June 21, 2024

Group criticises attack on N’Delta minister for implementing presidential directive

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Okokon Asanga, Uyo

A group, Niger Delta Network has condemned those opposing the Ministerial directive for a personnel audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, saying that the annexation and audit process was initiated by the presidency and not the Minister of Niger Delta, Umana O. Umana

This was contained in a statement signed by Dr. John Douglas, Director of Public Communication of the network, and made available to newsmen in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital.

According to the group, an accusation by some group of persons resisting the exercise was unnecessary, saying that the accusation of the annexation of the NDDC commission by Umana was baseless.

Recall that media reports had it that a group had accused Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Umana Umana of attempts to annex NDDC, vowing to resist such moves by the minister.

The statement reads, “It can no longer be business as usual for unscrupulous persons who use NDDC funds to finance personal or sectional interest, vowing “time to do things differently starts now.

“No one whose recruitment is legal, lawful, and legitimate, will oppose or fret over a ministerial directive for a personnel audit of the NDDC”

“We have read with amusement, the above-sponsored press statement against the Hon Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Umana Umana, alleging an attempt to annex the NDDC to MNDA. It is on record that the annexation of the commission was initiated by the presidency. The transfer of the supervisory role of the NDDC from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, did not start under Mr. Umana Umana.

“One thing is certain though, there is a new dawn in both the NDDC and the MNDA. It can no longer be business as usual. Unlike in the recent past when corruption was a direct principle of State policy which saw NDDC funds being used to finance personal or sectional interests, the time to do things differently starts now.

“Except those who perpetrated or benefited from the faulty, flawed, and fraudulent staff recruitment exercise, lovers of good governance will attest that the ongoing reforms are meant to ensure that processes and procedures are transparent, and followed due process. No one whose recruitment is legal, lawful and legitimate, will oppose or fret over a Ministerial directive for a personnel audit of the NDDC.

“Abuse of office and public trust must give way to due process, transparency, accountability, etc.

“No matter the degree of distraction that may raise its ugly head, we all as Niger Deltans must applaud the Minister and his resolve in implementing his strategic Ministerial Action Plan of ensuring among others, the review of “Disproportionate recruitment of staff during the COVID-19 lockdown,” based on petitions over irregular promotions and deployment of staff in the NDDC; the compilation/Publication of list of all completed projects in the NDDC awaiting payments for public scrutiny; the Suspension of all further award of contracts on water hyacinths in the Niger Delta the; the implementation of recommendations of a review of the Forensic Audit Report into the operations of the NDDC and most importantly, the constitution of the board of the NDDC in line with extant law.

“If our priority is for peace and development of the Niger Delta region for the good of her people, then we must encourage the ongoing initiative geared towards the implementation of reforms that will reposition both the NDDC and MNDA towards living up to the statutory responsibilities”.

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