President Muhammadu Buhari’s order for a forensic audit of the activities of the Niger Delta Development Commission from 2001 till date is another clear reflection of his total commitment to the fight against corruption, according to the Buhari Media Organisation.
The group described it as proof that the President is also prepared to demand explanation from some of his own political appointees, contrary to insinuations by opposition elements of a one-sided war against corruption.
In a statement signed by its Chairman, Niyi Akinsiju, and Secretary, Cassidy Madueke, BMO described the audit as a masterstroke in the administration’s efforts to ensure that Nigerians in the region get value for huge funds injected into the intervention agency.
It said: “This is an agency which, according to public analysts, has been funded to the tune of approximately N15 trillion since inception, but even a conservative President Buhari was so shocked to have quipped that ‘what is presently on ground in the South-South region does not justify the huge resources that have been made available to the organisation.’
“So for him to have ordered a forensic audit of NDDC’s eighteen year- long operation shows a strength of character that previous leadership have failed to display in order to ensure that people in the region feel the impact of government.
“This did not come to us as a surprise and we are convinced that only a leader with a strong political will would take such a step and also order that it be extended to cover the 2015-2019 period that his own appointees were in charge of the intervention agency.
“We invite Nigerians to note that it is coming at a time that some key members of this administration who have questions to answer over their tenure in office have not only been forced to step down but are also facing trial on sundry allegations.
“This is a commendable move that, we hope, is a clear reminder of the President’s position that there will be no sacred cows in the anti-corruption war.”
The BMO also noted that the forensic probe of NDDC activities would be taking place at a time the Buhari administration is executing a number of projects in the region, including the Calabar Deep Sea Port, an Industrial Park, as well as a number of road projects.
It said: “It is not a coincidence that President Buhari gave his word on a number of new projects and the completion of those on-going in Cross River State on the day he issued a directive for the probe of the region’s interventionist agency.
“This goes to show that the war against corruption cannot interfere with the administration’s quest for infrastructural development in many parts of the country.
“It is startling that in spite of all the funds pumped into the Niger Delta region since the return to democratic rule in 1999, a high-level delegation led by the Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi is making a case for the development of a town that was once the capital of Nigeria.
“But the assurance by the President of his readiness to open up Calabar to the rest of the country by ensuring more infrastructural developments shows that there is indeed a leadership in place that is prepared to put an end to cries of marginalisation from that part of the country.”
BMO said the Buhari administration will ensure that residents of the region will get more value for funds pumped into the Niger Delta area.