·N60Bn for ‘security’ and N4Bn for ‘cleaning of gutters’ to be tested in court
By Ignatius Chukwu
Gov Nyesom Wike of Rivers State who has just won another award, this time on political courage, has issued orders to challenge in court the N500Bn budget of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Wike who revealed this in Elele while commissioning roads in the town on Monday, January 9, 2023, said state governments should have been involved in the making of budgets for the NDDC.
He also said some members of the ruling party were pressurizing the National Assembly (NASS) to pass the NDDC budget quickly, saying it must be because of elections around the corner. He however did not say when it was the right time to pass the budget or how the administration he served as minister worked differently without tampering with the NDDC funds or without using the NDDC to electoral advantage.
His stated grouse however is that some items in the budget for 2023 were ‘fraudulent’.
He said the Rivers State Attorney General/Commissioner for Justice has already been notified to challenge the said perceived ‘fraudulent provisions’ of the budget, such as the allocation of N60Bn for building a spurious safe haven for a particular security agency and N4B for cleaning of gutters, in court.
Wike said: “Since NDDC was established, look at the money that has gone into NDDC. What can we show for it? The NDDC has become a cash-cow for politicians. The President has just inaugurated the new board of the NDDC.
“You know what is going on now? There is N500Bn budget for NDDC. Election is coming from 25th February, Now, what the politicians have done is to put pressure on the National Assembly so that they will pass the N500B budget for NDDC.”
He explained that some politicians with vested interests in the 2023 general elections have already determined how the NDDC budget would be siphoned, and if they succeed, he warned, the region would further suffer.
Gov Wike said it is regrettable that those who superintend over the affairs of the NDDC were sons and daughters of the oil producing states, yet, the commission had never deemed it appropriate to seek the input of these states in its budget preparation.
The governor lamented that the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs has been rendered redundant, as supervision of the NDDC has now become the sole concern of minister in charge of the ministry.