The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has challenged the federal government to immediately carry out a system-wide investigation into revelations of alleged fraud, stealing and looting of funds at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The party added that under the current management, NDDC has become an automated teller machine (ATM) for corrupt APC leaders and their cronies.
The PDP lamented that the worrisome situation has completely crippled the commission from delivering on its mandate to the people of the region.
The party, in a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan noted that the public space is already awash with allegations of looting of billions of naira NDDC funds, meant for the development of the area through shady contracts, diversion of funds and sleazy procurement deals by officials, in a manner akin to earlier exposed looting in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
The PDP expressed worries that the NDDC management has not been able to give cogent explanation to the reported Lassa fever contract fraud through which over N4 billion naira NDDC fund, was alleged to have been frittered on hazy procurement deals.
“This is in addition to flimsy denials on the alleged attempt by certain interests to fraudulently funnel N5.5 billion out of NDDC coffers under the guise of procuring kits for the COVID-19 pandemic, a development which also trails reports that the NDDC had already spent over N1.045 billion purportedly for supply of kits and palliatives to Nigerians in nine states,” the party said.
The PDP rejected the attempt by the NDDC management to divert attention from the issues at stake, particularly by alluding to faceless detractors while at the same time opting for internal investigation on the N5.5 billion COVID-19 contract allegation, instead of referring the matter to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“Such resort to internal investigation only points to a desperate attempt at concealment, which in turn validates allegations of complicity at very high level.
“It is more disheartening to note that such humongous looting, manipulations and concealments are going on in a commission like the NDDC under an administration that claims to have zero tolerance for corruption,” the party said.
The PDP invited Nigerians to observe that top officials appointed by President Buhari to oversee the NDDC include individuals with corruption charges from their previous public assignments including as state governors.
“Our party therefore urges the National Assembly to commence an investigation into the books of the NDDC under the present management, recover the looted funds and channel the money to the projects meant for the wellbeing of Nigerians as contained in the budget of the commission,” the party said.