The Niger Delta Renaissance Coalition has said by writing to demand refund of money, as recommended by the Senate, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Interim Management Committee (IMC) has admitted guilt on allegations levelled against it.
in a statement by Comrade Godknows Sotonye, national coordinator, the group said the news report that the IMC wrote to former Ag. MD of NDDC, entitled “Demand for the refund of N1.96 billion to the Niger Delta Development Commission,” shows that it has embraced the Senate findings.
The group quoted the news report as referring to a letter dated July 28, and signed by Peter Claver Okoro Esq., NDDC Director Legal Services, which stated: “I have been directed to demand and I do hereby demand that you pay N1.96 billion within seven days of this letter to the account of the Commission in compliance with the order of the Senate of Nigeria.”
The Niger Delta Renaissance Coalition said the letter said the money was approved and released for Lassa fever kits “against established due process principles.”
The group said it was gratifying that the IMC, by the letter, has accepted the findings of the Senate Adhoc Committee on the allegations of financial recklessness at the NDDC, whose recommendations were adopted by the Senate on Thursday July 23.
The Senate recommended that “the IMC be disbanded and made to refund the sum of N4.923 billion; that the substantive Governing Board of the NDDC be sworn in to manage the Commission in line with the provisions of the Law; that the NDDC be moved back to the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) in the Presidency for proper supervision; that the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation supervise the forensic audit to guarantee independence, credibility, transparency and professionalism in the output of the exercise, and that the President with advice from the Auditor General should appoint a renowned, internationally recognised forensic auditor to carry out the exercise.”
The group said by formally writing to demand refund N1.96 billion, the NDDC was “not only accepting the Senate report but is also admitting to its responsibility to refund the balance of N2.963 billion from the total N4.923 billion, which the Senate directed the IMC to refund to NDDC account. This is clear evidence of admittance of guilt by the Pondei-led IMC.”
With this, the group said the IMC should not continue to be in office, especially since there is no provision for it in the law establishing the NDDC.
“The IMC must be disbanded immediately because, as an illegal contraption, it serves no functional purpose in the administration of the NDDC. The NDDC Governing Board, which is provided for in line with the law, should be put in place immediately to run the affairs of the Commission,” it said.
The group called on President Muhammadu Buhari to heed the Senate resolutions and disband the IMC.
“We therefore request the President to match his words with action because mere acknowledgement of wrongdoing does not address the ongoing corruption at the Commission,” it said.
The Niger Delta Renaissance Coalition also asked President Buhari to inaugurate the Governing Board.