The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has reportedly linked two former governors of Delta State, James Ibori and Emmanuel Uduaghan, to some of the projects that have been executed by the Niger Delta Development Commission, Punch reports.
Akpabio in a letter sent to the speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, listed the former governors as some of the beneficiaries of the projects by the commission. Also on the list as a beneficiary of projects were the Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, and Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, among others.
The letter which is titled ‘Some Niger Delta Development Commission Contracts Allegedly Given to Some Members of the National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives).’, was also copied to the office of the Attorney General of the Federation/Minister of Justice and was addressed to the Clerk to the House, Mr. Patrick Giwa, with Reference Number MNDA/HM/04/IV/158.
According to the letter, one of the projects linked to the convicted former governor of Delta state, James Ibori, was the emergency repairs of Onoghove community road from Ajanesan to Western Delta University at a cost of N485.7m.
The letter also stated that Uduaghan was linked to the emergency repairs of Close B, Alhaji Estate & Environs, Rumuodomaya, Port Harcourt at a cost of N429m.
Five projects were linked to Senator Kalu who was simply identified in the document as OUK-Kalu (the project source). The emergency repairs on road projects linked to Kalu are in Abia State and the costs ranged from N517m to N560m. The details are Emergency repairs of Ezere-Acha-Ndiokoukwu Road (N517.9m) and repairs of Amaubiri-Eluama-Uru Ring Road, Lokpaukwu, Umuchieze (N560m). Some other projects linked to Kalu include Ndi Oji Abam-Atan Road (N523.7m), Okafia-Ozuitem-Bende road (508m), and the Ozu-Amuru-Abam Road at the cost of N523.4m.
The cost of the 12 projects linked to Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, located in Imo and Rivers states, were not indicated in the documents.
The NDDC document, however, listed some the projects to include, emergency repairs of Umuelemai-Aba branch road, Anara-Okwelle-Umuna Road, Okpara-Road junction-Ogili Community all in Imo State.
On Monday, July 20, Akpabio while testifying at the House of Representatives panel investigating allegations of financial recklessness at the NDDC, alleged that most of the contracts awarded in the Commission were to members of the National Assembly.
On Tuesday, July 21, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, gave the Minister 48 hours to release the names of the lawmakers in question or face punitive measures.
After the two-day ultimatum had expired, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, directed the clerk of the House to institute a lawsuit against Akpabio after he failed to release the names of the National Assemblies members that have been awarded contracts by NDDC. Akpabio in a letter that was later read on the floor of the House of Representatives by the Speaker, denied saying 60% of the contracts were awarded to lawmakers. He however penned down some names of some Nigerians who have been awarded contracts by the commission.
The House of Representatives however insists Akpabio must publish the names and not send it as a personal letter to the Speaker of the House.
India and China agree to stop sending troops to disputed Himalayan border
China and India have agreed to stop sending military troops to their disputed border in the Himalayas, following an escalation in tensions between the two nuclear powers.
Senior military commanders from India and China met on Monday to discuss stabilizing tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the demarcation line that separates the two military giants.
The Line of Actual Control, which marks the de facto border and passes through the lake, was established in the wake of the 1962 Sino-Indian war. India and China do not agree on its precise location and regularly accuse each other of overstepping it.
Tensions have been rising in the Himalayas since a bloody clash between Indian and Chinese troops in June and efforts to deescalate in the wake of the violence appeared to be faltering.
At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in that incident.
In a joint statement, both countries greed to strengthen communication on the ground to avoid misunderstandings or action “that may complicate the situation.”
They also agreed to not take any unilateral action that would change the situation on the ground, according to the statement.
Another round of high-level military meetings will be held “as soon as possible,” the statement said.
After the military confrontation between both countries inm Jund, meetings were immediately set up between enjoys of both countries.
Then early this month, New Delhi and Beijing accused each other of illegally crossing into their territories.
A week later, China and India accused each other’s troops of firing warning shots across the Sino-Indian border, Both sides blamed the other for violating bilateral agreements and taking “provocative” actions.
This is the first time in more than four decades that India and China have confronted each other. In 1996, the two countries signed an agreement which states that neither side shall open fire within 2 kilometers (1.24 miles) from the LAC to “prevent dangerous military activities.”
US hails INEC and security agencies over Edo governorship election
The United States government has commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies over the conduct of the Edo State Governorship election.
In its tweets on Wednesday September 23, the US government also commended the people of Edo State for exercising their franchise.
Congratulations@inecnigeria and Nigerian security services on the Edo governorship election. We commend the people of Edo State for exercising their franchise and recognize @GovernorObaseki & @PastorIzeIyamu for encouraging peace.
Thanks to civil society partners @YIAGA and @SituationRoomNg @cleenfoundation @KDI_ng for their invaluable work. #EdoDecides2020
US 2020 Election: Trump calls mail-in voting a ‘scam”
US President, Donald Trump, has called mail-in voting a “scam” during a press conference on Friday September 17, blasting the voting system in which states send mail-in ballots directly to voters due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
More than half of all Americans are expected to vote through the mail this presidential election, though over 40 percent of Americans voted by mail in the 2016 and 2012 general elections, according to the Election Assistance Commission.
Several states, including Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, and Washington, automatically send out mail-in ballots to all state residents for the general election.
But due to the Coronavirus pandemic, California, Nevada, New Jersey, Vermont, and Washington D.C. will automatically mail out ballots to all residents for the 2020 election.
“They’re sending out tens of millions of ballots to everybody, people that didn’t expect them. People are getting inundated with ballots, they’ll be showered with ballots,” Trump said Friday.
“Everybody in this room knows it’s a scam,” the president continued, gesturing to the White House press pool. “They are never going to be able to count them.”
It’s a disaster, everyone knows it,” Trump told reporters before adding that the U.S. Postal Service was not to blame for the 2020 primary election mishaps, when hundreds of thousands of ballots went uncounted .
“Where are these ballots going? Who’s sending them? Who’s signing them?” Trump asked, attempting to show why he thinks voting through the mail is insecure.
“I think it’s going to be a terrible time for this country and we are counting on federal judges to do a great constitutional job.”
Recently, Trump cynically stated that 80 million Americans would receive mail-in ballots as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, a figure he alleges will invalidate the 2020 election results.