By PRECIOUS IBINABO DAVIDS, Port Harcourt
Following obvious curiosity that is trailing a reported United Nations (UN)-backed award under the platform of Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements Awards (SCAHSA) and inquiries by the Rivers State chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, on the status of the purported award, the UN-Habitat Headquarters, New York, which liaises with development partners on United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) programmes of the UN has disowned the SCAHSA award reportedly to be conferred on Gov. Nyesom Wike Tuesday, 31st October in New York.
Following APC’s e-mail inquiry dated Monday 30th October (yesterday) concerning the Global Human Settlements Outstanding Contribution Award organised by SCAHSA, the UN-Habitat New York Office, in a statement dated same day and signed by the Secretary and IT Focal Point, Mr. Angel Gomez, dissociated the UN from such an award. The response is reproduced here under:
“Dear Mr. Finebone,
We thank you for contacting UN-Habitat New York Office.
Please be advised that UN-Habitat is not related at all with such award.
Angel Gómez (Mr.)
IT Focal Point
New York Office
Tel.: (212) 963-8725, 963-4200
Fax: (212) 963-8721
“For the avoidance of doubt, it must be explained that the deliberate attempt to confer UN recognition on the purported award is a huge scam to deceive Rivers people and Nigerians. Further investigations by us revealed that SCAHSA as a private Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) that invites entries for awards which are based on suspect criteria including offering awards to the highest bidder who is able to part with huge amount in US Dollars in exchange for such awards” said Mr. Chris Finebone in a press statement today.
The statement read: “In the instance case concerning the purported award to Gov. Nyesom Wike, we discovered that some smart Rivers indigenes resident in the US contrived and fixed the award after obtaining huge sums in foreign currency from the award-seeking governor.
“SCAHSA has been discovered to be one of the numerous NGOs that claim affiliation with various UN-Habitat under Habitat Agenda Partners (HAP). However, some of these NGOs have now become vehicles for defrauding politicians from the third world especially Nigerian politicians by offering dubious awards in exchange for money.
“The APC is dismayed beyond imagination that Gov. Nyesom Wike is resorting to high level scam to dupe the peoples’ resources and rubbish their collective intelligence. We are still questioning the criteria by way of projects and programmes that should qualify the Wike government for an award of the sort dubiously being advertised and celebrated. We are yet to see any.
“We are persuaded by the position of many that the recent announcement by the governor to release US$1m to rescue the students of Rivers State stranded in various overseas universities is a mere red herring to prevent protests during his engagement at Chatham House, London on November 6. Many believe that soon after the Chatham House event the governor will renege on his promise.
“We call on all those who have been hoodwinked into celebrating a UN award for Gov. Nyesom Wike to save themselves the embarrassment of celebrating a scam and making themselves a laughing stock before the global community. All that the APC is asking for is that Gov. Nyesom Wike should get down to providing governance instead of regaling in the atmospherics of power, grandstanding and deceiving Rivers people.”