, but they failed.  

“After the former Board released N10 billion to remove me from office and they failed, they came here for a courtesy visit. I asked them why they refused to partner with states for the development of the Niger Delta,” he said.

Wike informed that it was Niger Delta Governors that demanded the forensic audit of the NDDC because of the massive rot at the commission.

“Niger Delta Governors asked for the forensic audit of the NDDC when we met with the President. We also asked for the setting up of the Board of Governors for NDDC. I urge the interim committee to carry out a proper audit. You will meet obstacles, but be determined to do a thorough job,” he said.

He urged the people of the Niger Delta to work in unity to develop the geo-political zone.  On the leadership of NDDC, Wike said that appointment of officials is strictly a function of the Executive Arm of Government. He said no other arm of government can determine who runs the NDDC.

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Xenophobia: South African Police detain 180 foreign nationals

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180 foreign nationals have been detained by the South African police for storming the UN refugee agency in Pretoria where they staged a sit-in protest. 

The protesters whose protest centered on their demand to be relocated to another country after a spate of xenophobic violence in South Africa in September, stormed the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Thursday November 14 after they were informed of a court order giving them three days to vacate the site.

“One hundred and eighty two men and one woman were taken into custody by the police at different police stations,” said provincial police spokeswoman Mathapelo Peters in a statement.

AFP reported that Peters said the sit-in was cleared and hundreds of women and children were bussed to a repatriation centre on the outskirts of Johannesburg as “temporary accommodation”. 

The protesters who were held on trespassing charges and expected to appear before the Pretoria Magistrate Court on Monday November 18, reportedly threw rocks and other objects when being dispersed with water cannons by security operatives. 

“One hundred and eighty two men and one woman were taken into custody by the police at different police stations,” said provincial police spokeswoman Mathapelo Peters in a statement.

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Boat Conveying Journalists Covering Bayelsa Election Capsizes

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A boat conveying journalists across flooded parts of Sampou community in Kolokuma Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State on Saturday capsized and threw the four occupants into the water.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the boat was carrying four journalists covering the governorship elections, including its correspondent.

The journalists were returning from a polling station when the incident happened and left the victims submerged.

However, the timely intervention of sympathisers saved the journalists whose mobile phones, cameras and recorders were drenched.

Flood had submerged many parts of Amasoma, Yenagoa and parts of Sagbama, a development that displaced polling stations.

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Armed men invade INEC office in Kogi community, chase officials, observers into hiding

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The atmosphere was tense Saturday night at about 10 p.m. in Ugwolawo community, Ofu local government of Kogi State, as thugs who claimed to be from Zamfara State invaded the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office.

Collation of results was ongoing when the armed men arrived.

For more than an hour, the armed men shot sporadically into the air and are believed to have engaged a police team that arrived later in a shootout.

When they shot sporadically, they shouted on top of their voice for residents of the area to remain indoors and not come out to continue the collation exercise at the INEC office.

Our reporter, among other observers who were caught up in the fracas, had to run into a house and lie down for over an hour.

Residents and election observers were still in hiding at the time of this report.

Efforts to contact the INEC spokesperson and the police spokesperson in Kogi State were unsuccessful as both did not respond to calls and text messages.

Premium Times earlier reported how thugs allegedly loyal to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) invaded Dekina community in Dekina local government of Kogi State in an attempt to hijack results sheets for the Dekina Ward.

The PDP collation agent for the ward, Obaka James, said the results were already collated and being signed by agents, when gunshot sounds rented the air.

Mr Obaka said; “We know the attackers, they had already operated in the morning and their leader was arrested. But we don’t know how he was released again. Now you can see the problems he is causing. But they don’t know that I have collated result with me.”

He said across eight other local governments in the senatorial districts, collation had been done in most wards.”So, why is ours different? Every time, there must be crisis claiming lives in this place. Is election war?”

Earlier, at about 1:13 a.m. on Saturday, thugs had invaded the registration centre for ward 2 in the local government, which is located at Odu Ofomu community and attacked the electoral officers.

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