Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has expressed regrets over the disruption of its investigative hearing meant to address allegations of corruption and suggest measures to fine-tune the service delivery processes of the Commission.
The meeting, which was organized by the Commission, working with civil society organisations, traditional rulers and coverage by the media, at the Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt, on Tuesday, was marred by unruly youths who were not supposed to be part of the fact-finding meeting.
Addressing newsmen, Mr. Chijioke Amu-Nnadi, the NDDC Head of Corporate Affairs, wondered why anyone who had the interest of the Niger Delta would scuttle a meeting that was supposed to improve the processes of the interventionist agency.
The NDDC image maker 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.”
He stated: “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 and if you ask me what their reasons are, I won’t be able to tell you, because I don’t know.”
Mr. Amu-Nnadi said that it was absurd for people to misconstrue the meeting for a forum to “share contracts,” noting that those who invaded the meeting were actually not invited for the investigative hearing.
He said that the NDDC Managing Director, Mr. Nsima U. Ekere, found it necessary and urgent for the Commission to find out what was true and what was not true about the allegations of contract racketeering, in order to immediately tackle them. The committee was 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.
Mr. Amu-Nnadi said: “The intension of the Managing Director of NDDC is get to the end of all these stories and allegations and to put an end to them completely. 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 here.
“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 added: “Our responsibility was to reach as many contractors who had the need to say one or two things concerning claims of corruption in the system. And we sent letters to those concerned around the nine states of the region, hoping that we can get to the bottom of this 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.”
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.”