Barely a week after receiving the forensic audit report of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Nigerians have continued to demand prompt action by President Muhammadu Buhari against officials, contractors, and individuals indicted by the report which exposed brazen criminality and fraud in the execution of 13,777 projects.
It will be recalled that President Buhari had in October 2019 ordered forensic auditing of the Commission due to reports of endemic corruption since its establishment, but received the audit report last Thursday.
Speaking during an anti-corruption radio program, PUBLIC CONSCIENCE on RADIO, produced by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG, on Wednesday in Abuja, the Executive Director, Citizens Advocacy For Social & Economic Rights, Frank Tietie revealed that his expectation and that of the people from the Niger Delta region is to see President Buhari-led Federal Government speedily employ all legal means in arresting all and sundry implicated by the report; seize their ill-gotten properties, monies and return them to the people.
Disclosing his expectations now that the NDDC audit report is on the president’s table, Tietie had these to say: “We don’t want time to be wasted, I am looking forward to properties that will be temporarily and finally forfeited to the Federal Government, sold and the money taken back to the NDDC.
“We are looking at a situation where current members of the National Assembly, members of the Federal Executive Council, Federal Public Servants, and Civil Servants will be arrested immediately and imprisoned.
“We want a speedy trial, we want to see people sent to prison, seize their properties, sell their properties, give the money back to the NDDC, “He stressed.
Tietie expressed optimism that the government will act on the audit report that has set up the audit committee themselves, noting that even if President Buhari refuses to take action on the report the laws of Nigeria will.
He commended PRIMORG for their boldness in bringing such discourse of national importance to public knowledge while disclosing that his rights group will continue to urge citizens to be alert on government spending and holding their leaders accountable.
“You must shine your eyes as someone from Niger Delta with regards to budget, whether it is in the state, federal or in the NDDC; You must know the roads and bridges to be built and when they are not built you call me or call PRIMORG to talk about it,” Tietie advised.
On his part, Darlington Nwauju who lives in Rivers State called on President Buhari to constitute the NDDC board urgently, as it will help reduce the corruption in the commission.
“Mr. President should constitute the board for the NDDC, because there are a plethora of audit reports that have been done before now inside the NDDC, so, the constituted board should work with these reports to better the lives of the people of the region.
Towing the same line, another of the Niger Delta, Umuakpo Ovie who spoke from Delta State said that a well-constituted board of the commission will reduce the malfeasance that has impoverished the people of the region. Adding that interim management boards of the NDDC oversaw the abandonment of many emergency road constructions in recent times.
Ovie disclosed that going forward, people from the region will hold leaders accountable, “just as we are agitating for President Buhari to act on the forensic audit report, that is how we must come together to hold political leaders, traditional leaders, and opinion leaders accountable and ask them questions.
“The criminality is too much, how can they spend N6 trillion, and today there is no development in the region,” He lamented.
Public Conscience is a syndicated weekly anti-corruption radio program used by PRIMORG to draw government and citizens’ attention to corruption and integrity issues in Nigeria.
The program is supported by the MacArthur Foundation.