Tanure Ojaide, Frank Porter Graham Professor of African Studies at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, urged the federal government to ensure that the money looted by officials of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and their associates is returned within a short time or that person remain in prison forever.
The Nigerian poet and academic, born and raised in the Niger Delta said “I am shocked, ashamed, and enraged by the atrocities and corruption in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) being reported. The betrayal of those appointed there to deploy part of what the Federal Government gives back to the region for development of their exploited and environmentally damaged area is not only reprehensible but heinous.
“The corruption seething in the NDDC is lethal and has reduced this region that produces about 90% of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings in oil and gas to one of the poorest areas in the entire world. Now we, the people of the Niger Delta cannot blame the collusion of the Federal Government and the multinational companies for all of our development problems. We have to blame ourselves. The same Niger Deltans meant to administer the development of their region have frittered away the huge resources available. The rage cannot go until something is done. Let this issue not end with the testimonies of Senator Godswill Akpabio (Minister of Niger Delta Affairs), Dr. Joi Nunieh and Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei (the former and current Interim Managing Directors), “the forensic auditors,” and others.”
Ojaide also asked: what are Niger Delta folks doing about the looting of their resources? They are disturbingly silent. The youths that have been the vanguard of resource control should come out in protests to be counted against the thieves of the funds meant to develop and transform their region.
He also said “there seems to be also a conspiracy of silence by the region’s governors and other political office holders who seem to be caught in a blood-and-soil loyalty trap. Why have we not heard anything from the six governors of the Niger Delta as well as Niger Delta Senators and members of the House of Representatives? Are they part of the problem that none seems to have come out to condemn in categorical terms the seething corruption?
He therefore urged the Federal Government to set up a committee of experts, technocrats, and representatives of the Niger Delta people and not the bureaucratic “forensic audit” panel, give it a maximum of three months to establish the contracts given and supposed to have been executed and check whether or not they were really carried out. That investigative committee should establish what each culprit has stolen or stashed away and publish the report for Niger Deltans and Nigerians to see.