NDDC Probe: Niger Delta Leaders, ICPC Set for Showdown

Tax officials at NDDC headquarters

The interrogation of the senior management staff of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) is not going down well with some Niger Delta leaders.

If urgent steps are not quickly taken, there might be a showdown between the leaders and the anti-graft agency.

This is because some notable leaders in the region, under the aegis of the Niger Delta Leaders Forum (NDLF), last Friday described the action of ICPC as a distraction.

Addressing journalists in Port-Harcourt, the spokesperson of the NDLF, Mr John Harry, described the invitation of NDDC officials by ICPC as unnecessary and ill-motivated.

Mr Harry, who was flanked by Akwa-Ibom, Cross Rivers, Abia, Rivers, Imo, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo and Ondo representatives, condemned the interrogation of the commission’s workers.

The leaders praised the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Godswill Akpabio, for redefining leadership in the region, sanitising NDDC, decentralising the functions of NDDC, finding solutions to the problems confronting the region and bringing the commission closer to the ideals for which it was established.

“Godswill Akpabio is the most positive Minister in the Niger Delta region,” they said, commending the Minister for the sense of independence in the interventionist agency.

“The approach of ICPC is bound to result in conflict with the mandate of the Interim Management Committee and the act setting up the commission. It is in every sense witch hunting,” the leaders said, accusing the ICPC of disrupting the progress of the region.

“What ICPC has done now is sabotage of the forensic agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari. The Interim Management Committee is a panacea for the region’s problem, IMC’s problem is understandable. Some politicians want to control the Commission. The idea of a minister who is not controlled by them is unthinkable,” they alleged.

The leaders urged President Buhari to ignore the antics of mischief-makers and pecuniary seeking elements that are all out to bring down the minister and the IMC.

“There has been well-oiled machinery by enemies of progress and failed politicians to bring down Akpabio and the Interim Management Committee.  Those frustrated by the achievements recorded by the IMC are using ICPC against the commission,” the leaders said.

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