By Egufe Yafugborhi – Port Harcourt
South-South Chiefs, Elders and Opinion Leaders Forum on Sunday urged President Mohammadu Buhari to give a definite timeline for completion of yet opaque forensic audit for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The body, rising from a crucial meeting in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, in conjunction with Delta Human Rights Situations Room, also pledged support for continued existence of Nigeria as one indivisible sovereign entity.
In a Communique released by Inko Taria, the stakeholders noted that, “As a region, while we continue to agitate for resource control, true federalism and creation of state police and devolution of powers, we advice Mr. President to fast track ongoing forensic audit of the NDDC with a definite timeline to know beneficiaries of the massive looting of our commonwealth in the agency.
“Records available shows that over 40 billion US Dollars have so far been expended since 2000-2019 to fast track development in the Niger Delta region with nothing to show for it.
“So, this forensic audit report and possible prosecution of likely indicted persons will set as deterrent in subsequent management of the intervention agency.
Against worsening insecurity in the nation, the body” Reaffirm total support for sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This is necessary at this moment that the unity of the country is under attack by increasing insecurity and secessionist activities in various regions of the country.
“We call on President Buhari led to rise up to the various security challenges across the nation. The rate of terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and cult/politically related killings, is really posing big threat the to our cooperate existence.
“Communities and ethnic nationalities are resorting to self-help by creating armed groups and unregulated vigilantes which is further militarizing the communities and creating tensions/apprehension in the country.
“We are aware that the present security challenges facing the country are surmountable if we collectively tackle it as people holistically.
“Research indicates the wide gap between the people and the various security agents have been a strong leverage for the bandits and all other terrorists/criminal gangs to operate smoothly without fear of been apprehended.
“In some cases, criminals receive empathy from communities either through cohesion or inducement. We advise FG to institutionalized citizens/community participation in the security architecture of the country to enhance strong synergy and real-time community intelligence gathering at reducing the rate of casualties and victims of violence across the country.