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PDP, IYC allege massive looting in NDDC, seek probe

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Stakeholders describe scandal as mockery of anti-corruption war

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has called for an immediate system-wide investigation into allegations of fraud, stealing and looting of funds at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The party alleged that the NDDC under the current management had become an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) for corrupt leaders and their cronies, a development, it claimed, had completely crippled the commission from delivering on its mandate to the people of the region.

In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party claimed 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).”

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It, therefore, expressed worries that “the NDDC management had not been able to give cogent explanation to the reported Lassa fever contract fraud through which over N4 billion NDDC fund was alleged to have been frittered on hazy procurement deals.”

Also, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has again urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to constitute a probe panel to investigate the NDDC on expenditure and disbursement of financial resources to the region.

A statement signed by Chairman, IYC Transition Implementation Committee, Kennedy Olorogun, said successive Interim Management Committees (IMCs) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) had been marred by one form of controversy or the other, especially with regards to the management of funds in the region’s interventionist agency.

While regretting that the two previous interim leaderships left the management of the commission in unpleasant circumstances, the council warned that they are closely monitoring the activities of the present interim management of the commission.

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Meanwhile, stakeholders in the Niger Delta have described award of spurious contracts by the NDDC as a mockery of the anti-corruption mantra of President Buhari.

They also alleged that the proposed forensic audit of the commission was going to be used as a dummy to plunder the resources of the agency meant for the development of the oil-producing states.

The National Co-ordinator, Transparency and Accountability Advancement Group, Godknows Sotonye, who spoke in Port Harcourt yesterday, said that the obscene corruption levelled against NDDC’s interim management committee should be investigated.

Sotonye described the appearance of NDDC’s Acting Executive Director, (Projects), Cairo Ojugboh, on television on Sunday to explain the humongous contract awards and payments made in recent weeks by the commission as feeble and desperate bid to explain away the alleged corruption in the NDDC.

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