ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
The pan-Ijaw group, the Ijaw National Congress (INC) has challenged the Federal Government to make public the outcome of the forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The INC said this must include the publication of the names of those culpable in the mismanagement of the funds of the NDDC and abandonment of projects over the years.
The President, INC, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, in a statement on Friday, frowned on the secrecy with which the outcome of the forensic audit was being handled.
He said the people of the Niger Delta region deserved to know every detail relating to the report of the forensic audit.
Okaba insisted that there should be no cover up or sacred cows in the implementation of the outcome of the forensic audit, noting that all the persons culpable, irrespective of party or political affiliations, should be brought to justice without fear or favour.
He warned the Federal Government to stop the practice of using the NDDC as a political patronage agency which is controlled and managed from Abuja instead of by the people of the Niger Delta region.
He said the commission must be accountable to the people it was created to serve and not those in positions of authority in Aso Rock.
He warned that any further delays in the inauguration of the NDDC board is a clear betrayal of trust and display of the Federal Government’s insensitivity to ljaw nation and Niger Delta region.
The INC boss also wondered that since the submission of the report to the Presidency, President Buhari had not said anything about it and the constitution of the substantive board of the NDDC.
Okaba stated: “After 16 months of postponement and rigmarole, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Godswill Akpabio, has finally submitted the long overdue report of the forensic audit on the NDDC two weeks ago through the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami to President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The complexities and superfluousity that trailed the said audit process in addition to the diversionary comments of Malami have left us more worried and suspicious of the true intentions of the exercise.
“Why has President Muhammadu Buhari till date not said anything about the report and the inauguration of the substantive board six years into the life of his administration despite public concerns on the implications of managing the NDDC as a private estate for this long?
“It is a huge integrity test and task on Mr President to immediately submit the forensic report undiluted to the corridors of public domain with the guarantee of free and easy access by anyone that cares in line with the Freedom of Information Act.”