The Human and Environmental Development Agenda, (HEDA Resource Centre) said it is not comfortable with the ongoing probe of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC by the National Assembly, NASS.
In a statement delivered by its Chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, the current probe by the NASS is an attempt to delude Nigerians from knowing the the underlining secrets involved in the commission.
HEDA Chairman tasked the Federal Government to take two important steps to ensure a transparent and meaningful probe of the NDDC by: Setting up of a public enquiry and the removal of the Minister of the Niger-Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
Suraju said the public enquiry should be led by a retired judge and members be drawn from Nigerian Bar Association, (NBA), Nigerian Labour Congress, (NLC), the civil society among others.
“HEDA is relentlessly working with credible organisations to expose the fraudulent contract over the years in NDDC. This is necessary to save the commission and to protect the people of the Niger Delta on whose behalf the commission was established,”
He stressed that the recent confession by Akpabio indicting members of the National Assembly of taken the lion share of the NDDC contract has exposed the futility of any probe instituted by the same National Assembly.
“The National Assembly is already compromised. It has become obvious that they are part of the problem we have. There is no way that a suspect can be a judge in its own case. (Nemo judex in causa sua). The Presidency owes it as a matter of national duty to ‘constitute an independent public enquiry to investigate the dirty deals that appear to date back to decades,’ “
He added that the hands of National Assembly members are not clean- inferring from the revelation made by the Minister of Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
“Akpabio said clearly that most of the contracts were venally awarded to the lawmakers. From all indications, there is no way the lawmakers will ever come out with a honest and transparent probe. Nigerians are not fools, there is need for comprehensive probe dating back to the year 2000 when the NDDC was established.
“The Commission has failed intoto to meet the expectations of Nigerians, not even to the immediate citizens of Niger Delta whose resources are being pummelled and exploited by a few people to the detriment of the entire country.
“An independent probe will likely see members of the National Assembly panel as suspects. They should never think Nigerians will forgive them if they sweep the dirts under the carpet. NDDC remains one of the richest agencies in Nigeria whose budget in 2019 alone, stood at N346b, as a result the region ought not to be an eyesore.
“The NDDC is a can of worms. It lacks prudent administration and management .The probe of the National Assembly has reached a dead end. What can salvage the situation is a public enquiry” Suraju said.