A group, Niger Delta Peoples’ Assembly, has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as well as the Governors of the nine Oil Producing States not to allow the release the $1.6 billion statutory contributions made by the International Oil Companies (IOC’s) currently being warehoused by the EFCC, which belongs to all the oil producing States to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The group based their objection on 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 statement on Friday, signed by the 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.
“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.
“Nigerians are tired of this charade in the name of forensic audit.
“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.
“We have also been reliably informed that the Niger Affairs Minster has a presidential ambition and desires to use the money to fund his all-but certain presidential run. He is also rumoured to be getting ready to float another political party to help him in his presidential quest since he has told close associates he may not get the ticket from his current party, the APC.
“To help him achieve this goal, he recently formed and is said to be the sole financier of a political group called Akwa Ibom Democratic Forum (ADF) with coordinators already appointed throughout the nation and several chapters already inaugurated in Akwa Ibom State. We are not bothered or concerned by whatever ambitions he may entertain, but we will not accept the use of our collective commonwealth by an individual to fund such an ambition. The money belongs to the oil producing States.”
The group called on the Governors of the nine Oil Producing States to prevail on the EFCC not to release the money to the NDCC currently managed by an illegal body headed by the Sole Administrator.
“We call on the Governors of the nine Oil Producing States to please rise up and stop the release of this money to the Sole Administrator. We have challenges of insecurity in our region, our youths are getting restive, our environment has been destroyed, and now our commonwealth is going to be released to an unaccountable body, please our dear Governors, don’t allow this to happen.”
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.