By Chioma Onuegbu
THE apex socio-cultural organisation of the South-South geo-political zone, Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, has demanded prosecution of persons indicted in the ongoing investigation of alleged misappropriation of funds in Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP, and Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
National Chairman of PANDEF and former military administrator of Akwa Ibom State, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (retd), made the call, yesterday, while reacting to the recent report of the presidential panel headed by National Security Adviser, NSA, Gen Babagana Monguno (retd), which indicted three former coordinators of PAP and 17 ex-militant leaders of allegedly looting the funds meant for rehabilitation of beneficiaries of the programme.
Nkanga, who explained that prosecution would help to determine whether those mentioned actually committed the crime or not, stressed that there was a possibility that those indicted in the amnesty programme could be responsible of stealing the said funds because they were the coordinators.
He lamented that PANDEF was particularly interested to see that those that have enriched themselves by looting NDDC and PAP, irrespective of which part of the country they come from, are exposed.
He said: “Look, we have come to a point that things should not be handled with kid gloves. That is why we have been shouting since last year about the forensic audit in NDDC, that we want the names of those doing this to be published.
“The same thing also with the probe of PAP. We are saying if those in charge of the programme get their money illegally, prosecute them, it is not just enough to mention names. It is then that we will know what has happened, if they are the ones that actually stole the money.
“Those indicted were former coordinators of the programme, there might be a small man out there that is controlling all that.
“Government money is not something that comes and you pocket it just like that. There are lots of procedures to it. And when you talk about criminal offence, you must charge them to court, then prove it properly. It is as simple as that.
“And you know whenever anything happens here, they will always put it on Niger Delta. The world will not know that some of those things are not even done by people of Niger Delta.
“Whether it is PAP or the NDDC, or Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, the people of Niger Delta have been grossly shortchanged. And anybody that is shortchanging them, it is not fair and I am sure that the God of justice will not allow it to continue that way.”