Barely two weeks to the expiration of the first term and inauguration of the second term of Delta state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, the information commissioner, Patrick Ukah has been enmeshed in series of frauds and corrupt practices running into several millions of naira belonging to his ministry.
Our correspondent reliably gathered that the embattled information commissioner, used the state owned Delta Broadcasting Service, Asaba and Warri as well as the state owned Newspapers, The Pointer to loot millions of naira from the coffers of the ministry through frivolous contracts he was said to have awarded to some of his cronies without any traceable addresses of such contractors.
HardReporters crime correspondent in Lagos, who just returned from Delta state capital, Asaba, Monday, on a fact finding mission to the state owned media houses, gathered that the state information commissioner, had lied in some official documents in his hand over note presented to the state transition committee.
In the documents, according to an impeccable source close to the transition committee, Ukah, lied that he purchased eight cameras at the cost of N18,721,738.00 for Delta Broadcasting Service, Asaba and Warri, purchased some equipment for Delta Broadcasting Service, Asaba and Warri at the cost of N9,654,750.00, repaired the FM coxial feeder line at Delta Broadcasting Service, Warri at the cost of N16,620,000.00, purchased some equipment for Delta Broadcasting Service at N11,553,750.00.
In the documents, Ukah, also lied to have carried out the repairs of the back-up transmitters at Delta Broadcasting Service, Asaba, Ubulu-Uku and Warri at the cost of N43,000,000.00, Mast tensioning, painting and repairs of Delta Broadcasting Service, Asaba at the cost of N11,150,000.00, installation of antenna and repairs of TV transmitters at the cost of N57,240,000.00, brief to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on the 2017 flood disaster in Delta Broadcasting Service, Asaba and restoration of the station back to air at the cost of N17,000,000.00, repairs of faulty back up transmitters at Delta Broadcasting Service, Asaba, Ubulu-Uku and Warri at the cost of N68,380,000.00.
According to reliable sources at the state ministry of information, the documents which is full of discrepancies and fraudulent are currently generating controversy as there are nothing is on ground to show that actually such huge amount running into several millions of naira was expended on the state owned media houses as been claimed by the information commissioner.
A senior director at the Ministry of Information who pleaded for anonymity confided in our correspondent that the information commissioner is currently been investigated by the transition committee.
“As we talk the Delta state transition committee has commenced investigation of the state information commissioner, Patrick Ukah, over his bogus claims made. The documents show that a huge fraud, corruption and sharp practices was carried out by the information commissioner. How can you purchase eight camera for N18.7 million.?
“Our check revealed that each camera, Sony Digital HXR-NX 100 camera, the commissioner claimed to have bought at over N2 million is actually sold for less that N600,000.00. How can you say you repaired FM coxial feeder line at N16,620,000.00, back-up transmitters at N43,000,000.00, mast tensioning, painting and repairs at N11,150,000.00.
“How can you say provision and installation of antenna and repairs of TV transmitters cost you N57,240,000.00, to brief governor Ifeanyi Okowa alone on the 2017 flood disaster in Delta Broadcasting Service, Asaba and restoration of the station back to air cost you N17,000,000.00, repairs of faulty back up transmitters cost you N68,380,000.00.
“The question is how much will it cost to purchase a new transmitter that Ukah has used all these millions of naira to carry out only repairs on these transmitters. The stations can not boast of Outside Broadcast Vans, the staff are not working in a conducive environment, no good equipment and tools to work with, yet Ukah, was lavishing all this millions of naira on frivolous things that have no positive impact on the stations.”, the director said.
Some of the staff of the two state owned media houses in Asaba and Warri who spoke with our correspondent under the condition of anonymity, lamented the current state of the two stations, which they described as a state of “comatose” saying that four years have gone, yet no succour for the near moribund Delta Broadcasting Service (DBS), Asaba, (DRTV), Warri and the Pointer Newspapers, Asaba.
“It is a big shame to an oil rich state like Delta that has always topped the lists of highest receipt of federal monthly allocations running into hundreds of billions of naira with nothing to show.
Times without number we have demands for a more better working environment and equipment, but the state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa and the state commissioner for information, Patrick Ukah, have vehemently refused to pay attention to our demands.
“The way and manner governor Ifeanyi Okowa and the information commissioner, Patrick Ukah have neglected and abandoned the state owned media houses is so worrisome and you will be shocked how the governor and the commissioner waste millions of naira on private owned media houses for live coverage of events while leaving the two state owned media houses to go into extinction.
“The two stations can not boast of Outside Broadcast Vans (O.B Vans) used for live events, but rather will spend millions to hire private owned media houses for live coverage of events in the state. After four years, the government media houses are still in comatose, still in shambles, still in slumber and horrible working condition, you see us staff complaining here and there, suffering from bad working environment, what a big shame and disgrace to an oil rich state like Delta.
“Is this not shocking to hear that a whole DBS, Asaba and Warri still go out to hire cameras to carry out their official duties. In the News department, a full broadcasting outfit like DBS, Asaba, and Warri, there are no vehicles, studios in a very terrible and disarray state where cut and nail jobs are carried out and the governor and the commissioner are not bothered. The state government can not beat its chest and tell Deltans that actually they really mean well for these media houses.” one of the staff lamented.
Another senior staff of the station in Warri who does not want her name mentioned stated that “The equipment been used in DRTV in Warri are now obsolete compared to the current modern standard of broadcasting. A visit to AIT, Channels, and Silver Bird Television Stations in Lagos , you will agree with me that Deltans deserve more than a befitting media houses looking at the monthly federal allocation accruing to the oil rich Delta state. The Pointer Newspapers, DBS Asaba and DRTV Warri are gradually going into extinction.
“It is a big shame that for a state like Delta blessed with enormous human and material resources, cut and nail works are still been carried out in its TV and Radio stations even the Pointer Newspapers and the workers work in a very terrible environment, what about the several days the radio station will go off the air and upon all of these, Okowa and Ukah feel unconcerned.
“It beats ones imagination if actually the Okowa government really knows all what dissemination of information is all about or the vital roles of government owned media. On August 27, 2018, Delta state clocked 27 years and in this digital and computer age, the state cannot boast of standard media houses to showcase its activities, what a big shame and disgrace.
“What a disgrace and big shame to Ukah, when Deltans were expecting that his appointment would at least bring succour and face lift to the state owned media houses, after four years in office the state of the POINTER Newspapers, DBS, Asaba and DRTV Warri have become worst. Every year millions of naira is budgeted for the three media houses, yet the failed and inexperienced commissioner, Ukah, cannot give the stations a life line.”
When our correspondent visited the state information commissioner, Patrick Ukah, in his office along Summit road, Asaba before departure to Lagos, Ukah, was not on seat as he was said to have traveled to Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital for an AGM meeting and when calls and test messages were sent to the information commissioner, there was response as at press time.
- SOURCE: HardReporters
LAGOS State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode yesterday spoke of fulfilling his administration’s cardinal promises of bringing government closer to the people as he inaugurated some projects in Ikotun-Igando Local Council Development Area.
The inaugurated projects were the Agric Access Road at Egan and the 500-seater Lagos Theatre at Igando. He launched the construction of a bridge linking Egan with Ayobo.
He said the road would address gross infrastructural deficit, flood and erosion in the area
The governor said: “I’m pleased to see that our commitment to make our state globally competitive has been realised.
“We’ve not only prioritised renewal and development of road infrastructure, but we have done so using an all-inclusive approach that has touched rural and urban areas.
“In building this road, we took cognisance of the need to make commuting stress-free for pedestrians and motorists with wider roads and walkways. We have tackled flood by providing covered drains. We have put in place street lights that will guarantee added safety and security for road users.
“By this action, we are providing critical and needed infrastructure, as well as reciprocating the support our government has enjoyed from this constituency in the last four years’’.
The governor said the inauguration of the theatre was in accord with “our promise to create a new economy around tourism, hospitality, entertainment and sports.
“This theatre is one of the five built under this administration in line with our project T.H.E.S.E. This project seeks to engage our active and creative youths, create employment around the entertainment, arts and culture sector, thereby boosting the economy.
“The other theatres are located in Badagry, Epe, Ikorodu and Ikeja’’.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday, told Justice Rilwan Aikwa, of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, how Muhammed Belgore, a governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2011 Kwara State gubernatorial election, disbursed a sum of N126,500,000.
The money disbursed to the Kwara Senatorial Districts was out of the alleged N450, 000, 000 paid by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke.
The prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, asked Belgore, under cross-examination, if he gave any written instructions to disburse the money the bank was keeping on his behalf to which he replied: “It is true I did not have any written instructions for the disbursements.”
Consequently, Oyedepo put it to Belgore that he disbursed the sum of over N126,500,000 to various beneficiaries.
He then stated that “Mr. Zikrullah Balogun, your Personal Assistant, made several disbursements on your instructions and received in cash N80,000,000; Mr. Sheriff Shagaya received N50,000,000; Mr. Isa Beau received in cash N61,656,000.
“Mrs. Shola Adeoti received in cash N102,298,000; Mr Iyola Oyedepo received in cash N9,574, 000 and Senator Sulaiman Ajadi received in cash the sum of N19,689,000.”
Justice Aikawa adjourned the case to June 17, 2019 for continuation of cross-examination.
US The United States embassy in Lagos and South Energyx Nigeria Limited have signed an agreement for the acquisition of a site at the Eko Atlantic City in Victoria Island, Lagos. The land is to be used for the building of a new American consulate office. At the signing ceremony on Wednesday, John Bray, the US consul general, said the acquisition will provide opportunities for economic growth and development in Lagos. “Eko Atlantic was selected for its world-class infrastructure. Purchase of land for a new Consulate General will ensure we can continue to work with Nigerians to provide opportunities for economic growth and development in Lagos,” he said. “The United States is proud to be participating in Eko Atlantic’s growth as part of our commitment to further enhance and strengthen the cooperation between the United States of America and Nigeria,” he said. Below are some pictures from the ceremony:to relocate Consulate to Eko Atlantic City
The United States embassy in Lagos and South Energyx Nigeria Limited have signed an agreement for the acquisition of a site at the Eko Atlantic City in Victoria Island, Lagos.
The land is to be used for the building of a new American consulate office.
At the signing ceremony on Wednesday, John Bray, the US consul general, said the acquisition will provide opportunities for economic growth and development in Lagos.
“Eko Atlantic was selected for its world-class infrastructure. Purchase of land for a new Consulate General will ensure we can continue to work with Nigerians to provide opportunities for economic growth and development in Lagos,” he said.
“The United States is proud to be participating in Eko Atlantic’s growth as part of our commitment to further enhance and strengthen the cooperation between the United States of America and Nigeria,” he said.
Below are some pictures from the ceremony:
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Lagos Sector Command, says defaulting motorists run the risk of being fined N10, 000 as it begins a special patrol code-named “Operation Show Your Driver’s Licence” on Monday.
The State Sector Commander, Mr Hyginus Omeje, made this known in a statement on Wednesday, signed by the Sector’s Head of Public Education, Superintendent Route Commander (SRC) Florence Edor.
Omeje said that the two-week special patrol was aimed at reducing the high incidents of motorists driving without valid driver’s licence in the state, as most motorists who apply for licence never care to go back to the licensing offices to collect their permanent licence.
“We are starting our patrol operation by May 20, as we have 64,468 uncollected permanent driver’s licence across the state,” he said.
The sector commander expressed dissatisfaction over the attitude of some motorists driving without valid licence.
According to him, it is the only legal document that permits anyone to drive on Nigerian roads.
He said that if a defaulter could not produce his licence within 24 hours, he is liable to a fine.
Nigerian-American actress and comedian, Uzo Aduba, has been cast as Shirley Chisholm in new FX limited television series, ‘Mrs America’.
Aduba, an Emmy award winner, popularly known for her role as Suzanne ‘Crazy Eyes’ Warren on NetFlix’s ‘Orange is the New Black’, will play the Civil Rights icon in an upcoming nine-part series about the Equal Rights Act.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in an Instagram post @uzoaduba, Aduba confirmed that she will play the politician, author and first black woman to be elected to US Congress, Shirley Chisholm.
She shared a tweet showing her fellow cast members with the caption, “Telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Excited to share.”
The series will also star Cate Blanchett and will focus on several American female figures and the fight to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, which proposed that civil rights not be determined on the basis of sex.
’Mrs. America’ tells the story of the movement to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), and the unexpected backlash led by a conservative woman named Phyllis Schlafly, played by Blanchett.
Through the eyes of the women of that era, the series explores how one of the toughest battlegrounds in the culture wars of the 70s helped give rise to the Moral Majority.
The series will also star Rose Byrne as Gloria Steinem, Ari Graynor as Brenda Feigen-Fasteau, Melanie Lynskey, who will play Rosemary Thomson, James Marsden as Phil Carne and Sarah Paulson as Alice.
NAN reports that ‘Mrs America’ will premiere as a 9-episode series on FX. The show’s exact premiere date is yet to be announced.
Aduba made her Broadway debut in 2007, starring in ‘Coram Boy’ and currently holds two Emmy awards, five SAG awards and the Critic’s Choice Award.
The senate committee on banking, insurance and other financial institutions has approved of a second term for Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
While screening Emefiele on Wednesday, members of the committee dismissed the allegations of stolen N500 billion at the apex bank.
Rafiu Ibrahim, its chairman, said the allegations were targeted at “bringing you (Emefiele) down because you are a good person”.
Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari nominated Emefiele for a second term.
During the screening, the committee expressed satisfaction over Emefiele’s first tenure at the CBN.
According to Ibrahim, “I do not have any question for the Governor. I am overwhelmed. I wish you well and pray for you. May God continue to guide you.
“Now, we know the reason why there are some videos on social media because in Nigeria, once you are a good person, some people will always try to bring you down. We will expeditiously take a report to the chamber for consideration. You can take a bow.”
Kurfi Umaru representing Katsina central also commended the CBN governor for “a job well done.”
“Let me start by congratulating the governor for his second term and also congratulate you for your article presentation. I commend you for a job well done,” he said.
Philip Aduda from FCT said: “Mine is to wish you well and to pray to God almighty to grant you wisdom so that you can put the economy of this county on a pedestal of hope and prosperity. Congratulations.”
EMEFIELE: VERY TOUGH ROAD AHEAD
In his remarks, the Emefiele said the apex bank will continue to do its best, admitting, however, that “the road ahead is still very tough.”
He said Nigeria has workable policies but “implementation has been neglected because we see sabotaged activities.”
“CBN will ensure that those who seek to undermine the policies of Nigeria will be brought to book. Pray for us because the road ahead is tough,” he said.
“On Agriculture, the credit should go to the President. It was what he said ‘eat what we produce’, that birth the anchor borrowers programme.
“We have started looking at Palm oil. The price of a barrel of palm oil is more than a barrel of crude oil. We will grow that market again. After palm oil, we will focus on cocoa in the south-west.”