Ijaw Elders from the nine Niger Delta States have expressed anger over the continued silence by President Muhammadu Buhari on the forensic audit report on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), saying it should be made public.
The Ijaw elders, under the aegis of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), noted that the secrecy surrounding the report was worrisome and demanded that President Buhari to make the report public and publicise the names of those culpable in the mismanagement of the funds of the NDDC and abandonment of projects over the years.
President of INC, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, in a statement on Friday, frowned at the secrecy with which the outcome of the forensic audit was being handled, saying the people of the Niger Delta region deserve to know every detail relating to the report of the forensic audit on the interventionist agency.
Okaba insisted that there should be no coverup or sacred cows in the implementation of the outcome of the forensic audit, noting that all the persons culpable, irrespective of party or political affiliations, should be brought to justice without fear or favour.
He told the Federal Government to stop the practice of using the NDDC as a political patronage agency which is controlled and managed from Abuja instead of by the people of the Niger Delta region.
He said the commission must be accountable to the people it was created to serve and not those in positions of authority in Aso Rock.
He warned that any further delay in the inauguration of the NDDC board was a clear betrayal of trust and display of the Federal Government’s insensitivity to ljaw nation and Niger Delta region.
The INC boss also wondered that since the submission of the report to the Presidency, President Buhari had not said anything about it and the constitution of the substantive board of the NDDC.
Okaba stated: “After 16 months of postponement and rigmarole, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Godswill Akpabio, has finally submitted the long overdue report of the forensic audit on the NDDC two weeks ago through the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami to President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The complexities and superfluousity that trailed the said audit process in addition to the diversionary comments of Malami have left us more worried and suspicious of the true intentions of the exercise. Why has President Muhammadu Buhari till date not said anything about the report and the inauguration of the substantive board six years into the life of his administration despite public concerns on the implications of managing the NDDC as a private estate for this long?’
“It is a huge integrity test and task on Mr. President to immediately submit the forensic report undiluted to the corridors of public domain with the guarantee of free and easy access by anyone that cares in line with the Freedom of Information Act.”