Says Fight Against Corruption Has Become A Mockery To Nigerians
Comrade Ebiye Johnny, National Coordinator of Niger Delta Integrity and Development Group, NDIDG, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari not to legitimize the “scandals and contracts frauds in the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC under the Interim Management Committee, IMC as widely reported in the media.”
In a press statement, Comrade Ebiye said: “The uncovered fraud in NDDC, no doubt has totally made the anti-corruption fight a mockery before Nigerians and international community.”
He also questioned the rationale behind the decision of the president to extend the Tenure of the IMC. He said: “Mr. President, when you ordered on 17th October, 2019, that a Forensic Audit be carried out in NDDC, from 2000 to 2019, virtually all the leaders and people of Niger Delta region, applauded you. Also, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, whom you made supervisor over NDDC, told Nigerians that the Interim Management Committee (IMC) will complete the Forensic Audit in THREE MONTHS or maximum SIX MONTHS.
“Mr. President, it is SIX MONTHS already, the Forensic Audit has not even started, not to talk of submitting the audit report to you. THIS IS CONTRARY TO THE PROMISED CHANGE, NEXT LEVEL AND ANTI-CORRUPTION FIGHT.
“The illegal Interim Management Committee (IMC), alien to the NDDC Act, was hurriedly inaugurated and given a mandate to provide necessary documents for the Forensic Auditors to do their work, after which the IMC has completed it’s job. Mr. President, you were misled again, in March 2020, as you also inaugurated the NDDC Advisory Committee made up of the nine governors of Niger Delta region, without a Substantive Board of NDDC in place.
“Subsequently, the Presidential Monitoring Committee on NDDC was also inaugurated, still with no Substantive Board of NDDC.
“In the past few weeks, there have been series of reports exposing the stealing, corruption, mismanagement, fraudulent contracts award and racketeering and payments for jobs not executed worth Billions of naira in NDDC since October, 2019.
“Mr. President, may be you should be reminded that you appointed Godswill Akpabio as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, and not Minister of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC. Till date, Godswill Akpabio whom you appointed Minister of Niger Delta Affairs has not told us or given us the people of Niger Delta his plan or blue print put in place by Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to be implemented in Niger Delta region.
The statement reads:
“We expect that the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, should be more concerned on transforming and restructuring the Ministry to achieve the mandate for which the Ministry was established, rather, Akpabio has been fixed on the affairs of NDDC, too bad.
“It is more shameful and regrettable that our elected South-South Governors who are saddled with the responsibility and should be courageous enough to tell truth to Mr. President to inaugurate the Substantive Board of NDDC, they (Governors) submitted themselves to be inaugurated as Members of NDDC Advisory Committee by Mr. President in March, 2020, knowing fully well that the President was yet to reconstitute the Substantive Board of NDDC.
“It is worrisome, if our elected South South-Governors, who sworn an oath to be faithful and honest, were afraid to say the truth or stand for truth, no wonder the oil rich region has remained backward.
“The South-South Governors should convince the people of Niger Delta by telling President Buhari to dissolve the IMC now and immediately reconstitute the substantive Board of NDDC, except the Governors want us to believe that they are afraid of Godswill Akpabio.
We were told that the office of Auditor-General for the Federation, and Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs will jointly handle or supervise the Forensic Audit to cover NDDC’s operations from 2001 to 2019.
The IMC appointed the acting Executive Director Projects of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, as Chairman of NDDC Contracts Verification Committee.
Few days ago, the IMC presented its report to the Auditing Principal Partner and Lead Consultant for the forensic audit.
The IMC has handed over its preliminary report and documents of the verification exercise to the lead consultants of the audit, Olumuyiwa Basiru & Co., at the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt, by the Acting Managing Director, Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei, wherein stated that over 8,000 projects were captured throughout the nine states. The preliminary report contained contract documents covering projects captured during the NDDC’s verification exercise. From January 20th to February 7th 2020, the Interim Management Committee carried out a verification exercise, Contractors were invited for verification of their contracts documents with the commission.
The IMC, after submitting its final report to the Forensic Auditors, has become irrelevant and should be disbanded forthwith by Mr. President.
Further, Mr. President, never gave any mandate to IMC to award contracts, pay contractors or complete any jobs. The mandate of IMC was clearly spelt out by President Buhari, which was “to collate and document every transactions of NDDC from 2000 to 2019” and submit to the Forensic Auditors, after which the IMC has finished their job.
Now that the IMC has collated and documented every transactions of NDDC from 2000 to 2019 from it’s verification exercise and submitted same to the Forensic Auditors, the IMC has finished their job and should immediately be dissolved.
President Buhari should commence the process of reconstituting the substantive Board of NDDC.
It has become very important for Mr. President to reconstitute the substantive Board of NDDC wherein all the nine states in the region will be adequately represented as provided by the NDDC Act.
The ordered forensic audit, covers 2000 to 2019, while the substantive Board will commence it’s activities from 2020.