…Says there is no cause for it.
Reactions have Continued To Trail The recently submitted, NDDC Forensic Audit report by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpbabio to the Minister of justice, Abubakar Malami
One of such reactions is coming from a civil society group, Vanguard For Transparent Leadership And Democracy, VATLAD.
Comrade (Engr) Igbini Odafe Emmanuel,
Vanguard for Transparent Leadership and Democracy VATLAD who signed a statement by the group says there is no cause to review NDDC establishment Act and Board.
Fine official Release Below
September 3, 2021.
NDDC FORENSIC AUDIT REPORT: THERE IS NO CAUSE TO REVIEW NDDC ACT AND BOARD.
While we were still filled with excitement of news of decision by President Buhari to initiate “criminal investigations, prosecution, recovery of funds not properly utilised for the public purposes for which they were meant” – for the development of the Niger Delta Region through the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), we were hit with rude shock and disappointment to read that the Lead Forensic Auditor (Alhaji Kabir Ahmed), recommended managerial as well as structural changes, chief of which is for downsizing of the Board and members of the Board to be on Part-Time.
He was reported to have hinged his recommendations on the need to reduce cost of running the Commission (NDDC).
We would have ignored his recommendations and not react to same because they are not carefully thought-out. However, we are compelled to react because the Attorney General of the Federal in his response on behalf of President Buhari stated that President Buhari has promised to strategically implement all aspects of the audit exercise which will include review of the NDDC Act vis-a-vis the recommendation for Board members to be on Part-Time.
At this point it is incumbent on us as Patriots and Indigenes of the Niger Delta Region to remind President Buhari and Nigerians that by virtue of section 2(3) of the NDDC Act, 2000, those positions of Governing Board of the Commission (NDDC) that our people of Niger Delta Region rightly demanded in year 2000 be placed on part-time are already on part-time and therefore need no further placing on part-time.
Furthermore, it important to remind Nigerians that of every 19-member substantive Governing Board of NDDC confirmed by the Nigerian Senate, sixteen are on part-time; only three of them, the Managing Director/CEO, Executive Director, Finance and Administration, and Executive Director, Projects, are on full-time, and rightly so. It was deliberate to differentiate them from the other 16 members on part-time that the NDDC Act, 2000 under section 12, classify them as members of NDDC “Management Committee with responsibility to carry out the day-to-day administration of the Commission.
We further want to state that the reason for the unfortunate and highly condemnable callous looting of funds meant for the development of the Oil Producing member States of the NDDC since year 2000 is not caused by the size of the Governing Board of the Commission or that the MD/CEO and two Executive Directors function on full-time basis. No. The reason for this looting is due mainly to the failure to take appropriate action by Presidents of Nigeria who by virtue of sections 18 – 21 of the NDDC Act, have the duty to ensure Annual auditing of the Commission and establishment of Monitoring Committee consisting of persons of proven integrity and expertise to monitor management of funds of the Commission and execution of Projects and regularly report to the President of Nigeria.
This failure by Nigerian Presidents led to hijack of the Commission by privileged and influential politicians and Elites at Federal, State and Local Government Levels for their person interest and looting.
The later decision taken after year 2008 by former Nigerian Presidents to subject NDDC to the control, manipulation and so-called supervision of a Minister or Ministry for Niger Delta Affairs with its huge Civil Service Bureaucracy is also responsible for the increasing level of massive looting and corruption in the Commission, the same way it is reported about the failure and lootings in the Ministry for Niger Delta Affairs.
In conclusion and propelled by the renewed determination of President Buhari not to fail our people of Niger Delta Region and to reposition NDDC for the development and environmental care of our Oil Producing States of Niger Delta Region, we once against restate our consistent positions that:
(1) President Buhari should be very wary of Politicians and Persons misleading him to continue to act against the Law by refusing to allow the confirmed substantive members of the NDDC Board resume Duty to perform their functions
(2) we support his decision to fully bring to Justice those indicted by this Forensic Audit Report and to recover all that were looted for development and progress of Niger Delta Region.
(3) President Buhari should also urgently set up the NDDC Monitoring Committee made up of only persons of proven integrity and expertise to closely monitor the management of Funds and Projects execution by the Substantive Board of NDDC
(4) President Buhari should ensure Annual credible auditing of the Commission to prevent a sad repeat
(5) the supervision of the NDDC should immediately be removed from the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and returned to the President and Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces of Nigeria, as clearly provided for in the NDDC Act, 2000. This will drastically reduce the level of looting and mismanagement and make it easy to hold the President solely responsible for any further corrupt act by members of the Governing Board of NDDC
Comrade (Engr) Igbini Odafe Emmanuel.
Vanguard for Transparent Leadership and Democracy (VATLAD)