Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has asked those that have vowed to frustrate the ongoing forensic audit of the financial activities of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for whatever reason to have rethink.
The students’ body registered their displeasure with the fact that after about 20 years of the establishment of the NDDC, the vision of the founding fathers has remained blurred. The Commission, it said, became a conduit pipe and to embezzle the common resources of the people of the region.
NANS alleged that the annual budget of NDDC, which runs into billions of naira has not made reasonable impact in the lives of the people of the region, also alleging that a few people have become billionaires by constantly calling the shots in the Commission, diverting and taking up contracts without execution.
NANS, thus solicited the unflinching support of the President, Muhammadu Buhari, to the forensic audit exercise, so as not to allow interests to derail the ongoing forensic auditing of the financial activities in the Commission.
NANS President, Danielson Akpan, in a statement released in Abuja, on Saturday, appealed to President to strongly support the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, in his quest to clean up the NDDC in spite of consistent threat of business extinction to those who have, over the years, made brisk business portfolio from the contracts of NDDC.
He said: “Expectedly, the move would generate mud and dust from the perpetrators which the Minister and those tasked by Mr. President are prepared for. We are, however, not amazed but alarmed at the latest twist and outburst from the immediate past Interim Acting Managing Director of NDDC, Joy Nunieh, laying several corruption allegations against the Minister. We wonder why these allegations and drama were not staged when she was in office.
“Her attack on the personality of Senator Godswill Akpabio is seen as designed in connivance with the distractors who she originally called detractors while she serves as acting MD.
“We are bewildered by the fear of Joy Nunieh, which is evident in her constant attack on Senator Akpabio, the IMC and the attempt to frustrate the ongoing efforts of the forensic audit. This is a clear indication that she is afraid of the forensic audit for fear of being exposed alongside her new partners.”
The NANS President said there’s no gainsaying that the minister and the IMC are major targets, but requested that all Niger-Delta people rally round support and clean the augean table of the NDDC cabal that, he claimed, had taken into their custody the collective wealth and resources of the people of the region.
“We call on the President, Muhammadu Buhari, to fortify the Minister, the IMC and not to be hoodwinked into carrying out any action that may undermine his good intentions to sanitize the NDDC and the Niger Delta region.
“As stakeholders in the Niger Delta, our frustration is that our students that have been stranded overseas because of unpaid fees are rescued, luckily through the intervention of the present IMC under Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei.
“We are aware of the courageous efforts by Dr. Cairo Ojuigbo, the Executive Director Project, as the only member of the IMC who prioritized the payment and visitation of Nigerian Students under the Commission’s scholarship scheme. As a peace mechanism, he began the processes of mediation to assuage the feelings of abandonment of the best brains in the region sent on foreign scholarships.
“As an organization, we are aware he personally facilitated the payment of outstanding school fees that kept our students stranded in various countries and offered to attend some of the graduation ceremonies,” he said.