Leaders of the Niger Delta region under the aegis of Niger Delta Forum for Equity and Justice have raised an alarm over what they call renewed efforts by some members of the National Assembly to truncate the forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari.
They said the current moves by the National Assembly to institute multiple probes of the Commission are mere distractions and would be counter-productive of the ongoing efforts to sanitize the NDDC as envisioned by President Buhari.
It would be recalled that the House of Representatives had recently attempted to conduct a parallel audit of the Commission and described the appointment of forensic auditors as “illegal.” Similarly, the Senate had also instituted probes of the NDDC.
National Coordinator of Niger Delta Forum for Equity and Justice, Barrister Kenneth Adagogo who spoke on behalf of the Leaders said: “We are greatly dismayed by the current moves by the National Assembly to frustrate the ongoing forensic audit of the NDDC.
“How can the National Assembly describe the forensic audit instituted by the President at the behest of all the Governors of the Niger Delta States as illegal? How can an exercise which was duly debated and approved by the Federal Executive Council with money appropriated for the exercise by the same National Assembly be described as illegal?
“We are left with no option than to believe the allegations making the rounds that the present moves by the National Assembly are at the behest of some of their powerful members who have had their hands soiled in the looting of the Commission over the years and would do everything within their powers to frustrate the effort of President Buhari to cleanse the interventionist agency.
“The people of the Niger Delta region require the development of their oil-rich region. Sadly, some members of the National Assembly who are from the region have through contract racketeering used the Commission to move their bank accounts forward instead of moving the region forward.
“This is the mess that the present Interim Management Committee of NDDC led by Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei as mandated by President Buhari is trying to clean. We are appalled that rather than support this noble effort some corrupt members of the National Assembly have constituted themselves as clogs in the wheel of progress of the region.
“If the National Assembly means well, they should probe the recent allegations that their Committee Chairmen in the persons of Senator Peter Nwaoboshi and Honourable Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo balkanized the budgets of the Commission for their benefits. They should also probe their members who collect commissions for statutory payments to the Commission.
“In the unlikely event of the National Assembly lending its revered and hallowed chambers to be used by a few of its disgruntled members to frustrate the ongoing forensic audit as ordered by President Buhari, Nigerians will bear witness to the possible collapse of the existing cordial relationship between the legislature and the executive because of the greed of a few of its members,” the group said.
The group commended the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio as the Supervising Minister of the NDDC for his efforts in bringing sanity to the Commission and urged him not to be distracted by smear campaign sponsored against him by the enemies of the region.