By Kelvin Ebiri
President Muhammadu Buhari has been urged to suspend all procurements in Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). In a petition to the President, 29 civil society organisations across the Niger Delta recommended that supervision of the NDDC should moved back to the presidency.
The petition was signed by Vivian Bellonwu (Social Development Integrated Centre); Jaye Gaskia (Take Back Nigeria Movement); Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre); Ken Henshaw (Centre for Social Studies and Development) and Bonney Akaeze (Delta State Anti-Corruption Network), among others.
The groups, which lamented what they described as systemic hijack and grand corruption in the NDDC, said: “We are shocked by the mind-boggling revelations at the parliamentary investigative hearings of Procurement Act violations and contract frauds, non-budgetary and extra-budgetary expenditures, confessions of illicit solicitations and crooked contracts by the former and present leadership of the commission, fully-paid but non-executed projects and outright embezzlement in the agency.
“This rot in the NDDC is not a recent phenomenon, it rather dates way back to almost the commencement of the commission. What started as bribery cum inducement to influence and get contracts, and to which authorities then paid a blind eye, quickly up-scaled and snowballed in both dimension and magnitude, to what we see today”.
“As has clearly emerged, today, all known and unknown means are contrived in the commission to beat due-process, by-pass regulating laws and side-step checks and balances. It is thus very sad that the humongous resources running into trillions of naira that have accrued to the region through the NDDC has systematically dissipated without any commensurate or even near-commensurate infrastructure or impact to ascribe to it,” they said.
The groups suggested that a procedural method should be initiated for approval and spending in the agency, strictly followed by detailed evidential receipts of such spending.