By Osahon Osahon
Itsekiri Interest Group (IIG) on Sunday gave its full backing to the recommendations of the Senate ad-hoc committee calling for the disbandment of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The group said the National Assembly also enjoys their support in the recommendation calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to move NDDC from the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to the Office of the Secretary of the Federation.
IIG in a statement signed by its Director of Research, Media and Publicity, Comrade Toritseju Okotie, noted that a thorough investigation should be carried out to unravel the alleged financial recklessness rocking the IMC.
The group, however, condemned the position of the Itsekiri Consultative Congress (ICC) where it attacked the National Assembly for what it describes as sound recommendations.
It posited that said it is absurd for any right thinking Itsekiri person or group to go against the NASS investigation of the IMC of the NDDC and recommendations made thereafter, maintaining that the NASS exercise was in the overall interest of the oil-rich but manifestly underdeveloped Niger Delta region which the Itsekiris are a leading oil-producing ethnic group.
“The IIG aligns totally with earlier calls by other notable Itsekiri groups and individuals like the Itsekiri Leaders of Thought (ILoT) , Prof. Itse Sagay, Chief (Mrs) Rita Lori-Ogbebor and other Niger Delta activists like Ijaw leader, Comrade Joseph Evah, who demanded for a thorough investigation into the financial scandal rocking the IMC of the NDDC and possible sacking of the current leadership.
“It is therefore preposterous and totally unItsekirilike for any thoroughbred Itsekiri person or group to kick against these open probe activities by the NASS and recommendations to President Muhammadu Buhari thereof. The unknown ICC as represented by a certain Collins Edema spoke for themselves and certainly not the Itsekiri,” Comrade Okotie stated.
According to him, “the Itsekiri are known to always stand up against corruption and other forms of sharp practices which has become endemic in the NDDC and became even louder within the short life span of the IMC of the NDDC.
“This is why the IIG supports all what both the Senate and House of Representatives have done thus far in exposing the endemic corruption in the IMC of the NDDC leading into an unprecedented, crude and criminal looting of over N82 billion naira of funds meant for the development of the Niger Delta Region. All this happened within less than seven months of the IMC taking over the administration of NDDC!
“The IIG further call for not just the sacking of the current IMC of the NDDC but also the prosecution in court of all principal officers found culpable in the wanton looting of funds meant to develop the Niger Delta region. The primary task of the IMC is to carry out a forensic audit of the NDDC from inception.
“However, it is manifestly clear to the blind and resoundingly loud to the deaf that this IMC team had no interest whatsoever to deliver on this onerous task. Their plan was to loot the treasury of NDDC dry. This is unacceptable. They must be fired and prosecuted.
“The Minister of Niger Delta Ministry, His Excellency, Senator Godswill Akpabio should also be made to account for his role in this whole cesspool of corruption within this short period the IMC took over the NDDC and if found culpable, shown the way out of President Buhari’s cabinet and prosecuted too.”