The Niger Delta Elders Forum has lambasted Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, over his recent comment over the delay by President Muhammadu Buhari in inaugurating the governing board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Adesina had in a recent article titled ‘Buhari and the NDDC’ backed President Buhari’s handling of the forensic audit of the commission.
But in statement by Tonye Ogbogbula, its national president, the forum slammed Adesina over his remark.
The forum lamented the fact Buhari is yet to inaugurate a board for the NDDC over the past two years and has been giving excuses.
The forum said while it is not against a forensic audit of the NDDC, the president should comply with the NDDC Act in the governance of the commission during the period of the forensic audit.
The statement read: “The submissions made by Mr Femi Adesina, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari on the Niger Delta Development Commission in an article published on Friday, February 4, 2022, in some Nigerian news media exposes the administration’s continued disdain for the Niger Delta people.
“In the article, a vacuous commentary bereft of substance, Adesina offered nothing new on why President Buhari is yet to inaugurate a board for the NDDC over the past two years. Rather, he mouthed the same empty statements on the forensic audit under which guise the NDDC has been hijacked by a cabal in the last 2 years.
“According to Mr Adesina, ‘a forensic audit was necessary. Some powerful forces mounted robust resistance, but they didn’t reckon with the iron will of the President. The audit was done, and a report submitted.’
“The truth is that nobody was against the conduct of a forensic audit in the NDDC. The issue was that everybody agreed that the NDDC Act should be complied with in the Governance of the Commission during the period of the forensic audit.
“It was illegal to have contraptions of interim management committees /sole administrator to begin to administer the NDDC and arbitrarily utilise the monthly sums due to the NDDC.
“All that was needed was for the Federal Government to appoint a credible forensic auditor to conduct the forensic audit of the NDDC, like the Federal Government did in the NNPC while having a Governing Board in place for the Commission in line with the law.
“No other part of this country has been so badly treated in such a manner where the forensic audit of its development Commission becomes a basis for setting aside the law setting up the Commission, which provides for a Governing Board to ensure fairness, inclusion and representation of the nine constituent states in the region.”
The forum demands among others, “ending the illegal Interim Management/sole administratorship at the NDDC, inauguration of the NDDC Governing Board in line with the NDDC Act to represent the nine constituent states, publication of the Forensic Audit report for all Nigerians to see. (The report cannot be hidden because it is supposed to be a public document) and prosecution of any indicted persons.”