The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), a non-governmental Organization, has sent an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, asking him to urgently set up a presidential investigative panel to probe grave corruption allegations in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), including allegations that the agency illegally spent N81.5 billion on travels, condolences, consultancy and public communication between January and July 2020.
The organisation also asked the president to immediately suspend Mr Godswill Akpabio, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs,and all those implicated in the allegations pending the outcome of any such investigation. Witnesses and whistle-blowers, it said, must be protected and the findings of the investigation should be made public.
“Where there is relevant admissible evidence, suspected perpetrators should be handed over to appropriate anti-corruption agencies for prosecution.”
SERAP in the letter dated July 18, 2020 and signed by its deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, said: “These are extremely serious allegations. Nigerians expect that those who run the NDDC should be free of corruption, and should enjoy no impunity. 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.
“A special panel to probe allegations of corruption in the NDDC, and that is able to work closely with anti-corruption agencies 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 investigation by the National Assembly has been controversial, and has reportedly turned into a ‘dirty fight’ between the NDDC and the National Assembly. Similarly, the hearings have reportedly indicted lawmakers of both the Senate and House of Representatives.