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President Buhari Gets Backing On Forensic Audit of NDDC



The planned forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, directed by President Muhammadu Buhari has the support and blessings of the people of Niger Delta region.

Pastor Bassey James, President of Southern Youths Development Forum, who disclosed this in an exclusive interview with Crystal Express described as pathetic the performance of NDDC since inception.

According to James, President Muhamadu Buhari deserves commendation for the steps taken, stating that 90 per cent of Niger Delta people are with the President on this matter.

“The youths, elders and poor masses of the region who have watched the money released for the development of the Niger Delta region being misused for worthless things that do not advance the cause of the people, while the people continue to live in abject poverty and pains,” he said.

Pastor James, who is also the founder of Southern Atlantic Polytechnic lamented that over the years, NDDC has not done intervention projects as it should be done.

He said, “Rather, the money has been siphoned into private pockets. So, the President’s order to probe NDDC is a plus for his administration, a plus for the Niger Delta people and a plus for the South-South region.”

James further explained, “We bear the brunt of NDDC’s mismanagement, in spite of the fact that we contribute immensely to the federal purse. If you go through Niger Delta states, local governments and the communities, you will hardly see any development in comparison with the amount of money released to the intervention agency, which runs into trillions.

“We have watched this happen helplessly, hopelessly and it pains us because we are incapacitated. We don’t have the power to do anything. It is only the Federal Government that has the capacity to call for the probe. The people of Niger Delta have cried out over the years and I think that our cries have reached God and God has touched Mr. President to do what is right and needful.

“Hopefully those who will come to run the affairs of the NDDC will be cautious and will know that the money does not belong to them or their cronies. Mr. President should go further to order that all the works done from 2001 till date be published so that the real beneficiaries will be known. You will discover that most of the jobs were given to non-indigenes of Niger Delta. They take the money and abandoned the job because they are not from the region”.

James noted that every Niger Delta person should celebrate and give Mr. President support. “We see some people in Niger Delta becoming so rich and powerful rather than see the region making progress”.

“Where are the projects? The NDDC is an interventionist agency set up by the Federal Government to support the growth of the Niger Delta people. We continue to live in pains. All we see is that our money is being siphoned, misused and even out rightly stolen. Where are the bridges? Show me the roads done by the intervention agency. Ninety per cent of the projects given to non-indigenes are abandoned and nobody is saying anything. So we are behind Mr. President. We are praying for him. I want to tell the Niger Delta people to be rest assured that this is one issue that Mr. President will see to the end”.

He further urged that the audit exercise should be extended to states, local governments and villages
So that the people of Niger Delta will know what each of the local governments received. “I come from the oil producing community of Mkpat Enin. I cannot see what the NDDC has done in my community in the last 29 years. It did not finish any of its intervention projects”.

James who is a renowned Criminologist highlighted, “There is insecurity and absence of development in the Niger Delta. The creeks have been abandoned. Everything is politics. The road network is bad, the water projects are not seen and all you see are NDDC signboards everywhere; no jobs. Even when the jobs are done, they are very poorly executed with substandard materials that cannot stand the test of time. Otherwise how can one explain that a road that is constructed gets bad within five months?

“Now the chicken has come home to roost; we are asking Mr. President to x-ray the Niger Delta and make sure that what was taken away from the people is returned. Let the money be used to develop the Niger Delta. If that is done Niger Delta states will be like Dubai”, he said.

On one of the ways to address the problem, Bassey suggested,” I use this medium to appeal to Mr. President that further appointment into NDDC should not be based on political leaning. Let the Niger Delta people also make contributions to those who will serve them in NDDC. The President should reshuffle the entire NDDC and hand the intervention agency back to the people because it was made for the people”.

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