- Funds meant for oil-producing states domiciled in the EFCC is already causing ripples in the polity
- A Niger Delta group says any attempt to release the money to the NDDC will increase restiveness in the region
- The group has asked the presidency to intervene in the situation in order to prevent chaos in the oil-rich region
A group, Niger Delta Peoples’ Assembly For Peace and Development (NDPAPD) has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) not to release the funds means for the Niger Delta in its care to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Legit.ng gathered that the fund is the $1.6billion statutory contributions made by the International Oil Companies (IOC’s) to oil-producing states in the country.
NDPAPD also asked the governors of the nine oil-producing states in the country to intervene in the situation.
The group noted that its stance on the issue is due to the fact that the NDDC is currently run by an illegal sole administrator who is also being supervised solely by the minister of Niger Delta affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
In a press statement sent to Legit.ng on Thursday, May 13, and signed by its president, Obarine Ngelale, the group stated that the money belongs to the oil-producing states and should be used for the development of the region.
Part of the statement read:
“We frown at the notion that such a huge amount of money would be released to the sole administrator of the NDDC who is mainly answerable to the minister of Niger Delta affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
“We wish to reiterate what we have been saying and which has been the position of all the major stakeholders of the region that the creation of the position of a sole administrator is illegal and runs against the spirit and the letter of the NDDC Act of 2000 from which the commission derives its powers.
“We call on the EFCC not to release the money which is currently being warehoused by the commission to the NDDC and for the EFCC to take over what is obviously an unending forensic audit from the illegally appointed sole administrator.
“From our investigations, we have been informed that there is a strong lobby from the higher echelon of the Niger Delta Affairs ministry to have the money released to the sole administrator and we want to advise the EFCC not to give in to the pressure.
“The region has been lately threatened by spates of insecurity and the youths are increasingly getting restive.
“If this money is released to an unaccountable body solely supervised by the Niger Delta affairs minister, the level of insecurity will be increased and this is not what we want and desire for the region.”
The group also urged the presidency to step in and stop the release of the money so as to guarantee peace and development in the region.
Recall that Senator Akpabio recently denied a report claiming that he offered a bribe worth $350,000 (over N130million) to the chairman of the EFCC, Abudulrasheed Bawa.
In a statement sent to Legit.ng on Saturday, April 24 by his chief press secretary, Anietie Ekong, Akpabio said he has no reason to offer a bribe to Bawa adding that his recent visit to the EFCC was not for questioning but to discuss the transfer of funds belonging to the NDDC.
Meanwhile, Delta state governor and chairman of South-South Governors' Forum, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, on Thursday, April 29 called on President Muhammadu Buhari to reconstitute the NDDC board without further delay.
Governor Okowa made the comment when he led his Akwa-Ibom counterpart, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, to inaugurate roads, bridges, and school projects built by his administration in some parts of Delta state.