The leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari not to allow any interest to derail the on-going forensic auditing of the financial activities in the Niger Delta Development Commission.
NANS President, Comrade Danielson Bamidele Akpan, in a statement made available to newsmen on Saturday in Abuja, lamented that after about 20 years of the establishment of the NDDC, “it is worrisome, that the vision of the founding fathers has remained blurred.”
He equally condemned those attacking the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Sen Godswill Akpabio, saying the bold move by the Minister should be applauded by those who have the interest of the Niger Delta Region.
Bamidele Akpan, said: “The Commission became a prisoner of sorts under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to vested interests who had turned it to conduit pipe and to embezzle the common resources of the people of the region.
“The annual budget of NDDC, which runs into billions of naira has not made reasonable impact in the lives of the people of the region. It turns out that a few people have become billionaires by constantly calling the shots in the Commission. They divert and take up contracts without execution.
“It is our fervent belief that the forensic audit that captures 20 years of its existence in our democracy excludes no party whether the All Progressives Congress (APC) or PDP and any administration,” he said.
The student body said it was alarmed at the latest twist and outburst from the immediate past Interim Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Miss Joy Nunieh, wondering why “all the allegations and drama she is acting were not staged when she was in office as the Acting MD of the Commission.”
The NANS President, therefore, called for an immediate investigation of this latest crocodile cry approach and scheming of Miss Nunieh and her attempt to rubbish the President Muhammadu Buhari’s led administration, adding that her intentions and motives were questionable.
He warned that any attempt by person or group of persons whose sharp practices in the commission is to frustrate the ongoing forensic audit will be met by the mass action of Nigerian Students, stressing that forensic audit was not negotiable, “Nigerian students will stand for the development of the Niger Delta region.”
According to him, the forensic audit, “will expose contract padding and duplication, multiplication of contracts by selected folder companies, shady and underhand dealings of colluding civil servants, politicians and including those who resort to petitions when affected by routine transfer, from the ‘juicy headquarters among other anomalies.
“We are aware that some persons somewhere are dead-scared of the outcome of the NDDC Forensic Audit, and can do anything to make sure it does not succeed.
“These faceless enemies of the region must be stopped and the Forensic Audit with the support of the Governors must be concluded by Prof Pondei-led IMC in record time, for the benefit of the teeming population of Niger Delta region people.
“The same people who were hell-bent on pulling down the promoters of the forensic audit from the inception have become frightened by the commitment and resolve to push on the assignment to fruition as directed by Mr President. Miss Nunieh has suddenly become friends with them and now their main character in the script.
“There is no gainsaying that the minister and the IMC are major targets and they need the support of all Niger-Delta people at this time, to rally round support and clean the Augean stable of the NDDC cabal, that has taken into their custody the collective wealth and resources of the people of the region.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to fortify the minister, the IMC and not to be hoodwinked into carrying out any action that attempts to undermine his good intentions to sanitise the NDDC and the Niger Delta region.
“As stakeholders in the Niger Delta, our frustration is that our students that have been stranded overseas just because of the commission’s failure to pay their school fees that were duly budgeted for in the commission budget since 2016 which was only rescued through the intervention of the present IMC under Prof Kemebradikumo Pondei. The same Miss Nunieh has ignored the appeal of students and left them to suffer until Prof Pondei came in.
“We are aware of the courageous efforts by Dr Cairo Ojuigbo, the Executive Director Project as the only member of the IMC who prioritised the payment and visitation of Nigerian Students under the Commission’s scholarship scheme,” he said.