Former commander of the defunct Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) and Foremost Ex-militant leader, Ebikabowei Victor-Ben popularly known as General Boyloaf, has thrown his weight behind President Muhammadu Buhari over the ordered forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), saying the ordered audit will remould the NDDC into a corruption free and infrastructure-oriented commission for the people of the region.
Boyloaf rated President Muhammadu Buhari high over the ordered forensic audit, insisting that the people of the region are more elated that the present administration is the first and only President in Nigeria to have directed the search light and ordered for a forensic audit of the almost 20 years of existence of the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC). It is truly commendable!”
He also called on President Buhari to ignore the calls for the scrapping of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) over the recent controversies of alleged financial misappropriation in the commission.
According to him, instead of the calls for the scrapping of the commission, the National Assembly, the NDDC IMC and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio should sheath their swords and be seen to be ensuring that there exist within a new repositioned commission in line with timely execution, completion, and submission of forensic audit reports to Mr. President.
Ebikabowei Victor-Ben, in a statement, said though the ex-agitators and other stakeholders from the Niger Delta region are concerned about the controversies between the National Assembly and the NDDC IMC, there is need for a sustainable mechanism to be put in place to checkmate non-performing federal government interventionist agencies in order to work more in synergy with the various stakeholders in the states, local governments and communities in the region.
“The president’s action, which is being resisted by some corrupt few, has confirmed to the people of the region that the President’s penchant for accountability and probity is second to none. It also confirms the president’s interest that a corruption free NDDC is for the benefit of the people in the region, and for the commission to use the resources judiciously for the interest of the Niger Delta people.
“At this peculiar time in the life of the people in the region, what we need is a corruption free partnership among stakeholders that are made up of Traditional Rulers, Youths, Civil Society groups, State Governors, Members of the State and National Assemblies to be backing the President’s decision to ensure sanity within the administration of the NDDC for the benefit of all our people”.
“We, the ex-agitators, have accepted the call for a rejuvenated NDDC and want to call on the members of the National Assembly, the NDDC Interim Management Committee and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio not to yield to the temptation for continued theatrics, but rather to engage in meaningful dialogue with sincere stakeholders to work in synergy to achieve the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari for the development of the Niger Delta region and Nigeria”.
Boyloaf said: “We, as stakeholders in the events leading to the establishment of the NDDC, know the pains, bloodshed, sacrifices and tortious journey which led to the peace resolutions that brought about the establishment of the various intervention agencies particularly the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
“The NDDC, which is a federal government agency established by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in the year 2000 with the sole mandate of developing the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria should not be scrapped but rather the NDDC should be repositioned for success. We are witnesses to the fact that for almost 20 years of the NDDC existence, and with trillions of naira spent by previous administrations, the pace of development in the region has been disappointing”.
“Roads projects worth hundreds of billions of naira constructed by local companies are easily washed away during the rainy seasons. There are too many substandard jobs done by indigenous contractors. At this pace, the region can never become the Dubai of Africa as many people in the region aspire. In our opinion, all major construction contracts should be given to multi-national companies that have a good track record and proven capacity of delivering world-class projects”