Some members of the National Assembly are deliberately “arm-twisting” the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission from carrying out forensic audit ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari, an advocacy group has alleged.
The coalition, under the aegis of Niger Delta Activists Group and the Excellent Leadership Foundation, claimed that the insistence of the National Assembly to embark on the N40billion probe of the NDDC was an alleged orchestrated attempt to distract the ordered audit.
It also claimed the forensic audit would unearth the involvement of some national lawmakers in the insertion of over 500 projects in the 2019 budget of the commission, constant political blackmails, intimidation and harassment of NDDC committees, making the commission unable to award projects in the region.
National Coordinator of the group, Chief Izzi Yakiah, said during a news conference in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on Monday, that due to the alleged case of “arm twisting”, the IMC had not been able to award any contract except Covid-19 intervention fund approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He added that the Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei-led committee evenly distributed the funds and palliatives to all the nine states that make up the Niger Delta region.
Yakiah averred that the National Assembly was not sincere, thorough and not doing due diligence in discharging its oversight function, saying, “The ordered forensic audit of the commission might possibly indict past administrators, notable politicians and some present lawmakers that have eaten fat on the commission.”
He called on Niger Delta people to look inwards and discourage the national lawmakers from the continued blackmail of Pondei-led IMC, advising them to channel their legislative oversight function towards the North-East Development Commission, which had been operating without any distraction since it was established.
Yakiah noted that the Pondei-led commission had effectively collaborated with the Senator Godswill Akpabio-led Niger Delta Affairs Ministry, saying the collaboration had led to the timely completion of 89 per cent of the commission’s national secretariat in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, an edifice that was abandoned for 23 years.
He advised Niger Delta people to desist from the culture of ‘pull-down syndrome’ against their leaders as well as key government parastatals that were set up to enhance human capacity in ending the long sufferings of the people of the region.