James Emejo in Abuja
The North East Progressives Youth Forum (NEPYF) said it has resolved to unanimously pass a vote of confidence on the Managing Director, North East Development Commission (NEDC), Mohammed Alkali, following allegations that he mismanaged about N146.19 billion in budgetary allocation to the commission.
The forum, in a statement by its Chairman, Mohammed Adamu Grema, rather, called on security agencies to close in on the “professional blackmailers to deter them from distracting the commission from delivering on their mandate”.
The youths also urged the commission to sustain its giant strides of “guiding our region to recover from the setback caused by the activities of Boko Haram terrorist elements”.
Their renewed support for Alkali followed a petition by the Al-Mushahid Initiative for Transparency and Accountability, and the People’s Advocacy for Transparency and Accountability both of which handed the MD a three-working day ultimatum to respond to their allegations or risk being reported to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Nigerian Police Force, and other anti-graft agencies.
Both had claimed that the over N140 billion budgetary allocations meant for the execution of some projects were mismanaged by the current leadership of the NEDC.
But, the NEPYF mocked the petitioners for not being conversant with budgetary allocation processes.
Grema, among other things, said, “We expected them to have known that budgetary provision is a mere estimate and not outright availability of resources. Only a jejune mind would assume that what is budgeted for in a financial year, translates to actual release in the midst of the negative economic downturn occasioned by the Russia-Ukraine War and poor income from sales of crude, which is the mainstay of our economy caused by pipelines vandals.”
They warned that should the petitioners choose to “continue in this only pathway, we the youth of the Northeast would have no option but to come out in our numbers to occupy their office to put an end to these shenanigans.”
The statement added, “For the avoidance of doubt, the NEDC has achieved so much in the following areas:
The commission, in line with its strategic plan to improve access to Information and Communication Technology (ICT), established ICT Resource Centres in each of the six States in the Region which are hosted in tertiary.
“At least 4,000 selected youths have been trained in those centres. The commission has ensured the establishment and construction of Burns Centres at FMC Yola, Adamawa, and UMTH Maiduguri, Borno States respectively. COVID- 19 and other contagious diseases laboratories in Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, and Yobe States are equipped with State of the Art facilities.
“They equally donated ambulances, ventilators, hospital beds, and PPE among other critical medical equipment.
“In other to address the issue of housing, the NEDC has constructed 1000 Mass Housing Units at Ngwom Town, Mafa LGA, and currently, construction of 500 mass housing units is ongoing in the states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Taraba, and Yobe respectively.”