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Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Between NDDC and other cmmissions



                                                                                    
                                          
Since the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay accused both the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) of corruption, the NDDC has been ghettoized and put down by many Nigerians. Sagay lambasted the NDDC of being reckless with funds meant for development, alleging that the commission recently bought 70 cars, including eight Super Lexus Jeeps at N78 million each and 10 Landcruisers each costing N63 million.
He said the vehicles were acquired with funds meant for the provision of water, housing, schools and infrastructure development in the Niger Delta. Sagay made this allegation why he was speaking at the opening of a two day national dialogue on corruption organized by PACAC in collaboration with the office of the Vice President. Sagay said, “These huge sums were plundered from their allocations and yet the Managing Director was ironically complaining as reported by the Nation Newspaper of Feb. 6, 2017 that the NDDC lacks funds to execute projects.” In related development, Sagay also reprimanded the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) saying nothing had changed since this administration took over power in May 2015. He said at the Tin Can Island in Lagos, customs officials now charge fees to physically examine goods owing to the breakdown of the scanner, describing it as brazen corruption. He further said that there were many instances which PACAC brought to the attention of the Comptroller General during a recent visit to him.
Since Sagay made these allegations against the NDDC and NCS many presenters on radio and television stations drew up programmes to analyze
the allegation against the NDDC. Likewise, some commentators and analysts visited some radio and television stations to criticize and demonize the NDDC as a cesspit of corruption. But why these commentators were venting their anger and disgust for the NDDC, they surreptitiously kept mute on the Nigeria Custom Service. These unformed and mischief makers said the problem of the Niger Delta were the people of the Niger Delta region. These ignoramuses attributed the lack of development of the Niger Delta region to the people of the Niger Delta region since according to them, the NDDC has failed in performing its statutory duties it must be blamed on the people of the Niger Delta region. It is nevertheless amazing that anything that concerns the Niger Delta is usually blown out of proportion. It is bewildering too, that the same zeal and energy dissipated by these media houses and public affairs analysts in discussing and apportioning blame to the NDDC was never extended to the Nigeria Customs Service. Why was there a clandestine quietude over the NCS but a hubbub over the NDDC? Is this a strategy to portray the people of the Niger Delta as corrupt and no-good people while other Nigerians are perceived as saints?
This is a repetition of what transpired last year when the Minis­ter of State for Pe­troleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, said $40 billion had been spent in the Niger Delta region without visible develop­ment in the region. This allegation attracted tor­rents of condemnation of the Niger Delta region. The same measure of disdain and condemnation has also tailed Sagay’s allegation over the NDDC.  
It is required to note that the purchase of cars for official duties is not peculiar to the NDDC; it is a global phenomenon. Other government agencies and commissions in Nigeria have official cars like the NDDC. No organization can function optimally without official cars so when has it become a crime to purchase cars for the purpose of carrying out official duties? If it is a crime for the NDDC to own official cars, is it also a crime for other commissions to own official cars? There are over 200 commissions in the country but there are no acerbic reports about their ineffective performance as it is being reported about the NDDC regularly. Even the newly established North-East Development Commission (NEDC) that oversees the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from whose coffers hundreds of millions of naira meant for the IDPs were squandered and foodstuffs diverted, has never attracted such repulsive reports as the NDDC.  
But why is it wonted for the few appointees in this APC government from the Niger Delta region to always attack the NDDC? Are they doing this just to please their master in order to keep their appointments?
Every organization purchases cars for official duties, it is therefore ill-advised to pick on the NDDC often.

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