……..says Jackrich Committee made redundant by governors
……..jackrich blackmailing IMC over monetary demands
……..outlines how money was spent
The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has described as baseless and outright falsehood media publications alleging that the N6.25 billion approved by President Muhammadu Buhari for COVID-19 palliative for the Niger Delta region was embezzled by the Interim Management Committee, IMC.
According to the commission, the allegation attributed to erstwhile Chairman of the COVID-19 Distribution Committee, High Chief Sobomabo Jackrich is nothing but another false claim orchestrated by the same forces who have been waging a campaign of falsehood against the Commission and its management since President Muhammadu Buhari ordered a forensic audit of the operations of the Commission in the past 19 years.
In a statement, Director, Corporate Affairs, Mr. Charles Obi Odili said the NDDC would have ignored the claim but had to respond to re-assure stakeholders of the Niger Delta that the IMC is honest in the management of the common trust in its care.
Laying out facts of the matter, the NDDC image maker explained that High Chief Jackrich approached the Commission to work with it in different ways and was then chosen to oversee the Committee involved in the distribution of the COVID-19 Palliatives to communities in the Niger Delta.
He added that the Committee was put in place to ensure transparency in the process but that immediately the constitution of this committee was announced, some of the State Governors reached out to the Commission that they would have nothing to do with it.
“Instead, they demanded that the palliatives meant for their states be given to them. In fact, one particular Governor declined to give the permit to move the items during the COVID lockdown unless the Commission directly deals with his government in the matter.
“The Education, Health and Social Services Directorate (EHSS), which oversees the COVID-19 response, raised a memo advising management to accede to the demands of the governors. The memo dated May 22, 2020 argued that in view of the need to collaborate with state governments in the Niger Delta, the management should grant approval for state directors ‘to liaise with their respective state governments, on behalf of the Commission in drawing up a programme for the flag off and donation of the COVID-19 Palliative items in their respective states.
“On May 23 2020, management approved the request of the EHSS directorate. As a result of this approval and the change in policy, the task of the High Chief Jackrich Committee became redundant. This means the High Chief was no longer and could no longer be involved in the direct distribution of the Palliatives. This also means he could not have accurate information on the exercise.
“As at today, none of the nine state governments has denied receiving its own share of the food items for distribution under the COVID-19 Palliatives programme. The bulk of Mr. Jackrich’s petition dwelt on the refusal of the IMC to pay him a humongous amount of money for being Chairman of the Committee. This has led to this blackmail”, the commission explained.
The NDDC added that apart from the palliatives distribution to vulnerable people, the COVID-19 Intervention of N6.25 billion approved by President Buhari had two other components: the procurement of medical kits and a public sensitisation campaign and that some medical kits were also procured with the money.
According to him, medical kits procured with part of the money include 27 trilogy 202 ventilations, 65 ECG Machines, 54 RT PCR Machines, 18 APC smart digital UPS 5KVA, 36 infra-red thermometers, 18 double jar suction machines, 18 Fluid warmers, 18 multi parameter patient monitors, 94 standard ICU beds, 95 oxygen cylinders, 95 oxygen masks, 95 infusion pumps, 18 mobile X-ray machines, 18 mobile ultrasound machines, 18 mobile dialysis machines, 18 arterial blood gas machines, Sanitizers and syringe pumps.
He said all the procured equipment have been distributed to the nine Niger Delta states and received by the state governments.
“Beyond COVID-19, this intervention has boosted the health care delivery capacity of the nine states. We are grateful to the Mr. President for this intervention, which has saved lives in the region”, the NDDC image maker added.