By Jimitota Onoyume, Warri
Apex Itsekiri body, Itsekiri Leaders of Thought, ILOT, has hailed the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to order a forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC from 2001 to date, adding that anyone found wanting should be made to face the full weight of the law.
A statement made available to the Vanguard newspaper yesterday in Warri, Delta state and signed by Chairman of the body, Chief Godwin Ekpoko and the Public Relations Officer, Chief Tony Ede also enjoined the federal government to make report of the forensic audit public at the end of the exercise, adding that the federal government should revisit the structure of the commission for reorganization to enhance its efficiency in the region.
The statement also lamented alleged neglect of Itsekiri communities in the region by the commission in key relevant areas despite being a major oil and gas producing area in the country.
The statement reads in part: “The Itsekiri ethnic nationality of Warri North, Warri South and Warri southwest Local Government Areas of Delta State remain the single highest oil-producing body in Delta State and 2nd largest in Nigeria.
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The Itsekiri ethnic nationality is, therefore, a major stakeholder in the NDDC affairs. Sadly, however, because of her numerical strength, it has been the object of oppression and marginalization in project allocations and the running of the Commission. There is no respect for the quantum of production in either appointment to the Board or distribution of projects.
Since 2001, the NDDC is being managed, in the words of Pa Enahoro, like a vehicle with a drunken driver loaded with reckless passengers urging the driver on. The end is the mess we find ourselves today.
The Itsekiri Leaders of Thought (ILoT) wholeheartedly supports President Mohammadu Buhari in carrying out a forensic audit of the NDDC from 2001 to date. The boundaries of rational behavior have long since been overstepped.
It also called on the President to look into the structure of the NDDC and re-organize it for effective delivery of its core mandate, within the ambit of applicable laws.
That any person or body found culpable by the audit and/or investigation be brought to book to serve as a deterrent to others.
That the report of the forensic audit be made public and implemented. It should not suffer the fate of several Reports dumped in the past for political convenience.”