*Lauds Buhari On Forensic Audit
By Sampson Boroh
‘General’ Boyloaf, one of the former leaders of the defunct Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), has rejected calls for the scrapping of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) over allegations of corruption rocking the interventionist agency
Boyloaf, who real name is Ebikabowei Victor-Ben, described the calls as mischievous as it will scuttle ongoing development plans in the Niger Delta region.
He, however, threw his weight behind the forensic audit of the commission by President Muhmmadu Buhari, saying the step would help rejig the interventionist agency for utmost performance for the people of the region.
Boyloaf, while commending President Buhari, said the people of the oil-rich region were happy that the Federal Government has decided to beam her searchlight into how huge sum devoted for the development of the region were expended.
The former militant leader in a statement on Sunday said “The President’s action, which is being resisted by some corrupt few, has confirmed to the people of the Niger Delta region that the President’s penchant for accountability and probity is second to none.
“ It also confirms the President’s interest that a corruption free NDDC is for the benefit of the people in the region, and for the Commission to use the scarce resources judiciously for the interest of the Niger Delta people.
“At this peculiar time in the life of the people in the Niger Delta region, what we need is a corruption free partnership among stakeholders that are made up of Traditional Rulers, Youths, Civil Society groups, State Governors, Members of the State and National Assemblies to be backing the President’s decision to ensure sanity within the administration of the NDDC for the benefit of all our people.”
Boyloaf called on the National Assembly, the NDDC IMC and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio to sheath their swords so as to reposition commission for timely execution, completion, and submission of forensic audit reports to Mr. President.
“We, the ex-agitators, have accepted the call for a rejuvenated NDDC and want to call on the Members of the National Assembly, the NDDC Interim Management Committee and the Hon. Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio not to yield to the temptation for continued theatrics, but rather to engage in meaningful dialogue with sincere stakeholders to work in synergy to achieve the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari for the development of the Niger Delta region and Nigeria”, he added.
He disclosed that despite the worries expressed over the controversies being generated with the probe initiated by the National Assembly, the ex-agitators remained calm due to their interest in sustaining peace and to promote proper development in the region.
“Our calm disposition towards the noticeable dramatics, brouhaha, and the recent ignoble calls for the scrapping of the NDDC should be understandable.
“We, as stakeholders in the events leading to the establishment of the NDDC, know the pains, bloodshed, sacrifices and tortious journey which led to the peace resolutions that brought about the establishment of the various intervention agencies particularly the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
“We are witnesses to the fact that for almost 20 years of the NDDC existence, and with trillions of naira spent by previous administrations, the pace of development in the region has been disappointing.
“Roads projects worth hundreds of billions of naira constructed by local companies are easily washed away during the rainy seasons. There are too many substandard jobs done by indigenous contractors. At this pace, the region can never become the Dubai of Africa as many people in the region aspire.
“In our opinion, all major construction contracts should be given to multi-national companies that have a good track record and proven capacity of delivering world-class projects.”