President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered a speedy and coordinated investigation into the corruption scandal in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.
He explained that the President gave the directive for better coordination among security and investigating agencies with the National Assembly.
Shehu believes this will ensure that the effort of the present administration to bring sanity, transparency, and accountability to the management of the large amount of resources dedicated to the development of the Niger Delta sub-region is not derailed.
He stated that the President has noted the unfolding drama, including attacks and counterattacks between and around persons, institutions, and the NDDC.
“President Buhari expressed his strong determination to get to the root of the problem undermining the development of the Niger Delta and its peoples in spite of enormous national resources voted year after year for this singular purpose,” the statement said.
It added, “According to the directive, auditing firms and investigative agencies working in collaboration with National Assembly Committees to resolve the challenges in the NDDC must initiate actions in a time-bound manner and duly inform the Presidency of the actions being taken.”
President Buhari also directed the timely sharing of information and knowledge in a way that would speedily assist the administration to identify what had gone wrong in the past and what should be done to make corrections in order to return the NDDC to its original mandate of making life better for people in Niger Delta.
He said the administration would bring about “rapid, even, and sustainable development to the region.”
The President also gave a firm assurance that his administration would put in place a transparent and accountable governance framework, not only in the NDDC but in all other institutions of government.
Prior to the directive for a speedy and coordinated investigation, the corruption scandal in the NDDC had triggered a series of drama, blames, and counter-accusations among others.
Amid the controversy, the National Assembly probed the allegation of fraud said to have been perpetrated by the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the agency.
This led to another round of exchange of blame between the former IMC led by Dr Joy Nunieh and Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei over the discrepancies in the NDDC’s 2019 budget.
The controversy took a new twist on Thursday when a team of security operatives stormed Nunieh’s residence in Port Harcourt in an attempt to arrest her.
Nunieh, however, reached out to the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, who swiftly responded to her distress call and came with his aides to challenge and stop the attempted arrest.