By Sampson Boroh
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State, Hon. Sunday Frank-Oputu, has described the face-off between the National Assembly and the Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei-led Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as disrespect for President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive.
The National Assembly and the leadership of the interventionist agency are in loggerhead over alleged N40 billion embezzlement leveled against the Pondie’s IMC mandated by President Buhari to oversee a forensic order of the commission.
But Frank-Oputu said the proposed probe of the IMC by the National Assembly through the Hon. Tunji Ojo-led House Committee on the NDDC as a ploy to derail the forensic audit ordered by the federal government.
In a statement issued on Saturday in Yenagoa,Bayelsa State capital, the APC chieftain prevailed on the National Assembly to allow the Interim Management Committee to continue with its mandate of giving the commission a clean bill.
He said Buhari’s silence over the probe saga should be taken as a warning signal to the lawmakers so as not to further delay the duties of the committee in the interest of the region.
According to Frank-Oputu,” The silence of the President Muhammadu Buhari that I see and study should not be taken as an approval of the actions of the National Assembly members against Pondei and the NDDC. Buhari look at issues from an elderly perspective.
“He is only studying the outburst of the National Assembly members and allowing them to expose themselves as the corrupt entity in the expected audit. He is allowing them to expose themselves. Buhari has once said that with such ordered forensic audit, corrupt persons will fight back and thereby expose themselves. The President will act soon.”
Frank-Oputu pointed out that the decision of the Members of the National Assembly to frustrate the ordered audit is unfortunate and in bad taste, “these are the same people that used the NDDC as their cash-cow. If you go through the list of jobs under investigation, you will discover that over 90 per cent of national assembly members have enriched themselves through the NDDC. They know that if the forensic audit is allowed to be done, it will expose lots of rot in the commission. The ordered audit will expose them as the real enemies of the Niger Delta region.”
“Prof. Pondei was appointed because he is non-partisan and a professional. He is capable of ensuring the success of the ordered probe. The National Assembly decision to throw up a N40billion non-existent probe is a clear attempt to stop the forensic audit.”
On the recent calls by some Ijaw groups seeking a probe of the Prof. Kemebradikumo Daniel Pondei over allege N51million security vote for the office of Acting Managing Director of the Commission, Hon. Sunday Frank-Oputu dismissed the allegation as frivolous, pitiable and unfortunate.
“It is unfortunate that some Ijaw groups are being used against their brother. How much does the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representative get as security votes? Some governors get as much as N2billion as security vote and no one cry out? How much is a N51million security vote for the acting Managing Director that answer to Nine states members of the Commission? This is a desperate campaign launched against the Forensic audit.
“We are solidly behind the Acting MD. There is nothing anyone can do about it. They should go and check the numbers of projects allocated by the NDDC and you will see that Bayelsa is the least beneficiary. We are not saying the Acting MD is our own alone, we are saying they should allow a Bayelsa son deliver on the assignment given him by President Buhari.”
“For us as a people, the plot against Pondei is a plot against the development of the Niger Delta region. They should call their people working with the anti-Niger Delta members of the National Assembly to order. Except they want to tell us that they were also part of those to be possibly indicted by the ordered forensic probe”, the statement added.