The Niger Delta Peoples Forum has said no amount of propaganda will stop the investigation of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by the National Assembly.
Reacting to an interview by Obiaruko Ndukwe, founder of Citizens Quest for Truth Initiative, condemning the National Assembly probe, the group said the lawmakers can’t keep quiet “when national revenues have plummeted and the Niger Delta region is still suffering from underdevelopment.”
A statement by Chief Boma Ebiakpo, National Chairman, said the constitution, as amended, gave the National Assembly power “to oversight activities of the executive branch of government, including all ministries, departments, and agencies.”
The group said such constitutional powers cannot “be abridged or subsumed under the executive branch as the Ndukwes of this world have been made to believe.”
Citing Section 88 (1) of the constitution (as amended), the group said this “confers on the National Assembly the power to ‘direct or cause to be directed investigation into – (a) any matter or thing with respect to which it has power to make laws, and (b) the conduct of affairs of any person, authority, ministry or government department charged, or intended to be charged, with the duty of or responsibility for – (i) executing or administering laws enacted by National Assembly, and (ii) disbursing or administering moneys appropriated or to be appropriated by the National Assembly.’ This is why the National Assembly has a responsibility to investigate the books of NDDC.”
Niger Delta Peoples Forum said Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, supported the National Assembly probe in the beginning. Also it said the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC welcomed the development “and thanked the National Assembly for instituting the probe and stated that it will give them the opportunity to show how well they have performed.”
The group recalled that Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said when inaugurating the Senate Committee probing the IMC and the NDDC, that the Senate wanted to see a situation where the very limited resources that are appropriated for the Niger Delta Development Commission are prudently and transparently deployed for the development of the Niger Delta region, declaring: “This is our position too and we will not be distracted by the puny interests of Akpabio and his IMC media campaigners.”
It insists that the probe of the IMC by the National Assembly must take place, while urging the IMC to “prepare to face the National Assembly Committees probing its activities and give account of its stewardship.”