ABUJA/Nigeria: A political activist and former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the Board and current management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) due to various accusations and counter accusations of corruption within the commission.
Frank said these counter allegations and infighting between the Management team and the Chairman of the Board of NDDC has once again opened up the ugly chapter of the past, where the infighting ends up derailing the overall performances of the commission thereby, short-changing the people of the Niger Delta, yet enriching some with personal gains.
In a statement released to newsmen Monday in Abuja, the Bayelsa born political activist also called on the anti-corruption agencies to quickly intervene and launch probe into some of the revelations of corruption allegations made by the Board against the Commission’s Managing Director.
According to Frank, the inability to properly defend the 2021, 2022 & 2023 budget in unison at the Senate is a clear testament to the fact that the board lacks the basic prerequisites to oversee the affairs of the NDDC.
He said the people of Nigeria Delta had hoped that the new board would grow to become the hope and fresh air to the region, “but alas we’re confronted with the same dilemma of corruption allegations and counter accusations by those responsible in managing the resources of the people.
“It is clear from the foregoing that the inability to work in unison for the overall good of the people will render the activities of the Commission in jeopardy.”
The statement added that the people of the Niger Delta are tired of being the scape goats whenever these infighting arises because of greed and selfishness.
“Following recent revelations of corruption in the NDDC and counter accusations of mismanagement between the recently inaugurated board and management of the commission at the Senate, it will be safe to conclude that the primary objective of piloting the affairs of the commission has suffered yet another setback in the twilight of this new management board.
“Furthermore, the fact that this expose, is coming at a time when all hands are supposed to be on deck in midwifing the rebirth of a new NDDC is very worrisome and embarrassing.
“Instead of harmonizing the blueprint for building a sustainable commission saddled with the responsibility of delivering first class interventions to the people of the Niger Delta, the NDDC is rather confronted yet again with weighty allegations of corruption by members of its own board whose tenure only began less than 5 months ago.
“The startling revelations by the Chairwoman and counter accusations by the Managing Director and his team has once again left a sour taste in the minds of all genuine stakeholders in the Niger Delta project.
“Most shocking is the allegation of inflating the MD’s imprest and the operation of several accounts as confirmed by the Executive Director Finance & Admin rather than maintaining a single account as stipulated by the Federal Government under the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
“Going by these embarrassing scenarios of distrust and the inability to properly harmonize working relationships between the board and its members, it will be safe to recommend a total dissolution of the board to give way for a more proactive and people’s oriented board to midwife the NDDC into a world class intervention agency.
“It is noteworthy that even after a forensic audit was carried out by the FG, paving the way for the smooth operations of the Incoming board, we’re still confronted with the same quagmire bedeviling the commission.”
Frank, who is the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), Ambassador to East Africa and Middle East, called on the National Assembly, EFCC and other anti-corruption agencies to thoroughly investigate the accusations.
“I’m therefore calling on the National Assembly and the EFCC to urgently investigate these accusations of corruption in the NDDC by the board and come up with its findings for a proper recommendation to the Federal Government.
“We have had enough of these embarrassing situations in the NDDC and the Niger Delta at large and every stakeholder has a responsibility in speaking out at this time whilst ensuring that the proper image of the Commission is maintained in delivering the dividends of the region to the people.”