By Emmanuel Addeh
Lawyers to the Global Forum for Accountability, a prominent Niger Delta rights group, have written to the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr Mohammed Adamu, to explain the circumstances surrounding the N475 million allegedly donated to the police for the purchase of face masks.
The leadership of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) had told the National Assembly during an investigation of the activities of the agency that the said sum was given to the police for the purchase of the masks and hand sanitisers to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
Writing through his lawyers, Worenwu and Associates, Coordinator of the organisation, Mr. Joseph Ambakederimo, noted that the silence of the police could be misinterpreted for connivance, urging the IG to speak on the matter.
In the letter which was received and acknowledged by the Finance and Administration Department of the Force Headquarters, Abuja, the group said it was requesting clarification on some “obscure facts surrounding the donation of the COVID-19 palliatives pursuant to section 1 of the Freedom of Information Act 2011 laws of the federation.”
The group asked the police boss to explain where, when and how the so-called palliatives totaling almost half a billion were donated, insisting that till date, a similar incident concerning claims by the then NDDC management of purported supply of Hilux trucks to an arm of the security agencies have not been corroborated.
The coordinator added that the information was needed to aid the National Assembly currently investigating the expenditure of the NDDC with a view to determining if the agency had delivered on its mandate to the people of the region.
The lawyers to the group sought to know if actually the NDDC made such donation to the police by confirming if the police force requested for such assistance from the NDDC.
Among others, the group also sought to know: “How much was actually released to the police by the NDDC, when the money was released to the police and whether the money released to the police was in cash, cheque or electronic fund transfer.
“Where was the money presentation ceremony done? Who represented the IG at the presentation ceremony?
“Our clients are of the firm belief that if the Nigeria Police Force had requested for such assistance from the NDDC, there will be a correspondence between the NDDC and the police.
“Consequently, our clients humbly request that you graciously avail us the information required in paragraph 3(a-f) to enable them present their facts to the National Assembly to aid their investigation of the alleged embezzlement of funds in the NDDC.
“Our clients’ authority to make the above request is predicated on section 1(1), (2),(3) of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2011 laws of the federation of Nigeria.
“Please take this letter as notice given to you under the Act and provide the required information to us in seven days from the date of service of this letter in line with the provisions of section 4 of the FOI act 2011 laws of the federation.”