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Uzodimma Urges Comprehensive Audit of Abandoned Projects in NDDC

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From Marcel Duru & Charity Wins, Owerri
 Imo State governor, Hope Uzodimma has called for a comprehensive audit of all abandoned projects that litter the nooks and crannies of the States that make up the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The governor made the call on Tuesday when he received an audience at the Government House Owerri, the Minister of Niger Delta Development, Engr.

Abubakar Momoh, who came to Imo State on official duty with his key officials.

Apart from the call for a comprehensive audit of all abandoned projects in the Ministry of Niger Delta and NDDC States, Governor Uzodimma further suggested that the Amnesty Programme of the Ministry be strengthened to enable the people, particularly the youths of the region, to have commensurate value from the programme.

Governor Uzodimma requested the Minister to mop up all federal allocations meant for the region and deploy them appropriately to ensure that the area is given what is due and appropriate to it in terms of infrastructure.
He  promised to continue to support and partner with the Ministry of Niger Delta Development, the NDDC and other Agencies under the Ministry, to achieve the expected goals.
He called on the youths of the Nigerian Delta region to desist from vandalising NDDC projects or federal government assets in the region, appealing to the Federal Government to intensify efforts at creating employment and other opportunities that will make life more meaningful for the teeming youths of the region.
Uzodimma challenged the Ministry and the NDDC to take serious interest in the documentation and completion of the abandoned projects in the region, noting that, “where all the abandoned projects are completed the region will be more than 80 per cent developed.”
He expressed delight to receive the Minister and his team in Imo State and commended Engr. Momoh on the changes he has so far initiated in the Ministry since he assumed office.
The Governor however sympathised with the Minister on the shoddy nature some projects were implemented in his Ministry before now as well as the ubiquitous abandonment of projects which the Minister has met on ground on assumption of office, and encouraged him to remain as focused today as he was on assumption of office.
Earlier while informing the Governor on why they were in Imo State, Engr.  Momoh said that they came “to inspect ongoing projects of the Ministry of Niger Delta Development area and the Niger Delta Development Commission and to solicit greater partnership and cooperation of the Governors of the nine States of the region.”
The Minister maintained that “the Ministry of Niger Delta Development and the NDDC are never in competition with the States rather they are in partnership for the progress and development of the region.”
He acknowledged the existence of many challenges, especially in the area of abandoned projects, but promised that his Ministry and the Commission are on course to change the narrative.
The Minister used the opportunity to inform the Governor of the scheduled meeting of the National Council on Niger Delta Affairs that will be held between April 16 and 18, 2024 where the progress and prosperity of Niger Delta Region would be discussed.
Concluding, he thanked the Governor for the good works he is doing in Imo State, commending him, especially, on road infrastructure and other legacy projects.
Engr. Momoh also made particular mention of the ongoing flyover project which the 3R government of Governor Uzodimma has recently embarked upon in Imo State.
The Deputy Governor, Lady Chinyere Ekomaru, the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Cosmas Iwu, the Chief of Staff, Barr. Nnamdi Anyaehie and other top Government functionaries joined the Governor in receiving the minister.
Also present were the Member Representing Ohaji/Egbema/Oguta/Oru West Federal Constituency, Rt. Hon. Eugene Dibiagwu who is also the House of Representatives Chairman of Niger Delta and Amnesty, the Federal Commissioner representing Imo State at the NDDC, Dr. Kyrian Uchegbu, former minister of State Science and Technology, Chief Henry Ikoh, the Chairman Imo State Council of Elders, HRM Eze Cletus Ilomuanya, former Imo State APC Chairman, Barr. Malcolm Nlemigbo among others.
The Minister was accompanied by the Permanent Secretary and Directors in the Ministry of Niger Delta Development.

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14 Die, 13 Injured in Kogi Auto Crash

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At least 14 persons died in a head-on coalition involving two Toyota buses on Sunday in Kogi.

Thirteen persons survived in the accident which occurred at Aloma community in Ofu Local Government Area of the state.

An eyewitness said that the accident involved a Toyota Sienna bus heading toward Abuja from Port Harcourt and a Toyota Hiace bus heading to the southern part of the country.

“Thirteen persons, including the driver of the Hiace bus were completely roasted by the fire that engulfed the bus immediately after the head-on coalition.

“One of the four surviving persons in the bus died in hospital from burns suffered bringing the number to 14 that died,’’ he said.

According to him, none of the 10 occupants of the Sienna Bus died, but were badly wounded and receiving treatment in a hospital.

He commended the villagers who quickly came to the scene of the accident and rescued the injured.

“It is because of their timely intervention that the Sienna bus did not get burnt as well,’’ he said.

The eyewitness blamed the accident on speeding and potholes on the road and added that it took rescuers three hours to remove the driver of the Sienna bus, whose two legs were badly damaged.

Contacted, the Kogi Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Mr Samuel Oyedeji, confirmed the accident. (NAN)

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Disability Act: Stakeholders Worry Over Delayed Domestication in Benue

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By David Torough, Abuja

Stakeholders have expressed concern over delay in the domestication of Disability Act in Benue state and called on government to expedite passage of the law in the state.

At the stakeholders’ consultative meeting to domesticate the disability law in the state held Tuesday in Makurdi in collaboration with Inclusive friends Association (IFA), Hope Alive for Possibilities Initiative (HAPI) and JONAPWD, the Director General, Bureau for International Cooperation and Development, Dr Leonard Viashima, represented by the Technical Adviser on Bureau for International Cooperation and Development, John Akuse, however said governor Alia’s administration was willing to domesticate the law in the state.

In his address, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Disability Affairs, Bem Anshe, who doubles as the chairman of JONAPWD, stressed the need for the domestication of the law in Benue, saying it would facilitate the inclusion of people with disability in governance.

Anshe decried the non-passage of the law in the state, lamenting that Benue was the only state in the North Central yet to domesticate it.

In her remarks, the Executive Director of IFA, Grace Jerry, represented by the Programme Manager of IFA, Stephen Idoko, noted that despite the challenges, she was confident that the forum would achieve its objective if all worked together.

She noted that the presence of stakeholders in the meeting reaffirmed the collective commitment to making a lasting impact on the lives of persons with disabilities in the state.

On her part, Prof. Christy Anyogo from IFA expressed hope that Benue would soon join the league of states that have domesticated the disability law, saying governor Hyacinth Alia never looks back on whatever he wants to do.

The consultative forum was attended by stakeholders from the state ministry of Women Affairs, ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, traditional rulers, religious leaders, social investment programme agency, Albinism association of Nigeria, leprosy survivors and spinal cord injury.

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Enugu Embarks on Inspection of Smart Schools, Healthcare Projects Across State

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From Sylvia Udegbunam, Enugu

Governor of Enugu State, Peter Mbah has charged contractors and the site engineers handling construction of the 260 smart schools and 260 Type-2 Primary Health facilities in the 260 wards of the state on the delivery of world-class projects that would stand the test of time.

Governor Mbah enjoined them to deploy quality materials and build according to specifications, warning that any sharp practices would attract stiff sanctions and rejection by the government.
He equally underscored the need for contractors to deliver their projects on schedule as stipulated in their terms of contract.The governor spoke through the Secretary to the State Government, Prof Chidiebere Onyia, during an inspection tour of ongoing projects in Ezeagu LGA on Wednesday.
He said the purpose of the inspection by the project’s monitoring team, which also comprises the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Engr Gerald Otiji; Commissioner for Education, Prof Nwabueze Mbah; Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Hon. Chris Robert Ozongwu; Chairman of the Enugu State Universal Basic Education Board (ENSUBEB), Dr. Gabriel Ajah; Special Adviser to the Governor on Projects Development and Implementation, Uche Nwatu, among others, was to ensure the quality and integrity of the projects, from start to finish.”We met with the contractors and their site engineers in all the sites we’ve visited. This is to ensure that there is no variation in the work specification, and that the quality of the materials they are using, starting from the foundation to completion, could guarantee the integrity and structural tests of these projects.”What His Excellency is setting out to achieve here is to make sure that we did not run the three risks that we know that are eminent in every construction, considering that a time will come in Enugu State when we will have almost five hundred live projects – smart schools, primary healthcare facilities – in all the 260 wards, in addition to the roads constructions that are going on across the board. So, we are building a very strong monitoring team that will address the quality aspect of it.”We are also taking into consideration the cost risk that comes when the time risk begins to happen, because, once we miss the timeline, the next is that we begin to discuss variation. So, this team here is to ensure that all risks are evaluated and compliance is strictly adhered to.”We are also working on engaging with the local stakeholders to ensure the security of the process here. So, that will help us address issues around theft of materials we brought to the site. But more importantly is that at the end of each project there will be sustainability and that these stakeholders will take ownership of these schools and other projects in their communities.”So, it is not just about monitoring, but also about building on all the key facets that will make sure that these projects achieve the objectives to have smart children and smart teachers coming out of our local governments and a smart workforce for the state,” Prof Onyia stated.That’s why we have accommodation for them and we are also going to ensure that Enugu generally has a smart workforce. That’s why we are here”.He allayed the fears over the culture of abandoned projects by various strata of the government, saying that the allocation of 33 per cent of the entire 2024 budget to education has guaranteed the start, completions, and handover of the smart school projects on schedule.On his part, Chairman of ENSUBEB, Dr. Ajah, said they were happy with the quality of work so far, adding that contractors were complying with specifications and corrections were immediately effected wherever there were gaps.Admonishing communities to take ownership of the projects, he urged them to see the facilities as their own by ensuring the security of the projects.”Security is everybody’s business. The people are happy. The government has never come to the people at ward level like this before now. So, I am calling on our people to protect these projects from vandals by taking charge and ownership of them”, he concluded.

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