A group, the Vanguard for Transparent Leadership and Democracy, has kicked against the decision of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Godswill Akpabio, to inaugurate a three-man steering committee to take over the running and management of the Niger Delta Development Commission.
VATLAD National President, Igbini Emmanuel, in a statement on Wednesday, said the action was “a deliberate violation and desecration of the 2001 Act of the National Assembly establishing the NDDC and threat to our democracy”.
But Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and the South-South Youths Assembly backed the move.
Emmanuel said, “It must be noted that it was never contemplated and will never be contemplated that a so-called steering committee be constituted to run and manage the affairs of this very critical and important agency of government even when an interim management board is in place and a new statutory board will soon be inaugurated.
“Now hiding under the cover of the proposed forensic auditing of the NDDC to act so lawlessly and unconstitutionally should not be allowed and must not stand.
“It has been stated and agreed by all of us who are critical stakeholders that indeed there is a need to urgently sanitise the management of the NDDC and also that of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, both of which have been enmeshed in years of massive looting and misappropriation of funds released to them.
“It is also worthy of note that we, the people of Niger Delta, have also been demanding forensic auditing of a similar alleged monumental looting of funds released to the states in the region, including Akwa Ibom.”
Akeredolu, who spoke through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Ojo Oyewamide, said there was a need to deal with corruption in public institutions.
He said, “The directive by Mr President that a forensic audit of the NDDC be carried out remains the best in the direction of transparency, accountability and fiscal discipline.
”Such a move, no doubt, sets not just a benchmark but a desirable check on how the agency would be run now and in the near future. The directive is noble and deserves the support it requires.
”It is against this backdrop that I congratulate the three-man Interim Management Committee headed by Dr Gbene Nunieh as acting Managing Director.
The SSYA in a statement by its President, Tony Anucha, said the NDDC’s operation needed what he called a complete overhaul.