In a recent development with regard to the ongoing case of financial malfeasance within the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), stakeholders and eminent indigenes of the region have cried foul, alleging that both the commission and law makers are hiding salient facts of the case from Nigerians.
Among those to weigh in their opinions to the issue included Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, Ex Military Administrator of Akwa Ibom State and National Chairman of Pan Niger Delta Forum, Mr.Ledum Mitee, former Ogoni ethnic National Leader, Joseph Ambakaderimo, Convener, South South Re-awakening Group, as well as Eric Omare, immediate past president, Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide.
Speaking in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State Capital, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga alleged that underlying facts which could expose the underbellies of the involved parties is a possible reason why they have resorted to blackmailing each other
“It will be dangerous for me to speculate on what the issues are in the NDDC/NASS quarrel, but from what I have seen, and read, it does appear that they have something to hide; and in an attempt to do that, you can see blackmail and all that. So that is what we are seeing now from both sides”
“They are trying to outdo themselves through blackmail and cover up the real issue. The National Assembly is doing its oversight function and there might be a few of them that will not be comfortable with the investigation, because once there is investigation, some people are going to be exposed at the conclusion”
“I do not think National Assembly was prepared to investigate the entire life of the NDDC, they were only prepared for the issue of the allegation of N40 billion fraud. Since there is a Forensic audit going on, I think they should limit themselves to the level of their oversight function and the areas where they have facts” Nkanga said.
In a similar view, Mr Ledum Mitee held that the NDDC and NASS were throwing Nigerians off the essential facts of the case
“The main issue thrown up in the NASS probe of the NDDC is that the Commission has been a cesspool of corruption and political patronages, instead of a development agency”
“Our attention has been diverted by allegations and counter allegations of who had which contract. To me, who had the contracts is not important. It is no answer to allegations that some members of the NA also took part in the looting”
“What is important is; were those billions properly spent for what the funds were meant for? Were due process followed in the award of the contracts? Did those projects for which the contracts were awarded meet the priorities of development of the communities of the Niger Delta? Were the contracts executed? And why have those who committed infractions not been punished?”
“The National Assembly should focus on amending the NDDC Act to make it less bureaucratic and accountable to the people and not a political patronage outfit” Mr Ledum said.
Mr Joseph Ambaderimo, Convener, South South Reawakening Movement accused the NDDC Minister and the IMC of dancing around the facts
“Yes. Minister Akpabio is disingenuously and deliberately behaving like the ostrich who buries its head in the sand and thinks the whole body is buried. It has become the recurring pattern of the Minister and the IMC to continue to trivialize very serious allegations of corruption levelled against the Minister and the IMC team. The minister and the IMC team have so far not been able to respond to the allegations convincingly and all what they have engaged in is what I describe as ‘hot cock turtle’ tactics”.
The Niger Delta Development Commission, a Commission set up to cater for the peculiar needs of the region which happens to be the wealth basin of the nation has been in the spotlight in recent weeks over issues of financial misappropriation, thereby prompting the National Assembly to engage its oversight function and probe the commission.
In a sudden twist of events, it appears that stakeholders from the region who desire to see this matter pursued to a logical end have lost faith in the NASS to bring the NDDC into the gnawing jaws of justice.