BY VICTOR BUORO, ABUJA – The Niger Delta People’s Liberation Movement (NDPLM), on Tuesday declared that the Niger Delta region has been witnessing so much confusion since Senator Godswill Akpabio assumed office as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.
This is just as the NDPLM called on President Muhammadu Buhari to save the region more embarrassment by reposting the Minister, stressing that Akpabio is not the best person to carry out any audit related duties.
It alleged that Akpabio was one of the governors of the region in the 16 years of the PDP sleaze that had his hands filled from the public till, stressing that there is no way he can say he has no hand in the NDDC.
These were contained in a statement signed by Oghenekaro Joseph and Belema Diri, in which the group also said that Akpabio’s hidden motives are clearly seen by discerning Niger Deltans.
It further said; “Our investigation shows that apart from nominating people to serve on the board of the commission at various times, including nominating his brother, one Jeremiah Akpabio to serve as Special Assistant to a Managing Director, the minister has been a beneficiary of several NDDC contracts through fronts and cannot go to the audit with the stained hands.”
The group said the idea behind the audit is perfect and commended President Buhari for it, but said
The NDPLM which stated this while reacting to a call by some six civil society organisations allegedly sponsored by the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, calling for the withdrawal of the presidential nominees into the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), said it is clear that Akpabio has other motives other than the forensic audit for insisting on having the Interim Management Committee (IMC) to assume a permanent status than the legally constituted board.
It specifically cited the case of the IMC’s plan to carry out projects as a confirmation of the hidden motive of the Minister.
The NDPLM further said; “We are joining the Hon. Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and his media team to celebrate 100 days of confusion in the region. The region has seen more confusion in the 100 days than in all the years the ministry and the NDDC have been in existence.
“The Minister has hidden motives behind the IMC. If it was just for forensic audit, the IMC would not be having an Executive Director – Project, who is even a Medical Doctor with the intent to award contracts or an Executive Director, Finance and Administration with plans to carry out financial transactions.
“It could just have been a committee of technocrats, not politicians, with no office, but with unfettered access to the commission. The mere fact that Minister Akpabio is carrying out as if he is the Managing Director of NDDC leaves much to be desired.”
The NDPLM noted that Akpabio was appointed Minister of the Niger Delta and not that of NDDC, adding that it is time to tell him to leave the NDDC for the constituted board to run it.
The group further said; “There has always been audits in the country, noting that the minister is making too much noise about an exercise that should ordinarily be a routine.
“If he doesn’t know, he should ask the Auditor General of the federation. Does a Minister or Permanent Secretary leave office for the auditors to be seen as fair? Do they appoint IMC for Ministries, Departments and Agencies just because they are to be audited? How will the new board interfere in the work of the forensic auditors and how will the IMC help the auditors?”
“Senator Akpabio, however, is not the right man to supervise the audit. For someone who left several uncompleted projects, most of which he had collected all the monies meant for the projects to sound like a saint now is a ploy to use the NDDC to continue the life of sleaze which he is known for.”
The NDPLM also queried the credentials of the members of the IMC, stressing that the Minister has clearly downgraded standards in the commission by appointing a political medical doctor as EDP.