Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Niger Delta ex-militants at the weekend appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that federal lawmakers indicted over corrupt practices in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) are arrested and tried before the end of his tenure.
According to the former insurgents, the only way to sanitise the regional commission was to ignore the outbursts of some members of the National Assembly and ensure completion of the forensic audit of the NDDC.
The ex-militants under the auspices of the 21st Century Youths of the Niger Delta and Agitators with Conscience (21st CYNDAC) said it was the first time the management of the commission would name and shame persons hindering operations of the NDDC.
General Izon Ebi, the leader of the group, asked the president not to allow the interference of corrupt interests to distract from the ongoing forensic audit.
‘The major reason for the kangaroo inquisition of the commission by the National Assembly is because the interim management committee of the commission for the first time has been able to name and shame members of the National Assembly that have made the commission the headquarter of their looting project,’ Ebi said.
‘For the first time, people of integrity have stood up to say no to the serial rape and plunder of the commission that has been unabated over the years, it is totally unacceptable that people voted to represent us are those using their exalted positions to loot the Niger Delta to stupor, after collecting humongous salaries and allowances, they also pad and collected about 90% of jobs and contracts in the commission with payments, without executing same.
‘These same people, seeing that the game is up, are employing every underhand tactic to truncate the forensic audit using blackmail of the minister of Niger Delta and the IMC of the NDDC as a case point. We have always been clamouring for the supervision of the NDDC by the Ministry of the Niger Delta so as to check the activities of some National Assembly members and other tin gods in the Niger Delta who see the commission as a theatre to display their influence.’
Ebi said it was sad that the NDDC, ‘created to ameliorate the socio-economic plight of the Niger Delta, became a cesspool of corruption singularly perpetrated by National Assembly Members.”