The issue of misuse of funds in the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC has continued to generate attention as more and more revelations keep emerging.
In this recent case, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs who also supervises the NDDC, Senator Godswill Akpabio has revealed how N5 trillion was misused. According to Akpabio, the money was misused instead of using it to meet the developmental needs of the Niger Delta people. He stated that the past management of the NDDC in the last 20 years were the people that misused the huge fund and they have nothing to show for it.
The Minister disclosed this when a delegation of the Petrol Station Owners Association, Rivers State chapter, visited him in Abuja. Akpabio also frowned at the criticisms targeted at him as a result of revelations of corruption in the NDDC. According to him, the corruption allegation did not start now as it has been there since. He also alleged that the probe of corruption allegation in the NDDC is not holistic as it focused only on the last five months. He added that the probe should cover the last 20 years that the NDDC has been in existence so that the people that misused the money would be made to account for it.
Akpabio also disclosed the next big project that he would ensure is completed in the Niger Delta Region. The Minister stated that the East-West Road will be completed and inaugurated in December 2021 for the benefit of the people. Recall that the East-West road is one of the major roads in the region which the people need so much. If the road remains in bad shape, it would affect so many people and commuters in the area.
So, completing the work on the road and commissioning it for use will make the people of the area and other commuters have a smooth ride. Moreover, it will alleviate the struggle and pain of using it in bad shape among other benefits it would bring.
Why Akpabio’s revelation and suggestion should be taken serious
Akpabio has been in politics for many years. He is also from Akwa Ibom State which is one of the states in the Niger Delta. He was the Governor of Akwa Ibom for eight years, he was a Senator for years and he has good knowledge of the issues of the Niger Delta region. Most importantly, Akpabio is the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs now and he supervises the NDDC as well. All these points put him in good position to reveal what goes on the NDDC which many people should believe.
Before Akpabio comes out to make some big revelations, he would have seen enough strong evidence to back up his claims. He would have checked the records and dealings of the NDDC to know what had happened before now. For instance, in the course of the ongoing probe of the NDDC by the National Assembly, Akpabio had alleged that some lawmakers were linked with some contracts in the NDDC. Many did not believe him. Even the lawmakers denied it to the extent that the Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila had to give Akpabio ultimatum to name the lawmakers involved.
After initial hesitation, Akpabio released the names of the past and present lawmakers allegedly linked with the NDDC contracts. With that step, many people then believe Akpabio’s claim. Although, those lawmakers denied benefiting from the NDDC contracts. The probe is still ongoing. Maybe the National Assembly or the Executive Arm led by President Muhammadu Buhari may beam the searchlight on the allegation by also probing the claims that some past and present lawmakers reportedly benefited from the NDDC contracts.
Based on the above points, it is also necessary to consider and do something about Akpabio’s revelation of how N5 trillion was misused in the past 20 years. In fact, Akpabio made a valid suggestion on how to get to the root of the matter. He suggested that the probe should cover the last 20 years of NDDC’s existence so that all the people that misused the agency’s fund will be made to account for it.
Considering and taking the suggestion of Akpabio will help matters as efforts are on to probe the alleged corruption in the NDDC. The National Assembly should take Akpabio’s revelation and suggestion serious so that the plan of stopping the corruption in the NDDC will yield the desired result.
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