Fred Itua, Abuja
A civil society organisation, Peoples Alliance for Indigenous Rights (PAIR), has expressed concerns over the ‘dramatic’ happenings surrounding and allegations made by some former officials of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The group, at a briefing in Abuja on Thursday, criticised ‘dramatic’ allegations that the home of Ms Joi Nuneih, a former Managing Director of the Commission, in Port Harcourt was besieged by gun-wielding security men, suggesting that it was staged-managed by the governor.
In the briefing by Iriogbe Emmanuel, Coordinator, and James Okoronkwo, National Secretary, PAIR called on the House of Representatives and Ms Nuneih to allow the forensic audit ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari rather than engage in a media trial.
According to the duo, Ms Nuneih has weaponised ‘kidnap and sexual harassment’ in order to score political mileage, moves PAIR described as ‘unfortunate.’
‘We have since observed the unfortunate drama playing out in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and wish to state that facts have become obscured as the dramatic and playing to the gallery has taken centre stage.
‘If those, especially Ms Joy Nuneih, a former Managing Director of the NDDC, were out to expose corruption as have been alleged by them, then this unnecessary orchestrated drama would not be part of the “fact-finding” by the House of Reps.
‘It is regrettable that those who parade themselves as saints are in themselves mired deep in rot, therefore, the determination to smear others with mud.
‘On Thursday, it was alleged that Ms Nuneih’s home in Port Harcourt was besieged by gun-wielding security men.
‘How convenient! To imagine that this is happening barely after 24 hours when the Rivers State Governor, Mr Nyesom Wike, warned against any attempt to undermine the security and life of Ms Nuneih speaks to a sinister plot by those who hope to gain from this macabre plot.
‘Today, Governor Wike is seen as a “superhero” for “rescuing” the ex-MD of the embattled Commission when credible sources suggest it was a hatchet plot by the “superhero”.
‘Also, it is pertinent to state that in all of the shouting, puffing and huffing, Ms Nuneih is yet to tender any document to the House of Reps, who by the way the Chairman of the House Committee on NDDC, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, is enmeshed in corruption allegation of having benefitted with a 17km road contract.
‘While it is not cast in stone that some things may have gone wrong, Ms Nuneih and her co-travellers should allow the forensic audit ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari go on. It is only proper that any grievances and allegations of wrongdoing should be channelled to the audit panel and not the red herring all over the place.
‘The new management of the NDDC, the Interim Management Committee and Minister of the Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio, should be allowed some breathing space to reposition a terribly battered Commission.’