By The World Satellite.
The Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy group-: HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has called for a Judicial Commission of Inquiry on Niger Delta Development Commission, the Immediate Arrest of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs; Godswill Akpabio and all the National Assembly Legislative Contractors to ensure all the monies are retrieved to the last penny just as the rights group urged for an immediate investigation of the North East Development Commission, because the Commission is also said to be swimming in massive corruption.
HURIWA, in a statement signed by the National Coordinator; Comrade Emmanuel Onuwbiko and National Media Affairs Director; Miss Zainab Yusuf also urged the activists from the Niger Delta to take steps to protest these corruptions so the rest of the organized Civil Society Organisations can key in and escalate the civil actions.
Articulating the issues, HURIWA noted that within the last couple of weeks, Nigerians and the world at large have been left in a state of shock at the rot in the management of the national commonwealth by officials saddled with the duty by the government and how the NDDC has been mismanaged with financial improprieties by its managers.
“In Nigeria’s continued ridiculous drama, mostly in governance, the latest gripping chapter on which all eyes are focused is the sordid details of financial violations at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), by the ongoing inquiry by federal lawmakers.
“The drama emanating from the ongoing National Assembly’s probe over alleged Financial recklessness to the sum of N40 billion Naira by the Interim management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission between January and March this year has given Nigeria a bad name in the international community and has once again called for questioning on the sincere disposition of the administration of Muhammadu Buhari, which rode to power on the mantra of integrity.
“The ongoing National Assembly’s probe has made open, allegations and counter allegations of misappropriation and misconducts between a former Managing Director of the Commission; Dr. Joy Nunieh and the Niger Delta Affairs Minister; Godswill Akpabio.
“We are not advocating for the former Acting Managing Director of the NDDC; Joy Nunieh who served from October 29, 2019 to February 17, 2020, but her testimonies are weighty. She is neither an unspecified nor a nameless petitioner; she is the former head of the agency with access to firsthand information and undeniable facts, complete with names of persons, dates, figures and places. And she has been speaking under oath”, HURIWA highlighted.
Furthermore, HURIWA disclosed that the action of the directors, who last week walked out on federal lawmakers probing the commission alleging that the chairman of the committee on Niger Delta is a party in the workings of the commission and therefore not in a position to be an unbiased arbiter in the crisis rocking the commission calls for questioning on the integrity of the lawmakers, while adding that it is not the first time that members of the Senate and the House of Representatives will embark on the investigation of financial recklessness only to be trapped in the same web.
“Again, the National Assembly is a major problem affecting the delivering of development in the Niger Delta region. Aside the current leadership or chairmen of NASS Committees on the NDDC, the previous ones are equally culpable in terms of negative influence on the Commission”, HURIWA stated.
Describing the NDDC as a very sensitive Commission that should not be treated in isolation when so many financial infractions are been committed on a daily basis, HURIWA expressed worries that with all of the disclosures such as claims of giving monies to the Nigerian Police up to the tune of N475 million to buy sanitizers and face mask, N3.14billion expenditure for Covid-19 pandemic palliatives to selected staff of the Commission when their salaries subsist, the issue of attending graduation ceremony in the united kingdom in the months the entire world was on lockdown and payment of scholarship grant into personal accounts of top officials of the commission and other sundry expenses to the tune of N81.5 billion Naira, nothing was spent for the common man for whose purpose the Commission was set up.
Proposing a way forward for a holistic and unbiased investigation and the recovery of all monies to the last penny, HURIWA called for constitution of a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to probe alleged financial malfeasance at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
“We are of the firm belief that such independent commission will do a more thorough job than any other panel and shall also allow more locals in the south- south to make their contributions to the probe of NDDC.
“More so, since the National Assembly has been caught up in the web of the corruption in the Commission, therefore not in a position to be an unbiased arbiter in the crisis rocking the commission”, the Group explained.
HURIWA wondered why the substantive Board of the Commission approved by the Senate on November 5th, 2019 was not allowed to work as they do not see why a forensic auditing cannot take place when you have a regular board in place.
“It is shocking with the revelation that NDDC has not been audited in the last 20 years. This practice alone is a recipe for corruption and mismanagement. All hands must be on deck to empower the office of the Auditor General to do her work of ensuring integrity and transparency in government”, said HURIWA
Conclusively, HURIWA appealed to the President; His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) to take a close look at suggestions and submissions from his appointees to avoid the numerous flaws in his government as most appointees put their personal interest first and foremost while urging him to allow due process to take center stage from now on