The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has asked the Federal Government to halt every allocation to the interim board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) due to alleged fraudulent activities within the commission.
Dan Orbih, South-south national vice chairman of the party, made the appeal on Sunday in Benin City during a reception to celebrate his victory at the recent party’s zonal congress.
Orbih urged the Federal Government to stop playing politics and constitute a board that will serve the interest of the South-south.
“Until that is done, we stand to demand that all allocations to the NDDC should be suspended until the government is able to put together a board. On behalf of the South South, we call on the federal government to put a stop to the allocations going to the interim board because there is no board legally in place to serve the interest of our people,” Orbih said.
The former Edo State PDP chairman said the delay in constituting a board conforming to the law has further denied Edo State of the necessary development expected as a state within the Niger Delta region.
“We are in a situation where the Federal Government has refused for obvious reasons to constitute the board of NDDC. NDDC today is an institution of fraud and scandals to the detriment of the people of the Niger Delta region.
“Government must rise up to the challenge of putting together a board where all the states in the South-South will be well represented, so that the board can do exactly what they are mandated to do for the development of the South-South region.
“We are sick and tired of the scandals in NDDC. For so long, we are hearing stories of how money that is meant for the development of the South-South is being wasted by interim boards,” he added.
He, however, tasked Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, not to leave any stone unturned in probing the alleged misappropriation of funds in both the Benin stormwater project and Benin Central Hospital project.
On his part, Obaseki said qualified and competent engineers will be invited to carry out assessments of the projects.
He noted that the Benin stormwater project designed to address flooding in the city has created more erosion problems.
“I don’t want to look back but to always look forward. However, you have raised some issues which we cannot ignore. Yes I was part of that administration, I believe Edo must be developed, so I sacrificed my time for eight years to help organise the state, I went to the capital market and to the world bank to raise money to develop the state.
“But with what I have seen in the books I look like a fool. While I was arranging finances and other things, I didn’t know that the money I was raising for the state was being frittered away. We are not a government that likes to prosecute people or victimise anybody but the truth must be told,” he said.
Following a restraining order on Pondei-led interim management, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed a sole administrator to run the affairs of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) until the completion of a forensic audit within the commission.