Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
An activist group, Niger Delta Activists Group and Excellent Leadership Foundation (NDAGELF), has warned the National Assembly over what it calls the “barrage of attacks” on the Prof Kemebradikumo Pondei-led Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The activists in a press statement signed by Chief Izzi Yakiah, Vivian Oweibi and Goodluck Amakiwei NDAGELF National Coordinator, National Secretary, and Legal Adviser, respectively, exonerated the IMC of any wrongdoing.
They said that the IMC deserved commendation for distributing the COVID-19 intervention fund as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari to the nine states of the Niger Delta region.
The group alleged that the National Assembly Committee on NDDC ‘have not been thorough and operate due diligence in discharging their oversight function” which prompted President Buhari to order a forensic audit of the Commission with the possible indictment of notable politicians and serving federal lawmakers.
‘The recent barrage of attacks on NDDC by the National Assembly committees is another unpatriotic journey that has frustrated the 2019 budget of the Commission which expired a few days ago leaving the region without any implemented developmental projects. It will also surprise Nigerians and people of the Niger Delta region in particular that the President has not commissioned any project in the region for the past five years because of constant political blackmail, intimidation and harassment of previous and present management set up to manage the commission. The records are there to show,’ the group stated.
The group, which called for a probe into the allegation that 500 projects were inserted into the 2019 budget by federal lawmakers, noted that the sudden speed which the National Assembly wants to carry out the probe of the IMC is suspicious and a ploy to arm-twist Prof Pondei and his colleagues.
It declared that it would mobilise stakeholders in the Niger Delta region to rally round the Prof Pondei-led IMC and halt the continued blackmail and distraction in the bid to prevent a forensic audit of the NDDC.
The group commended the NDDC Management for effectively collaborating with the Ministry of the Niger Delta for the completion of the NDDC secretariat after 23 years of construction.
It appealed to the people of the Niger Delta to support the IMC in its efforts to end all corruption cases in the Commission.