Niger-Delta Rights Advocate (NDRA) has urged President Mohammadu Buhari to reverse his approval of N1.599Billion for purchase of 62 vehicles for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), saying Buhari was misled to endorse further fraud in the commission.
A spokesman for NDRA, Darlington Nwauju, told newsmen in Port Harcourt, Rivers state that the said President’s approval was fraudulent to the extent that NDDC had no such budgetary provision in its 2019 budget which expired May 2020 just as no 2020 budget has been approved for the commission.
Nwauju said, “NDRA challenges Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio to contradict our claim that the President and the Federal Executive Council were deceived to endorse recent the contract for purchase of 62 assorted vehicles for NDDC.
He said, “There are no appropriation for this in NDDC budget 2019. Moreover, the 2019 budget expired 31 May 2020 and the 2020 NDDC budget is yet to be approved. So, where will the Minister and NDDC source the N1.599Billion to purchase the 62 vehicles?”
NDRA also expressed disappointment at the National Assembly (NASS) delay in carrying out the investigations of the NDDC under current Interim Management Committee (IMC) headed by Prof Kemebradikumo Pondei as ordered by both legislative chambers of the government.
“May we remind NASS that it took the Stephen Oronsanya Committee on rationalization of government eight weeks to come up with an 800-page report which is still being talked about till today. Even Buhari’s administration is considering part implementation of the Orosanya Report.
“If it took the Orosanya Committee just eight weeks to come up with such a humongous assignment, we cannot be smiling at the NASS for buying time in investigating the prohibitive activities of the NDDC Nader Prof Pondei”, Nwauju said.
NDRA also urged Buhari to ensure the forensic audit of the NDDC be extended to involve the current IMC, citing recent allegations of fraud and reckless spending by the IMC, including payment of N641Million to a firm to generate media and Communication support for the forensic audit as justification to probe Prof Pondei and his team.