The National Assembly Complex, Abuja, FCT

N’Delta leaders accuse NASS of plans to frustrate NDDC audit

* Accuse some Federal legislators from Niger Delta region of contract racketeering

* Omo-Agege denies asking EFCC to probe Godswill Akpabio

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

The Niger Delta leaders, under the aegis of Niger Delta Forum for Equity and Justice, have raised the alarm over the alleged renewed efforts by some members of the National Assembly (NASS) to scuttle the ongoing forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The move by the National Assembly to institute multiple probes into the finances of the NDDC, according to the leaders, is a distraction to continuing efforts to sanitise the NDDC as envisioned by the Federal Government, reports The Sun.

Report states that the Senate has instituted a probe on how N40billion was spent by the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC in three months, while the House of Representatives is also attempting to conduct a parallel audit of the regional agency.

Kenneth Adagogo, National Coordinator of Niger Delta Forum for Equity and Justice, criticising the move by the Federal lawmakers stated: “We are greatly dismayed by current moves by the National Assembly to frustrate the ongoing forensic audit of the NDDC.“How can the National Assembly describe the forensic audit instituted by the President at the behest of all governors of the Niger Delta States as illegal?

“How can an exercise which was duly debated and approved by the Federal Executive Council with money appropriated for the exercise by the same National Assembly be described as illegal?

“We are left with no option than to believe allegations making the rounds that the present moves by the National Assembly is (sic) at the behest of some of their powerful members who have had their hands soiled in the looting of the Commission over the years and would do everything within their powers to frustrate the effort of President Buhari to cleanse the interventionist agency.”

According to Adagogo, “the people of the Niger Delta region require the development of their oil-rich region.

“Sadly, some members of the National Assembly who are from the region have through contract racketeering used the commission to move their bank accounts forward instead of moving the region forward.

“This is the mess that the present Interim Management Committee of NDDC led by Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei as mandated by President Buhari is trying to clean.

“We are appalled that rather than support this noble effort, some members of the National Assembly have constituted themselves as clogs in the wheel of progress of the region.

“If the National Assembly means well, they should probe the recent allegations that their committee chairmen in the persons of Senator Peter Nwaoboshi and Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo balkanised the budgets of the commission for their personal benefits.

“They should also probe their members who collect commissions for statutory payments to the commission.”

Recall ConsumerConnect recently reported that Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, Acting Managing Director of the Commission, indicted the National Assembly of working against the forensic audit the President Buhari ordered in the NDDC.

Prof. had said that “the probe being trumpeted by the National Assembly is not for an altruistic reason but an attempt by some members to arm-twist the Interim Management Committee.

“We have faced so much pressure from some members of the National Assembly not to send certain files to forensic auditors.

“We fear that this will compromise the integrity of the exercise and have refused to do their bidding.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege, Deputy President of the Senate, is said have denied instructing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe the Sen. Godswill Akpabio, Honourable Minister for Niger Delta Affairs.

According to Omo-Agege, a letter said to have emanated from the Clerk of the Senate, acting on his behalf and requesting Mr. Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman of the anti-graft agency, to investigate the Minister did not come from him.

The Deputy President of the Senate, who described the document as fake, insisted that he never instructed the Clerk or any other person to contact the EFCC to investigate any individual.

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