Group known as Niger Delta Renaissance Coalition, Wednesday advised National Assembly to ignore lies and propaganda emanating from some faceless groups, as it threw its weight behind it.
Comrade Ebi Arogbofa, Director of Research, Strategy and Information, who signed the statement sent to Vanguard, on behalf of the group, argued that these faceless groups are fictitious and have no inch of relevance among the people of the Niger Delta.
Read the full statement below:
“Having failed to get the backing of statesmen, elders, women, youth activists who are in our authentic Coalition, the IMC has taken to creating fictitious groups, using fake and expendable names to sign press statements and passing out to unsuspecting news outlets. The IMC is fast becoming a distraction to the development of the Niger Delta.
“There are no militants anywhere in the Niger Delta who are supporting the IMC or any of its actions. Our individual and collective position is that the IMC has no place in the NDDC; what we want is that the Governing Board be put in place to manage the Commission in line with the NDDC Act.
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“We are not surprised that the NDDC interim management committee has resorted to the well-worn antics of lies, propaganda, threats and blackmail to avoid scrutiny. The truth is that the Niger Delta people – made up of the statesmen, elders, mothers and youths of the region – have insisted since the IMC was appointed in October last year that it is illegal and must be scrapped for the Governing Board of the Commission to take its rightful place. We are fully behind the Committees set up by the Senate and the House of Representatives to investigate the IMC and restore probity at the NDDC.
“It is being economical with the truth to say that the probe of the IMC will affect the forensic audit because the IMC has no role in the audit, except if the agenda is to guide the auditors to work to the answer. Our position is that a credible independent international audit firm be engaged for the forensic audit, just like it was done in the case of the NNPC a few years ago when Price Waterhouse was engaged to audit the Corporation. During that audit, the NNPC Board and management were not set aside for an ‘interim management committee’.
“What the IMC is doing is to weapon the forensic audit against those who seek the investigation of its alleged fraudulent activities. This should not even arise because the IMC is illegal and should be scrapped without further delay.
The authentic voices of the Niger Delta are very clear in our demands, which are:
- The IMC is illegal and does not follow the Act. The IMC must be disbanded immediately because, as an illegal contraption, it serves no functional purpose in the administration of the NDDC.
- Since IMC has been there for the past seven months, the National Assembly must investigate its operations, the allegations made against it, and recover all funds spent without proper appropriation and in negation of extant rules of financial propriety.
- The forensic audit has to be done by a reputable independent auditor, creditably and independently, just as the NNPC audit was done by Price Waterhouse a few years back while the legitimate board and management was still in place. The board and management of the NNPC were not set aside for an IMC in order to do the audit. The audit was done independently.
- The NDDC Governing Board, which is provided for in line with the law, should be put in place immediately to run the affairs of the Commission.
In conclusion, we urge the Senate and House of Representatives to remain steadfast in their probe of the IMC in the discharge of their constitutional mandate of oversight (in line with Section 88 of the Constitution). We want to emphasize that Niger Deltans are fully behind all legitimate efforts to strengthen the NDDC.
“However, we will resist all attempts to produce a stage-managed forensic audit report, which is what IMC wants to do. The Governing Board of the NDDC should be put in place immediately in line with the NDDC Act. The NDDC has to be run in line with the law.”
Recall that the senate committee on Niger Delta affairs had said that no amount of intimidation or blackmail will stop it from probing the interim management committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Speaking with reporters, on Wednesday, Peter Nwaoboshi, chairman of the committee, opined: “We are responding to the allegations of the IMC to correct the misrepresentation. If they claim that some 1000 jobs were given to any Senator, we challenge the IMC members to compile the list of these contracts and publish them.
“Also, the EFCC, police or ICPC should be reached to investigate those claims instead of blackmailing anybody.
“If members of the IMC know that their hands are clean, they don’t need to panic or resort to blackmail which would not in any way deter the already mandated investigative committees of the national assembly from carrying out their legitimate assignments.
TheCable quoted him as equally saying, “IMC must be ready to submit itself for thorough investigation by committees already assigned for that by both chambers of the national assembly.
“The allegations of balkanisation of budget just came because the IMC members were asked to appear before the ad hoc committee to answer questions.
“The national assembly has the right to appropriate and carry out oversight functions on the Niger Delta ministry, and the NDDC. So, no amount of intimidation or blackmail will stop us.”