Project Rescue Nigeria, a non-profit, non-governmental organization with a passionate mandate for a nation-wide mass mobilization of Nigerian youths for good governance has watched with some level of disdainful and utter bewilderment, the national shame and theatrical absurdity which the investigation into the allegations of enormous corruptions by the Management of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC obviously with the co-operation of the parent ministry of Niger Delta Affairs has unfortunately turned into.
Recall that NDDC has been in the eye of the storm lately following revelations that it spent a staggering N81.5 Billion on frivolous things just from January to July this year which breakdown shows that it spent N1.3 Billion on community relations, N122.9 Million on Condolences, N83 Million on Consultancy services, N3.14 billion on COVID-19, N486 Million on Duty Travel Allowance, DTA, N790.9 Million on Impress and N1.956 billion on Lassa Fever.
Others include; Legal services- N900 million, Maintenance- N220 million, Overseas travel N85.6 million (even when the world was literally shutdown due to COVID-19), Project Public Communication- N1.121 billion, Security- N744 million, Staffing related payment- N8.8 billion, Stakeholders engagement (February 18- May 31, 2020)- N248 million respectively.
In a statement made available to 9NEWS NIGERIA by Irem Raphael, Founder, Project Rescue Nigeria and Charles O. Otu National Publicity Secretary asked President Buhari to immediately set-up an independent panel of inquiry devoid of any presumed interests in the matter, comprising those with manifest records of incorruptibility and credibility in private and or public office to unravel the mysterious disappearance of these huge funds.
The statement reads in parts,
“Like the rest of Nigerians, our members watched with confounded perplexity beginning from the sublime to the ridiculous on a national Television, the response to a question from the House Committee probing the alleged disappearance of a whooping N81.5 Billion on phoney contracts and projects directed to the Acting Managing Director of the Commission, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei. Rather than give tangible breakdown of accounts of the Commission’s budget and how far it had been implemented, the Professor of Medical Microbiology first ‘fainted’ before turning vegetative as he was later helped out of the committee’s conference room.”
“The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio on the other hand gave an even deeper startling revelation in a serious back and forth when he pointedly accused the panel now led by the Deputy Chairman of the Senate Committee after the Chairman;”
“Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo stepped aside over allegations of bias, Thomas Ereyitomi that our National Assembly lawmakers are the prime beneficiaries of the controversial NDDC contracts which are often awarded without executions. He had dared the lawmakers to as a matter of fact challenge his allegation that over 60 per cent of the NDDC contracts go to the lawmakers.”
“All that an astonished but undoubtedly accomplice Senator Ereyitomi could do was to hush Akpabio down with the shouts of “It’s Okay, It’s Okay Honourable Minister! Please off your Mic!”, he had concluded, while tapping the female committee member in the committee demanding clarifications from the Minister to beat a retreat!”
” The entire dramatic scenario that has so far pervaded the NDDC probe is at best a national tragedy as we are constrained to speak out that Nigeria may not survive if the President does not get to the root of not only this but many other cases of corruption which the President touts to be unearthing.”
“We however commend the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila for daring the Minister to within 48 hours name those NASS members who have benefitted from these grand acts of corruption that has held the region backwards in terms of tangible development projects. It is our hope that this doesn’t turn out the usual ruse that has become of big probes in the country like the power sector.”
“As a corresponding action therefore, we are urging Mr. President to:”
“Immediately set-up an independent panel of inquiry devoid of any presumed interests in the matter, comprising those with manifest records of incorruptibility and credibility in private and or public office to unravel the mysterious disappearance of these huge funds.”
“That he relieves with immediate effect, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio of his appointment as a member of his cabinet hence he has continued to occupy his position when ordinarily the common man had expected him to step aside just like Senator Tunji-Ojo.”
“This we believe, will enable the committee perform its task without any form of hindrance or undue interference.”
“Mr. President must personally show more than a passing interest in the actions and activities of the said proposed committee in order to bring all who would be found guilty to book! For it is very tragic that all these are even being mentioned under the watch of his government which placed ‘Anti-Corruption’ fight over and above every other agenda.”
“That President Buhari empowers the proposed committee through any means lawful and legal to further beam its searchlight into the accounts and activities in other big corporations such as the NNPC, NPA, NCS, FIRS among others in order to restore sanity and end the primitive looting that seems to have been more permanently entrenched in Nigeria’s governance process before and since the return to Democratic governance some 21 years ago!”
“This mandate however commends all the very few who have tried not to enrich themselves from the public purse in our fantastically corrupt system that seems to be getting far worse. We believe that it is time for the Nigerian youths and leaders at all levels to arise and join the tremendous efforts to rescue this nation from the doldrums of uninhibited corruption, visionless governance and kleptomaniac rule.”
“The time, truly to save this nation for ourselves and the future generation is now!”