The Nigeria Civil Society Desk has lashed out at a correspondent with the National Mirror Newspapers, Mr. Idemude Amour, for reporting of financial impropriety leveled against the Permanent Secretary, Directorate of Government House and Protocol, Asaba, Delta State, Mr. Eddy Ogidi-Gbegbaje.
In a press release jointly signed by National Coordinator, Comrade Emeh Friday and National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Peter Nwokolo, they said that the renovation of the VVIP Guest House, Asaba, comprising of 8(nos) Duplexes, which is the subject of the allegation, was carried out in 2017 by contract through the selective tendering process.
Excerpt is the full text of the press release
The report of financial impropriety leveled against Mr. Eddy Ogidi-Gbegbaje, Permanent Secretary, Directorate of Government House and Protocol, Asaba, Delta State, by Mr. Idemude Amour, a correspondent with the National Mirror Newspapers and reported by Sahara Reporters, came to us in the Nigeria Civil Society Desk, as an attempt to smear his reputation, thereby causing distraction.
Though the motive is still sketchy, we thought it necessary to put the records straight and discourage prospective faceless alarmists from creating confusion with the intention of derailing the activities of Government.
Having resolved to know the facts, we visited the Office of the Directorate of Government House and Protocol, Asaba, the Ministry of Housing, the Ministry of Energy and the State Fire Service. Our findings revealed, among others:
* That the renovation of the VVIP Guest House, Asaba, comprising of 8(nos) Duplexes, which is the subject of the allegation, was carried out in 2017, by contract through the selective tendering process;
* That the renovation works is the only major works so far carried out on the buildings within the premises since 2015;
* That two separate fire incidents had earlier occurred at House 1 and House 5 of the 8 (eight) Duplexes at the VVIP Guest House, prior to the incident of Tuesday, 21st February, 2017. This necessitated the extensive renovation and electrical maintenance works;
* That the State Fire Service was always on hand to put out the fire on each occasion, while the Minis.try of Energy was duly notified of the fire incidents; and
* That the Contractor is yet to be paid for the job it executed.
The Nigeria Civil Society Desk has also verified this claim with the Ministry of Housing which supervised and issued Certificate of Job Completion.
As the Accounting Officer of the Directorate of Government House and Protocol, Asaba, one of the responsibilities of the Permanent Secretary is to author memos to His Excellency, the Governor, on matters as considered necessary. In this case, the Permanent Secretary forwarded a memo for the renovation works based on a Bill of Quantities (BOQ) received from the Ministry of Housing..
As an investigative journalist, Mr. Idemude Amour should have exhausted all means of exhuming his facts before they are reported, bearing in mind the implications of his false reportage on the person of Mr. Ogidi-Gbegbaje.
We are therefore constrained to ask Mr. Idemude Amour to visit the Ministry of Housing which supervised the renovation works in 2017 to find out the extent of works at the VVIP Guest House. He should also visit the Ministry of Energy, possibly to confirm if reports of fire incidents at the VVIP Guest House were made by the Directorate. Mr. Idemude Amour can also corroborate the report he would get from the Ministry of Energy, by visiting the State Fire Service.
Having said these, will it be appropriate to state that the buildings which were destroyed by fire were only painted, and could possibly be ideal to accommodate personalities like the Commander, 63 Brigade, the State Commissioner of Police and other top Government Functionaries?
Mr. Idemude Amour, you know too well that we must be guided by conscience in all we do, as whatever we give so also we shall receive. Conscience is like an open wound, it is only truth that can heal it. You owe all men a duty of care.
Our advice to Mr. Idemude Amour would be that he should carry out due diligence of his claims and let the world know his findings.