The Chairman of the South East Governors Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, has warned that the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) is trying to push Igbo people into another civil war.
The Governor made the assertion during a meeting between South-East Governors, the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndi-Igbo and the Igbo community with Governor Nyesom Wike in Port Harcourt on Sunday.
Kelvin Ebiri Special Assistant (Media) to Wike said the meeting was convened in reaction to the rumours that the Governor has been chasing Igbo people out of Rivers State in the wake of Oyigbo crisis.
Umahi who said the Igbo leaders were in Rivers State to ascertain the veracity of the news circulating in the social media over alleged killing of Igbo people living in the State, said their findings prove prove that the claim is not true.
Umahi warned Igbo people to be wary of IPOB as the group was bent on instigating another civil war that will result in the murder of Igbo people.
The governor said he finds it nauseating that IPOB could go to Benue and Rivers State to foist its flag and claim the territories belong to the Igbo people.
According to him, Igbo leadership are opposed to this stance by IPOB.
Umahi, who revealed that he has huge investment in Rivers State, urged Igbos living in the State to respect the Government and people of Rivers State in order to continue to live and do business in the State peaceful.
According to him, Ndi-Igbos cannot support any form of criminality.
Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, has been accused of refusing to pay a Lebanese contractor and Managing Director of Maj Global Construction Company Ltd, Michel Abboud, of the sum of N726 million contract settlement.
The contract title “Remodelling and Rehabilitation of Government House Structures” was awarded to the company on February 3, 2016, at the sum of N1.4 billion.
The company was asked to execute the project without advance payment or mobilisation fees following the assurance by the governor that the money would be paid upon completion of the project.
SaharaReporters learned that the company, which has been operating in the country for over 17 years, executed and delivered the project according to the contract.
A valuation of the job done was said to have been conducted by a consultant company, Reetek Consultanting Ltd, which brought a new bill of quantity in variation with the original design in the contract.
However, the valuation ought to have been conducted by another consulting firm, Design Age Consult, which was appointed to oversee the project to raise a certificate of payment.
After the valuation of the work, the remaining payment ought to be about N1 billion. Still, the consultant in connivance with the governor allegedly recommended the payment of N419 million without giving any reason or explanation.
Findings show that most of the work done by the company was deliberately omitted in the recommendation. Also, out of the recommended amount for payment by the consultant, only the sum of N300 million was paid into the company’s account.
“Despite that, we continued working and achieved other jobs in the contract, and we kept doing maintenance work to the government house which cost us four million a month,” said the managing director of the company.
According to a copy of the certificate of due process with contract Ref. No KGS /GHA/DG/APPT/VOL 1.16/ 005P14 dated March 28 2018, the sum of N1.2 billion total contract sum and N419 million was the amount the company was entitled to.
Efforts by the company to request for the payment of the balance of N726 million had been turned down as the governor allegedly instructed the security not to allow the company’s manager to enter the government house.
In a letter addressed to the governor by the company’s managing director, Michel Abboud, dated June 4, 2020, he appealed for the payment of the balance to enable him to settle the outstanding debt of the suppliers and subcontractors.
Abboud also called upon President Muhammadu Buhari and other well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the governor to pay him his money, adding that he has been questioned by different security and anti-graft agencies following complaints by the suppliers he was owing.
The contractor also accused the governor of blocking his mobile number to prevent him from reaching him on the phone.
He said he went to the private house of Governor Bello in Abuja but was denied access by armed security agents which made him stay put in front of the house from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm for one week.
Abboud said the action of the governor had worsened his health condition which has now left him with half paralysis and trauma.
“Even the governor used to come by himself and say do this job, and that he was in control of everything in this government. I have many witnesses to this. As I am talking to you now I feel like crying, but I am trying to hold my emotions,” he said.
“For three years now, I cannot get a small job because nobody believes me that the Kogi State government has not given me money. I received phone calls from the police, EFCC, ICPC and DSS because I owe workers and people who made the supplies for the job.
“I am calling on everybody in Nigeria to please intervene and prevail on the governor to pay me my balance. Mr President, I am begging you. First Lady, please come to my aid.”
When SaharaReporters contacted the Kogi State Commissioner for Information, Kingsley Fanwo for comment, he confirmed the execution of the contract. Still, he denied the allegation that the contractor was being owed N726 million.
He said the contractor last month claimed that he was being owed N400 million, but he was told that he would only be paid 100 million.
Fanwo added that there was no contract documents or certificate to substantiate his claims, adding that the contractor had refused to come forward to support his allegations with documented evidence.
“But there should be certificates and documents but nothing like that between the state government and him except the one we know that we are owing to him which is N100 million,” Fanwo said.
“We asked him to come forward with a claim of N400 million. Instead of coming forward now, he is rushing to the media to blackmail the state government. If he goes ahead to blackmail the state government now, we have no alternative than to seek redress to ensure that our integrity is well protected.”
The Biafra Nations League, BNL, has called on the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, to conduct a referendum in the State to be sure if the people want Biafra.
Dismissing Wike’s claim that the Rivers State people are not part of the Biafra struggle, BNL leader reminded the Governor that it was his (Wike) Ikwerre brothers that championed the pro-Biafra protests in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
He added that it was unfortunate that most of the protesters were allegedly shot by soldiers.
“We challenge the government to conduct a referendum and let’s see if it is just the Igbo that wants Biafra,” he said.
Prince Chimezie Richard, national leader of the group said this after a meeting with Ikwerre youths in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Sunday.
They further launched a verbal attack on the delegation recently dispatched to the South East by President Muhammadu Buhari, led by his Chief of Staff.
The secessionist group said the visit to the South East cannot end agitation for Biafra.
He urged Southeasterners not to be carried away by the Presidential delegation to the region, adding that Governors and others present in the meeting do not command respect in the region.
The group wondered why the President will be sending representatives but cannot visit the region himself.
He dismissed endorsement of Igbo Presidency by some groups that were invited to the Enugu Government House meeting.
#EndSARS VIOLENCE: How to secure S-West, avert recurrence —Govs, monarchs, ministers, others.
GOVERNORS, traditional rulers, ministers from the South-West geo-political zone, some security chiefs, and a representative of President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, took a critical look at the destruction that trailed the #EndSARS protests in the region, especially Lagos, and vowed that it must never be allowed to recur.
Fingering poverty, hunger, gross unemployment, faulty political structure, abandonment of fiscal federalism, politicians’ use of thugs and monetisation of elections, among others, as some of the reasons for the unimaginable violence witnessed during the protests, they said genuine efforts must be made to address these issues urgently.
The leaders spoke after watching a four-minute video of the carnage in Lagos, presented by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, during a stakeholders’ meeting at the State House, Alausa, yesterday.
The four-hour meeting attended by Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Professor Ibrahin Gambari, had in attendance Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde; Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu; Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun; and Osun State Governor, Gboyega Oyetola.
Some of the ministers present at the meeting include: Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Raji Fashola, SAN; Minister of Sports, Youths and Development, Sunday Dare; Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola; Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Minister of Health, state, Dr. Olorunmbe Mamora; Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo; Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite; and Minister of State, Niger-Delta, Tayo Alasoadura; the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu.
The monarchs at the meeting were Ooni of Ife, Enitan Ogunwusi; Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi; Olubadan of Ibadan; Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu; Oba Saliu Adetunji; Olugbo of Ugbo, Oba Akinruntan Obateru; Ataoja of Osogbo; Ayangburen of Ikorodu, Oba Adewale Sotobi; Orangun of Ila, Oba Adedeji Oyedotun; Alake of Egbaland, Oba Gbadebo; Alawe of Ilawe, Oba Adebanji Alabi; and Olu of Ilaro, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle, among others.
The security chiefs included Inspector General of Police, Muhammadu Adamu and Director-General, Department of State Service, DSS.
THE Academic Staff Union of Universities has said the University Transparency Accountability Solution can be ready in three weeks if the Federal Government is committed.
Last week, the FG had told ASUU to transit to Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System pending when UTAS would be ready for use.
However, in an interview with The PUNCH, ASUU President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, said there was no need to transit to IPPIS since UTAS could be ready in at most three weeks if government was sincere.
“What is left for UTAS to pass integrity test is what we have started with National Information Technology Development Agency; we have submitted documents to NITDA.
“If government demonstrates sufficient goodwill and support, we can put the final stage behind us as a matter of weeks, maybe two to three weeks at most. It is the goodwill, commitment that we are now looking for.
“Rather than focusing on that, government is insisting that there is a transition; transition for how many weeks, how many months? This last week, they still paid some of our members who are not on IPPIS. So, what platform did they use?
“We have been telling them, use the platform you have been using to pay people; why the insistence on IPPIS? That is the reason we are saying there is a hidden agenda about IPPIS.
“At the appropriate time, we will expose those who are behind it. We have submitted every document, except if they want to sit on the documents. If they don’t want to sit on the documents why are they saying we should go back to IPPIS,” Ogunyemi queried,
While reacting to the issue of the N30bn Earned Academic Allowance offered by the FG which ASUU said it would be for its members alone, Ogunyemi explained that the union negotiated for ASUU not for other unions.
He added that it was illogical for the government to say other unions would benefit from it.