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The Brazil Fans’ Village Scandal Latest: NTDC DG, Ms Sally Mbanefo gets query….

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Following series of allegations and counter allegations, the supervising ministry of Culture and Tourism has finally issued a query to the embattled Director General of Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) Ms Sally Mbanefo. Apparently irked by many allegations and petitions received on the Brazil’s FansVillage, the ministry is demanding explanation from the DG on how the event ought to promote Nigeria has degenerated into a monumental scandal.

It was exclusively gathered by Society Reporters NG that no sooner had she received the query than she assembled her strategist to work on how the entire scandal could be managed without media attention. A major step she finally took was a press briefing with news editors where she begged to be blacked out of the unfolding scandal. One of the editors who attended the briefing informed that majority of the editors were miffed at such request that they should not write anything about her except those emanating from her consultants.

The alleged one room show tagged Fans Village in Brazil

The alleged one room show tagged Fans Village in Brazil

Apart from the controversy surrounding the alleged Memorandum of Understanding between the NTDC and Za Entertainment, the ministry is equally worried about how the event ought to be a crowd pulling event ended being a one-room show.
It was gathered that the board of NTDC gave an approval for 12 persons to travel with the DG to Brazil for the tournament and the Duty Tour Allowance (DTA) had been paid for that number of persons. Contrarily however, it was alleged that Mrs Mbanefo travelled to Brazil with about three journalists, the Chairman of the NTDC staff union, her daughter and Omo-Agege, without any member of the NTDC project unit in the entourage. It was still unclear who the DTA was paid to, a matter the ministry is trying to unravel.

One of the management staff of the corporation being dragged into the crisis is Fatima Obadakin whom the DG is alleging to have introduced the Za Entertainment to her. A top source however countered the allegation that Fatima’s department had since be outsource technically to a consultant simply identified as Ola Wright.

The DG and her escort without the fans.

The DG and her escort without the fans.

It would be recalled that the first international exhibition this year was FITUR held in Madrid, Spain in January. The country was expected to be represented at the event but just at the last minutes, the DG cancelled and pulled out of the event without any official explanation for such an act although reports emanating from the Abuja office attributed the withdrawal to lack of fund.

Many of the operators and even staffers of NTDC were shocked by this development as this event was captured in its budget. Therefore to many, the excuse of lack of fund was untenable as she was berated for what some observers say was her lack of understanding of the importance of global exposure for the development of a destination, particularly that of Nigeria; Which is still struggling for attention.
If many thought that what happened with FITUR in January would not repeat itself again, then they were utterly proved wrong when Ms. Mbanefo again cancelled and pulled out of the ITB Berlin event, which held between March 5 and 9. Again, reports from the Abuja office blamed lack of funds for this action.
Even though observers are beginning to notice-an emerging partner with her handling of tourism affairs, especially with international events, what many of the operators find so worrisome and disturbing was the fact that two days into the Berlin event NTDC DG flew to Berlin with about 10 persons made of a member of the board of NTDC, her staff, journalists and a member of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN).

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Not as exhibitors as the allocated stand for Nigeria (Stand 21/118) at the Africa hall, was empty as the country has recorded ‘no show’ but as ‘observers.’ Many wonder why she would show up as an observer to an event that the country has exhibited in at least in the last one decade without fail.
Reports from the event pointed out that attempt by the Nigerian team led by her to hoist a solitary flag of the country at the empty stand or stay around was re­buffed by the organizers who were miffed by the ‘no show’ act of Nigeria after the space booked for by NTDC was reserved. This development it was gathered made the tourism ministry to write international agencies that henceforth, the ministry shall take charge of international tourism activities like exhibition.
All efforts to speak with the DG was unsuccessful as all calls made to her mobile 0706***4030 were not answered.

Part of the  'village'

Part of the ‘village’

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The Empty Village

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The Empty Village that has just Ms Sally  in it

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Pictorial: Gender mobile signs Mou with university of Uyo

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Monday June 10th Gender Mobile lead by Barr Omowunmi Ogunrotimi signed an Mou with the university of Uyo lead by its Vice Chancellor Professor Nyaudoh Ndaeyo

The Mou will allow Gender Mobile to support the University of Uyo to institutionalize sexual harassment prevention frameworks through policy, preventative education, and technology adoption.

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How US Billionaires Allegedly Fund Organ Trafficking In Nigeria

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The Global Prolife Alliance, GPA has sensationally revealed that billionaires from the United States are funding an organ trafficking cartel in Nigeria.
The GPA made the shocking revelation in a letter to President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Speaker, House Of Representatives.
The letter is signed by Academician (Dr) Philip Njemanze, Chairman, Global Prolife Alliance, GPA.
Njemanze said the cartel’s grip on the country’s healthcare system has resulted in the poaching of human organs and ovarian eggs, with millions of lives at stake.
The GPA cited the National Health Act of 2014 (NHAct 2014) as a tool for the cartel’s nefarious activities.
According to them, the cartel’s scheme involves coercing female farmers into purchasing genetically modified seeds in exchange for their ovarian eggs.

 

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CONTRACT SCANDAL ROCKS TETFUND AS ICPC ARRESTS CONTRACTOR

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A contract scandal of monumental proportion is currently rocking the the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).

So bad is the situation that operatives of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) have beamed their searchlight on the activities of TETFund.

Last Tuesday, a contractor, known as Paul Chukwuma, was arrested by the and as at the time of filling this report, he was yet to regain his freedom on account of not been able to perfect his bail condition.

We gathered that Paul Chukwuma, who is the founder and promoter of Fides Et Ratio Academy, an educational service provider was detained by the ICPC over his alleged involvement in contract mess.

Recall that the media was agog with the report of how TETFund awarded a controversial N3.8 billion contract to Mr Chukwuma’s company and paid N2.9 billion to the company in four installments without following due process

Shortly after the publication by Premium Times in April, the anti-graft body detained TETFund’s Director of Finance and Accounts, Gloria Olotu, and grilled others including the Director of Human Resources and General Administration, Kolapo Okunola, and the Director of Information Communication Technology (ICT), Joseph Odo.

Mr Chukwuma’s detention is the latest major development in the ICPC investigation that dates back to April.

ICPC’s spokesperson, Ademola Bakare, on Wednesday, confirmed Mr Chukwuma was in the agency’s custody.

The suspect, a player in the education business in the country, was also on the list of members of governing councils of tertiary institutions recently released by the Nigerian government before President Bola Tinubu directed the review of the list.

Recall that TETFund– a tertiary institutions’ funding agency under the Federal Ministry of Education– awarded the contract which it tagged: “Capacity Building Certificate Course (Communication, Entrepreneurship, and Productive Skill Development) inclusive of the Train-the-Trainer Programme for 502 (five hundred and two) Participants”.

Findings by this newspaper indicated that the funding for the contract was sourced from the 2023 annual direct disbursement budget domiciled in the agency for the use of about 251 beneficiary institutions – public universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education across the country.

Multiple sources confirmed that the institutions’ 2023 direct disbursement budget which totalled N15.2 billion was for Information Communication and Technology intervention projects.

However, rather than releasing the funds to the institutions as mandated by its operational guidelines, TETFund deducted the funds upfront from each of the institutions, amounting to a total of N7.6 billion.

During an interview with our reporters, the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Sonny Echono, told PREMIUM TIMES that each beneficiary institution contributed 50 per cent of its ICT funds while each polytechnic and college of education contributed 25 per cent of theirs to the project.

The choice of the project, the sourcing of the contractor, and signing a memorandum of understanding with the vendor were undertaken by TETFund. This development angered the administrators of most of the institutions.

Also, while the project designs and modalities were yet to be finalised, sources confirmed that within a month of the award of the contract TETFund on 30 June 2023 credited the company’s bank account with over N550 million (N550,380,780.23).

The transfer is with mandate number CBN/PROJ/224/JUN2023.

Over N820 million (N820,223,850) was additionally paid into the account on 12 July 2023, while on 26 July 2023 and 17 November 2023, N1.5 billion (N1,503,743,850) and N62.68 million (N62,684,036.05), respectively, were credited to the account by the CBN on behalf of TETFund.

Meanwhile, despite the various supposed beneficiary institutions denying the execution of the project, Mr Chukwuma, during a meeting between PREMIUM TIMES’ reporters and the company’s management, said the project “has been done and dusted.”

PREMIUM TIMES is aware that the project was designed for training 12 ICT officials across the 251 beneficiary institutions, and to onboard more than 500,000 students for both physical and virtual sessions. However, only two ICT officials in each of the tertiary institutions have taken part in what some of these officials described as engagement sessions.

Mr Chukwuma promised to make documentary evidence to back his claim to PREMIUM TIMES in April but as of the time of filing this report he has yet to do so.

He said his company was only helping Nigeria to achieve the very best for the students and the schools, saying the courses being offered the students through the programme has been “ridiculously subsidised.”

Learnt that Mr Chukwuma was on Tuesday invited to give a statement concerning his involvement in the contract scandal being investigated by the agency.

However, sources confirmed that after going through his statement, the antigraft agency imposed strict bail conditions that require the suspect to produce highly placed persons as suretees, among other conditions.

The agency’s spokesperson, Mr Bakare, who confirmed that Mr Chukwuma was in ICPC custody, said the suspect remained in detention because he could not satisfy the bail conditions.

“Yes, Chukwuma is in ICPC’s custody, unable to fulfil bail conditions,” Mr Bakare wrote in a terse statement shared with our reporter on early Wednesday. As of 6.05 p.m. when contacted over the telephone again by our reporter, Mr Bakare said he could not immediately ascertain if the suspect met the bail conditions before the end of official work hours.

Meanwhile, ICPC said the Executive Secretary of TETFund was yet to be invited, and not in its custody as being allegedly circulated.

It, however, said the investigation into the scandal was still ongoing and that it could not rule out the possibility of arresting anyone who played roles in the matter.

“Echono wasn’t invited but investigations are still ongoing,” Mr Bakare said.

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