Niger Delta Development Commission
By Henry Umoru – Abuja
A group under the aegis of the Niger Delta Forum for Equity and Justice has taken a swipe at the National Assembly, accusing the lawmakers of frustrating President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade.
In a statement, on Wednesday, by the leaders of Niger Delta Forum for Equity and Justice, the group, however, expressed surprise that the National Assembly would make what it described as spurious claims of alleged Financial Recklessness to the tune of N40 billion by the Interim Management Committee, IMC of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
The alarm by the group is coming twenty-four hours after the Senate ordered a holistic investigation into an alleged N40 billion fraud in the NDDC.
Speaking on behalf of the group, the National Coordinator of the Forum, Kenneth Adagogo said: “Early this year, NNPC retired many General Managers and redeployed others.
Why didn’t the Senate probe it? Why the sudden interest to probe NDDC? Is this how to support your own party, the APC, and your President in bringing the dividends of democracy to the people of the Niger Delta?
“The allegations against the Interim Management Committee which forms the basis of a probe by the National Assembly is ridiculous. These are the same issues that have been subject to a smear campaign against the Commission in the past few weeks. Can a Committee withdraw and misappropriate N40 billion without the knowledge of President Buhari, the anti-corruption agency, and other relevant regulatory agencies? Why has the National Assembly decided to leave important issues and begin to chase shadows? It’s very curious.
“It is always convenient to drag the name of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio in the mud. Curiously, those behind this, pretend to be his friends in the open. The leadership of the National Assembly has unfettered access to Senator Akpabio and can always reach out to him to confirm certain things rather than resorting to this unnecessary blackmail.
“We urge the Senate, vis-a-vis the National Assembly, to quickly retrace its step. We urge them not to use the revered Parliament as a launchpad for some lightweight politicians in the Niger Delta who are nursing personal political ambitions in 2023. The Senate must not give the impression that the latest move to probe the NDDC is meant to arm-twist the agency to frustrate the ongoing forensic audit. They must be seen to be on the same page with President Muhammadu Buhari in cleansing the agency.
“We also urge them not to ignorantly avail themselves as puns for some people to achieve their sinister intentions. The purpose of setting up the interventionist agency was not to provide free money to fund people’s political ambitions. It’s a new dawn in NDDC and the Senate must support the Interim Management Committee to succeed.
“But if the National Assembly decides to go ahead and embarrass the administration of President Buhari, Nigerians will bear witness to the collapse of the smooth relationship that has been existing between the National Assembly and the Presidency.”