Not a couple of Nigerians are entertained at the theatre of the ridiculous playing out at the Niger Delta Advancement Commission. The entire circus reveal climaxed last Monday when 3 dramas occurred throughout your house of Representatives Probe Panel of the 20-year-old interventionist firm. Initially, the prosecuted Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo recused himself from chairing the days conference following the claims of his criminal offense versus NDDC levelled versus him recently by the acting chairman of the Interim Management Committee, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei. The acting Handling Director was to surprise the country days later on as he passed out while being grilled by the legislators. The last however not the least was the claims by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, that members of the National Assembly were the best recipients of agreements in the NDDC.
It is appealing that 2 chambers of the National Assembly, the Senate and Legislature Committees on the NDDC, chose to at the same time penetrate the commission without considering it fit to have a joint committee to perform the general public hearing. That does disappoint sensible management of resources. If what Akpabio stated about the NASS members being the best recipients of agreements in the NDDC holds true and I have no cause to question him as he was on numerous celebrations disrupted and interrupted by the acting chairman of the probe panel on that day, Thomas Ereyitomi, then the entire essence of the probe has actually been beat. That indicates a case of dispute of interest has actually been developed. What the 2 chambers of the National Assembly are doing, for that reason, amounts simple grandstanding.
There have actually been numerous accusations in the past of the NASS members asking companies they are oversighting for cash or logistical assistance for performing the oversight. They had actually been implicated of temptation to pad the budget plans of some ministries, departments and companies. Keep in mind the bribe-for-budget that occurred in 2005 when Prof. Fabian Osuji was the Minister for Education? Keep in mind the claims made by the incumbent Guv of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, that the NASS members asked him for a kickback in order to validate him as a minister in 2003? More just recently, in March 2019, the Director-General of the National Firm for Food, Drugs Administration and Control, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, stated she was when requested a kickback by the Legislature committee on health care services. Adeyeye stated the committee asked her for the kickback in the type of cash for well-being when they visited her in December 2017.
While I applaud Akpabio for the guts in exposing the legislators deceit and complicity in the non-performance of the NDDC, I advise him to likewise come tidy on numerous accusations made versus him by the instant previous acting Handling Director of the NDDC, Ms. Pleasure Nunieh. Remember that Nunieh had actually given numerous media interviews where she prosecuted the minister of advising her to award some agreements to unregistered business, a few of which got signed up after they were granted the agreements. She stated: Sometimes, agreements were pre-awarded prior to the styles were provided so you discover that the majority of the tasks were deserted. According to Nunieh, there was no continuous forensic audit of the commission. She likewise implicated Akpabio of unwanted sexual advances and attempting to put her under an oath of secrecy that was indicated to keep her from exposing scams at the commission. She likewise declared Akpabio bought her to redeploy a few of the members of personnel of the commission.
Akpabio has actually expectedly rejected these accusations by Nunieh however implicated her of not being certified to hold the position to which she was selected and insubordination. Is it not self-indicting that due diligence was refrained from doing in selecting Nunieh as declared by Akpabio? Was her qualifications subjected to analysis prior to her consultation? Could it hold true that there was no due procedure in the consultation of the forensic auditors which there is no forensic audit going on? Remember that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had on October 17, 2019 bought the forensic audit of the interventionist firm. This audit is to last for 6 months however 9 months after, we are still being informed by Nunieh that no audit is going on.
If Akpabio is condemned of complicity and scams in the NDDC, it will be extremely awful. It reveals that like the case of the prosecuted members of the NASS, he likewise stands guilty as charged. On Saturday, October 26, 2019 on the Nigerian Tv Authority, Akpabio stated corruption and political disturbance had actually interrupted the initial function of establishing the NDDC. Is that not what he is being implicated of now by Nunieh?
He stated the NDDC was kept in mind for substandard and deserted tasks and was priced estimate as stating, We presently have actually about 12,000 deserted tasks throughout the 9 states of the Niger Delta. If those things were finished, you can envision that the location would have been become an El Dorado I believe individuals were dealing with the location as an ATM, where you simply stroll therein to go and pluck cash and disappear. I do not believe they were taking a look at it as an interventionist firm. Could Akpabio have belonged to the Niger Delta issue or option?
Worrying the lavish costs at the NDDC, it is rather regrettable that a company indicated to bring succour and advancement to the impoverished Niger Delta is involved in this type of wastes and scams. How might the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC under Nunieh and Pondei apparently invest a tremendous amount of N81.5 bn in 5 months (January Might 2020) on the underlisted locations Neighborhood relations -N1.3 bn, Acknowledgements- N122.9 m, Consultancy: N83m, Covid-19 N3.14 bn, Responsibility Travel Allowance N486m, Imprest N790.9 m and Lassa fever- N1.956 bn. Others are: Legal Provider- N900m, Upkeep- N220m, Abroad travel N85.6 m, Task Public Interaction- N1.121 bn, Security- N744m, Staffing associated payment N8.8 bn, Stakeholders engagement (February 18 Might 31, 2020 N248 million. This is merely unconscionable!
In August 2015, the then Auditor General of the Federation, Samuel Ukura, stated that a minimum of N183bn that was indicated for the advancement of the Niger Delta was diverted by those put in charge of the commission. In July 2017, a previous Handling Director, Nsima Ekere, revealed the cancellation of over 600 agreements worth N200bn. According to him, the reasoning behind the action was since the management found that a few of the agreements were either not correctly granted or a few of them were granted however the specialists had actually not yet gone to website.
It is rather regrettable that it is the children and children of the Niger Delta that are frittering away and ransacking the resources of their area. Naturally, they have partners beyond the area such as our legislators who do not care about disputes of interest however more worried about their individual aggrandisement.
I value the 48-hour final notice offered to Akpabio by the Speaker of Legislature, Femi Gbajabiamila, to reveal names and agreements offered to the legislators. In the spirit of openness and responsibility, I hope the minister will support his claim with realities. Nevertheless, I believe that just an independent panel of query can decipher the scams and misappropriation of resources in the Niger Delta Advancement Commission. With the debate surrounding the consultation of the so-called forensic auditors, their anticipated report might be polluted. I do hope that the North East Advancement Commission will not be slowed down with the type of misapplication of resources going on in the NDDC.
Follow me on Twitter @jideojong