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NDDC: POLICY ALERT CHIDES AKWA IBOM APC

NDDC: Policy Alert Chides Akwa Ibom APC

UYO/AKWA IBOM STATE – Policy Alert, a non-governmental organisation working for social, economic and environmental justice in the Niger Delta region, has described the recent call by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to build a secretariat for the party as “self-serving, uncharitable, and preposterous.”

In a statement released this morning and signed by the organisation’s Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Officer, Nneka Luke, the organisation asked the Interim Administrator of the NDDC, Barr. Effiong Akwa, to resist the temptation to misuse his office as a result of partisan pressures.

The statement read: “The NDDC was established to facilitate speedy, equitable and sustainable development of the Niger Delta region in the face of the region’s peculiar ecological characteristics and the social and environmental injustices that have trailed oil and gas production in the Niger Delta over the years. However, in the last twenty years of its existence, the Commission has failed woefully to fulfill this mandate, a situation worsened by recent corruption scandals. We therefore find it self-serving, uncharitable, and preposterous for the Akwa Ibom State chapter of the ruling APC to ask the Interim Administrator to “utilize his office to remodel the party secretariat.” This is the kind of rotten, fraudulent and dangerously partisan thinking that has institutionalized corruption at the Commission and undermined its efficiency over the years.

“We call on the Interim Administrator to resist the temptation to sacrifice the mandate of the Commission and the development of Niger Delta citizens on the altar of partisan sentiments. What we expect from stakeholders including political parties at this time is to support the Interim Administration with ideas to improve the transparency, accountability, and efficiency of the Commission, rather than ideas that will reinforce the corrupt and inefficient status quo” the statement continued.

Policy Alert observed that transparency and accountability in the management of resources accruing to the agency is of great importance to citizens of the Niger Delta, and called on the NDDC to immediately begin publishing a quarterly expenditure report and details of all awarded and implemented contracts in machine-readable format on a publicly accessible portal. The organization reminded Akwa that using public funds meant for development of the region to satisfy partisan interests would amount to abuse of office and a violation of the oath he took to deliver on the core mandate of the agency, adding that Nigerian citizens are watching.

The statement from Policy Alert came on the heels of media reports of a stakeholders meeting of the APC in Akwa Ibom State last Sunday where the state chairman of the party called on “the sole administrator of the interventionist agency to utilize his office to remodel the party secretariat.”

CSN TASKS MEDIA PRACTITIONERS ON BALANCE REPORTAGE

CSN TASKS MEDIA PRACTITIONERS ON BALANCE REPORTAGE AS WATCHDOGS

Mary Ekere, Benin

With the aim of shaping and balancing the narratives on media reporting of migration and its policies, the Civil Society Network on Migration and Development has organized a capacity building workshop for media agencies.

The Society expressed that the media which is known for making the masses see what they want them to see, ought to balance their reports on migration and the discourse surrounding it.

They upheld that migration is far off what the media coloured as evil thus, the need for them to make efforts toward verifying their data, aim at accurate presentation in order to educate the public that “migration is for the benefit of all”.

The workshop which was a two-day event, 8th and 9th April, 2021 was held at Vichi Gates Hotel and Suites, Benin city.

It was funded by the European Union, EU within the framework of the European Union – International Organisation for Migration, EU-IOM union migrants protection and reintegration in Nigeria.

Affirming that the media plays an important role in disseminating migration narrative to the populace with an agreement on their part, that the narrative may not be balanced, the Chief of Mission, International Organisation for Migration, Celestin Frantz said the essence of the Workshop was to showcase the positive perspective of migration and to discuss the role that the media plays, in having a balanced conversation and reportage.

Frantz through his Representative, Project Officer, Migration Data and Policy, Adebanke Ogun expressed optimism that with the two days Capacity Building Workshop, media agencies will understand migration dynamic, the trends, use of right terminologies and the better way of communicating migration in Nigeria and in the globe whilst coming to terms with the IOM’s mission statements, ‘Migration for the benefits of all’.

Ogun revealed that so far, the project has been undertaken in two other geo-political zones of North-West and South-East with the South-South zone as the third beneficiary of the workshop.

The Coordinator of Civil Society Network on Migration and Development, Nigeria, CSOnetMADE, Emeka Obiezu urged media agencies to ensure that right terminologies are used in reporting issues of migration with emphasis that “no person is illegal but he or she could only make an irregular movement from a home country into a country of destination”.

Also, the Honourable Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, NCFRMI, Basheer Mohammed expected that Journalists will engage the lessons from the workshop in Strengthening their capacity to design more strategy nationally, regionally and globally on media reporting.

The Zonal Coordinator, NCFRMI South South Zone, Innocent Efoghe who represented the Federal Commissioner implored the Practitioners to help shape public perception of migrants, ensure that migrants have equal access to migration while showcasing the responsibilities and consequences of cross border mobility, settlement and protection.

Appreciating participants at the close of the Workshop, the National Program Officer of International Organisation for Migration, Ukamaka Osigwe said she is optimistic that with the training afforded the media community, narratives on migration will be balanced and no longer portrayed from one slant.

Likewise, the Program Officer, Mary Osato while presenting the overview of the workshop said, the realization that the media plays a critical role through their reportage prompted the training and other interfaces with media agencies across various geopolitical zones of the country.

Media participants thanked the partnering organizations for organizing the workshop which has made them better informed hence, pledging to bring to bare, the lessons learnt from the training and ensuring that reports on migration are balanced, factual and accurate with the right terminologies used.

Meanwhile, an evaluation session was held in assessing the level of assimilation whilst, ethical guidelines for reporting of migration was drafted by the participants.

Some activities for day one included “presentation on EU-IOM initiative” undertaken by Adebanke Ogun, “migration and the media” by Osita Osemene and “understanding migration: concepts and definitions” by Emeka Obiezu.

Day two featured “migration trends and dynamics”, “migration governance in Nigeria” and “thematic session for developing the ethical guidelines”.

Representatives of the media drawn from the South South geopolitical zone were, Mary Ekere reporting for Niger Delta Post, Akwa Ibom State, Uko Sam Ebema for Radio Nigeria, Akwa Ibom; Edo State – Adesuwa Ehimuan (FRCN), Andy Egbon(Nigeria Observer), Churchill Okoro (Business Day), Akpomejaro Friday (Plus Tv), Peace Ifidon (Vibes FM); Bayelsa State – Grace Orumieyefa (Radio Bayelsa), Bedford Benjamin (thebreath Tv, online).

Others were, Cross River State – Umo Bassey Edet (NTA Calabar), Maria Ewa (Radio Nigeria), Magdalene Eyoma (CRBC), Delta State – Eunice Emeyazia (Delta Broadcasting Service), Akpokona Omafuaire (Vanguard Newspaper) and Rivers State – Kome Odhomor (Quest TV) and Farid Suleiman (NTA Port Harcourt).

POOR MATERNAL MEDICINE INCREASES MATERNAL DEATH

POOR QUALITY MATERNAL MEDICINES: THE SLIPPERY SLOPE TO MATERNAL DEATHS IN NIGERIA

Complications due to pregnancy are amongst the leading causes of maternal deaths worldwide. In Nigeria, the risk of dying during pregnancy and childbirth for Nigerian women is high compared to elsewhere in the world. In this report published by the Nigeria Health Watch, Olajide Adelana, unravels the impact of sub-standard and poor quality medicines on maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality in Nigeria.

By Olajide Adelana

Balarabe Danladi Zakariya, a resident of Gabari, Kano State thinks he is jinxed and the reason is not far-fetched. He was married twice and lost both his wives in childbirth. His first marriage had a sweet beginning until his wife, Lami, died of breast cancer months after giving birth to their first child.

Zakariya found love again and married Hannatu, but that marriage was also short-lived. Hannatu got pregnant and died due to complications from childbirth one short year after their marriage.

Zakariya recounts painfully the harrowing conditions around his second wife’s death.

“I rushed my wife to a nearby hospital when she went into labour few days to the due date. At the hospital, I was told to fetch her hospital bag and also pay for bed space. I went to get the bag, made the payment and quickly ran back to the waiting area.

“A few minutes, the doctor called me to his office to inform me of how they tried to save her but could not. He said she died due to incessant bleeding and high blood pressure. The nurse told me that they gave her a lot of injections, but the bleeding was too much and did not stop. bleeding,” Zakariya said with tears rolling down his cheeks.

Zakariya recounts painfully the harrowing conditions around his second wife’s death. Photo Credit: Nigeria Health Watch

Somehow, Zakariya now a single father, cannot seem to stop blaming himself for his wife’s death.

Described as death that occurs during pregnancy or childbirth or within 42 days after giving birth: maternal mortality, is still disproportionately high in Nigeria. Sadly, Hannatu’s death is a statistic in the growing maternal death count in Nigeria with approximately 512 deaths per 100,000 live births recorded in 2018, according to the 2018 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey.

Image Credit: Nigeria Health Watch.

DISAGGREGATING MATERNAL DEATHS

Nigeria, like many low and middle-income countries accounts for some of the highest burdens of maternal deaths. Nigeria accounts for about 20% of global maternal deaths. More women especially aged 15–19 die from pregnancy-related complications. The most common causes of maternal deaths in Nigeria are postpartum haemorrghage, sepsis (infections), and high blood pressure during pregnancy (pre-eclampsia and eclampsia). However, postpartum hemorrhage is the leading cause of maternal deaths accounting for about 25% of all maternal deaths in Nigeria.

Maternal deaths are preventable with the appropriate administration and widespread availability of a core group of medicines, magnesium sulfate, oxytocin and misoprostol, according to a 2012 UN report.

“And this is where the challenge lies for Nigeria”, says Prof. Chimezie Anyakora, Chief Executive Officer, Bloom Public Health, a think tank bridging the gap in public health in Africa. Anyakora has been at the forefront of advocating for improved maternal health and medicines in Nigeria. He believes the enormity of maternal deaths caused by postpartum hemorrhage in Nigeria requires urgent prioritization of strengthened systems that ensure quality maternal medicines during pregnancy and childbirth.

Image Credit: Nigeria Health Watch.

Efforts to reduce maternal mortality by successive governments focused on the provision of physical infrastructure and health workers, with less priority given to the quality of maternal medicines. Additionally, the need to store some of these medicines at the right temperatures, has widened the gap for the proliferation of substandard medicines.

Zainab Abdullahi, a resident of Hausawa Sabon Titi in Kano, had a first-hand experience with substandard oxytocin. Oxytocin is a medication most commonly used in Nigeria for the prevention and treatment of postpartum hemorrhage. She barely survived childbirth after the administration of oxytocin injections which could not stop the excessive bleeding.

“My child died shortly after birth due to unknown reasons. Hours later, I was struggling for my life because I could not stop bleeding. The medical team tried their best. I was given oxytocin injections to stop the bleeding, but it didn’t work. I was in great discomfort and was afraid for my life.” she said.

Quality of Medicines and impact on maternal outcomes
The quality of oxytocin is a global issue. A 2015 survey looking at the quality of life-saving medicines by the United Nations showed that the quality of oxytocin in 10 countries including Nigeria had 64% sample failure. Furthermore, a nationwide study conducted in 2018 showed the prevalence of sub-standard quality oxytocin across the 6 geo-political zones in Nigeria. Approximately, 74.2% of oxytocin injection samples were seen to be substandard at facility levels.

Image Credit: Nigeria Health Watch

“The harmful effect of sub-standard and fake drugs is now an undeniable challenge to the integrity of Nigeria’s public health system. Whether it antimicrobial resistance or maternal mortality, the pharmaceutical ecosystem needs to be overhauled,” says Prof. Busayo Olayinka, a pharmaceutical microbiologist at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

Zakariya recounts painfully the harrowing conditions around his second wife’s death. Photo Credit: Nigeria Health Watch.

These are critical factors that must be considered, says Anyakora. He stressed that interventions in the sector must factor in the dynamics of the pharmaceutical supply chain for environmentally sensitive lifesaving maternal medicines.

While government’s efforts which culminated in the local production of oxytocin injection are commendable, strengthening the whole cold chain system for the procurement, transportation, handling and storage of medicines is a major determinant of the quality of these medicines and it needs to be prioritized across states in Nigeria. In addition, health workers need to be trained on the correct safety protocols for storing and handling maternal medicines.

Rural communities in Nigeria with high maternal death rates due to PPH continue to struggle with storing life-saving maternal medicines like oxytocin at the recommended temperature (between 2 and 8°C). Until this is addressed, and access to quality maternal medicines in Nigeria is prioritised, the stories of Hannatu and Zainab will continue to persist.

This report was originally published by Nigeria Health Watch.

UNHCR LAUNCHES REFUGEE, IDP ZAKAT FUND

UNHCR LAUNCHES REFUGEE AND IDP ZAKAT FUND

…RAISES CONCERN OVER RISING INSECURITY IN NORTHWEST NIGERIA.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has launched a fund for refugee and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in Abuja, recently.

The fund called Refugee and IDP Zakat Fund became necessary amidst growing levels of internal displacement within Nigeria particularly in the north east and north west geo-political zones, Ms. Chansa Kapaya, UNHCR Representative to Nigeria stressed at the launch of the fund.

“We are witnessing a growing level of internal displacement within Nigeria. While the relentless violence by the non-state armed group in north east Nigeria continues to cause mass suffering and displacement in the region, we are also concerned about the critically evolving situation in north west Nigeria, where violence and banditry is aggravating communities, forcing families to flee their homes,” Kapaya said.

Zakat is a religious obligation, ordering all Muslims who meet the necessary criteria to donate a certain portion of wealth each year to charitable causes. The UNHCR through the Refugee and IDP Zakat fund is exploring the willingness and generosity of Nigerians to support the most vulnerable internally displaced families in the country.

“But as displacement situation increases, so too does the willingness and generosity of Nigerians to respond. Undoubtedly, the private sector, including citizens, companies and foundations in Nigeria has a crucial role in assisting vulnerable internally displaced families. My hope is that the launch of this Fund will encourage the Muslim community to give generously to support IDPs in dire need,” Kapaya said in her opening remarks.

The UNHCR Zakat Fund was first established in 2019 and has since assisted millions of people forced to leave their homes due conflicts, and persecution. According to the UNHRC, the Zakat funds will be used to help IDPs improve their livelihoods and provide emergency relief materials such as mattresses, sleeping mats, kitchen set amongst others.

“In 2020, UNHCR’s Islamic Philanthropy programme was able to provide critical assistance to over 2.1 million people in 13 countries. With the vast majority of IDPs in Nigeria being eligible for Zakat, we endeavour, through the Refugee and IDP Zakat Fund, to channel Zakat to help alleviate their suffering.

“The fund does not charge any administrative fees on collection and implementation of Zakat activities. 100 per cent of your contribution goes to those in need. It is a globally trusted, Sharia’ compliant program that offers a most effective vehicle to any donor to channel their Zakat to those who are eligible to receive it,” says Mr. Khaled Khalifa, Senior Advisor on Islamic Philanthropy to UNHCR’s High Commissioner.

As of March 2021, there are 2.9 million internally displaced women, men and children in Nigeria. Currently of the 97.7 million USD funding requirement for UNHCR’s response in Nigeria, only 14 per cent has been funded for the year.

LEGISLATIVE AUTONOMY: AK-PASSAN VOWS TO STAY ON INDEFINITE STRIKE

LEGISLATIVE AUTONOMY: AK-PASSAN VOWS TO STAY ON INDEFINITE STRIKE

The Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASSAN), Akwa Ibom Chapter has vowed to stay on the indefinite strike until the Government hearken to their call and implement the financial autonomy law for State Assemblies passed recently.

Speaking to our reporter earlier today, the Chairman of PASSAN, Akwa Ibom Chapter, Cmd Etinwa Etim said they joined the nation wide strike since last week Tuesday, March 23, 2021 to lend their voices, demanding for the implementation of financial autonomy according to order 10 2020, signed by President Mohammadu Buhari.

“We gave the Government 21 days ultimatum and later 14 days ultimatum, still there was no response from Government. Then we went to National Assembly for a national protest where we shut down the National Assembly seeking for the full implementation of order 10 of Mr. President which empowers the implementation of the autonomy law.

“We decided to give the Government seven days ultimatum, still the Government did not give us any favourable reply.

“We will remain here by this gate till the Government from the centre hearken to our cry,” Cmd Etinwa Etim stressed.

PASSAN Akwa Ibom said several meetings have been convened on the same issue with no positive outcome yet.

PASSAN Chairman, Akwa Ibom went further to say that a committee was set up by Conference of Speakers’ on the issue and the Chief of Staff to Mr. President, Professor Agboola Ibrahim Gambari had ordered Governors’ Forum and Minister of Labour to implement the law in all the states of the Federation within two weeks.

“But we will not rely on that until the Government sit on a round table with PASSAN at the national level and discuss the way forward for the implementation of the law or we will remain at this gate indefinitely.”

Also, the Social Secretary of Akwa Ibom PASSAN, Cmd Otuekong Denis Etim said they are optimistic that the Government will hearken to their call soon. He added that if the Government does not give them favourable response, they will stay on the strike action indefinitely.

It could be recalled that on May 23, 2020, President Buhari signed an Executive Order No. 10 of 2020 which made it mandatory that all states of the federation should include the allocations of both the Legislature and the Judiciary in the first-line charge of their budgets.

According to PASSAN, about 9 states including Lagos and Delta, out of 36 states of the Federation have implemented the Legislative, Judiciary financial autonomy.

 

SEN AKPABIO EMERGES APC POLITICAL LEADER AMIDST CONTROVERSY

SEN AKPABIO EMERGES APC POLITICAL LEADER AMIDST CONTROVERSY

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and former Senator of Akwa Ibom North West, Sen. Godswill Akpabio has emerged the Political Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Akwa Ibom Chapter amidst controvery.

The choice of the former Governor of the State was made during the stakeholders meeting of the party convened earlier today in the state.

Meanwhile, there has been a press release by the State Publicity Secretary of the Care Taker Committee of the party, Mr. Nkereuwem Enyongekere, debunking claims of such meeting as announced at the instant of Captain Sam Ewang, BoT member of the Party in the State.

Read the Press Release:

All Progressives Congress Akwa Ibom State Chapter,
149 Ikot Ekpene Road,
Uyo.

Press Release

Re: APC Stakeholders Meeting purportedly Convened by Group Captain Sam Ewang Today, Sunday, 28th March 2021.

The attention of All Progressives Congress (APC) Akwa Ibom State Chapter has been drawn to a radio announcement calling for a stakeholders meeting of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Akwa Ibom State Chapter today at some location in the state.

The meeting, according to the radio announcement, is at the instance of Group Captain Sam Ewang (RTD) a member of the Board of Trustees of the party. Group Captain Ewang according to the radio announcement claims to derive the powers to hold such meeting from his membership of the BoT.

We wish to state that Group Captain Sam Ewang does not have the powers to announce/circulate notice and to convene a Stakeholders Meeting of APC in the state. The hierarchy of party therefore directs its organs at all levels not attend such meeting as it is a clear breach of the Constitution of the party, an abuse of privelege and an unnecessary affront to the leadership of the party in the state.

APC in Akwa Ibom State is a properly organised party with a firm and very active party leadership structure at every level through which the party has been meeting, organising, mobilising and restrategizing for the many tasks which are to lead the way for the formation of an APC government in Akwa Ibom State in 2023 to give good governance to the suffering populace. This leadership is connected to and recognised by the national leadership of the party and just last week, successfully concluded registration and revalidation of party membership in Akwa Ibom State. That Leadership structure is led by Hon (Dr) Ita Udosen, as State Chairman, APC State
Caretaker Committee with the support and confidence of all party leaders, stakeholders and members in Akwa Ibom State.

For emphasis, we wish to state that Dr Ita Udosen is the only person lawfully empowered to convene a stakeholders meeting through the notice issued by the Secretary of the party to affected stakeholders. For the records and emphasis, Dr Ita Udosen and the party Executive in the state are not aware of any such meeting, no such notice has been issued in accordance with the Constitution of APC and cannot hold except for mischief and confusion which the party will resist including wielding disciplinary actions against the perpetrators.

We concede the right of His Excellency, Group Captain Sam Ewang to convene his personal meetings to advance any political or group interest which meets his approval. But such meeting must not be given inappropriate tag such as “APC Stakeholders Meeting” but must be limited to its true nature as a pressure group meeting to avoid abuse and creating confusion in the party.

On that note, all APC Stakeholders, party leaders, party structures at all levels, members and the general public are hereby put on notice to discountenance the purported stakeholders meeting and act accordingly.

Mr Nkereuwem Enyongekere,
State Publicity Secretary,
CTC
Akwa Ibom State.
March 28, 2021.

A’IBOM: N’DELTA MILITANTS ORDER OIL COYS TO QUIT

A’IBOM: N’DELTA MILITANTS ORDER OIL COYS TO QUIT

War seem to loom in Akwa Ibom State as oil companies operating in the area have been ordered by a militant group under the aegis of ‘Unyekisong Akwa Ibom’ to quit operations in the state.

The Militants issued December,2021 as deadline for relocation of IOCs headquarters with immediate effect from the state over what they described as ‘unwholesome practices’ and ‘atrocities’ in the oil-producing communities.

In a statement signed by its Leader and Assistant Leader, Gen. Dede Udofia, and Major Ibanga Ekang, and made available to Ripples Nigeria, the group expressed disappointment over the State Government’s response to the cries of residents of the host communities whose sources of livelihood, property, and lives have been completely destroyed by the activities of the oil firms.

The group, however, exclude ExxonMobil and Savannah Petroleum from the quit notice but asked other oil firms that have refused to relocate their operational base from the state, implement the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the Nigerian Local Content Law in their employment and contract policies, to vacate the state.

The statement read: “It is sad to note that since Addax, Moni Pulo, Chevron, Century, Oriental Energy, Savannah Petroleum, Total E & P, SEEPCO, AFREN and AMNI, among others, commenced operations in Akwa Ibom territorial waters, they have enjoyed relative peace without any hostilities compared to other oil communities in the Niger Delta region.

“But our people have not derived any substantial benefits from these oil companies, their subsidiaries, and partners. Rather, we have been subjected to unwholesome deprivations and marginalisation.

“The suffering, hopelessness, degradation, and poverty that the oil-producing communities in Akwa Ibom State have been subjected to as a result of their industrial activities since they commenced operations are indeed painful and regrettable.”

PDP FROWNS AT ATTACKS ON GOV ORTOM

PDP FROWNS AT ATTACKS ON GOV ORTOM

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has frown at the several violent attempts on the life of Benue State Gov, Samuel Ortom, describing it as reckless and an assassination attempt.

It is on record that Governor Ortom was attacked earlier on Saturday by suspected herdsmen while visiting a farm in Makurdi.

But he escaped by the whiskers through the aid of his security detail.

Mr Ortom said he ran for “more than one and a half kilometres without stopping” to escape the assault.

“The party calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to put machinery in motion by ordering an immediate manhunt, arrest and prosecution of the assailants and beef up security around the governor,” the PDP said in a statement signed by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan.

“The PDP expresses shock that the assailants trailed Governor Ortom and opened fire on him and his aides along Makurdi/Gboko road, in an attack that by every indication is aimed to assassinate the governor.

“Our party is worried that this brazen attempt at Governor Ortom’s life is coming on the heels of his outspokenness in exposing those allegedly behind the incessant attacks of communities in the state and demanding that the Federal Government to live up to its responsibility on the protection of life and property in the state.

“The PDP fears for the life of Governor Ortom and we urge Nigerians to hold the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration responsible over its failure to take a decisive step to check the escalated insecurity and brazen attacks on innocent Nigerians.

“The PDP however calls on Governor Ortom not to be deterred by the attack but to remain courageous and at alert, at all times while providing leadership to the people of his state.

“The party also calls on the people of Benue State to be calm and vigilant while providing useful information to security agencies to flush bandits and criminal elements out of the state and other parts of the country.”

 

APC HAS STAGE FOUR CANCER -GOV WIKE

APC HAS STAGE FOUR CANCER -GOV WIKE

Gov Wike of Rivers State has raised political dust again by alleging All Progressives Congress (APC) to be cancerous.

He said this recently to BBC Pidgin that he can not leave Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with mere malaria to APC with ‘stage Four’ cancer which is terminal.

“See, let me tell you, the APC has stage four cancer and when doctors say you have stage four cancer, just tell your God that it has happened as you can never survive. That is what the APC has. So it will be impossible for me to defect to catch their cancer.”

Wike said though the PDP has it’s own internal problems, they cannot be compared to the issues facing the APC.

Hear Gov Wike’s reaction on whether he is contemplating leaving PDP for APC:

“Leave for where? I presently have malaria and is it cancer I will go and look for?

“Why are you talking like this? I have malaria that can be treated easily and I will go and look for cancer that will kill me immediately?

“Is the APC a party? A party that has killed Nigerians? No way, I can’t leave the PDP for such a party. Any fight we engage in the PDP is inside the PDP and that is where I will fight. If they like, they injure me there or I injure them but I won’t ever run away. Though I know they cannot injure me.

“That is where we will fight our fight but to leave the PDP that has common malaria for the APC that has cancer, no, it can’t happen.”

His answer to a question on whether he is a corrupt politician, Wike said:

“I will not say I am corrupt but I will say though I am not a perfect man, I like money like every other person. If I don’t have money, how will I pay my children’s school fees? If I don’t have money, how will I pay the bills for my sick mother who is in the hospital?

“Anyone, especially politicians who say they don’t like money are liars. They like money but will come out to say they don’t like money. ”

NDDC BOSS VISITS IMO GOVERNOR, SOLICITS SUPPORT

NDDC BOSS VISITS IMO GOVERNOR, SOLICITS FOR SUPPORT

The Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma, has called on all stakeholders in the Niger Delta to work with the Niger Delta Development Commission in its efforts to develop the region.

Senator Uzodinma was speaking when the Interim Administrator of the interventionist agency, Mr. Efiong Akwa, led a team of the Commission’s directors on a courtesy visit to Government House, Owerri.

The governor lamented that over the years, politics had impeded the delivery of NDDC’s projects and programmes, and advised Niger Deltans not to allow politics and sentiments to slow down the development of Nigerias oil-rich region. He.charged stakeholders to shun politics and embrace good governance. He declared: “The time for politics is over. This is a time for governance.”

Senator Uzodinma lauded President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, for the appointment of Akwa as NDDC Interim Administrator, to oversee the forensic audit, pending the composition of a new board for the Commission.

The governor expressed support for efforts by the NDDC boss to engage with stakeholders, stating that for NDDC to fast-track development in the Niger Delta stakeholders must be ready to work with the Commission and support its programmes.

He decried how politicians sponsored youths to protest against the activities of the NDDC, urging them to stop and allow peace to reign “because development can only take place in an atmosphere of peace.” He added: NDDC is not an ethnic or tribal organization. It was created for the development of the whole Niger Delta region.”

Senator Uzodinma called on NDDC to bring more projects.and programmes in Imo State, saying: “We need intervention from you for our roads, our tertiary institutions, health and the NDDC hostels.” He called on the Commission to furnish the hostel it built for the state university so that students could use the facility in comfort and safety, noting that it was particularly important now in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier, the NDDC Chief Executive Officer told the governor that the Interim Management was meeting with important stakeholders of the Niger Delta region, stating: “This is important, because partnership is key to development.”

The NDDC boss stated: “Partnership is a key aspect in United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It advocates for a shared vision, shared responsibility, shared commitment, as well as shared budgeting process and implementation of development initiatives.

“That was the spirit in fashioning a Master Plan for the Niger Delta, the vision of our shared allegiance to this great region. After so many years of neglect, it is important that, together, we do far more for our people. It is important that we do more for a region which has provided the bulk of Nigerias wealth, and accounted for our rise in the comity of nations.”

He commended the Imo State governor for embarking on many projects which were helping to open up areas with rich agricultural potential. “You are helping to boost the economy of these areas,” he stated, “and helping to improve the living conditions of the people.”

Akwa said that the courtesy visit was both to acknowledge the strategic importance of governors to Niger Delta development, as well as to seek ways in which to forge a stronger alliance with the governments and people.

He remarked: We are determined to continue to make a difference in the Niger Delta region in general, and in Imo State, in particular. We remain committed to providing projects and programmes of enduring quality. To build the Niger Delta is to build ourselves. To make it a better place is to give our people a better place.

The Interim Administrator later handed over keys to four waste disposal trucks to the Imo State Government to assist the government in its efforts to improve the sanitary conditions of the cities in the state.