Niger DeltaNews

NDDC: CSO cautions against moves to undermine board’s nomination

By Paul Michael

A Civil Society Organisation (CSO), Foundation Against Fraud, Indiscipline and Corruption (FAFIC) has warned desperate politicians to desist from attempts targeted at thwarting the confirmation of the newly nominated board members of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday submitted to the Senate for confirmation a list of nominees which has one of his aides, Lauretta Onochie, as the Chairman of the board.

Other members of the board include Dimgba Erugba State representative (Abia, South-East), Dr Ene Wilcox (Akwa Ibom, State Representative, South-South), Dr Pius Odudu (Edo, South-South), Hon.Gbenga Odegba (Ondo, South-West), Engr. Anthony Ekene (Imo, South-East), Onyekachi Dimgba (Rivers, South-South), Alhaji Mohammed Kabiru Abubakar (Zonal Representative, Nasarawa), Professor Tallen Mamma, SAN (North-East Representative, Adamawa), Sodique Sani (North-West, Zonal Representative), Chief Dr. Samuel Ibukun (MD), General Charles Ehigie Airhiavbere (Rtd) (Executive of Finance) and Charles Ogunmola (Executive Director Project, South-West).

The nomination, however, is said not to have gone down well with certain individuals with vested interest, thereby making efforts to delay screening of the nominees and frustrate their confirmation.

CSOFAFIC in a press statement signed by its President and National Coordinator, Dr Uche Diala, on Thursday said Buhari deserve commendation for nominating a woman with integrity and impeccable character that is not tainted in any way by corrupt tendencies and affiliations nor has any record of corruption to head the NDDC.

The statement said said between 2001 and 2019, the Federal Government had approved N3,375,735,776,794.93 and N2,420,948,894,191.00 respectively as budgetary allocation and income from Statutory and Non Statutory Sources, totaling approximately N6 trillion given to the NDDC within that period.

It stressed that the Forensic Audit carried out by the President “opened a can of worms in the commission” as the huge funds that have been injected into the Commission made way into private pockets.

Dr Diala said, “Nigerians in general and citizens of the NDDC Member States in particular should be concerned and interested in what happens with the management and administration of the Commission going forward especially as the current administration is determined to change the status quo and address challenges militating against the delivery of the mandate of the NDDC; including corruption.

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“It is our objective view that the NDDC Board as re-constituted by the President awaiting the confirmation of the Senate is an important first step to repositioning the Commission and implementing the recommendations of the Forensic Audit as the nominated Board is made up of qualified Nigerians and is significantly headed by a woman of integrity and impeccable character who is not tainted in any way by corrupt tendencies and affiliations nor has she any record of corruption against her.

“It bears stating that, Lauretta Onochie; if confirmed by the Senate, would be the first woman ever to head the Commission since its inception. We acknowledge it as a plus for the often sidelined Nigerian women who nonetheless in their majority have always proven to be diligent, dependable, hardworking and accountable when assigned such tasks.”CSO

The statement warned individuals deliberately working against the good intentions of President Buhari to reposition the NDDC to desist from sabotaging the interest of the people of the Niger Delta and NDDC member states.

“We are aware of some clandestine and desperate moves by certain individuals and vested interests to undermine the President’s nominations as the Senate confirmation hearings loom.

“We however caution that such would be inimical to the efforts of the President to restore sanity, excellence, probity and accountability to the Commission and to return it to the path of delivering dividends to the people of the Niger Delta and member states.

“Let us conclude by stating that it is the sole prerogative of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to make such appointments in the best in interest of the nation; after due considerations and consultations.

“This we believe the President has done in this case and it would amount to deliberately working against the interest of the people of the Niger Delta and NDDC member states, the good intentions of the President and the nation’s anti-corruption drive for anyone, no matter how highly placed to unduly fight or seek to obstruct the President’s nominations; especially that of the Chairman of the Board on the grounds of flimsy excuses, chauvinism, selfishness and personal ego.

“Corruption will surely fight back but we must not allow corruption to win,” the FAFIC added.

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