By Adelola Amihere
As the drama in the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC over financial misappropriation continue to unfold, a Coalition of CSOs under the auspices of Civil Society Joint Action Against Corruption has called for an independent probe into the finance state of the Niger Delta Development Commission just as it also called on the National Assembly committee probing the Commission to disassociate itself from the process, saying it is an interested party in the whole process.
In a statement signed on behalf of ten different organisations on Sunday in Abuja by the Coordinator Network Against Poverty in Africa Campaign (NAPAC) Comrade Samuel Dickson, said: “The loss of confidence expressed by the IMC, NDDC, people of the Niger Delta and Nigerians is the centre of our concern consequently, the above named group comprises of 10 civil society groups came together to issue a joint Press statement on the recent probe initiated by National Assembly on activities of NDDC.
The group stated that considering the claim that the probe panel is set up to witch-hunt suspected members of the public and that in no time has such activities or exercise yielded any good result except wastage of public funds and resources.
It therefore advised that it will be honourable for the House Committee on Niger Delta to stop this unpatriotic, insincere and self-serving exercise
“We are of the opinion that the standing committees of the National Assembly being an interested party in the case, haven been accused of corruption, lack of morality and public confidence will not do justice to the issues of financial improprieties and other related wrong doings in the NDDC. Therefore. we hereby demand that it discontinue and excuse itself from the probe,” it stated.
“Having watched the activities surrounding the probe by both the Senate Committee and House of Representatives Committees on Niger Delta majorly on allegations of financial impropriety and constant exchange of accusations and counter-accusations between the chairmen of the House Committees on NDDC Honourable Olubumi Ojo and the Interim Management Committee (IMC) on NDDC which ranges from: Budget inflation by the National Assembly; Non- payment of claimed contact executed by National Assembly members; undue influence and arm twisting by the Committees on Niger Delta in both the Senate and House of Representative
“We are of the opinion that the standing committees of the National Assembly being an interested party in the case, haven been accused of corruption, lack of morality and public confidence will not do justice to the issues of financial improprieties and other related wrong doings in the NDDC. Therefore. we hereby demand that it discontinue and excuse itself from the probe,” the statement reads.
Further Clarifying its stance for an independent probe, the group explained that the call become imperative so as to avoid another witch-hunt and controversy.
“In the interest of the nation and to disabuse the fear, perceptions, doubt of the public on the on-going probe, we therefore call for immediate stoppage of the said probe by National Assembly and call for an Independent panel of enquiry to probe the activities of the immediate IMC of NDDC.
“We want all issues surrounding the mismanaged of funds, non-payment of scholarships, contract scams and budget inflation to be treated holistically.
“We believe this can be done only by an Independent Presidential Probe Panel, where-in all will face the committee and report back to the President, and for relevant anti corruption agencies to act on. Allowing members of National Assembly to go ahead will not produce the needed result but rather lead to waste of time and resources and only ended up in media trial,” the group alleged.