A non-governmental organisation, Transparency and Accountability Advancement Group, has expressed worry that despite the damning report by the Senate against the Interim Management Committee Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Commission (NDDC) and established financial recklessness in the commission, President Muhammadu Buhari has not taken action.
In a statement by Damian Nwikinaka, director of information and strategy, the group said Nigerians are waiting for President Buhari to take action that would prove the government is disappointed by the financial recklessness, corruption, abuse of office and mismanagement in the NDDC.
‘President Buhari cannot continue to act as if humongous corruption has become the synonym for his government. When he was asked recently what he thought of the ongoing revelations of corruption at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the NDDC, the president said some of his appointees had abused trust by misusing their offices for their self-aggrandisement. Yet he is delaying action.’
The group urged President Buhari not to ignore the detailed Senate report and resolutions on the IMC, ‘if he is really serious about his anti-corruption agenda. The president’s failure to act promptly and decisively since the exposures seemed to have emboldened the IMC to continue their activities at the NDDC.’
It alleged that a fresh petition dated August 5, 2020, and addressed to President Buhari by Act for Positive Transformation Initiative, showed that the NDDC IMC made payments of over N24 billion in the period from June 1 to August 5, 2020, without an approved budget in place.
According to it, the petition signed by Kolawole Johnson, director of research, listed names of companies and individuals paid, including the splitting of contracts, the award of fictitious contracts and the abuse of due process.
‘For instance, on the day the IMC appeared before the Senate Committee, it paid out a cumulative sum of N3 billion to a contractor using five different companies,’ it quoted the group as saying.
Transparency and Accountability Advancement Group said the petition told President Buhari thus: ‘The present Interim Management Committee is not only averse to the development of the region and its people; they, in addition, disobey and deceive you at will, flout your instructions, embarrass the nation, disregard laws and due process and above all, corrupt.’
Nwikinaka said it was “horrendous that such barefaced stealing will go on without the surgical intervention of the President. Is Mr President now comfortable with corruption or is his anti-Clcorruption posture simply a joke?’
The group said Nigerians are alarmed by the ‘inaction of the president and are losing faith in his leadership. President Buhari cannot continue to act like all is well at the NDDC under the IMC. He should take a decision on these issues that have been critically examined and highlighted in the Senate report and the Senate resolutions. These resolutions reflect the wishes and desires of the Niger Delta people, and Nigerians generally, on the way forward for the NDDC.’
It urged President Buhari to restore accountability at the NDDC ‘by dissolving the IMC, implement the other resolutions of the Senate and direct the anti-corruption agencies to prosecute all persons indicted.’