The Niger Delta and Oil Mineral Producing Communities Traditional Rulers’ Forum, Tuesday alleged that the three budget circles of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, aggregating to N2 trillion including the statutory three per cent contributions from oil and gas companies operating in the area have been mismanaged.
Daily Post reports that the group also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to inaugurate the NDDC board, saying that further delay may culminate in another round of crisis in the volatile region.
It also asked why no punishment, hitherto, was meted out to the perpetrators who allegedly stole the whooping sum of the fund.
Board of Trustees Chairman, Joseph Ambakaderimo and Kingsley Arthur, Head of the Secretariat of Oil Mineral Producing Communities Traditional Rulers’ forum said this in a statement made available to newsmen in PortHarcourt, Rivers State capital.
The group, however, questioned the swiftness in the recent appointment of a Managing Director for the Oil and Gas Free Zone, located at Onne, in Rivers State saying, the board has become an object of ridicule to the people of the region.
It also regretted why Buhari held in abeyance the inauguration of the board whose members were duly appointed and screened by the Senate but yet to be established almost two years ago.
Part of the statement reads, “resources of the commission are pilfered on a daily basis with some used to lobby people in the villa to get an extension of time for them to continue the illegality and pillage of such resources”.
“the sole administrators’ continued stay in office has become very toxic and corrosive to the environment” and we are advising the Minister of the Niger Delta Ministry, Dr. Umana Okon Umana to do the needful.
“The public space has been replete with stories of barefaced corruption since the appointment of Interim sole administrators to run the agency. The NDDC is overdue to be run by a duly appointed board. Anything short of this at this time becomes unpalatable.
“The region is the most peaceful today in the country considering the level of insecurity in other parts of the country. We should not allow or do things in a manner that will open old wounds and plunge the region into unimaginable crisis.
“Let us not forget in a hurry when oil production was brought to an insignificant quantity that adversely impacted revenues and the economy.
“Our actions and deeds should not be a tonic that will spur negative reactions which will be detrimental to the nation. Our collective concern should be guided by the challenges the region and, by extension, the nation will face.
“We urge the Honourable Minister to follow the path of honour and due process and stop the illegality. Following the (former Minister Godwin) Akpabio’s path is to cause trouble because the people of the region are tired and it is reaching a boiling point that violence can begin to occur”.
The oil and gas communities said Mr. President’s directive for a forensic audit of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP, without dissolving its board or appointing an interim sole administrator to run its affairs while the audit last, looks surprising.
As for the NDDC, the group also regretted that there has not been a substantive board even after a forensic audit was carried out and successfully concluded.