Group Urges Buhari to Sack NDDC Interim Administrator

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Joseph Ambakederimo, Lead Executive Director, Global Forum for Accountability and Transparency, makes a strong case for the removal of Mr. Effiong Akwa, Sole Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission

Global Forum for Accountability and Transparency (GFAT) demands the immediate sack of the Sole Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Effiong Akwa, “for circumventing the law”.

From emerging and confirmed reports in the media, the NDDC Sole Administrator deliberately refused to abide by extant rules in the declaration of his assets as mandated for public officers by the law.

According to a national daily, Akwa is being probed by the Code of Conduct Bureau for failing to declare his assets while serving as the Managing Director of Akwa Ibom State-owned microfinance bank, Akwa Loans and Savings Limited and as the Special Adviser on Finance to a former Managing Director of the NDDC.

The current scandal surrounding the Sole Administrator casts doubt on the much talked about forensic audit.

We use this medium to call on President Buhari to remove Akwa from office and relieve Godswill Akpabio from his cabinet without delay. They have both brought disrepute to the Buhari government which we have warned a long time ago.

It is no surprise that the stench emanating from Akpabio’s rump has continued unabated with one scandal after the other since his appointment as the substantive Minister of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and his surreptitious hijacking of the NDDC and the obsession so far exhibited only goes to confirm our fears that the actions of the Minister have never been altruistic after all.

The latest scandal of bribes paid to officials of the Code of Conduct Bureau to falsify documents in order to give a clean bill of health to his lackey, Mr. Effiong Akwa is another can of worms that has exposed the Minister’s desperation to continue to ride roughshod on the finances of the NDDC. Mr Akwa’s non-compliance of the code of conduct declaration of assets must be investigated thoroughly and all those who may have a role to play must be made to face the full wrath of the law.

Akwa is a man who has circumvented the law so many times by deliberately refusing to abide by extant rules and therefore lacks the credibility to oversee a forensic audit of an institution he was once part of and which he played some ignoble role in. This scandal has so far cast doubt and make the forensic audit look suspect. Therefore the tainted audit must be suspended and the substantive board which was nominated by the President and screened and approved by the Senate be inaugurated without delay in order for the people of the region to heave a sigh of relief from the strangle hold of Akpabio.

It is unfathomable that too many illegalities are going on in the affairs of the NDDC at the moment and the Presidency looks helpless. About N2 Trillion has so far been mismanaged and misappropriated for the past four years with no visible project to show for it. This is the greatest disservice the Buhari administration has done to the people of the Niger Delta.

No one has been punished so far and it is business as usual. This circus can’t continue and we must not throw our hands up in the air in denial. Akpabio and Akwa must be removed from office if there is any credibility left in the Buhari administration’s resolve to fight corruption. The time has come for the President to show courage, someone must stand up and say enough is enough of this nonsense and stop it one time. Mr. President stop the drift in the NDDC, stop it, it does not serve you well sir.

The appointment of Mr. Akwa is wrong in the first place because the appointment is unknown to the Act setting up the Commission and if anyone would argue as in this case they have said the President has the prerogative to hire and fire, yes he does have the power to hire and fire, but please let him use that prerogative wisely and rightly because millions of people from the region depend on NDDC for their survival.

The President does not have the right to deny any Nigerian the right to survive. The NDDC must be made to function as an entity with all full powers of a democratic institution to serve the people of the region and not like the feeding bottle and apron tied perpetually to Akpabio’s chest.

Moreover the cartel in the Code of Conduct Bureau whose stock in trade is to doctor and manipulate documents in the CCB be brought to justice to put a stop to their shameful activities which have brought a debilitating blow to the fight against corruption declared by the Buhari’s administration.