BY Yemi Itodo
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), has threatened to expose more corrupt practices at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
This was, even as, the students’ apex body in Nigeria also called on President Muhammadu Buhari, to stand on his ground and ensure that the forensic audit of the Commission was not sabotaged.
Global President of NANS, Comrade Danielson Bamidele Akpan, in a statement on Saturday, confirmed the resolve of Nigerian students to embark on mass action, should anyone or group of persons attempt to disrupt the forensic audit.
“Forensic audit is not negotiable, any attempt by any person or group of persons whose sharp practices in the commission is to frustrate the ongoing forensic audit will be met by mass action of Nigerian Students”, Akpan said.
He stressed that, the outcome of the forensic audit would bring an end to the days of perpetual corruption in the commission and thereafter making the funds serve the people of the region.
Former Ag. Managing Director (MD) of the Commission, Ms. Joy Nunieh, has also made some allegations against the overseeing Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
But the NANS President, in his statement, lambasted Ms. Nunieh, describing her actions as conniving with enemies of the Niger Delta, to perpetually keep the region in a state of underdevelopment.
Akpan said, the bold move by Senator Akpabio “has become a consistent threat of business extinction to those who have, over the years, made brisk business portfolio from the contracts of NDDC. This will no doubt generate mud and dust from the perpetrators which the honourable Minister and those tasked by Mr. President must be prepared for”.
He said the student body was alarmed at the latest twist and outburst from Ms. Nunieh, wondering “why all these allegations and drama she is acting were not staged when she was in office as the Acting MD of the Commission”.
Akpan stressed that, Ms. Nuneih’s “attack on the personality of Senator Godswill Akpabio is seen as designed in connivance with the detractors who she originally called detractors while she served as acting MD.
“The same people who were hell bent on pulling down the promoters of the forensic audit from the inception have become frightened by the commitment and resolve to push on the assignment to fruition as directed by Mr. President. Ms. Nunieh has suddenly become friend with them and now their main character in the script.
“The person of Senator Godswill Akpabio who from our assessment is upright and has contributed immensely to development of democracy in Nigeria, as Governor of Akwa Ibom State, the developmental projects he executed and his nationalistic attributes are testimonial”, he added.
Akpan described as false, the allegation of diversion of scholarship fund, stressing that it was the current management of NDDC that harkened to the cry of Nigerian students who study abroad and were stranded for years, for lack of funds.
“As stakeholders in the Niger Delta, our frustration is that our students that have been stranded overseas just because of the commission’s failure to pay their school fees that were duly budgeted for in the commission budget since 2016 which was only rescued through the intervention of the present IMC under Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei. The same Miss Nunieh has ignored the appeal of students and left them to suffer until Prof. Pondei came in.
“We are aware of the courageous efforts by Dr. Cairo Ojuigbo, the Executive Director Project as the only member of the IMC who prioritized the payment and visitation of Nigerian Students under the Commission’s scholarship scheme. As a peace mechanism, he began the processes of mediation to assuage the feelings of abandonment of the best brains in the region sent on foreign scholarships.
“As an organization, we are aware he personally facilitated the payment of outstanding school fees that kept our students stranded in various countries and offered to attend some of the graduation ceremonies”, Comrade Akpan submitted.