The Niger Delta People’s Forum (NDPF) has rejected the suggestion by elder statesman Chief Edwin Clark that a new investigative panel should be constituted to investigate the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and members of National Assembly.
In a statement by National Chairman Chief Boma Ebiakpo, the group advised Clark not to be used by those who do not want the principle of separation of powers to thrive.
Saying that Clark’s view does not represent the Niger Delta people, the group stated that the elder statesman’s insinuation that the IMC of NDDC is credible was wrong.
‘No true leader of the Niger Delta region can be so obsequious as to ignore issues of law, due process and transparency as to commend in overflowing adjectives the inchoate and unsubstantiated allegations by IMC against the National Assembly.’
It expressed regrets that Clark could take such position, saying: ‘When men like Clark, in the twilight of their lives, should stand up for strict adherence to the law setting up NDDC, which does not recognise IMC, as credible groups like PANDEF has done, he laboured to make light of the serious issues raised in the allegations of corruption in the NDDC under the IMC. Sadly, he chose to endorse a contraption not known to law and to defend the indefensible corruption that has taken place under the IMC as alleged.’
The NDPF said several Niger Delta groups, communities and NGOs petitioned the National Assembly ‘complaining about financial irregularities being carried out by the IMC of the NDDC. Consequently, both houses of the National Assembly resolved on 5th of May and set up committees to investigate the allegations.’
It said the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, had issued a statement welcoming the National Assembly probe, likewise the IMC of the NDDC.
The group said it was surprising that the minister is indirectly calling for halt to the probe, just as the IMC is raising allegations against certain members of the National Assembly.
‘If the IMC is sure of its facts, why have they not reported the supposed ‘transgressions’ of the National Assembly members to the EFCC or ICPC since the IMC has been in place? It is clear that IMC is not serious about these allegations, hence their inability to make formal complaints to EFCC and ICPC. Instead, they are resorting to using these unsubstantiated allegations to blackmail the National Assembly members to see if their blackmail can achieve the suspension of the national assembly probe,’ the group said.
It said Niger Delta people are united against corruption and therefore ‘insist that the National Assembly should be allowed to do its work in line with the constitution.”
The group reiterated its position that the IMC is an illegality, insisting that: ‘The NDDC Act only recognises a Governing Board representing the nine Niger Delta states, appointed by the President and duly confirmed by the National Assembly. Nobody is supposed to administer the funds of the NDDC without confirmation or clearance by the National Assembly. The already screened and confirmed the Governing Board in line with the NDDC Act, should be inaugurated to manage the NDDC without any further delay.’