The Isoko Change Advocates (ICA) has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for putting on hold the Odubu/ Okumagba led proposed NDDC Board and setting up an interim committee to oversee the affairs of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC pending the completion of a planned forensic audit.
ICA said that previous NDDC Boards were highly fraudulent in conduct, and mismanaged funds meant for the development of the Niger Delta region thereby turning Niger Delta to a haven of abandoned projects.
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Reacting to Delta State government in a statement issued by Hon. Funkekem Solomon who raised an eyebrow over the setting up of an interim committee, the ICA said “it was the Niger Delta Governors that first frowned at the fraudulent manner with which NDDC funds were mismanaged and also complained of the inability of previous Boards to compliment development in the Niger Delta region. ICA said that the move of the Governors was one of the reasons why President Buhari ordered a forensic audit of NDDC and said it is only reasonable that such audit is carried out under an interim committee, as a substantial Board, especially one whose composition was marred with irregularity cannot oversee such audit. The group asked the Delta State government to be the focus in its deeds instead of going forth and back.
In a statement issued and made available to newsmen by the ICA’s Spokesman, Comrade Ernest Obi, ICA also warned other Isoko groups like the Isoko Ethnic Nationality Movement (IENM), which is tagged “faceless, mischievous and a cluster of political jobbers”, to desist from unnecessarily heating up the polity. Noting that such groups that are fighting against the success of the NDDC interim committee are used by guilty contractors and former board members who are working tirelessly to frustrate the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari to audit NDDC and ensure the Commission judiciously carry out its mandate of developing the Niger Delta area. The statements of those groups do not reflect the interest of the isoko people who are worried about the number of uncompleted and abandoned projects in the land.
The statement reads in part, “on behalf of the entire Isoko people, especially the youths and women, we want to commend the bold steps of President Muhammadu Buhari for setting up an interim committee to oversee the audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). We want to state emphatically that previous NDDC Boards were very dubious and criminally minded. They neglected the developmental reason why the Commission was set up and hatched evil and parochial plans to divert funds from the Commission into their personal pockets. This daylight robbery of the Niger Delta people needs to be probed under an interim committee and those found guilty be punished to serve as a deterrent to other potential board members”.
ICA also appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to completely disregard the NDDC Board list sent to the senate and hurriedly screened as members of the Governing Board of NDDC.
The group contended that no new Board should be constituted pending when a thorough audit of the Commission has been carried out and added that in an event of constituting a new Board, the NDDC Act which recommends that the appointment of the Chairman of the Board should follow an alphabetical order should be respected. It also said that the Isoko people are very particular about the audit of NDDC because it wants the various abandoned and uncompleted projects in Isokoland to be completed as well as eager to see the payment of petty contractors, whose little resources have been stocked in NDDC for years while dubious Contractors are being paid billions of Naira on a daily basis.
“Isoko Change Advocates want to urge Mr. President to obey the rule of law and do the right thing in NDDC. The law setting up the NDDC has said the appointment of the Chairman of the Board should follow alphabetical order. President Muhammadu Buhari should not allow desperate politicians to mislead him to create needless controversy and violence in Niger Delta. When the interim Committee has overseen the audit of the Commission, both the Chairman and Managing Director of NDDC should be appointed in line with the law”.