By GbaramatuVoice Editorial Board
The July 23, 2020, Senate probe of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) may have come and gone, but the dust raised by that exercise has refused to settle. This is as result of the stunning revelations made during the probe.
Take as an instance, during the probe, the Senate looking at the enormity and inaccuracies presented by the Interim Management Committee (IMC), ordered the Professor Pondi-led management Committee to refund the N4.923 billion alleged illegal payments made to staff of the commission and contractors in breach of the procurement process.
The upper chamber said that this refund should be made to the account of NDDC with immediate effect.
Also, within this period, it was revealed that the commission led by Kemebradikumo Pondei, as Acting Managing Director, used N1.5bn as COVID-19 Palliatives to take care of its management and staff. This happened at about the same time that disease and hunger walked freely on the creeks, rivers and estuaries of the Niger Delta. It was also revealed that the NDDC management spent N40bn in three months without due process, and have since inception received from the Federal Government well over Fifteen Trillion Naira, also on Tuesday 14th July, 2020, the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the office of the Accountant General of the federation further brought a revelation that the commision illegally spent N81.5 Billion between January/July 2020. Yet, no tangible infrastructures to show for it.
The list of these illegalities and reckless expenses by this government institution is endless.
As a responsive and responsible media, from the above sordid accounts, we are prompted to ask the following questions; What is the state of that Probe? Where is the Report? Have the NDDC Interim Management refunded the money as directed? If not, Why? And if yes, to which account? Can it be made public? Or is the Federal Trying to sweep the entire process under the carpet? Where is President Muhammadu Buhari in this matter? What about the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and Ijaw Youth Council (IYC)? What about other socio-cultural Organizations in the region doing to hold the NDDC accountable?
While providing answers to these questions will be well appreciated as it will guarantee continual peace in the region, it is equally important that Mr. President takes this case seriously as a way of showing the watching world that he is serious with his administration’s anti corruption campaign.
In the same style, the senate should not dash the hope of Nigerians particularly the people of Niger Deltans by remaining silent about the report. They must and urgently take steps to ensure compliance by the commission.
The GbaramatuVoice Newspaper holds the opinion that the government must do this to help the people of the region come out of their underdevelopment challenge. It Is in the interest of the government to do this as a formidable way of curbing crime and reducing threatening insecurity in the region. It should be done not merely for political consideration but from the views of national development and sustenance of our democracy.
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