A Non Governmental Organisation, the Citizens Quest for Truth Initiative, has faulted the Senate probe of the accounts of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as an affront to the ongoing forensic audit of the Commission.
It described the action of the Senate as an affront to the directives of the President, Muhammadu Buhari, who instituted the forensic audit.
The group, an accountability advocacy group in the Niger Delta, in a statement signed by the President and National Publicity Secretary, Obiaruko Ndukwe and Francis Ndimkoha, respectively, noted that the timing of the probe Committee set up by the Senate makes it hard to accept.
It noted that “to a large extent, the Senate is not only setting up a conflict of interests with the Executive, but also, indirectly raising objections to the forensic audit”.
According to the statement, “the Citizens Quest For Truth Initiative wishes to reiterate her surprise as the unusual interest of the National Assembly in the tenure of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), as expressed in our last press release.
“Citizens Quest, as an accountability advocacy group, would have ordinarily welcomed the probe committee set up by the Senate on 13th May, 2020, but considering the timing, it is hard to accept.
“This is not for any other reason but the fact that there is currently an on going forensic audit, instituted by President Buhari, on that commission. It is therefore a surprise that the Senate would rather probe an organization already being probed by an arm of the same Government”.
It continued that, “Citizens Quest believes that the Senate could as well move a motion to the effect that whatever area of their interest, if not covered by the terms of reference given to the forensic auditors.
“We are worried that the IMC will rather be distracted in their mandate to the Niger Delta, faced by various probe teams. This is inimical to to the development of the region, which the Senate claims to favour.
“This probe, coming at a time the commission has taken delivery and about to distribute Covid19 Test kits and set up test centers in the 27 Senatorial districts of the region, is anything but well intended.
“Again, we are shocked that a Senate that has refused to lend to the clarion call by Citizens Quest and other stakeholders in the Niger Delta region, for urgent attention and completion of the abandoned East-West highway. This is a flagship project of the region, which is now comatose.
“We yearn for an effective NDDC, probably, more than any other individual or group has done in recent times, and we urge the Senate to support the speedy conclusion of the Forensic audit, while allowing the IMC the needed concentration to function”.