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ONE SENATOR ALONE HANDLING 300 NDDC CONTRACTS, SAYS INTERIM COMMITTEE

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Cairo Ojougboh, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) acting executive director of projects, says a sitting Nigerian senator is handling 300 of the commission’s project.

Ojougboh, who did not name the senator, said 120 of the contracts have been fully paid for, saying that the contracts are being investigated.

Speaking during a press briefing in Abuja, he said the commission is owing N3 trillion in contract sum and that the ongoing forensic audit would help uncover how the debt was accrued.

The federal government had inaugurated a three-man committee to oversee the operations of the NDDC.

President Muhammadu Buhari recently ordered a forensic audit of the operations of the commission from 2001 to 2019.

The president said the directive became imperative in view of the persistent criticisms of the operations of the commission.

Ojougboh accused the unnamed senator of sabotaging the efforts of the interim committee.

“Somebody who is particularly interested in a major contract of the NDDC, who is a member of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he alone has 300 jobs in the NDDC. Of the 300 contracts, 120 has been fully paid and he has not mobilised to site for these 120,” Ojougboh said.

“It is obvious that the reason he is behaving the way he is behaving is that he wants the system, the looting in the NDDC to continue, and this is what the Interim Management Committee will not support. It is as simple as that.

“The NDDC Interim Payment Certificates that are pending are worth over N3 trillion. That is what the NDDC owes these phantom contractors. It is these phantom contractors that are preaching and making noise to stop the probe. All they want is for the stealing to continue.

“Therefore, when given the opportunity that we have just been given, our job is to make sure that we avail the auditors all the necessary documents and information, all the necessary help they need because we are not protecting any interest but to help the auditors do their job as it is required.”

He said the commission is owing some of its workers 15 years salary arrears.

“All they want is to bring puppets to manage the forensic audit because they know that the members of the IMC will not compromise. If you look at the records at the NDDC, you will cry,” he said.

“Some genuine people that have done jobs for the board have not been paid for over 15 years and their families are suffering. Many of those who were paid are these phantom contractors.

“I appeal to Nigerians to support the position of Mr President, to support the IMC, to support the people of the Niger Delta and the forensic audit.”

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Business

Nigerian stock market opens with N119 billion loss

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Nigerian equities market resumed trading on Monday with a loss of 0.91 per cent as a result of profit taking in some blue chips.

Speficially, the All-Share Index which opened the week at 25,182.67 lost 228.35 points or 0.91 per cent to close at 24,954.32.

Accordingly, Month-to-Date and Year-to-Date losses increased to -1.2 per cent and -7.0 per cent, respectively.

Also, the market capitalisation shed N119 billion or 0.91 per cent to close at N13.017 trillion against N13.136 trillion posted on Thursday.

The downturn was impacted by losses recorded in medium and large capitalised stocks, amongst which are; MTN Nigeria Communications (MTNN), BUA Cement, Zenith Bank, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated and Guaranty Trust Bank.

Analysts at United Capital Plc said: “Looking ahead, we expect the market to remain volatile, as investors lock funds in cheap and fundamentally sound stocks, while taking profit on some stocks that gained last week.”

Consequently, market breadth closed negative with 16 stocks compared with 25 decliners.

Prestige Assurance led the losers’ chart in percentage terms, dropping by 10 per cent, to close at 63k, per share.

Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals followed with 9.73 per cent to close at N2.32, while AIICO Insurance shed 9.32 per cent to close at N1.07, per share.

ETI dropped 7.34 per cent to close at N5.05, while UACN Property Development dipped 6.73 per cent to close at 97k, per share.

Conversely, Fidson Healthcare and Red Star Express led the gainers’ chart in percentage terms, appreciating by 10 per cent each to close at N3.30 and N3.63 per share, respectively.

Cornerstone Insurance followed with a gain 9.80 per cent to close at 56k, per share.

Honeywell Flour Mills rose by 9.78 per cent to close at N1.01, while Unity Bank appreciated by 8.77 per cent to close at 62k, per share.

In the same vein, the total volume traded declined by 29.51 per cent with an exchange of 237.65 million shares, worth N1.61 billion, and traded in 4,808 deals.

This was in contrast with a total of 337.13 million shares valued at N3.41 billion achieved in 3,880 deals on Thursday.

Transactions in the shares of FBN Holdings topped the activity chart with 24.35 million shares worth N128.76 million.

Zenith Bank followed with 24.14 million shares valued at N392.36 million, while FCMB Group accounted for 19.47 million shares valued at N33.48 million.

Caverton Offshore traded 17.37 million shares worth N39.02 million, while United Bank for Africa transacted 14.64 million shares valued at N95.74 million.

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NIMASA tasked on discrimination against Nigerian seafarers’ certificate

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A Marine Engineer, Daniel Ikueyemi, on Saturday urged the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to address the issue of discrimination against the Nigerian Seafarers’ Certificate of Competence (COC).

He made the appeal on an Instagram live programme organised by Mrs Ezinne Azunnah of the MaritimeTvNews, entitled, ”Seafarers’ Certificate of Competence: Quality and Opportunities”.

The Certificate of Competency (COC) is a form of licence every mariner is granted to work on ships.

The certificate ensures that the concerned person has the sufficient knowledge and skills to sail on ocean-going vessels.

According to him, our COC is not strong enough and the issue of discrimination of the COC is a common thing for us.

He added that to ensure that the discrimination stopped, there was the need for NIMASA as the regulator to strengthen the security of the COC to standardise it and prevent it from being forged.

“Other ways to tackle the issue is to have a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with some African countries to ensure seafarers utilise their COC.

“There is a notion that 60 per cent of what is taught does not correlate.

“There is need to check this notion and also look into the curriculum that are being used in the country’s maritime academies,’’ he said.

Ikueyemi also pointed out that the feedback mechanism that existed did not capture seafarers’ experience at sea.

He urged NIMASA to have a plan from point of training to point at which seafarers were employed so that their trade would be harnessed.

Also Capt. Ola Alufa, a Marine Captain and Consultant said that the restriction of the country’s COC had not given seafarers the opportunity to be utilised globally.

According to him, Nigerian seafarers are faced with limitations as regards categorisation and that should be expunged.

Alufa suggested that Nigerian seafarers should be well-employed everywhere and be able to work in vessels.

“The limitation is the categorisation. We do not have trading vessels and we need them now.

“NIMASA has tried as regards the curriculum, experience and examination which is very tough. It is of international standard, we need to encourage our own certificate,” he said

He recommended that the Ministry of Transportation must work hand in hand with NIMASA to write to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to expunge the clause affecting seafarers.

“A lot of seafarers have not yet gone on board a ship before. They just got the certificate from schools but there is no opportunity and this still bounces back to government on the need for training vessels.

“The vessels will give seafarers the experience and certificate to be recognised worldwide,” he said. (NAN)

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