Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio has directed immediate closure of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC’s) Headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State due to suspected outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement yesterday, its Director of Press, Deworitshe Patricia, Akpabio advised all employees of the commission with symptoms of the disease not to panic, but report to the nearest Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in Port Harcourt for evaluation and treatment.
Specifically, the commission directed all members of staff to self-isolate for two weeks, after the death of acting executive director of finance and administration, Ibanga Bassey Etang.
Etang joined the interventionist agency on October 29, 2019 as Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration of the Interim Management Committee (IMC).
The Guardian learnt that Etang was last seen in the office about two weeks ago before he became sick and died at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH), Port Harcourt.
NDDC employees, who had resumed work yesterday became apprehensive and quickly dispersed when they heard that officials of the NCDC were scheduled to visit the agency.
Management issued a memo ordering immediate closure of the commission’s headquarters for two weeks, while members of staff were enjoined to self- isolate for two weeks and await further management’s directives.
It also requested the Director of Administration to oversee the fumigation and decontamination of the offices and premises during the two weeks shutdown, just as directive that employees should embark on self- isolation has created apprehension among the workers.
Besides, the Niger Delta Rights Advocates (NDRA) described the closure of the NDDC as a plot to divert attention from the probe of N40b allegedly spent within three months by the IMC.
NDRA spokesperson, Darlington Nwauju, said the group was alarmed that after the IMC accused chairmen, Senate and House of Representatives committees on the Niger Delta inserted projects into the NDDC’s 2019 budget.
Meanwhile, Chairman of Asari Toru Council Area of Rivers State, Princewill Odiari, may have died from coronavirus.
It was learnt that Odiari, an ally of Governor Nyesom Wike, died at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital in Port Harcourt.
An associate of the late Odiari who pleaded anonymity explained that he recently took ill and had been undergoing treatment for malaria and typhoid in Buguma, headquarters of the Council Area.
He said as at Wednesday, Odiari’s health deteriorated and he was rushed to the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital where he died yesterday.
Hushpuppi: I Am Ready To Go To Jail If… — Dogara
A former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has said he is ready to go to jail if the All Progressives Congress (APC), Nigeria’s ruling party, can establish any form of links or connection between him and Hushpuppi.
Recall that APC had claimed in a statement issued by its Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, that the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party should be investigated, adding that “at different times, ‘Hushpuppi’ was photographed in Dubai meeting with the PDP’s 2019 presidential candidate, Alh. Atiku Abubakar; former Senate President, Bukola Saraki; former Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; Senator Dino Melaye among other PDP stalwarts.”
However, reacting to the allegation, Dogara who denied any links or connection to the alleged internet fraudster, said he has agreed to waive his rights for trial and ready to go to jail if the APC can prove its allegations.
Dogara wondered why similar allegations were not leveled against some APC Governors, who had appeared in similar photos with an alleged money launderer, Mompha.
The statement entitled, “The fatuous and infantile statement by the smellfungus called Yekini Nabena” reads; “The statement issued by one Yekini Nabena on behalf of the All Progressives Congress (APC) desperately seeking to link Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara to suspected cyber criminals on the basis of a group picture taken at a public event, is to say the least; infantile, rash and fatuous.
“This smellfungus, called Nabena should have known that it is share mindlessness to attempt to execute mischief and blackmail in plain sight before the public some of whom are better informed. Who is that fool that links people to criminal activity simply because they appeared in a group picture at a public event comprising of people from different walks of life?
“If appearing in a group photograph is what Nabena is now using to establish a link or connection to crimes or alleged criminals then why didn’t he issue such a statement in the wake of the arrest of a suspected money launderer by name Ismaila Mustapha, AKA: Mompha whose pictures with notable personalities including some APC Governors are all over the social media? Is Nabena guilty of selective amnesia or share perfidy? Who is Nabena scared of? Who is he trying to fool?
“For the records, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara has agreed to waive his right to a trial and go to jail if Nabena establishes any form of links or connection between him and the alleged cyber criminal before the event where the picture was taken and after the event until now. For Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara, that picture was just another picture among the thousands, if not hundred of thousands of such pictures with Nigerians from all walks of life.
“If the said Nabena is worth his salt, next time he speaks he should speak to issues affecting the welfare of our union which are well known to all discerning Nigerians. Nabena should or ought to know that there is no honour in speaking about group pictures taken at public events when the nation is bleeding and most Nigerian families are struggling and hurting.”
Ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar Distances Self From Hushpuppi
Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has denied having any links with arrested suspected fraudster, Hushpuppi.
Earlier today, the ruling party, APC released a statement in which it urged the EFCC and other security agencies to investigate the links between Hushpuppi and some PDP chieftains. The party in its statement said Hushpuppi has been photographed with Atiku and some other PDP stalwarts like Bukola Saraki, Dino Melaye, and Yakubu Dogara and so they should be investigated to determine if they have any link with Hushpuppi.
Reacting to the statement by APC, Paul Ibe, media aide to the former Vice President, said the photo of Atiku and Hushpuppi making the rounds was a mere photo-op and not at any meeting as is being speculated.
Read the statement from Ibe below:
”It is curious that the All Progressives Congress is mischievously trying to link Atiku Abubakar to the alleged fraudster, Ramon Abbas, AKA Hushpuppi, simply because he was photographed with Atiku at an event where many Nigerians had gathered.
For the avoidance of doubt, it was a mere photo-op and not at any meeting as being ingloriously speculated. We would advise the APC and Mr. Nabena to be very mindful of such senseless statements in the future especially as the case under reference is a subject of litigation in another country.
Had they been more sensitive, they would have come to terms with the reality that the case is a national embarrassment – not something to cheer about for any political blackmail.”
Boko Haram Terrorists Shoot UN Plane Down In Borno
Not less than two civilians including a 5-year-old child were killed and an aid helicopter sent by the United Nations, damaged after Boko Haram fighters shot at it.
It was learnt the plane was shot while approaching Damasak on Thursday.
It was noted that none of the crew members were hurt, but the fatalities and several others who were injured were on ground.
This was made known by UN humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria Edward Kallon .
UN Humanitarian Air Service helicopter was hit by bullets during the attack. No aid workers were on board at the time and crew members are all safe,” Kallon said in a statement.
A UN communication seen by AFP said the aircraft was shot as it approached Damasak and the pilots managed to fly back to regional capital Maiduguri 150 kilometres (90 miles) away.
The memo said the UN was suspending rotational flights for one week “to engage with government partners and conduct new risk assessments”.
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