Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide, yesterday expressed support for the directive handed down by President Muhammadu Buhari for a forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), but insisted that such a probe must be extended to the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).
A statement signed in Yenagoa by the IYC’s Secretary General Mr. Alfred Kemepado, urged the federal government to be sincere in its audit of both agencies, stressing that the reports which would hopefully show the ‘rot and shame’ that the organisations represent in recent years, must not be swept under the carpet.
“The NDDC and the Amnesty programme have been more of a problem to the youths and people of the Niger Delta rather than the solution it was set up to be,” the IYC said.
The IYC called on President Buhari to ensure to further audit the committee that was set up to probe the NDDC so as to ensure they were not influenced by the NDDC actors and make sure that justice is served eventually.
“So much money is available to them in billions of naira to influence whatever audit committee is set up. The IYC is calling on the President to forensically audit the Presidential Amnesty Programme to ensure the productivity of that program for the people of the Niger Delta.
“Furthermore, the President should look into the over-politicisation of the commission. The commission seems to have lost its vision and mission to the funding of politics instead of the development of the region.
“A focused NDDC is capable of bringing massive development and total rest to the issues besetting the Niger Delta, especially the security issues. Instead the NDDC is known for issuing bogus contracts and the corrupt over-invoicing of such contracts to enrich their cronies who are most times not people from the Niger Delta region,” the youth organisation said.
According to the IYC, the president had a once in a lifetime opportunity to expose culprits, no matter how highly placed or which political party they belong, who had cornered resources available to the NDDC and Amnesty office.
The influential youth body called on the federal government to put sentiments and political affiliations aside and appoint competent hands to manage the organisations and bring succour to the people of the Niger Delta.
“We urge President Buhari to place competence, experience and sufficient knowledge of the ethos, logos and pathos of the region ahead of political patronage in appointing members of the Board.
“He should source for individuals who know the details of the law establishing the NDDC board. The persons so appointed or that would be appointed must prove capacity to deliver on the original mandate of the commission before they are considered for such sensitive assignments.
“If possible, members appointed into the board should be made to face a rigorous public examination process to prove their worth in holding offices as members of the board, because these positions are too sensitive to give to people who care less about the development of the region as we have noticed in recent years,” the IYC said.