The Civil Society Organisations in Akwa Ibom State have called on President Mohammadu Buhari to make public the forensic audit reports of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
It could be recalled that the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio had in September submitted a forensic report of the commission to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.
The Chairman, Akwa Ibom State CSOs, Dr Harry Udoh in a press conference in Uyo, on Monday, while commemorating the 2021 Anti Corruption day with the theme: “Your Right, Your Role: Say No to Corruption,” regretted that the president has not made any comment on the report, over three months of its submission.
Udoh said “we were quite enthused when the Federal government directed a forensic audit of the commission. The report of the much-hyped Forensic Audit has been submitted to the Federal government through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation. But as we speak, nobody knows the content of that report as the Federal Government has refused to make it public.
“The president has categorically said he was waiting for the report to act and the report has now been submitted to him for months. This is a matter of integrity for the President because he has promised to fight corruption. It’s funny that it wasn’t Mr President that received the report in the first place but the Attorney General.”
Speaking on the efforts by the State CSOs to get a copy of the report, the chairman explained, “we have written to the Attorney General; he referred us back to the Niger Delta Ministry. We went to the Ministry they asked us to pay N350, 000, which we have done. We are waiting for their reply or we test the matter at the court of law.
“Let the court adjudicate on that matter, it’s not a matter of government but our collective patrimony. So we want the report of the forensic audit made public. Look at what happened at the ‘off your mic’ saga, where one person got 1000 contracts alone, as we speak nobody is in court, we can’t continue with that kind of impunity.”
The CSOs also called on the Economic Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to focus their energy on high profile corrupt politicians saying that such would deter even the smaller perpetrators of financial crimes knowing fully well that any person can be prosecuted irrespective of status.
They further called on the people to join hands in the fight against corruption by speaking up and reporting cases of corruption which he described as a ‘hydra-headed menace’ that has become the bane of development in Nigeria.
The statement in part read “The cost of corruption is massive. Corruption puts human lives at risk when people cannot get access to healthcare, safe places to live and clean water, their lives are at risk. When buildings collapse because developers have bribed their way out of adhering to health and safety standards, the lives of occupants are at risk, too.
”Corruption reduces public trust and citizens’ willingness to participate in society. It is the major reason for citizens’ lethargy and apathy to participating in governance because they no longer trust the political leaders. Corruption exacerbates inequality, engenders organized crime and conflict as is evidenced across the country.
“This is the reason why we can no longer stay silent. We must all speak up and take a stand against corruption before it kills us all. We must fight to take back our collective patrimony.”
He also disclosed that investigation carried out by CSOs in the state revealed that the sole administrator of the NDDC, Effiong Akwa is working hard to ensure the completion of some abandoned projects in the state saying that should not foreclose the need for the inauguration of the commission’s substantive board even as he noted that NDDC is operating in an illegal premise.
The forum has now asked the government to “authorize the publication of the details of the over 12,000 abandoned projects the Minister mentioned.
”Publish the details of the contractors involved in the abandoned project cases.
”Publish the names of those who approved the said contracts, expedite action against anyone found culpable including contractors who failed to deliver on their projects. Take prompt steps in implementing the recommendations of the audit report. Immediate investigation and prosecution of all involved in the mismanagement of the over N6 trillion mentioned in the report
“Arrest and prosecute all Management members of the commission involved in contracts racketeering.