From: Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Foundation for Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Crusade (FHACC) has backed the decision by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, to effect a shake-up in the board of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
FHACC said if the shake-up was effected, it would pave for the investigation of all corruption allegations of extortion, contract diversion, administrative apathy, nepotism, favouritism and other fraudulent activities levied against the commission.
Recently, the minister threatened to effect shake-up in the NDDC over various allegations and that anyone found liable would face the law.
The group, in a communiqué, signed by National President, Alaowei Cleric (Esq.) and 20 others, after a closed door meeting held in Patani, also called on Acting President Yemi Osibanjo to, as a matter of urgency, reshuffle the EDP’s office.
the group had raised the alarm over alleged on-going massive fraud on unchecked in the office of the Executive Director of Projects (EDP),
The communiqué reads in parts: “Our findings shows that NDDC is enmeshed with alleged corrupt practices which is practically irredeemable in the office of the Executive Director of Projects.
“As an anti-corruption organisation, we have taken a deem view of the Commission with a view to unraveling some of the mischief in its administration which include contract diversion and hijack by powerful forces in or outside the commission instead of public bidding, contractors been denied of tender documents even when they have obtained bank drafts as published by the commission except they are connected, alleged refusal by the office of EDP to act on internal memos or external correspondences, alleged refusal to attend to projects evaluation reports sent from various states offices to raise interim payment certificates and contract agreements not been signed except the affected persons has to settle relevant authorities.”
The rights group also accused the NDDC of refusal to carry out Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report in most of its major projects which have caused grievous harm to some communities where the projects are sited, alleging that funds budgeted for the EIA in 2016 ran into private pockets which has made the commission derailed from its responsibilities in reports.
While further alleging that the board barely allows visitors to gain access to the commission’s office even on visiting days, major projects that run into billions of naira allegedly given to cronies, contractors being given award letters without going to site and certificates issued to them for completion of a milestone of projects without execution, the group also called on the anti-graft agencies to beam its searchlights on the NDDC board.