ABUJA, Nigeria – Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and community representatives from Niger Delta states, have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
They also charged him to order the prosecution of all persons formerly and currently indicted in mismanagement of funds.
A communique after their virtual meeting was released on Monday by Peace Agbo, Communications Officer, Social Development Integrated Centre.
They declared that the NDDC had become a cesspool of corruption.
Attendees regretted that those previously indicted were never prosecuted in a court of law, nor made to refund misappropriated funds.
The National Assembly was also accused of failing in its oversight function of conducting regular assessment of the work of the agency.
“Most of the projects implemented by the NDDC in the Niger Delta are not as desired by the concerned communities, are of substandard quality and do not stand the test of time.
“The Niger Delta Development Master-Plan has been largely abandoned by the NDDC. Communities do not have open communication channels with the management, nor effective participation”, it read.
The CSOs demanded that NDDC management disbanded immediately, noting that this would reposition it for efficiency and results.
They called for composition of a new board and a new crop of principal managers with a directive to operate an open-door policy to promote transparency and public accountability.
They suggested that a Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) template be adopted to promote a public-private partnership approach.
The meeting advocated community engagement in projects execution and monitoring.
The bodies and representatives also want a permanent independent audit team that will carry out periodic assessment of NDDC finances and spendings.
They insisted that the ongoing audit exercise be conclusive and the report made public.
The communique called for a review of the NDDC Act “to better define the mandate of the agency and stipulate penalties for non-compliance”.
On Sunday, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) asked Buhari to, within 14 days, set up a presidential panel to probe corruption allegations in the agency.
SERAP also urged the president to suspend Godswill Akpabio, Niger Delta Minister, and all those implicated.
The body warned that Buhari’s failure to act will cause it to institute legal proceedings.
The rights group further demanded that witnesses and whistle-blowers, including former NDDC MD, Joy Nunieh, be protected.