Transparency and Accountability Advancement Group has described President Muhammadu Buhari’s delay in implementing recommendations on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as sad and unfortunate.
The group said the delay calls to question President Buhari’s reputation as an anti-corruption crusader.
In a statement by Comrade Ebi Arogbofa, National Chairman, the group said it is sad that despite mismanagement of the NDDC by the Interim Management Committee (IMC), the government has failed to sack the commission’s leadership and put in place proper management as recommended by the Senate.
Explaining infractions in NDDC, the group said:
‘In the last one year, the IMC has spent over N100 billion without budgetary approval and with nothing to show for it. Rather, humongous fictitious payments have been made for dubious items such as desilting and clearing of water hyacinths, and for the comfort of the IMC members.
‘In spite of the evidence of corruption, the President has maintained an aloofness in what amounts to a disdain for Nigerians and the people of the Niger Delta particularly.’
The group reminded Nigerians that the Senate ad-hoc committee headed by Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, which probed the allegations of corruption and mismanagement against the IMC, concluded its investigations in July and submitted its report, which was adopted as a resolution of the Senate on July 23, 2020.
‘The report and resolution indicted the IMC for the manner it mismanaged N81.5 billion within the space of nine months up to May 2020 on unverified contracts, frivolous and luxurious payments, selfish expenditures, and gross mismanagement. It resolved that the IMC members should refund amounts illegally and improperly spent that was paid out under corrupt headings, that the members of the IMC be prosecuted and the committee disbanded,’ it said.
Transparency and Accountability Advancement Group said the Senate resolution also addressed the illegality of the IMC, which it said ‘should be disbanded and the Governing Board inaugurated, to allow for the proper functioning of the governance structure at the commission.’
It said President Buhari cannot afford to ignore the voices of the people of the Niger Delta, declaring: ‘A government that seeks to enthrone good governance cannot afford to ignore the Senate report and all the revelations that are already in the public domain that detail such humongous and freewheeling corruption by the IMC at the NDDC in the last one year.’
The group called on the National Assembly to be committed to its constitutional responsibility and ‘desist from any action that undermines the Constitution and our laws on this issue. It should listen to the voices of Nigerians on the streets who are saying loud and clear that it cannot be business as usual.’
It insists that the IMC serves no useful purpose at the NDDC, ‘since it is not provided for in the NDDC Act of 2000 as amended, which is the law governing the Commission,’ adding: ‘In line with the law and the Senate resolution, we ask President Buhari to bring probity, accountability and due process to bear in the NDDC by disbanding the IMC and prosecute all those that abused their offices.’