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PANDEF to NASS: Don’t allow vested interests compromise NDDC probe

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Bemoans abandonment of East-West road

By: Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo

 NDDC probe
Senate

THE Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF has commended the decision of the leadership of the National Assembly to investigate allegations of mismanagement of funds in the Niger Delta Development Commission,(NDDC), and appealed to them not to allow persons with vested interests compromise the probe.

National Chairman of PANDEF and former military administrator of Akwa Ibom State, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (retd) who appealed in a statement made available to newsmen yesterday in Uyo pointed out that pressures may be put on the National Assembly to abandon the inquiry.

His words, “The glut of petitions in the public domain against the interim management committee is not only disturbing but embarrassing. PANDEF, therefore, welcomes the setting up of Committees by both Chambers of the National Assembly to investigate the allegations.

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“The probes would help determine the validity or otherwise of the assertions, and save the people of the Region from the anguish of the humiliation.

“PANDEF, therefore, implores the Committees of both the Nigerian Senate and the House of Representatives saddled with the task to rise above board, and write their names in gold, by conducting a thorough investigation, without fear or favour.

“They should be mindful of persons with vested interests that may attempt to frustrate or compromise the investigation. It is also not unexpected that pressures may be put on the National Assembly even by highly placed individuals to abandon this inquiry.

“We thus urge members of the National Assembly to be true patriots, and not accommodate partisan considerations in this probe, because the hope of the people of the Niger Delta region and indeed Nigerians, for an improved NDDC, is at stake”

Nkanga noted that stakeholders of the region were concerned over the developments at the NDDC, and even Mr. President’s reported extension of the period of the Interim Management Committee to December 2020 despite the allegations.

He recalled that PANDEF had supported the forensic audit of the NDDC, ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 as well as appealed for support for the setting up of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the NDDC to carry out the audit when some Niger Deltans had opposed to it.

“PANDEF’s backing of the forensic audit was informed by the appalling state of infrastructure in the region, and the Commission’s continued failure to fast-track the region’s development.

“We had hoped that the forensic audit would expose and bring to book those behind the cacodemon of corruption in the NDDC and that it would instill financial propriety in the management of the Commission, correct years of underperformance, and subsequently, reposition the interventionist agency for better service delivery to the region.

“But it now appears our hopes were misplaced. It is increasingly becoming difficult not to doubt if the forensic audit process had not been hijacked by desperate politicians for selfish purposes.

“Regrettably, it is the people of the region that suffers the bane of the debauchery and continued failure of the Commission to deliver on its mandate”, he asserted.

The PANDEF chairman who lamented the
non-performance, poor management, misapplication and misappropriation of resources, reckless perversion of set objectives of the NDDc, while abandoned projects litter the region.

Nkanga flayed the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs for abandoning East-West road, stressing, “After 13 years, the road is still uncompleted. Not even an inch of construction has been added in the last five years. To the 9th National Assembly, history beckons.

“It must be appreciated that the peace and development of the region are paramount and that the Ministry of the Niger Delta Affairs and the NDDC, have critical roles to play in this regard.

“The Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, in particular, has a mandate to escalate socio-economic development in the region by formulating and executing projects, and programmes as well as coordinating intervention activities of agencies, Communities, donors, and other relevant stakeholders involved in the development of the region.

” The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs has been a Governor of one of the States in the region for 8years, we presumed, sufficiently understands the peculiarities and challenges of the region, and thus, would act accordingly, in the best interest of the region and its people. But it seems the ministry’s only focus now is the NDDC”

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