CSOs ask Buhari to ‘halt NDDC, carry out house-cleaning’ – Open Letter



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OPEN LETTER

10th August 2020

Your Excellency,

President Muhammadu Buhari,

DEAR MR. PRESIDENT, HALT NIGER DELTA DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION, NDDC; CARRY OUT HOUSE-CLEANING.

We are members of Civil Societies and Communities from across Niger Delta and beyond. We have watched with utter astonishment and incredulity, the emergence of revelations of systemic hijack and grand corruption in the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC. From mind-boggling revelations at the parliamentary investigative hearings of Procurement Act violations and contract frauds, non-budgetary and extra-budgetary expenditures, to confessions of illicit solicitations and crooked contracts by former and present leaderships of the Commission, extensive exposés by the Commission’s overseeing Minister, of fully-paid but non-executed projects, to allegations and counter-allegations of outright embezzlement in the Commission; the revelations are simply shocking.

Your Excellency, this rot in the NDDC is not a recent phenomenon. It dates back to almost the time of commencement of the Commission. What started as bribery cum inducement to influence and get contracts, and to which authorities then paid a blind eye, quickly up-scaled and snowballed in both dimension and magnitude, to what we see today. As has clearly emerged today, all known and unknown means are contrived in the Commission to beat Due-Process, by-pass regulating Laws and side-step Checks and Balances. It is thus very sadly to this end therefore, that the humongous resources (which runs into trillions of Naira) that have accrued to the region overtime, through the Commission, has systematically dissipated without any commensurate or even near-commensurate infrastructure or impact to ascribe to it.

The NDDC by its enabling Act, is an Interventionist (capital) Project-oriented entity, that was set up to directly intervene in helping bridge Infrastructural gaps in the Niger Delta region and by so doing, improve the quality and living standards of the people of the region. The reality of the Commission today, has completely negated this.

Your Excellency Sir, you are seated at the thresholds of history, not only with this bruised Commission, but with the people of the Niger Delta. You have historical options before you:

– To surface-dress the Commission and its unresolved issues as aforestated, by merely effecting leadership change, that leaves the fundamental gaps that birthed, nurtured and festered the hydra-headed monster of Corruption, Non-Accountability and lack of transparency as have clearly been seen, or;

– To rise to the occasion, institute and usher in holistic reforms in the Commission, that includes purging it of all corrupt elements and tendencies, to re-set it on a path of Transparency, Accountability and effective Public Service Delivery, as envisioned by its establishment.

As Civil Society Groups and Community Members, we strongly urge you to act in the regard of the latter, in the overwhelming interest of the deprived, impoverished and traumatised common men and women of the region. We urge you to:

Ü  Temporarily, halt the activities of the Commission in its present manner (having completely lost both focus and public trust).

Ü  (Presidency) Assume direct supervision of the Commission and oversee effective reforms in it to make the Commission Open, Transparent and Accountable.(These proposed reforms are further expounded in the document: CIVIL SOCIETIES, COMMUNITIES POSITION PAPER ON NDDC).

Ü  Oversee and strengthen the forensic audit of the Commission. This is crucial to having an accurate and unbiased audit report on the financial activities of the Commission in the past years. The audit exercise needs to be independent and conclusive, and its report/findings should be made public. Going forward, audit should be a regular exercise in the Commission, and of which reports should be published in the website.

Ü  Initiate a Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) template for the Commission, to promote a public-private partnership approach to community engagements involving participatory development processes to address community needs in the Niger Delta and accordingly enforce community engagement in projects designing and monitoring execution.

Ü  Set up a multi-stakeholder partnership which would include a team of Civil Society Organisations and individuals with proven track record of integrity, to closely monitor the activities of the NDDC, including a close monitoring of the independent audit exercise, and issue regular reports.

Ü  Immediately activate anti-graft agencies to prosecute without delay, the extensive corrupt acts and infractions that have featured in the Commission, many of which have been confirmed by conclusive investigations, including the “Senate Report On The Investigation Of The Alleged Financial Recklessness In The NDDC“, of August, 2020. The seeming silence from the authorities in this regard, seems to lend credence to the popular notion that corruption is being condoned in the country.

We thank you, Your Excellency as you act in this regard, and pray that God will continue to give you the wisdom, strength and courage to discharge your duties to the Nation.

Signed:

Vivian Bellonwu (Ms.)  – – – – Social Development Integrated Centre (Social Action, Nigeria).

Chido Onumah – – – – – – – – –  – – African Centre for Media and Information Literacy, AFRICMIL

Jaye Gaskia – – – –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  TAKE BACK NIGERIA MOVEMENT

Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani) …………. Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)

Ken Henshaw – –  –  –  –  – – –  –  –   Centre for Social Studies and Development (WE THE PEOPLE)

Constance Meju –  –  –  –  –  –  – – – Centre for Media, Environment and Development Communication, CEMEDEC

Harry Udoh (Dr.)  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  AKWA IBOM STATE CIVIL SOCIETYORGANISATIONS

Omobude Agho –  –  –  –  –  –  – –  –  EDO STATE CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS(EDOCSO)

Henry Eferegbo –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  – Emohua Community, Rivers State

Osazee Edigin –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  – – EDO STATE CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS (EDOCSO)

Torki Dauseye –  –  –  –  –  –  – –  –  – BAYELSA STATE NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS FORUM (BANGOF)

Sebastian Kpalap – – – – – – – – – – –  -Ogoni Community, Rivers State

Peter Mazzi – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – ANTI-CORRUPTION NETWORK, Rivers State.

Tijah Bolton – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – POLICY ALERT, Uyo. Akwa Ibom State

Green Isaac – – – – – – – – – –  – –  – –  -ANTI-CORRUPTION NETWORK, Rivers State.

Obene Prince- – – – – – – – – –  – – –  – Obio-Akpor, Rivers State.

Rita Kigbara –  –  –  –  –  –  – –  –  –  –  Ogoni Community, Rivers State

Faith Osuoka –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  – – – -Engenni, Bayelsa State

Prince Ekpere –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  – ANTI-CORRUPTION NETWORK, Rivers State

Nkechi Ugwu –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –   – –  – African Centre for Media and Information Literacy, AFRICMIL

Uzoma Kelechi –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  -Gender and Development Action, GDA

Princess Umoh –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  -ANTI-CORRUPTION NETWORK, Akwa Ibom State

Peace Edem — — — – – – – – – – – – – – – – -Youth for change initiative YOFCI, Akwa Ibom State

Ekaette Anwana – – – – – – – –  – Advocates of Peace, Nature and Gender Justice, APNAG, Akwa Ibom State

Iboro Adam-Etuk – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Willing & Caring Hands Foundation Akwa Ibom State

Nsekpong Udoh, PhD – – – – – – – – – – -Community Partners for Development – CPD, Akwa Ibom State.

Akanimo Sampson – – – – – – – – – – – – -Rebuilders Foundation, Akwa Ibom State

 Bonney Akaeze – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Delta State Anti-Corruption Network

Ann Udonte – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – The One True Friend Foundation (TOTFFun), Akwa Ibom


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