The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to set up a Presidential Investigative Panel to probe the corruption allegations in the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, as well as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, just as he did for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and its suspended Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, .
SERAP said that a Special Panel is necessary, to probe the NDDC, as the investigation by the National Assembly has been “controversial, and has turned into a ‘dirty fight’”.
This was contained in an open letter dated June 18, and signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare.
In the letter, SERAP asked the Presidential Panel, if set up, to probe the allegations that the NDDC spent N81.5 billion on travels, condolences, consultancy, and public communication, between January and July 2020.
The letter partly read: “SERAP also urges you to instruct the Police authorities and Security Agencies to immediately end the harassment and intimidation of Ms. Joi Nunieh, former Acting Managing Director of NDDC, or any other witnesses and whistle-blowers. Suspected perpetrators will escape justice, if witnesses and whistle-blowers are intimidated, harassed, or threatened.
“These are extremely serious allegations. Nigerians expect that those who run the NDDC should be free of corruption, and should enjoy no immunity. Nigerians who want to see development and prosperity in the Niger Delta, will want you to take the lead to get to the bottom of these allegations, and take appropriate and decisive action to address them.”
SERAP also said that the Special Panel should work closely with anti-corruption Agencies, that would “protect the integrity of the forensic audit, remove the possibility of obstruction of justice, and interference in the process by those suspected to be involved in alleged corruption in the NDDC”.
The letter added: “Your government should send a strong message of intolerance for grave corruption in the NDDC, and show that you are willing and able to enforce important constitutional, statutory, and international principles and obligations.”