A coalition of six Civil Society Organizations CSOs led by Guardians of Democracy and Development has petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari asking him to dissolve the recently screened board of the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC to allow for an unfettered forensic audit of the board under the supervision of the Interim Management Committee IMC.
Convener of the Coalition, Comr. Solomon Adodo equally asked the Senate to invalidate the screening of the NDDC Board conducted by its Committee on NDDC, saying one of the lawmakers (name withheld) is an interested party who nursed strong bias to protect his interests.
The CSOs noted that since the establishment of the NDDC only very little has been achieved even as it was for several years “converted into a cash cow for a few unpatriotic elites of the region at the detriment of the collective interest of the people of the Niger Delta region. Thus, the good intentions of the government were deliberately sabotaged and truncated by these thieving band who saw nothing else beyond self.
“We humbly call on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately dissolve the recently screened NDDC Board nominees to allow for the unfettered forensic audit of NDDC under the watch of the Interim Management Committee”, the CSOs urged.Speaking further, the coalition said; “It is on this note that we herein fervidly convey our total gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for directing a thorough forensic audit of the financial accruals and expenditure of the Niger Delta Development Commission since inception. This is about the biggest singular blow being dealt with the monster of corruption by the current government on account of the fact that trillions of naira have been misappropriated or stolen from the NDDC. The bold step by the Minister of Niger Delta – Sen. Godswill Akpabio in an interim management committee to oversee the forensic audit is very welcome and deserving of the support of all Niger Deltans and Nigerians in entirety. The concerted efforts of the looters and culprits to frustrate the Minister and the Interim Management Committee must be met with stiff resistance by all Nigerians of goodwill.
“For the records, a lot of fraudulent acts of financial graft have been unearthed. Incontrovertible facts show that some Senators from the Niger Delta region have held the NDDC by the jugular and consistently bled the Commission. Particularly, a Senate Committee Chairman (name withheld) has been making outrageous demands from the NDDC and when the Board could not meet these demands through a normal process, the budget of the Commission for the years 2017, 2018 and 2019 were not sent to the National Assembly and in its place the NDDC Management was intimidated into awarding emergency contracts only for three years thereby abandoning the Niger Delta Development Plan and Legacy Projects. In the process, the Senate Committee Chairman was awarded a total of one thousand contracts which he claimed he shared to Senators. The salient question arises to wit, should the contracts be shared among Senators or awarded to competent contractors? The Senate Committee Chairman therefore blatantly raped the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and abused the NDDC Act.
“Let it be noted that these emergency projects were not executed while the monies meant for the projects were pocketed even though the said contracts were awarded at very highly inflated sums. Therefore, nothing is on ground to justify all the huge expenditure of the Niger Delta Development Commission so far. For the said years of 2017, 2018 and 2019, over one trillion naira has been expended on these so-called emergency projects without budgetary provisions or even actual execution of the projects. This is a monumental fraud that must not be swept under the carpet. We also have it on authoritative records that the said senator was receiving the sum of one billion naira monthly from the LNG funds of NDDC until this sacrilegious ritual was stopped by the Interim Management Committee. All these incontrovertible findings are pointers to the fact that the senator is an interested party thereby invalidating the screening exercise which he conducted in a very biased manner”, the coalition stated.
The CSOs, therefore, called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC to commence the immediate prosecution of those already investigated for dipping their hands in the NDDC pie.