Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Niger Delta stakeholders and ex-agitators under the aegis of Niger Delta Restoration Alliance (NDRA) have expressed concern over the rising usurpation of the constitutional powers of the president to appoint, investigate or sack heads of the intervention agencies in the Niger Delta including the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Presidential Amnesty Committee.
According to them the delegation of the president’s authority on the intervention agencies is the cause of rising cases of fraud and corruption in the agencies.
The national coordinator of the NDRA, Dr Biewari James Apulu, in a press statement issued to newsmen in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, called on President Buhari to rise up to the occasion and urgently intervene in addressing the numerous fraud and corruption allegations in the agencies.
The group decried the situation where faceless groups are the ones speaking through vested interests to further destabilise the smooth running of the amnesty programme and disrupt the operations of the NDDC.
The statement read in part:
“We believe in civic courage, responsibility, and participation in the socio-economic and political space for a better and greater Nigeria; we believe in President Muhammadu Buhari’s mantra of ‘we have no other country but Nigeria so let’s salvage it together.’ This is a time for accountability. We are not only in support of the president’s war on corruption, but we will soldier on with him to expose this hydra-headed monster where ever we find it exists.
“Before 2015, the Amnesty programme had been running smoothly. Why is it possible for a repeat of the same pattern of alleged looting and sabotaging of the Amnesty programme for beneficiaries under the watchful eyes of the NSA since 2015? Let it be pointed out that the NSA erred by appointing a committee to investigate matters in which he has an interest. The NSA has no such powers to set up a committee to look into the accusations of financial impropriety in the Amnesty office.
“The Amnesty programme and office are creations of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It’s only the president who has powers to appoint a special adviser on Niger Delta and coordinator of the Amnesty Programme. The NSA cannot recommend for appointment and should not be allowed to do so further. The president should personally appoint the next special adviser and coordinator of the Amnesty programme from the Niger Delta.”