-Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA):
ISOKO Monitoring Group, IMG, yesterday, stressed the need for the Federal Government to extend the proposed forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and Presidential Amnesty Program.
It added that the move to probe NDDC and other federal government parastatals that are charged with the responsibility of developing and empowering the Niger Delta people is long overdue and tasked the President Muhammadu Buhari led government not to pay mere lip service over the planned probe by not making it one of the many political jamborees of the APC led administration.
IMG, in a press statement signed by its official Spokesperson, Dr. Kingsley Oroh and made available to newsmen on Wednesday, said that “all true sons and daughters of Niger Delta have been worried over the recklessness, misappropriation and mismanagement of the NDDC in fulfilling its core mandate of developing the Niger Delta area”. The group also lemented the negative effects of crude oil exploration of multinationals operating in the Niger Delta as well as the deplorable situation of roads, electricity and other basic necessity in the region.
The statement reads in part: “there is hardly any reasonable project done by the NDDC that can stand the test of time. Often, what we see in Niger Delta are either substandard projects done with outrageous costs or leagues of abandoned projects, whose contractors have been paid in full.
“These abnormalities have continued unabated for about two decades to the detriment of the Niger Delta people. Hence, our spirit is lifted and our hope rekindled over the presidential decision for a forensic audit of the Commission.
“Our fears, however, has to do with the inability of the Federal Government to take appropriate actions in doing what is necessary when it is needed most. The forensic audit and probe of the NDDC will be one of the best service that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration will render to the Niger Delta people.
“So, it should not be taken lightly or end up being one of many political jamborees of this administration. It must not also be used as a political witch hunt on anyone. We recommend that a thorough auditing of the Commission should be carried out by a reputable auditing firm and everyone found wanting irrespective of their status or political alignment should be prosecuted and brought to book to serve as deterrent to subsequent boards.
“For the matter of fact, we would love the audit to focus utmost attention on Delta State because it is obvious that NDDC Representatives and Contractors are worse off here. In Delta, there is no landmark project that can be ascribed to NDDC.
“May we also use this opportunity to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to use this golden opportunity to audit and probe the Ministry of the Niger Delta Affairs and the Presidential Amnesty Program since their establishment. The reason being that these Parastatals or interventionist agencies that are expected to carry out federal government developmental and empowerment programs in the Niger Delta region have also failed woefully in their operations.
“For instance, the Isoko ethnic group in Delta State that has contributed immensely into the commonwealth of this country through its many onshore crude oil wells and gas deposits, has been barren in terms of development. Despite the operations of Shell, Agip, Heritage, First Hydrocarbon and other oil servicing firms in the area, one can hardly see a motorable road in the area. Electricity is nothing to write home about and the youths of the area have never partaken in the Niger Delta Amnesty program.
“Overall, the Isoko ethnic group has nothing to show for contributing its quota to the purse of this country since 1958 that crude oil was discovered in Uzere in commercial quantity. This is an aberration. The terrible situation of the East-West road has further confirmed our fears that the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs need urgent probe”.