The Niger Delta Renaissance Coalition has dismissed the claim by the acting executive director (projects) of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr. Cairo Ojugboh, that if a full list of looters of NDDC is released Nigeria would break, as a ploy to divert attention.
In a statement by its national coordinator, Godknows Sotonye, the group challenged Ojougboh to release the list.
“If Ojougboh or any of his IMC colleagues has any such information, as Nigerians have repeatedly said, rather than play to the gallery, they should hand it over to the anti-corruption agencies to investigate and prosecute all those culpable.”
It said such unverified claims by Ojougboh did not do justice to the war against corruption by the President Muhammadu Buhari government, insisting: “A serious government will not have an appointee of a federal agency raise the alarm about the country going up in flames when it controls the investigation agencies and should instruct the appointee to make the report to these agencies and have them do their jobs.”
The group said doing otherwise gave the impression of protecting “corrupt interests in Buhari’s regime, who employ propaganda to divert the attention of Nigerians from their fraudulent activities.”
On Ojougboh’s attack on the National Assembly for condemning the N51 million monthly imprest for the office of the acting MD of the NDDC, among others, the group said: “This is an outrageous display of megalomania and moral deprivation. It is even more dangerous when these claims by Ojougboh have no factual basis.”
It faulted Ojougboh’s claim that the Federal Government makes COVID-19 payment of N30,000, saying: “There is no report or evidence anywhere that the Federal Government is paying every Nigerian N30,000 each. In case Ojougboh does not know what this amounts to, based on a population of 200 million, that comes to N6 trillion. Certainly, no such ‘emergency expenditure’ has been undertaken by the Buhari administration since the COVID-19 pandemic. Similarly, the National Assembly has not awarded its members COVID-19 pandemic bonuses.”
The Niger Delta Renaissance Coalition said members of the NDDC IMC were still in office despite Senate’s resolution for their sack “because the Buhari administration has failed to live up to its responsibility to the Nigerian people of punishing corruption and speedily prosecuting those indicted of corrupt practices.”
Meanwhile, a lawyer, Dr. Kayode Ajulo, has threatened to sue the NDDC over non-disclosure of the names of those who misappropriated its N40 billion revenue and budget.
Ajulo stated this in a letter written to Prof. Keme Pondei, in Abuja, yesterday. The money was alleged to have been misappropriated within three months at NDDC during the probe of the commission at the National Assembly.
Ajulo, however, said pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOI), 2011, the names of beneficiaries should be made available to his firm.
He added that the NDDC must not fail to comply with the demand within seven days from the date of the receipt of the letter.
The lawyer said any attempt to disregard the letter would result to a lawsuit, adding that he would be compelled to proceed to apply to the Federal High Court, and he would seek an order to compel the NDDC to perform its statutory duties as outlined in the FOI Act.
Ajulo said he would also seek substantial damages against the NDDC for refusal to fulfil its statutory obligation. He said failure to comply would amount to wilful violation of his right to information under the FOI Act. He said the recent probe of NDDC by the National Assembly on the alleged misappropriation of N40 billion was worrisome, which was trailed by series of allegations.