Group Urges EFCC to Return Alleged Diverted NDDC Fund

Udora Orizu in Abuja

A civil society group in the anti-corruption fight, known as Act for Positive Transformation Initiative (APTI), has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to return all monies it collected from oil producing companies in the Niger Delta on behalf of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) from 2020 to date to the commission.

The group, which stated this at a media briefing yesterday  in Abuja also gave the anti graft agency a seven day ultimatum to return the funds it allegedly collected but didn’t remit, and stop further collection going forward.

The Director in charge of Research, Strategy and Programming of APTI, Mr. Kolawole Johnson, who briefed the media recalled how his organisation in collaboration with other NGOs carried out extensive research and investigation of the rot in the NDDC under previous managements which ran without a legitimate board in place.

The statement reads: “Against the backdrop of the enabling law regulating the administration of the Niger Delta Development Commission’s funds and assets, the Federal Government through the Economic and Financial Crime Commission has since 2020 engaged in financial illegalities that are daily shortchanging the Commission and the people of the Niger Delta region.

“Believing in the anti-corruption mantra of the federal government, a coalition of civil society organisations working with APTI launched a campaign for probity and accountability on the Niger Delta Development Commission in the year 2020. Thus far, the campaign has merely exposed the present administration as one that only pays lip service to the war against corruption as it has failed to take any deterrent steps despite the volume of evidence presented. Rather, the government took advantage of the campaign to engage in systemic feasting on the Commission’s resources. The Act establishing the Niger Delta Development Commission, without ambiguity, gave the Commission the exclusive power to determine how its assets and funds are to be held and regulated.

“Since 2020, the EFCC has taken over, albeit illegally, the role of collecting  three per cent of the total annual budget of oil-producing companies (the major revenue source for the NDDC) on behalf of the NDDC without remitting the same to the commission. This was done without any legal justification and in flagrant disregard of the NDDC Establishment Act, 2000. By this act, the EFCC ambushed the provision of section 14(2) (b) of the NDDC Act, diverting and siphoning funds assigned, allotted and due to the NDDC.”

Related Articles