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Final forensic audit report of NDDC ready by July—Akpabio

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Sen.-Godswill-Akpabio
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Godswill Akpabio, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, says the final report of  forensic audit of  Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) will be ready by the end of July.

Akpabio, who fielded questions from State House correspondents on Tuesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the final report would be submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari for implementation.

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) had in February 2020 approved the appointment of a lead consultant for the forensic audit of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The minister said that action had been expedited on the process of constitution of the board of NDDC.

“We have fast tracked the process of constituting the board; but we insist that the most important thing is not just the development of the Niger Delta region but how to reposition NDDC to ensure optimal performance as against the practice in the past.

“So, the forensic audit of NDDC is on course and it is progressing very well and I am happy with the progress made so far.

“And I am very certain that by end of July which is just a month and a few weeks away that the final result will be given to the president for implementation.

“And in terms of the composition of the board of the NDDC, that of course, we have fast tracked the process and the National Assembly will soon get the list.

“But that is not as important as the forensic audit which we are finally given a deadline which is July, that it will end.’’

He said that he was hopeful that the new board would use the recommendations of forensic audit to work and reposition the commission.

The minister regretted that, in the past, the headquarters of the commission was not connected to the national grid for 10 years to 15 years.

“And we have noticed the fact that even the headquarters building that was started over 20 years to 24 years ago, nobody was interested.

“ I think they were pursuing projects that were probably beneficial to either the staff or the management and not necessarily things that benefited the region.’’

Akpabio said that the East-West road was another major area of concentration which the NDDC itself should have taken interest in.

He said that he worked on federal roads when he was the governor of Akwa Ibom State.

“And to the glory of God, the president has refunded the money that most of the states used in intervening in federal roads which means it was a good gesture and the president has reciprocated it by the fact that the monies were refunded to those states.

“So, I think, even NDDC should have intervened in East-West road to ensure its completion because of the economic importance of the road.

“Just three days ago, we had a mishap where one of the bridges had a problem; the approach to the bridge, it caused so much traffic jam in Port Harcourt for hours and we had to move in.

“To the glory of God, we have repaired the damaged section of the road and traffic is flowing and we working very hard to make sure that we complete that road come next year for the benefit of the Nigerians not just Niger Delta,’’ he said.

He said that his recent visit to the Niger-Delta region was not as result of pressure from any quarters but for the sake of peace in the region.

According to him, the region is very critical to the economy of the country.

The minister said that he had and interactive session with stakeholders in the region for purpose of the economy of Nigerian economy as the impact of any unrest in the region would affect be adverse.

He added that he had set the pace by his visit to the Niger Delta as his move was being emulated in dousing the agitations in the South-East.

“And I think the example I set is what is being emulated now in the South-East—that there is need for those of us in government to go back home and interact with people at the grassroots.

“And then, explain things to them; so that we can stop the restiveness that we are witnessing in many zones of the country.

“So, my going to creeks to meet the traditional rulers and ex-agitators was in the interest of not just the security of the region but the peace of the region.

“And by implication, to ensure that critical infrastructure that can affect the economy of the nation were not tampered with; I think it was a step in the right direction,’’ he said.(NAN)

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5000 LAGOSIANS GET FREE HEALTH INSURANCE ON SANWO-OLU’S BIRTHDAY

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Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu
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No fewer than 5000 Lagosians are to be enrolled in the Ilera Eko Social Health Plan – courtesy of the Lagos State Executive Council.

The gesture is to celebrate Governor Sanwo-Olu’s 57th birthday on June 25 and in the spirit of his compassion for the indigent and vulnerable.

Beneficiaries will have access to quality health care services and drugs under the ILERA EKO Standard Plan at no cost to them.

Nominees will be selected from the Lagos State Social Protection Register. An equal number of the 5000 eligible beneficiaries are to be selected from the five IBILE divisions of the State and will enjoy Universal Health Coverage.

These beneficiaries have been identified using a multi-dimensional poverty index tool, which includes the poverty means-testing to ensure accuracy, reliability and validity of the data generated.

ILERA EKO is the State Social Health Insurance Plan managed by Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA), which offers the basic minimum health plan that provides quality and affordable healthcare for all Lagos residents, especially the middle and low-income earners as well as the vulnerable.

Services on the Plan include: General consultations; Specialist Consultations; Management of uncomplicated chronic diseases (Diabetes, Hypertension, Asthma); Maternal and Newborn Care; Normal Delivery and Caesarean Section; Dental Care (with Composite filling) and Eye Care, including glasses.

There are also minor and major surgeries; laboratory tests and scans; HIV/TB Testing services; Emergency Health Services; Cancer Care and the provision of prescribed drugs.

A policy cycle under the ILERA EKO Health Insurance Plan runs for 12 calendar months in which an enrolee’s policy is due for renewal before the 25th day of the 12th month to enable such subscribers have access to care the next month (Start of renewed policy cycle).

The selected beneficiaries will commence access to care from July 1, 2022.

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Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Wife remanded as UK Court denies them bail

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Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife
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An Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court in the United Kingdom did not grant bail to Ike Ekweremadu, former Deputy Senate President, and Beatrice, his wife, who were apprehended over attempted harvesting of organs.

It was gathered that the Nigerian couple was detained by the Metropolitan Police when they tried harvesting an unnamed child’s organs.

When the Senator was arraigned on Thursday, the court refused to grant him bail but ordered that he should be remanded till July 7

The Metropolitan Police while confirming the arrest said in a statement that the pair were charged to court on Thursday following an investigation by the police’ specialist crime team.

“Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, 55 (10.9.66) of Nigeria is charged with conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting,” the statement read.

“Ike Ekweremadu, 60 (12.05.62) of Nigeria is charged with conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting.

They have both been remanded in custody and will appear at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court later today.

“A child has been safeguarded and we are working closely with partners on continued support.”

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Conditional Cash Transfer: Lagos flags off distribution of ATM card, activation pins

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Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu
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Lagos State Government on Thursday flags off distribution of ATM cards and activation pins to beneficiaries in continuation of conditional cash transfer programme.

Speaking at the event which took place at Agege Local Government, Agege, Lagos, Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Hon.Mrs. Yetunde Arobieke, appreciated the Federal Government through the National Cash Transfer Office(NCTO), under the Office of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHADMSD), who has the mandate to develop humanitarian policies, provide effective co-ordination of national and International Humanitarian interventions, ensure strategic disaster mitigation, preparedness and response and manage the formulation and implementation affair, focused social inclusion and protection program in Nigeria.

She recalled that she was elated that CCT beneficiaries in Lagos State have received the bi-monthly cash stipends from the programme and have been availed with the much needed capacity skills through the Savings and Group Mobilisation (SGM) training, which have been in no small measure of immense benefits to their livelihood, which culminated in the result of the success stories that have been shared across the targeted LGAs /LCDAs.

“It would be recalled that the Federal Government in partnership with the World Bank, established National Social Safety Nets Project (NASSP), have played a pivotal role to help end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity with a view to ameliorate the lives of the citizenry. The NASSP Project Development Objective (PDO), is to provide access to targeted transfers to poor and vulnerable households under an expanded National Social Safety nets system”, Arobieke said.

She further maintained that the National Cash Transfer Office under NASSP, was given the mandate to implement the Federal Government conditional cash transfer, also known as Household Uplifting Programme.

“The programme since inception has successfully paid beneficiaries via transparent and accountable means that enables the NASSPS programme pay beneficiaries at their doorstep through Payment Service Provisions (PSP)”, Arobieke said.

She also acknowledged the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari and the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for being a father of the nation and as well as a proactive governor for putting the programme in place with his audacious vision of lifting 100 million people out of the poverty net in Nigeria .

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