Anti-Corruption Group Urges Support for Buhari’s Order for NDDC, Amnesty Forensic Audit
By Uchechukwu Ugboaja
The Anti-Corruption Crusaders Network, has called on all Nigerians including stakeholders in the Niger-Delta to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent order for a forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC over allegations surrounding the amount of funds allocated to the commission since inception. The anti-corruption focused group insisted that the forensic audit must also be extended to the Niger-Delta Presidential Amnesty Program, PAP.
Speaking on behalf of the group during an exclusive media chat with our correspondent, Hon. Ogidigba Godstime, a social conscience crusader and Spokesman for the Third Phase Ex-Agitators Network, stated that the call by Mr. President for a forensic audit of the NDDC has revealed that Mr. President truly loves the Niger-Delta and wants the best for the region. “Every Nigerian youth that means well for the country, especially those advocates of ‘revolution’ can take up this challenge initiated by Mr. President on the forensic audit of NDDC because the activities of the commission touch the lives of the exploited and deprived masses of the Niger-Delta”, he said.
“We are appealing to all Niger Delta youths, elders, women and stakeholders to support the proclamation of President Buhari, to ensure that the forensic audit team completes their work and present their report. This will allow the incoming board the leverage to operate on a clean foundation and a corrupt free commission”.
Considering the fact that over $40BillionUSD has been deployed to the Niger-Delta with little or nothing to match these funds, the anti-corruption group believes that one of the most pragmatic ways to ensure the efficient running of the NDDC, is for the commission to operate under the close supervision of the Ministry of Niger-Delta Affairs, MNDA. This is according to National Vice Chairman of the Third Phase Ex-Agitators Network, Comrade Samson Funpuwei, claimed that the NDDC will operate optimally to the expectations of the Niger-Delta people if they remain under the supervision of the MNDA as it has recently led Mr. President to see the imperative of carrying out a comprehensive forensic audit of the commission since 2001 till date. In his view, Comrade Samson who also doubles as the National Coordinator of the Anti-Corruption Crusaders Network, insists that; “The Federal Government should allow the NDDC stay under the MNDA, so that the people of the Niger Delta can be in charge of their destiny rather than continue to ‘pass the buck’ of underdevelopment of the region on the Federal Government. I think it is time the Niger-Delta begin to take responsibility for their success or failure”.
As the support Mr. President’s call for the forensic audit of NDDC continue to gain traction nationwide, fast rising anti-corruption group comprising of ex-agitators and delegates of the Presidential Amnesty Program, PAP, did not hesitate to seize the opportunity to ask President Buhari to extend the forensic audit proclamation to the Amnesty Program. According to Comrade Akeem Micah, Secretary of the Anti-Corruption Crusaders Network, ‘the NDDC is not the only Niger-Delta focused intervention agency of government that requires forensic audit, the Presidential Amnesty Program, PAP, is long overdue for an audit.”
The leadership of the ex-agitators, led by High Chief Young Shall Grow Senke, during a forum of stakeholders in Calabar, Cross-River State had brought to the notice of the current leadership of PAP, led by Prof. Charles Dokubo the white paper agreement between the FG and leaders of the various groups of ex-agitators which is yet to be ratified 10 years down the line.”
Since 2015 none of us under the Amnesty Program have received any housing allowances, since the past 2 years delegates have not been sent to school, monthly stipends are not paid in tandem with other FG MDAs. This is in addition to our missing slots which are yet to be released to the delegates amidst allegations of diversion by politicians and their cronies who were never part of the struggle from inception. In fact, this forensic audit by President Buhari should be immediately extended to the Presidential Amnesty Program while an interim committee to be headed by an ex-agitator from the region be made to manage the program until sanity is restored.”
See press statement below:
In recent times, the activities of intervention agencies established by the Federal Government to bring about development in the Niger-Delta region has been the focus of media attention for controversial reasons.
As members of the Anti-Corruption Crusaders Network who are also members of the Ex-Agitators Leadership Forum Phase 2 and Phase 3 have decided to make our stand known.
As sons of the Niger-Delta it burns and pains our hearts that our region is in the sordid state it is today, this we are not happy about it. This is not due to the negligence of the federal government, even though we have been fighting over issues of development, lack of inclusion, the unethical expropriation of our resources and the attendant environmental degradation of the Niger Delta land; which have led to the youths to carry arms against the Nigerian government.
The group recalls that the UAE, Dubai project was initiated with just about $25BillionUSD whereas the Niger-Delta, according to a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu, has received over $40BillionUSD since the establishment of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, in 2001 till date.
Our group the Anti-Corruption Crusaders Network unequivocally use this medium to support Mr. President’s call for a forensic audit of the NDDC, so that we can have a better Niger Delta of our dream. It is our view that ignoring the unaccountability for such funds ($40BillionUSD) to the region will amount to an amoral act against the coming generation of Niger-Delta children, who would blame our generation if we fail to take action.
We therefore, decry the fact that a commission like the NDDC would continue to remain comfortable in a rented building and in fact is still owing its host state, the Rivers State Government’s Internal Board of Revenue. We also lament the commission’s culture of littering the entire region with uncompleted projects despite the humongous funds that are channeled into the region through the NDDC. This literarily means that all the struggle of the Niger-Delta people can be said to have been thwarted.
Now that Mr. President has called for a forensic audit of the NDDC, we see this as a welcome development as the elders, youths, women and all stakeholders in the region will know all those who have been undermining the development of the region. With this new audit, we will know what projects have been executed, ongoing, abandoned or diverted, because we truly want to know those who are the enemies of the Niger-Delta, if they are sons and daughters of the Niger-Delta or non-Niger-Deltans?
We are therefore using this medium to call on the leadership of the NDDC and the Ministry of Niger-Delta Affairs to stop the awarding of new contracts until the forensic audit committee completes their assignment. This action should not affect ongoing contracts where contractors are on site, because the truth must be revealed about the true situation in the NDDC.
We want to also join the call for the retaining of Senator Godswill Akpabio as the Supervising Minister of the NDDC by Mr. President. It is a welcome development that Mr. President has chosen a committed son of the Niger Delta to supervise the NDDC, hence, these revelations about top politicians holding the NDDC to ransom.
When the NDDC was formerly under the supervision of the Presidency, they said the last Minister was not proactive but today a proactive Minister has come in and he has now made the President to understand that things need to work. How does it sound to you that since 2001 till date the NDDC is still occupying a rented apartment? Our position is, now that the President has made a pronouncement on the forensic audit of the NDDC, we call for the forensic audit to be extended to the Presidential Amnesty Program demanding that all stakeholders within and outside the region must embrace it for the development of the Niger-Delta region.