From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
State governors of the South-South geopolitical zone yesterday admonished that there should be no going back on the forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
They gave their full support to President Muhammadu to go the whole hog in the audit so as to return the commission to its place of service delivery for the people of the Niger Delta region, an assignment that had become obvious the agency deviated from.
In a statement by the chairman of South-South Governors Forum and Governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, the governors expressed serious disgust at the crisis rocking the commission and called for a thorough probe of the alleged financial misappropriation at the commission.
The statement also expressed the governors’ support for the probe of the commission’s finances by the National Assembly, saying it is within the oversight function of the lawmakers.
They stated: “It behoves us to respect the Senate oversight function and allow it to discharge this responsibility in a fair, transparent and equitable manner.
“The South-South Governors are desirous to see an NDDC that is fully alive and responsive to its mandate of accelerating infrastructural development of the Niger Delta region and enhancing the general living conditions of our people.
“Hence, we will not hesitate to give our unqualified support to any policy initiative that will make this a reality.
“The Forum wishes to advise the combatants in the current crisis in the NDDC to refrain from utterances and actions that will breach the peace and security of the region.”
The forum equally vehemently condemned the foiled abduction of Ms. Joi Nunieh, the immediate-past Acting Managing Director of the Commission, in the early hours of Thursday, noting that it was “unwarranted, unnecessary and uncalled for”.
They called on security agencies to investigate the unfortunate incident stressing, “let it be on record that we are neither in support of nor against Ms. Nunieh in the current cloud of controversy surrounding the NDDC.”
It further called on political actors and people being investigated in the probe to remain civil and orderly in the interest of the development of the region.
They maintained that “as responsible public servants and leaders in the Niger Delta, we are mindful of the implications her attempted abduction could have on the peace and security of the region, which the current administration has laboured to sustain in the last five years.
“We do not want that to be truncated as it can have adverse consequences on the national economy.
“We urge the feuding parties in the NDDC to conduct themselves in a civil, orderly and lawful manner for the good of the region and the progress of the country.
“Democracy is about the rule of law; we have the courts and the various democratic institutions to deal with any grievances people may have without resorting to underhanded tactics and methods to intimidate and hound others.
“We wish to reiterate our stand that both the forensic audit and the Senate investigation should continue and be concluded with dispatch so that the NDDC can quickly return to its role of advancing and protecting the developmental aspirations our people.”