By Okungbowa Aiwerie, Asaba
Delta State Governor and Chairman of the South-South Governors’ Forum, Ifeanyi Okowa, has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to take over the forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Speaking when he led his Akwa-Ibom counterpart, Udom Emmanuel, to inaugurate roads, school projects and a bridge built by his administration in Agbarho and Oleh, Okowa said, “We have been expecting the results of the forensic audit and the EFCC can take over and prosecute the fraud-related cases because those ones are not for the board to handle.
“So we cry to Mr President today to quickly inaugurate the board because it’s in the best interest of the nation and in the best interest of the oil-producing states.”
Okowa backed stakeholders in the Niger-Delta region over agitation for a reconstituted board of the NDDC, claiming it was great injustice for the federal government to continue to run the NDDC without a constituted board.
He said the agitation was justifiable because the region was being short-changed, and charged President Muhammadu Buhari to listen to the voice of the people.
“I believe that the Governors of the South-South have spoken and we are embarrassed that after several months, the government has been unable to reconstitute the board of the NDDC.
“We believe that what is going on at the moment is not the best for our region and it’s not the best for the oil-producing states.
“In the first instance, the sole administratorship is not known to law and the board has the full representation of the people and they are able to speak for their people to ensure that there is fairness, justice and equity in terms of amenities and facilities.
“I believe also that the earlier the board is inaugurated, the better for us because we cannot continue to hide under the fact that we are doing a forensic audit without inaugurating the board because the board is supposed to be forward-looking and not about the past.
“So, allow the new board to come in and when the result of the forensic audit comes, the board will still look at it and know where actions are supposed to be taken.
“We are currently being fooled and we are not happy about it; so, if people agitate, I believe they are doing so in the right direction.
“So, we call on the Presidency to listen to the call of the South-South Governors and other stakeholders from the oil-producing states and quickly inaugurate the board because we are suffering for it.
“I believe that as at today, the funds of the NDDC are not being well managed and I want to believe that they are also not accountable in the way and manner they are running the place,” he said.