The immediate past Chairman of the Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Lauretta Onochie, is currently stranded and homeless in the United Kingdom, SaharaReporters has gathered.
President Bola Tinubu on Tuesday approved the appointment of a new board and management of the NDDC after sacking the one led by Onochie.
Multiple sources told SaharaReporters that Onochie fled Nigeria for the UK a few hours after the sacking.
Her decision to leave Nigeria may be connected to the financial scandals that rocked the NDDC during her tenure as chairperson.
However, on getting to the UK, she moved to her cousin’s apartment in Barking town in East London, England but was rejected and kicked out of the property.
“Lauretta Onochie has fled to the UK and she’s currently homeless because she doesn’t have anywhere to stay. Seems she wasn’t expecting her dismissal yet. The President’s decision really shocked her.
“On getting to the UK, she made an attempt to force herself into her cousin’s house in Salamanca Place, Barking Essex,” a family member who spoke to SaharaReporters on condition of anonymity, said.
“She started blackmailing her cousin emotionally to accept her into his house as she had nowhere else to go in the UK. She said she was a victim of a witch-hunt by the Tinubu government and that she needed somewhere she couldn’t be traced to for the time being.
“This is someone who abandoned her family members while in power; she didn’t even know the children of this cousin of hers till she got to his place during the week. Karma started too early if you asked me; a whole Lauretta now homeless in the UK.”
In one of the videos obtained by SaharaReporters, the former Personal Assistant Digital/Online Media to ex-President Muhammadu Buhari who is now stranded in the East London town, was being harassed by her cousin’s daughter over sharing a room with her.
“I have told my dad to call the cops again, you can’t stay in my house again. I don’t know you, leave our house,” the cousin’s daughter is heard saying.
In another video, the girl said, “Who are you? I don’t know her; she came in today and here is she harassing me.”
Despite criticisms that trailed her nomination in December 2022, the Senate confirmed Onochie as the substantive Chairman of NDDC.
Prior to her appointment, she was Buhari’s Special Assistant on New Media.
As the NDDC board chairperson, Onochie was accused of making multiple attempts to be the commission’s accounting officer, in disregard for the law.
According to Part IV (b) of the NDDC Act 2000, the Managing Director is the chief executive and accounting officer of the commission and is vested with the responsibility for the day-to-day administration of the agency.
The law gives the board a supervisory role over NDDC management.
In May, SaharaReporters reported how Onochie asked the Managing Director, Samuel Ogbuku, to gift her a mansion, cars and full control over contractors.
Her request was however not approved, according to sources.
“She wants to have full management control over staff, contractors and the executive management team. She wants to call the shots from a part-time, governing board perspective which is unknown to all civil service policies, the NDDC Establishment Act, the BPP and the supervising Ministry of Niger Delta to which we report,”