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Heads could roll as President Buhari orders for immediate probe of the NDDC 

Nigeria’s President, Muhamadu Buhari, has ordered an immediate forensic audit of the accounts of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC

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Nigeria’s President, Muhamadu Buhari, has ordered an immediate forensic audit of the accounts of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC. As he explained in a series of tweets issued via his official Twitter page, yesterday, this move has become imperative for the sake of accountability and probity.  

The President further explained that the Nigerian people would like to know how all the billions of naira that were allocated to the NDDC between 2001 and 2019 have been utilized 

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The NDDC was established in 2000 by the Federal Government under President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration. Its major responsibility is to facilitate developmental goals in the Niger Delta region which, for years, was left underdeveloped even though the majority of the country’s national wealth (I.e., oil money) comes from there.  

Heads could roll: Without a doubt, a lot of money has been allocated to the region throughout the near two decades it has been in existence. Interestingly, many Nigerians have always felt that the rate of development is not commensurate with the amount of money allocated. Unfortunately, no President has ever felt the need to probe the NDDC until now. It is highly possible that instances of corruption and financial mismanagement will be uncovered at the end of this probe. And President Buhari’s government may not hesitate to prosecute those found to have played a part in committing fraud.  

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Nigerians agree: In the meantime, Nigerians are here for this development. Many of them commended President Buhari for this gesture, even as Tunji Tunde Ayeni opined that a lot of people could end up being jailed if the probe is properly conducted.  

Jide Otitoju also noted that the government should, indeed, periodically subject all government agencies/parastatals to this kind of forensic audit. This way, accountability in public administration/service can be guaranteed. 

Meanwhile, even though Gabriel M God believes this is a necessary step to take, he is highly doubtful that it will accomplish anything. This is because there is a high level of corruption in the NDDC which may eventually end up being covered by the powers that be. The government should, perhaps, prove him wrong by ensuring that those who have perpetuated corruption in the Commission get exposed and prosecuted.  

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Emmanuel covers the financial services sector for Nairametrics. Do you have a scoop for him? Well then, contact him via his email- [email protected]

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FG increases hate speech fine from N500,000 to N5 million, moves against monopoly and antitrust

The new regulation is part of the amended Nigerian Broadcasting Code.

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The Federal Government on Tuesday, August 4, 2020, announced the increase of fine for hate speech from N500 to N5 million.

The announcement was made by the Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, at the unveiling ceremony of the revised National Broadcasting Code by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) in Lagos on Tuesday.

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This new regulation is part of the amended Nigerian Broadcasting Code which contains Antitrust provision aimed at boosting local content and encouraging the growth of the local industry, among other provisions.

This disclosure is contained in a press statement that was issued by the Special Assistant to the President (Media), Office of the Minister for Information and Culture, Segun Adeyemi.

The Minister said that the Antitrust provision will boost local content and local industry due to laws prohibiting exclusive use of rights by broadcasters who intend to create monopolies and hold the entire market to themselves. The provision will also open access to premium content.

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Alhaji Lai Mohammed said, ‘’I must explain that this provision is not new to Nigeria Broadcasting. Exclusivity was disallowed at a certain time in the history of our broadcasting. I recall Multichoice sub-licensing EPL matches to other local operators in Nigeria. I recall HITV engaging several local operators on sub-licensing the EPL when they got the rights.”

In a bid the protect broadcast stations and promote sustainability for the station owners and content producers, the revised code contains law prohibiting backlog of advertising debts. It also contains law on the registration of Web Broadcasting, which will grant the country the opportunity to regulate negative foreign broadcasts that can be harmful to the country.

Going further the minister also said, ‘’The provisions on the responsibility of broadcast stations to devote airtime to national emergencies…obviously mandates terrestrial and Pay TV channels to make their services available to Nigerians at time of national emergencies – like the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic – for their education and enlightenment.

He revealed that the review of the broadcasting was done in the national interest as it was necessitated by the Presidential directive in the wake of the 2019 general elections, which sought for an inquiry into the regulatory role of NBC.

The Minister also disclosed that President Buhari had ordered the probe of the conduct of the various broadcast stations before, during and after the polls.

Mohammed also pointed out, ‘’But, as it currently stands, the 6th edition and the amendments, which we are unveiling today, remain the regulations for broadcasting in Nigeria. Our intention remains the good of the country. We need to catalyze the growth of the local industry. We need to create jobs for our teeming creative youths. The opportunities must be created and we believe that effective regulatory interventions are a sure way of attaining this. That’s why we will not waver.

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It can be recalled that in a bid to stem the tide of rising cases of hate speech and fake news, the Federal Government moved to introduce the fake news and hate speech bill, which they said creates apprehension, a lot of mistrust and divides the country along ethnic and religious lines.

Stakeholders and the general public were very critical of the bill because of some harsh clauses in the bill which includes the death penalty.

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Austin Avuru retires as CEO of Seplat petroleum, to receive huge benefits

According to the notice, Avuru will be considered a “good leaver” on his retirement.

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Austin Avuru retires as CEO of Seplat petroleum, to receive huge benefits, Seplat to acquire more oil & gas assets after Eland's acquisition

Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, Austin Avuru has retired as CEO of the company, but will remain on the board as a Non-Executive Director.

According to a notice sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange and signed by the company secretary Mrs Edith Onwuchekwa, the resignation took effect on July 31, 2020.

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READ MORE: Seplat denies swindling FG of N600 billion despite co-conspirator’s guilty plea

What this means

According to the notice, Avuru will be considered a “good leaver” on his retirement and receive his remuneration and benefits as such.

The Remuneration Committee has confirmed that Avuru will receive “a lump sum payment in lieu of notice equal to his salary, benefits, and pension allowance until November 18, 2020” as well as other security and travel benefits.

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He would also receive a loss of office payment equal to 12 months’ salary, as compensation and in accordance with the Nigerian market practice.

READ ALSO: Seplat’s Austin Avuru no longer has direct shares in company 

In line with the provisions of the Directors’ Remuneration Policy approved by shareholders of the Company at its 2018 AGM, he will also receive a pro-rata bonus (in cash) to reflect his time as CEO during the financial year, and same “will be provided in the Company’s Directors Remuneration Report for 2020 and subsequent years”.

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Seplat will also vest awards made in form of deferred shares in 2019 and 2020 at the normal vesting dates, and subject to the achievement of the relevant performance conditions, and Avuru will be subject to the post-employment shareholding requirement for two years.

The company management and board appreciated Avuru for his ‘excellent leadership’ in growing the company to become a notable player in the Nigerian and wider African hydrocarbon industry.

READ: Okomu Oil Palm ‘s profit declines by 43.22% as at Q3 2019  

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Backstory

On November 18 2019, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc announced that Mr Austin Avuru will be retiring as CEO at the end of July 2020.

This is in line with Avuru’s earlier plans to retire sometime around his 62nd birthday.

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Buhari orders payment of stranded NDDC scholarship students, commission gives reason for delay

The delay, it was revealed, was caused by the sudden death of the then EDFA of the commission.

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Buhari orders payment of stranded NDDC scholarship students, commision gives reason for delay, President Buhari Democracy Day speech

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to immediately pay the fees and stipends of the stranded Nigerian scholars who have been facing hardships abroad.

This was disclosed in a press statement by the NDDC and signed by the commission’s Director for Corporate Affairs, Charles Obi Odili, on Tuesday, August 4, 2020.

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Odili revealed that the delay in the remittance of the fees for these scholars was caused by the sudden death of the then Acting Executive Director for Finance and Administration, EDFA, of the commission, Chief Ibanga Etang.

READ MORE: Corruption probe: NDDC claims to have spent N81.5 billion in 7 months

Odili stated, “Under the Commission’s finance protocol, only the Executive Director (Finance) and the Executive Director (Projects) can sign for the release of funds from the Commission’s domiciliary accounts with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN. With the death of Chief Etang, the remittance has to await the appointment of a new EDFA’

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Odili stated further that, “Senator Akpabio, the Honourable Minister, said President Buhari who has been briefed on the protest by students at the Nigerian High Commission in London, has ordered that all stops be pulled to pay the students by the end of this week. We expect a new EDFA to be appointed this week. As soon as that is done, they would all be paid.”

It would be recalled that the plight of the Nigerian scholars came to the fore after it was revealed, the terrible conditions they were going through in foreign countries since not being able to pay their tuition fees. These revelations caused outrage on social media with many blaming the government for not caring enough for its people.

READ ALSO: Akpabio denies accusing Reps of receiving 60% of NDDC contracts

The non-payment of the allowances and tuition fees of the students by NDDC is coming amid the corruption and financial mismanagement allegations that have been rocking the commission for some months now.

The students said they are going through a lot of hardship due to lack of funds from the NDDC and are unable to engage in menial jobs to survive because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Following up with its own intervention, the Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, asked the NDDC as a matter of urgency to pay the allowances, tuition fees and other incentives of students under their scholarship scheme.

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READ ALSO: Earning BTCs without Having To Pay Money

She said that last month, she wrote a letter to the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, drawing his attention to the plight of the Nigerian students under the NDDC scholarship scheme in Europe.

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