By Wilson Macaulay
Niger Delta born playwright genius cum politician, Peresine Watchman, has commended the Nigerian Senate for taking the bull by the horns to investigate the alleged missing billions of naira in the Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei-led NDDC’s Interim Management Committee (IMC), stating that the IMC has disappointed the entire Niger Delta by misappropriating a #3.14 billion allowance for Covid-19, out of which #1.5 billion was shared amongst NDDC staff as Covid-19 relief.
Peresine who expressed his displeasure on this sad development through a press statement sent to the ‘Daily Independent’ at the Weekend, advised President Buhari to disband the NDDC’s IMC in the interest of Niger Delta, and appoint a substantive Chairman, Directors and Board members for immediate inauguration to pilot the affairs of NDDC.
His statement reads: “I have been keenly following the imbriglio in the NDDC since Senator Godswill Akpabio was appointed Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and was subsequently given the power to oversee the NDDC last year.
“Akpabio became power-drunk and convinced President Buhari to set-up illigal and unconstitutional body in NDDC known as Interim Management Committee, IMC, and coined deceptive phrase – ‘forensic audit’, and since this new method of diverting Niger Delta funds to private pockets within and outside Niger Delta was implemented, there have been a series of controversies in the NDDC, which has created negative impact on the development of Niger Delta.
“It baffles me that a huge sum of #1.5 billion naira was shared amongst staff of NDDC as Covid-19 palliative while Niger Deltans wallow in pains and darkness.
“NDDC’s IMC published in June 29, 2020 ‘Daily Independent Newspaper’ names and amount of money they paid to some contractors, which they claimed to have been debts incurred before they came into office.
“They claimed in that publication that they paid #57,472,402.21 on May 4, 2020 to Kemeez Construction Nig. LTD, for the construction of Abari Road, in Patani LGA before they came into office. And I asked myself, where is the Abari Road in Patani LGA that was constructed by NDDC?
“Why Agoloma/Apelebiri/Toru-Angiama/Uduophori axes of Patani – Uduophori road has been abandoned since President Buhari became President in 2015?
“Why NDDC’s IMC could not wait for the report of the so-called forensic audit before paying contractors of contracts awarded by their predecessors whom they accused of giving out dubious contracts to loot the wealth of the region?
“I must state unequivocally that Senator Godswill Akpabio and the entire members of NDDC’s IMC have no integrity and genuine mindsets to oversee the probing and auditing of NDDC in the past 19 years, but their intention is to hide under the guise of the audit to loot money meant for the Development of the Niger Delta.
“It’s absolutely wrong to appoint an unrepentant armed-robbers into a position to oversee the protection of lives and property of a people in the guise of chasing away common thieves from attacking them.
“Niger Delta Youths should stop playing the role of a ‘boy-boy’ and fight an intellectual war against the oppressive forces within the Niger Delta that have connived with outside forces to syphon the wealth of Niger Delta.
“I wish to also use this medium to appeal to the Governors of the nine Niger Delta States to place the interest of Niger Delta above their personal interest, and unite to fight against this NDDC’s IMC that was initiated by Akpabio to fulfill his dubious purpose, and agitate for the appointment and immediate inauguration of the constitutionally recognized NDDC Board.
“President Buhari’s administration seems to be a curse to the Niger Delta region, especially the Izon nation than a blessing, and I challenge Mr. President to prove Niger Deltans wrong that his administration is not anti-Niger Delta by sacking his controversial Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, disband NDDC’s IMC and appoint a substantive NDDC Board.
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