Medals of Dishonour: Embroiled in Scandals, Allegations, Criticisms and Notoriety

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Muhammadu Buhari

Nseobong Okon-Ekong and Udora Orizu examine specific instances of Nigerian politicians and corporate entities who went against the grain on issues of national importance in 2020 and contributed to the surpirses, confussion, horror and suffering of the larger public

President Muhammadu Buhari

As President and Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari takes most of the heat, whenever things go wrong in the country. Be it security, health, economy and governance. As the first citizen, he is expected to keep the country in order and ensure effective and efficient governance.

The Buhari-led administration is freuqently pummeled for failure to deliver on its promises to Nigerians.

Since the first index case of Coronavirus was recorded in Lagos on February 27, 2020, an announcement that threw the nation into a panic mode, the President was criticized by Nigerians and the opposition parties for not shutting down the country on time and for ineffective distribution of COVID-19 palliatives during the lockdown.

The main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had in one of their many statements, said Buhari’s lack of visibility and failure to personally lead from the front are responsible for the failure to check the spread of COVID-19 in our country, which in recent days returned in full force.

The PDP laments that the alarming increase in infection and mortality rates in Nigeria would have been curtailed if the nation had a competent, proactive and transparent leadership with the capacity to articulate a quick national response to the pandemic been put in place by the president.

PDP, “observed that President Buhari’s backseat approach encouraged the reckless pillaging of COVID-19 palliatives by his officials, leaving majority of poor and vulnerable Nigerians unattended to; a principal factor responsible for the general poor compliance to lockdown directives in major cities.”

Buhari again attracted criticisms from many Nigerians, especially opposition political parties, analysts and sociocultural groups following the recent hike in price of premium motor spirit (PMS) popularly known as petrol and electricity tariff.

He was also criticized for borrowing too much and plunging the nation into further debt. Nigerians attacked the government for not being able to give detailed and convincing explanations on how previous loans and proceeds it claims to have recovered from corruption since it assumed power in 2015 were deployed for the benefit of Nigerians.

Aside other issues, the President was mostly criticised due to the his inability to curb the worsening insecurity in the country particularly in the North. From police brutality, to Boko Haram insurgency, Nigerians frowned at the fact that the service chiefs are not doing enough to keep the country safe. With the rising insecurity, members of the National Assembly, called for the sack of Service Chiefs, however the President refused to heed to their demand.

President Muhammadu Buhari again faced backlash on the peaceful #EndSARS protest, which went violent after October 20, crackdown by the army at Lekki Tollgate, Lagos.

Incidentally, the President was spectacularly silent on the tollgate shooting incident during his nationwide broadcast, and that led to worldwide condemnation of his government. He also had came under severe criticism for his silence on the #EndSARS protests, which had raged for 14 days, spreading from Lagos State to over a dozen others with attendant disruption of essential economic activities.

Recently, following the killings of over 43 rice farmers in Zarbamari Village, Borno State by Boko Haram members, and the abduction of over 344 boys in Kankara, Kastina state by bandits, President Buhari came under fire as Nigerians across the country condemned the inability of his government to curb the growing insecurity and acts of terrorism across the country. The opposition party in particular described him as incapable of governing the country, calling for his impeachment. Also the House of Representatives, adopting a motion by the Borno caucus, resolved to invite him to brief them on the security situation of the country, however Buhari who initially agreed to honour the invitation made a last minute u-turn and shunned the invitation. The shun caused a drama between the Executive and the Parliament. Both arms of government bickered on who whether the lawmakers have the constitutional powers to invite Mr. President.

Comrade Adams Oshiomole

Nigerians witnessed the bad blood and power tussle between the former All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman and the Governor of Edo state, Godwin Obaseki.

However, Oshiomhole paid a huge price, as he got his fingers burnt and lost his highly influential party chairmanship.

The erstwhile National Chairman of the APC and immediate past Governor of Edo State was suspended by his Ward in Iyamho, Etsako West local government area of Edo. This eventually led to his removal as National Chairman of the ruling party.

The outcome of the 2020 gubernatorial election in Edo State finally demystified him and removed all the colourful apparels of his appreance as the big masquerade.

Osagie Ize-Iyamu

Ize-Iyamu is often acknowledged as one of the founding fathers of the APC, who helped to set the body rules with which the party is governed. A former Secretary to the Edo State Government, Ize-Iyamu’s quest to become governor on the platform of the APC was thwarted in 2016. He lost to the incumbent governor who vied on the platform of the APC. In the 2020 contest, the tables were switched. This time Ize-Iyamu was the APC flagbearer, while Governor Obaseki wore the PDP colours. Again, Obaseki thrashed Ize-Iyamu with over 84,000 votes.

Ize-Iyamu has gone down in the political history of Edo State as the first candidate to suffer defeat in a governorship contest on the ticket of two major political parties.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu

At a time when COVID-19 was causing devastation across the country, especially in cities with a dense population like Lagos state, the role Sanwo-Olu played to curb the spread of the virus was highly lauded by Lagosians and many Nigerians. He also garnered praises when he became the first Governor to join Nigerians to protest against police brutality and calls for the disbandment of the now defunct Special Anti-Robbery unit of the Nigerian police force.

However, his good reputation suffered a dent following his perceived role in the unfortunate incident that led to alleged loss of lives on October 20 at Lekki Tollgate.

Contrary to trending videos showing fatalities during the shooting of peaceful protesters by soldiers at Lekki Tollgate, Sanwo-Olu, in a state broadcast said that nobody died in the shootout.

The Governor however in a post on Twitter, two days later apologised to those who lost their loved ones during the period and for failure to protect lives that could have been protected.

Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi

On October 18, Enugu State government faced criticisms when the governor was accused of hiring thugs to threaten peaceful #End SARS protesters in Enugu.

Top music stars from the Southeast, Flavour, Phyno, Zoro, KCee and music producer, Mastercraft, made the allegations in a statement they jointly issued on behalf of the protesters.

They also accused the governor of walking out on them and refusing to answer their questions.

The celebrities said that if anything happened to any protester, the Enugu State government should be held responsible.

However, the Enugu State government, gave a separate narration. According to the state, the governor announced the setting up of a judicial panel of inquiry to investigate complaints of police brutality or related extrajudicial killings, as demanded by the protesters.

Governor David Umahi

Back in April, the Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, faced backlash when he resolved to ban for life, the state correspondents of The Sun Newspapers, Chijioke Agwu, and Vanguard Newspaper, Peter Okutu, from entering the Government House or any government facility in the state.

Umahi, who made the declaration in a statewide live broadcast, said he was displeased with the leadership of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), for failing to discipline their members.

The Governor then ordered the arrest of Mr. Agwu over a report he did on the Lassa Fever outbreak in the state.

Three days later, Mr Okutu was arrested on the orders of Ohaukwu LGA Chairman, Clement Odah, over a report he did on the alleged military invasion of Umuogodoakpu-Ngbo community in the council area.

Both Journalists were later released.

Mr Umahi, who said the safety of journalists in the state could no longer be guaranteed by him, noted that the people were angry with the journalists and may unleash mayhem on them if they continue to cause panic in the state.

The Governor’s statement was highly criticised by many Nigerians. The International Press Centre also condemned the arrests by the Police, reminding the state government that such attacks on journalists over the performance of their legitimate duty was antithetical to democratic norms and values. The Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) on its part described the act as anti-people and draconian. The Governor later recanted the statement.

Babatunde Fashola

Nigerians mocked Minister of Housing, Babatunde Fashola, over his claim of finding a “secret camera” at the Lekki Toll Gate area of Lagos five days after the Nigerian Army opened fire on peaceful protesters at the place.

Fashola in company of Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and some South-West governors “discovered” a solitary unburnt camcorder resting on the ruins of the damaged toll gate.

Fashola said the camera must have been planted by “some subversive elements.”

He picked up the device with a handkerchief and handed it over to Sanwo-Olu.

Following the discovery, Nigerians took to their various social media to ridicule the minister.

Ibrahim Magu

The investigation of alleged financial misconduct by the suspended acting Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) boss, Ibrahim Magu, is arguably one of the most shocking scandals of 2020.

The EFCC is responsible for hunting down economic crimes perpetrators and money launderers. But Nigerians were left speechless when they learnt that Magu, was being investigated for alleged financial misconduct.

On July 6, Magu was detained to answer various cases of official misconduct and financial irregularities levelled against him. The allegations were made by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami, who demanded his removal of the in a memo to President, Muhammadu Buhari. For Magu, the hunter became the hunted.

Lai Mohammed

The minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, came under fire after he launched a fresh campaign to regulate social media.

Despite public outcry, the Minister, on October 27, a week after the Lekki tollgate shooting said the federal government felt compelled to regulate social media to curb the spread of fake news.

The Minister spoke in Abuja while responding to questions when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values to defend the 2021 budget proposal.

According to him, the biggest challenge facing the country was fake news and misinformation, warning that the next war that would be fought in the country and across the globe might be on social media, citing the recent #EndSARS protests, which he said was fought on social media.

The Minister, however, explained that the federal government was not seeking to shut down the social media, because it has come to stay, but added that the country should have a social media policy that regulates social media and check fake news and misinformation.

He said if the social media was not regulated, it would destroy the country but expressed the hope that social media and fake news would not destroy Nigeria.

Backing the Minister’s call for social media regulation, Governors of the 19 states in the North Central, North East and North West, under the Northern Governors’ Forum (NGF), rising from a recent meeting, among other issues, urged the National Assembly and the Executive arm to ensure that the controversial social media bill was passed into law.

The meeting was attended by the Senate President, the House Deputy Speaker and other members of the National Assembly, the Chief of Staff to the President, Ministers of Federal Capital Territory as well as Information and Culture, the Inspector General of Police, Chairmen of the Northern States Traditional Rulers Council led by the Sultan of Sokoto, among others.

Governor of Plateau State and chair, Northern Governors Forum, Simon Lalong, who read the communiqué said: “The meeting took note of the devastating effect of the uncontrolled social media in spreading fake news. Therefore, calls for major control mechanism and censorship of the social media practice in Nigeria.”

Reacting to the Forum’s decision, several groups and individuals told the governors to tackle the weightier problems of insecurity in the region before making social media their priority.

In a statement, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) said it would resist any attempt by the federal government to regulate the social media, which it said has given Nigerians freedom to speak and express themselves. It expressed fears that such move could lead to negative reactions from the youths, which could snowball into another round of civil unrest.

On its part, the Socio Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) threatened to sue the governors and the National Assembly if the Bill was passed and signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mohammed faced the heat again when he described the Lekki tollgate incident as a ‘hoax massacre’ without bodies to prove anyone was killed, even though the Lagos State government has officially admitted two fatalities.

The minister said the massacre was manufactured by social media, and called contrary reports an attempt to instigate unrest in Nigeria.

Hope Uzodimma

Imo Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma was highly criticised when he signed a new law in September, entitiled Imo State Administration of Criminal Bill No 2 of 2020 (ISACJL, 2020), empowering him to arrest, detain residents perpetually.

According to documents, any person detained on his orders can only be released when he grants a license to the said individual.

It also abolished all forms of preliminary inquiry or preliminary investigation into a criminal charge by a magistrate or any court in the state and replaced them with preparation of proof of evidence.

Chris Ngige

For months, the Federal Government and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have remained locked in a seemingly endless combat.

The current issue, amid other pending issues, is as a result of government’s insistence on the controversial Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), which the union has described as an encroachment on the autonomy of universities.

The inability of the Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige to help the federal government understand and meet the demands of the union so that students can go back to school is an unprecedented low, that has resulted in students staying away from schools for one academic session.

Timipre Sylvia

In November, Timipre Sylva the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, was slammed by Nigerians for justifying the hike in the pump price of petrol from between N158 and N162 per litre, to N168 and N170.

Sylva while addressing State House Correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, said that there was no reason for people to complain since fuel is mostly consumed by the elite in the country.

The assertion by the Minister was frowned at by many who expressed disappointment that he could say such, being a Niger Delta man that knows the plight of his people.

Bashir Salihi Magashi and Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi

After his reelection in 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari reintroduced the Police Affairs Ministry in line with his electoral promise to secure the lives and property of Nigerians. With the reintroduction, he appointed of Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi as the cabinet member to take charge of the ministry. But with the current security situation of the country and high rate of police brutality, it is clear the expectations of Nigerians from the ministry and its counterpart in Defence have not materialised.

Agboola Ajayi

The Ondo Deputy Governor, the candidate of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), in the recent governorship election election, Mr Agboola Ajayi, became suffered heavy defeat following circumstances that led to his emergence as the party’s candidate and the outcome of election in the state.

Ajayi had defected from the All Progressives Congress, and moved over to the Peoples Democratic Party to seek the governorship ticket, after falling out with the Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu.

He later found a place at the Zenith Labour Party where he contested the election, but came third.

National Assembly

The Parliament also faced the wrath of Nigerians on several occasions this year.

Nigerians criticised the National Assembly over the plan to renovate the assembly’s complex with N27.7 billion despite the economic effects of the coronavirus. The renovation cost of the complex was initially pegged at N37bn, and is to be executed by the Federal Capital Territory Administration.

However, in the 2020 revised budget proposal, the Federal Government cut N9.3bn from the budget following the drop in the price of crude oil and a fall in the projected government revenue.

Nigerians were again outraged when during the 2021 budget presentation by President Muhammadu Buhari to a joint session of the National Assembly, he announced that over N128 billion has been earmarked for both chambers. This and the aftermath of the EndSARS protest gave rise to calls for reduction of salaries of political office holders.

However, the lawmakers in their reaction to the calls, said reduction of salaries of political office holders should start with the executive arm of the government, “as they get the major percentage of the annual national budget.”

Desmond Elliot

In October, Nollywood actor turned lawmaker, Desmond Elliot received heavy backlash after a video of him at a plenary session of the Lagos state House of Assembly saw him refer to Nigerian youths as children.

Elliot who was speaking on why Nigeria needs a social media regulation called on the speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly to “address certain things” like “the Nigerian youth, the social media, the social influencers.”

Elliot referenced the recent #EndSARS protests in the country and according to him “children” were “cursing” in the comments section.

Following the criticism that trailed the release of the video, Elliot has taken to Twitter to apologise for his use of words.

Mojisola Alli-Macaulay

Member of the Lagos state House of Assembly Mojisola Alli-Macaulay incurred the wrath of the Nigerian youth when a video of her making a disdainful comments about them being drug addicts surfaced online.

Speaking at the floor of the Assembly, Alli-Macaulay said most of the youths are high on drugs and that is part of the problem that led to the destruction and vandalisation of properties in the state.

Few hours after her submission, Alli-Macauley was exposed to have used palliatives donated by the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) to celebrate her birthday.

In pictures exposing the lawmaker that went viral on social media, the package distributed by the lawmaker contained foodstuffs – noodles and garri – part of what was meant to be shared to poor and vulnerable Nigerians as relief during the lockdown.

Nigerians slammed the lawmaker, saying she lacks the moral right to brand them as drug addict while she diverts palliatives as birthday gift.

Bola Tinubu

Following Godwin Obaseki’s win in Edo state, the APC National Leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu became the butt of many insidious jokes.

A teeming number of Edo people saw his intervention as an affront not only against the governor, but the entire people of the state. This led to deep resentment that spurn widely used aphorisms like, ‘Edo No Be Lagos,’ ‘ Obaseki No Be Ambode’ and ‘Oshiomhole No Be Tinubu.’

Again following the killing of unarmed protesters at Lekki Tollgate on October 20, Tinubu was accused of being the brain behind the order. This led to aggrieved youths attacking companies they believe he owns.

However, reacting to the allegations, the APC refuted the claims, and also insisted that he had no stake in the Lekki Toll gate operated by Lagos Concession Company, LCC.

He also proposed that the facility be shut indefinitely to traffic, if that would exonerate him of allegations that he ordered the shooting of #EndSARS protesters.

Godswill Akpabio

The allegation of corruption in the Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC) is easily one of the biggest scandals of the year. Both chambers of the National Assembly had in June resolved to Investigate the missing N40 billion from NDDC funds.

The House of Representatives in July, summoned Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, as well as the Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Prof Kemebradikumo Daniel Pondei, to appear before it to answer questions on allegations against them, by the immediate past acting Managing Director of NDDC, Joi Nunieh, who gave her testimony when she joined the probe panel via Zoom following a failed attempt by the police to arrest her the day before and her rescue by Rivers State Governor, Mr. Nyesom Wike, from police siege.

Akpabio and Nunieh have engaged in a running battle, trading accusations over the management of NDDC.

While giving her own side of the story, she explained that she only spent N8 billion throughout her tenure, which was from from October 29, 2019 to February 17, 2020.

On the forensic audit, Nunieh said the President had written a letter to the National Assembly appointing the forensic and suspending the appointment of the board and that he was appointing the IMC to supervise the forensic audit.

She stressed that what she met wasn’t exactly what was going on as the minister insisted on supervising the forensic audit.

According to her, I reminded him (Akpabio) and showed him a letter that the President

The former NDDC managing director said that everyone in Nigeria had been deceived that the forensic audit was going on, but noted that the forensic auditors had not even been procured.

On July 29, Akpabio in a self-indicting testimony, told the House of Representatives Committee on NDDC probing allegations of mismanagement and illegal spending by the commission that the agency under his watch parceled several contracts for members of the National Assembly, contrary to the provisions of Code of Conduct for Public Officers.

Under the code enshrined in the 1999 Constitution as amended, it is an offence for public officers to put themselves in a situation where they could have a conflict of interest.

Akpabio, while being grilled by the committee, accused members of the National Assembly of being the greatest beneficiaries of majority of the contracts awarded by NDDC.

Akpabio, responding to a question from the lawmakers, said the commission should not be closed down because of the forensic audit ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari.

When asked to explain what he meant, he said: ”Just look at your chairman, I have records to show that most of the NDDC contracts were given out to the National Assembly members. The two chairmen of both committees can explain to you.

“Who are even the greatest beneficiaries of the contracts? It’s you people at the National Assembly.”

But one of the lawmakers interrupted him saying: “Can I ask you a question? What is the benefit that the National Assembly is benefiting from NDDC?”

The minister responded: “I just told you that we have records to show that most of the contracts in NDDC are given out to members of the National Assembly but you don’t know about it, the two chairmen can explain to you. I was a member of the NDDC committee; so, I know about it.”

While Akpabio was trying to shed more light on his claims, he was stopped from speaking further by the Deputy Chairman of the committee, Hon. Thomas Ereyitomi, who raised a point of order while urging the minister to ”off his mic.’

In a swift response, however, the Senate and House of Representatives challenged the minister to unveil the identities of the lawmakers who had been NDDC contractors.

The minister later recanted the allegation that members of the National Assembly are major beneficiaries of NDDC contracts.

Governor Nyesom Wike

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, was also heavily criticised when he banned #EndSARS protests in the state.

In a statement issued by the state’s commissioner for information, Paulinus Nsirim, the governor said that since the police has scrapped the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), there was “no need for any form of protest against a unit of the police force that no longer exists.”

Mr Wike said law enforcement agencies have been directed to enforce the ban and “bring violators to book.”

The statement was condemned by many Nigerian youths. Actress Genevieve Nnaji

in a tweet slammed the Governor for banning the End SARS’ protesters from protesting in the State.

In April, Wike was again criticized when two pilots were arrested by the police at the Nigerian Air Force base in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on his orders.

The two men, a pilot and a co-pilot, work with Caverton, a logistics company which provides support services for oil and gas companies in Nigeria, including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Total, Shell, ExxonMobil, and Chevron.

Mr Wike, who barred vehicles and flights from entering Rivers as a preventive measure against the spread of the novel coronavirus, said the pilots “illegally” flew a helicopter belonging to Caverton into the state.

Sadiya Umar-Farouq

During the early stage of the coronavirus pandemic, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster management, Hajia Sadiya Umar-Farouk, was heavily criticised by Nigerians who didn’t believe her claim that she distributed palliatives to all states of the country.

Her claim was later proven to be true when the #EndSARS protests, led some of the protesters opening warehouses across the country where these palliatives were stored.

Reacting to the discovery, Farouq said she forgives her traducers for their ignorance.

Femi Fani Kayode

A former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, was slammed by the International Press Centre (IPC), Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), and the Media Trust Limited, publishers of Daily Trust, over a verbal attack on a Daily Trust Reporter, Eyo Charles.

The former minister was in the state to visit projects executed by Governor Ben Ayade, during which he invited journalists in Calabar, Cross River State capital for a roundtable.

In his account of the incident, the reporter said that his question that angered the former minister is: “Sir, please you did not disclose to us who is bankrolling you.”

According to him, the former minister did not allow him to conclude the question when he threw caution to the wind and shouted at him, bringing the press conference to an abrupt end.

“He then rained terrible abuses on me, calling me unprintable names; that I was sponsored to come and ask and insult him. ‘How dare you ask me such a very stupid question? I know that you, a hungry-looking, brown-envelop journalist; you are sponsored to ask me such insulting question. You can look into my eyes and ask me such demeaning question! I cannot take that!

‘I am a very rich lawyer, who has been in government; who has been detained many times by governments. I have a very rich background. How can you ask who is bankrolling my tours of the states. It is very insulting, and I cannot take that. You are very stupid. I know your publishers; I will call them in next few minutes. You have to be fired. I cannot answer any more questions from you or from any other reporter. This conference has ended. I have very short temper,” the reporter quoted the minister as saying.

The reporter added that it took the intervention and pleas from Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ayade, Mr. Christian Ita and other journalists before the ex-minister would leave him, with a threat, “You can go ahead and write your rubbish. I have marked you.”

However, giving his account of the incident, Fani-Kayode accused the reporter of being sponsored by his political enemies to embarrass him.

“The young man apologised to me during the press conference and sent his apologies to me after the conference. I have accepted his apologies in good faith and moved on. I have always had respect for journalists and I always will. Those of them that know me or have worked with or for me over the last 30 years can attest to that”, he said

Nasir El-Rufai

In August, Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai along with other speakers, had been selected to speak at the virtual Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) annual conference.

But some lawyers suddenly threatened to boycott the conference if El-rufai was not dropped as one of the speakers at the conference. They accused him, among other things, of not obeying court orders, as well as not doing enough to address the incessant crises and killings that have been taking place in Southern Kaduna. Many of those who protested El-Rufai’s invitation insinuated that he had deliberately looked away while the killings and destructions took place in Southern Kaduna.

They argued that such a leader who neither has regard for the rule of law and justice does not deserve the NBA platform to address any national issue. This led to NBA withdrawing El-rufai’s invitation.

Peter Nwaoboshi

The Senator representing Delta North senatorial district in the Senate, Peter Nwabooshi had his fair share of scandals in 2020.

In July, during the investigative hearing of the financial recklessness and misappropriation of funds in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)

by a Senate ad-hoc committee, officials of the commission had accused Nwaoboshi of hijacking contracts and budgets of the commission.

The Acting Deputy Director, Projects, NDDC, Cairo Ojougboh, alleged that budgets of the commission “have always been hijacked by the leadership of the committee on NDDC from both chambers for their personal gain.”

”Some contracts supplied to ‘an NDDC warehouse’ along Benin-expressway. The warehouse belongs to Peter Nwabaoshi (a senator). About 2900 emergency projects were awarded and Mr Nwabaoshi collected 1000 of them, saying he will distribute them among senators and House of Representatives members. But when asked, lawmakers denied receipt. We are being accused because we are working for the region and because they want to take over the commission,” he said

Similarly, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, named the senator among other federal lawmakers who allegedly got contracts from the commission, an allegation that Mr. Nwaoboshi has denied, even daring the minister to send the names to anti-graft agencies.

QUOTE 1

On July 29, Akpabio in a self-indicting testimony, told the House of Representatives Committee on NDDC probing allegations of mismanagement and illegal spending by the commission that the agency under his watch parceled several contracts for members of the National Assembly, contrary to the provisions of Code of Conduct for Public OfficerS. Under the code enshrined in the 1999 Constitution as amended, it is an offence for public officers to put themselves in a situation where they could have a conflict of interest. Akpabio, while being grilled by the committee, accused members of the National Assembly of being the greatest beneficiaries of majority of the contracts awarded by NDDC. Akpabio, responding to a question from the lawmakers, said the commission should not be closed down because of the forensic audit ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari. When asked to explain what he meant, he said: ”Just look at your chairman, I have records to show that most of the NDDC contracts were given out to the National Assembly members. The two chairmen of both committees can explain to you. “Who are even the greatest beneficiaries of the contracts? It’s you people at the National Assembly.” But one of the lawmakers interrupted him saying: “Can I ask you a question? What is the benefit that the National Assembly is benefiting from NDDC?” The minister responded: “I just told you that we have records to show that most of the contracts in NDDC are given out to members of the National Assembly but you don’t know about it, the two chairmen can explain to you. I was a member of the NDDC committee; so, I know about it.” While Akpabio was trying to shed more light on his claims, he was stopped from speaking further by the Deputy Chairman of the committee, Hon. Thomas Ereyitomi, who raised a point of order while urging the minister to ”off his mic.’

QUOTE 2

President Muhammadu Buhari again faced backlash on the peaceful #EndSARS protest, which went violent after October 20, crackdown by the army at Lekki Tollgate, Lagos. Incidentally, the President was spectacularly silent on the tollgate shooting incident during his nationwide broadcast, and that led to worldwide condemnation of his government. He also had came under severe criticism for his silence on the #EndSARS protests, which had raged for 14 days, spreading from Lagos State to over a dozen others with attendant disruption of essential economic activities. Recently, following the killings of over 43 rice farmers in Zarbamari Village, Borno State by Boko Haram members, and the abduction of over 344 boys in Kankara, Kastina state by bandits, President Buhari came under fire as Nigerians across the country condemned the inability of his government to curb the growing insecurity and acts of terrorism across the country. The opposition party in particular described him as incapable of governing the country, calling for his impeachment. Also the House of Representatives, adopting a motion by the Borno caucus, resolved to invite him to brief them on the security situation of the country, however Buhari who initially agreed to honour the invitation made a last minute u-turn and shunned the invitation. The shun caused a drama between the Executive and the Parliament. Both arms of government bickered on who whether the lawmakers have the constitutional powers to invite Mr. President

QUOTE 3

In November, Timipre Sylva the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, was slammed by Nigerians for justifying the hike in the pump price of petrol from between N158 and N162 per litre, to N168 and N170. Sylva while addressing State House Correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, said that there was no reason for people to complain since fuel is mostly consumed by the elite in the country. The assertion by the Minister was frowned at by many who expressed disappointment that he could say such, being a Niger Delta man that knows the plight of his people. After his reelection in 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari reintroduced the Police Affairs Ministry in line with his electoral promise to secure the lives and property of Nigerians. With the reintroduction, he appointed of Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi as the cabinet member to take charge of the ministry. But with the current security situation of the country and high rate of police brutality, it is clear the expectations of Nigerians from the ministry and its counterpart in Defence have not materialised