A group of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and rights activists within the Niger Delta has expressed concern on recent revelations on the scale of corruption and mismanagement in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), saying the allegations should be investigated and the culprits duly prosecuted.
This is even as they demanded immediate dissolution of the current board of the NDDC and a publication of the list of NGOs that benefited from cash grants from the commission.
- NDDC-gate and the Niger-Delta deepening silence
- Buhari speaks on EFCC, NDDC probes, decries worsening security situation
This was contained in a statement signed by 30 CSOs among which are Health of Mother Earth Foundation, Women Development Resource Centre, Community Empowerment and Development Initiative, Network on Good Governance and others.
“We are saddened by the fact that rather than develop the region, the huge allocations to the NDDC has rather bequeathed a legacy of abandonment, neglect and underdevelopment,” the group said.
While noting that despite the huge yearly allocations to the commission in the past 20 years, they observed that poor management and corruption have made it impossible for the agency to exert any reasonable measure of positive impact on the region.
They said they had embarked on project monitoring activities and written countless reports detailing the malfeasance in the commission.
“The government has consistently refused to take action. All efforts to instill accountability and transparency in the NDDC have thus far lacked the support of successive governments,” the statement said.
To address the decay and reposition the commission to live up to its expectations, the CSOs demanded that the audit process must be conducted by globally recognized audit firms with experience in similar exercises, who must be selected through an open, free and competitive bidding process.
They called for an immediate freeze on withdrawals from the commission’s account, saying, “Henceforth, the NDDC must embark on projects determined by the communities to avoid the persistent frittering of resources through insatiable private pockets.”