Corruption: NDDC condemns disruption of investigative hearing

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Acting Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, 4th right, and Directors of NDDC during the Senate Committee hearing on the Commission in Abuja

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has expressed regrets over the disruption of its investigative hearing meant to address allegations of corruption holding at the Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt on Tuesday.

Mr Chijoke Amu-Nnadi, Head, Corporate Affairs, NDDC, made known this in a statement made available to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

Amu-Nnadi said the meeting, which was organised by the Commission, working with civil society organisations, traditional rulers and stakeholders was marred by unruly youths who were not part of the fact-finding meeting.

According to him, he wondered why anyone who had the interest of the Niger Delta would scuttle a meeting that was supposed to improve the processes of the investigative hearing.

The NDDC spokesman said: “When you are trying to do something with an honest intention, you will expect people to support your efforts.

“Unfortunately, the situation was disrupted by people for reasons best known to them. What happened is very unfortunate.

“It is truly sad that what was designed to help clean-up a system that was presumed to be dirty in the first place was even scuttled.

“If you ask me what their reasons are, I won’t be able to tell you, because I don’t know,” he said.

Amu-Nnadi said that it was absurd for people to misconstrue the meeting for a forum to “share contracts,”

He said that those who invaded the meeting were actually not invited for the investigative hearing, which was to suggest measures to fine-tune the service delivery processes of the Commission.

He said that the NDDC Managing Director, Mr Nsima U. Ekere, found it necessary and urgent for the Commission to investigate the allegations of contract racketeering, in order to tackle them.

According to him, the committee is expected to work with interest groups like the civil society and the media to ensure that its work passed the test of time and inquiry.

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“A lot of these stories were things the new board inherited because a lot of them were things that happened long before the board members came on board.

“But he still found it imperative to set up this committee because being at the helm of affairs right now, at the end of the day, even though he wasn’t involved in things that happened before he came, he felt it was important for him to take decisive actions to put an end to all the stories, and that was what we wanted to do,” he said.

Amu-Nnadi said that the management responsibility was to reach as many contractors as possible who can give credible testimonies concerning claims of corruption in the system.

The spokesman said letters were sent to those concerned around the nine states of the region, hoping that the commission can get to the bottom of the matter as directed by the managing director.

“Sadly, what happened today was surprising, as it seems to be what goes on in the region where even the best intensions are misconstrued,” he said.

However, the six man committee, headed by Director, Special Duties, Dr Princewill Ekanim, was inaugurated by the NDDC MD, and charged to work, without distraction, and submit its report within two weeks.