A Civil Society Organisations (CSO) has described the allegations of corruption against some members of the National Assembly by the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as serious but common knowledge.
The CSO under the auspices of the Transparency In Petroleum Exploration and Development Initiative (TIPEDI), called on the National Assembly to allow the IMC to complete the forensic audit assignment given to it by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The group reasoned that the current crisis of confidence between elected politicians particularly from the Niger Delta area and the NDDC would have serious negative effect on the commission and the hapless people of the area.
TIPEDI’s National Coordinator, Chief Nathan Egba in a statement on Thursday said some Federal legislators perpetually milked the commission over the years.
Egba said it was not surprising that they were engaged in a plot to derail the forensic audit exercise which obviously would unearth their nefarious activities.
He said some legislators deliberately orchestrated the present conflict between the Prof. Keme Pondei led management of the NDDC and the National Assembly to blackmail the commission to bow to some illegal demands aimed at derailing the completion of the forensic audit.
He, however, expressed happiness that the plot backfired following the courage mustered by the current NDDC management to call their bluff.
Chief Egba, who was a former Bayelsa State Commissioner for Information and Orientation said: “Over the years, succeeding managements of the NDDC have come under the same kind of pressures and blackmail, with several managements capitulating and allowing the Legislators turn the Commission into their glorified cash-cow.
“In the process a lot of funds meant for developing the Niger Delta area and improving the people’s lives have ended up in the pockets of few individuals to the detriment of the general population.
“It is necessary to state at this point that the Legislators as representatives of the people should rather cooperate with the NDDC to address the reasons behind their relatively poor performance over the years, which has been attributed to the National Assembly’s slow and disruptive budget passing process.
“We in TIPEDI agree with the NDDC’s submission that over the years the National Assembly applies three clear steps by which it stifles the NDDC’s operations; namely through replacing the Commission’s budget proposals with the Legislators own projects.
“Other ways include, delay in the passage of the budget till very late in the year and when the budget is finally passed, demands by Legislators for upfront payments for their projects, most of which are usually left abandoned anyway”.
“Therefore, for us Mr President has signalled his seriousness in pursuing the forensic audit process to its logical conclusion with the appointment of the current Acting Managing Director, Prof. Keme Daniel Pondei, a totally non political academician with the courage to confront this albatross in order to make life easier for future managements of the Commission”.
The TIPEDI Coordinator called on Pondei, whom he said had no political ambition or desire to perpetuate himself in office, to remain courageous and focused in order to complete the assignment and justify Mr President’s confidence in setting up the Interim Management Committee. – The Nation
– May 28, 2020 @ 13:55 GMT |