L-R: Governors Obaseki (Edo), Wike (Rivers), Okowa (Delta), Udom (Akwa Ibom) and Diri (Bayelsa)

N40bn Probe: South-South Governors support forensic audit of NDDC

*Denounce unsettling crisis rocking the interventionist agency in Niger Delta region

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

Against the current festering crisis rocking Nigeria’s interventionist agency in the oil-rich Niger Delta region, Governors of South-South states have declared support for the forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) which President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered carried out in the agency.

The states’ chief executives, under the auspices of the South-South Governors’ Forum, Thursday, July 16 nevertheless, denounced the unsettling crisis rocking the agency, reports The Nation.

It was learnt that the governors hoped the audit would put the NDDC on a sound corporate governance footing and reposition it to better deliver on its mandate.

They also frowned on the “attempted abduction” of Dr. Joi Nuneih, a former Acting Managing Director of the Commission’s Interim Management Committee (IMC), in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital.

Governor (Sen.Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State and Chairman of South-South Governors’ Forum in a statement disclosed that his colleagues have given full backing to the ongoing investigation of the Commission by the National Assembly.

The statement reads: “We believe the Senate is operating within its oversight functions through the ad hoc committee set up for that purpose.

Goevrnor Okowa said: “It behoves on us to respect the Senate oversight function and allow it to discharge this responsibility in a fair, transparent and equitable manner.

“The South-South Governors are desirous to see an NDDC that is fully alive and responsive to its mandate of accelerating infrastructural development of the Niger Delta region and enhancing the general living conditions of our people.

“Hence, we will not hesitate to give our unqualified support to any policy initiative that will make this a reality.

“The Forum wishes to advise the combatants in the current crisis in the NDDC to refrain from utterances and actions that will breach the peace and security of the region.’’

Forum as well condemned the attempted abduction of Nunieh in the early hours Wednesday, saying it was unwarranted, unnecessary and uncalled for.”

The statement further said: “Let it be on record that we are neither in support of nor against Ms. Nunieh in the current cloud of controversy surrounding the NDDC.

“However, as responsible public servants and leaders in the Niger Delta, we are mindful of the implications her attempted abduction could have on the peace and security of the region, which the current administration has laboured to sustain in the last five years.

“We do not want that to be truncated as it can have adverse consequences on the national economy. We urge the feuding parties in the NDDC to conduct themselves in a civil, orderly and lawful manner for the good of the region and the progress of the country.”

The forum called on relevant security authorities to investigate the unfortunate development.

In the meantime, President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday spoke on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) N40 billion probe, which has sparked a row between the National Assembly (NASS) and the agency’s Interim Management Committee (IMC).

The President ordered a “speedy” and “coordinated investigation” of the activities of the NDDC management.

There should be a better coordination among security and investigation agencies, and the National Assembly to unravel the problems militating against the agency’s performance and factors undermining the development of the Niger Delta, said President Buhari.

He has vowed to wield the big stick against culprits in the agency’s mismanagement, expressed his determination “to get to the root of the problems,” stated the report.

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