By Myke Uzendu
A non-governmental organisation, known as Act for Positive Transformation Initiative has called for Federal Government’s speedy intervention over increased corruption in Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The group’s Head, Directorate of Research, Strategy & Programmes, Kolawole Johnson in a press conferences on Sunday at the NUJ FCT Secretariat, Abuja, said that the volume of sleaze in NDDC has tripled even as the government is about to commence a forensic audit of the commission.
The group alleged that over N75 billion has been stolen from the coffers of the Commission as against N40 billion being investigated by the National Assembly.
“We want to duly and responsibly inform the National Assembly and relevant agencies that the amount under probe should be over N75 Billion Naira not the touted 40 billion Naira as the present Interim Management Committee (IMC), of the NDDC has expended over 80 billion Naira in just four months.
“Aside from the wage bill, the rest must be subjected to forensic analysis. The discoveries will amaze Nigerians. So many abuses of regulations,” the group stated.
The group alleged that the management of the Commission has since the death of its Executive Director of Finance and Administration Ibanga Etang, used the opportunity to siphons millions of naira in the name of COVID-19 publicity campaign. He said that the Commission has shut out some of the staff in the name of isolation whereas humongous looting is going under the guise of decontamination and awareness campaign.
He said, “We are calling for immediate investigations of the COVID-19 claims of NDDC officials. We call on National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the Ministry of Health, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and all relevant agencies to immediately investigate NDDC claims and NCDC officials in Rivers State. We also appeal to, Mr Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation who doubles as the head of PTF on COVID-19 to compel NDDC, to make available, names of officials they claim are positive.
“We submit that this whole ploy is meant to jeopardize the ongoing probe of the commission. Our curiosity is further heightened by the slow pace of work by the National Assembly. There must not be any political settlement on the wicked rape of the people’s resources. Till date, we are yet to receive any invite from the National Assembly despite our extensive work in exposing the ongoing corruption in the commission.
They further alleged that while most countries were on lockdown, NDDC in April claimed to have spent N70 million on Investment summit in the United States and London.
The group further said that aside the principal forensic auditor which was advertised, other auditors were not advertised, alleging that the selection process has already cast suspicion on the outcome of the exercise.
They called on Federal government to quickly intervene so that the money budgeted to the commission will be judiciously used for the development of the region.