Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Ex-militant leaders from the nine States of the Niger Delta region have declared their support for the Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei against the the committees of the National Assembly over the alleged attempt to arm twist and politicised the forensic audit ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The ex-militants stated that the animosity being shown by Hon. Tunji Ojo led House of Representatives Committee on NDDC is distracting the Commission and provoking youths of the Niger Delta region.
The ex-militant leaders under the aegis of the Leadership, Peace and Cultural Development Initiative (LPCDI), in a statement signed by its National President, Chief Reuben C.Wilson and Secretary, Nature Kieghe warned the Hon Tunji Ojo led NDDC Committee to stop being used as a tool to distract the NDDC and allow the commission focus on the forensic audit which all stakeholders, including traditional rulers, ex-militant leaders, governors of the nine Niger Delta States, agreed with Mr President as the way forward for the Commission.
The LPCDI noted that while the NDDC Committee has the right to probe the commission on any issue of national and regional interest, it would resist attempts by vested interests and those who allegedly looted the funds meant for development of the region to stagnate the works of the commission.
The statement read in part “We are aware that the National Assembly Committee is attempting to usurp the powers of President Buhari and threaten the commission on which files to be sent to the forensic auditors. It is clear that the Hon. Tunji Ojo led Committee is not aware that the Niger Delta people in their collective will would not allow the planned hijack of the commission from Abuja and allow illegal dictate of frivolous payments of ghost N6.4 billion for 132 jobs which have no proof of execution.
“It is clear that going forward, the ex-agitators in the Niger Delta region, may consider the members of the National Assembly committees and those against the workings of the NDDC as enemies of the region. Revelations have started emerging that over 50 per cent of NDDC’s inability to deliver on its mandate is as a result of the stranglehold of the National Assembly on the Commission. We are also aware that the same National Assembly is responsible for the backwardness of the region in terms of development.”
We also wondered why our elected national Assembly members from the Niger Delta region are silent in the face of the commission’s intimidation. Or are they also part and parcel of the grand plan to make the NDDC fail its people? Time to speak out against this injustice is now. “