Corruption: Group urges National Assembly to support interim committee on NDDC

IN line with its goal to ensure leadership devoid of corruption for the benefit of the society, the Anti-Corruption and Research-Based Data Initiative (ARDI), on Thursday, appealed to the National Assembly to support the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for the forensic audit through the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.

It said the action became necessary in view of series of accusations and counter-accusations by the leadership of the two chambers against the IMC on one hand and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, on the other hand.

It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari recently approved the appointment of a three-man committee with Dr Gbene Joi Nunieh as the acting Managing Director to oversee the activities of the NDDC while a forensic audit of the commission is being carried out.

In a letter addressed to the National Assembly and signed by ARDI Executive Secretary, Chief Dennis Aghanya, a copy of which was made available to Tribune Online, said the common denominator for all the parties involved in the squabble is that there is urgent need to curb the monumental fraud being perpetuated in NDDC since its inception.

He further implored the National Assembly members to consider the interest of the nation and give their total loyalty and support to the committee.

According to him: “With this conflict of interest playing out, the National Assembly leadership have refused to recognise the IMC of the NDDC in all capacities and stopped the approval of the commission’s 2019/2020 Budget; a development that has adversely affected the programmes and activities of the committee.

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“Our investigation clearly shows that there is a smooth working relationship between President Buhari’s-led Federal Executive who appointed the interim committee of the NDDC and the 9th National Assembly.

“But further investigations suggest that the crux of the matter may be a resurrection of personal differences between some major players involved in the game which has stalled level of progress in the assignment President Buhari gave. This is a most disturbing development as the direct looser are the people of Niger Delta and Nigerians in general.

In assessing the current situations, there is no ambiguity in the body language of the executive that it is very comfortable using the IMC to achieve its purpose for the forensic audit and maybe an extension of the life span of the committee.

“We are of the opinion that since the Executive Arm of Government has more confidence in the committee of the NDDC, the National Assembly should encourage the committee to carry out the forensic audit as mandated by President Buhari.

“On the bases of their findings, the National Assembly can further carry out its oversight duty by further verifying the audited report of Dr Nunieh of the committee. With this, the goal of both arms of government would be achieved without unnecessary bitterness and rancour.” He pleaded.

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