Civil society coalition in the Niger-Delta region, United Niger Delta Energy Development Security Strategy (UNDEDSS) has accused the National Assembly of deliberately frustrating the laudable development agenda of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The group said the lawmakers were unjustifiably interfering with the NDDC activities, thus depriving the region of certain benefits.
In a media briefing following an emergency Webinar Meeting of UNDEDSS anchored in the creeks of the Niger Delta yesterday, UNDEDSS indicted NASS of needless intrusiveness in the region, with a self-serving motive on the NDDC activities.
“Let us remind the NASS that UNDEDSS is not an internet one-man body, our capacity for action should not be tested” warned the group in a statement signed by its Secretary-General, Comrade Tony I. Uranta.
UNDEDSS statement noted further that “NASS Leadership must stop hoodwinking Nigerians with their revision of history. For example, the Niger Delta Ministry was given supervisory powers over the NDDC in 2016, following talks between UNDEDSS and the FGN (where the Presidency was ably represented by a team led by the late Chief of Staff to Mr. President, Mallam Abba Kyari and the former DG DSS, Mallam Lawal Daura; whilst Pastor Usani Uguru Usani was Minister of the Niger Delta. It was under Usani that the Presidency wrote to place the NDDC under the Ministry.
“To lie that the current Minister of the Niger Delta in any way made the President to put the NDDC under supervision by the Ministry is as shown above a lie from the pit of hell, that attempts to paint Mr. President as being short of memory. All the new Chief of Staff, erudite Professor Ibrahim Gambari needs to do is check the records, and consult with Messrs Malami, Usani, and Daura who are still very much alive”.
According to the statement “The National Assembly has, for years, had knees on the throat and chest of the Niger Delta thus choking the region whilst enabling some members of both chambers to corruptly enrich themselves and impoverish the region for years.
“NASS legislators routinely padded the NDDC budget and compelled NDDC management to give juicy contracts to them, even with all parties knowing that the contracts will never be executed, although the putative contractors will be paid 100 percent for the work but will not be up to 15 percent completed.
“Even the Presidency’s decision to deliver palliatives to the region has attracted the hyenas in the NASS. They’ve demanded to ‘share in’ even this compassionate program of Mr. President, or kill it, thus denying our people the much-needed palliatives to survive this Covid19 season”
The UNDEDSS statement queried that “NASS leadership and members are very much afraid of what will be revealed by the Forensic Audit being carried out on the explicit orders of President Buhari, the reason they are hell-bent on scuttling the already-begun audit?”
The statement revealed further that “NASS got Ms. Joy Nunieh sacked but have found the new DG, Professor Pondei equally resistant to their overtures intended to keep siphoning billions of Naira monthly on spurious consultancies and non-existent infrastructure contracts.
“If this hostile interference is allowed to impede Buhari’s singular act of decisiveness concerning the Niger Delta, in the face of non-delivery of remediation in the region (not even in Ogoni lands as promised by President Buhari), non-relocation of the Shipbuilding Dry Dock originally slated for the region (which is still lying idle in Lagos waters!), etc., the FGN must hold NASS Leadership to blame should there be unrest in the creeks.
“Of course, UNDEDSS is not saying anyone individual or management team is angelic. What we are against is this attempt by people we know to be corrupt impoverishing the Niger Delta to derail the very welcome forensic audit and Covid19 palliatives ordered by President Buhari himself.”