………As Niger-Delta Anti-Corruption Network Gives FGN 14 Days Ultimatum To Publish NDDC’s FORENSIC AUDIT Reports. Group Says, It’s Committed To Rule of Law, Democracy, Probity For Citizens’ Interest.

………Group Says, Its Requests Is In Line With Section 4 & 7 of Freedom of Information Act 2011 & Other Extant Legislations In Nigeria, Urges Malami To Avert Litigations.

By Victor Bieni, Asaba

In the past year, Coalition had advocated for the NDDC Forensic Audit Reports to be made public and to this effect had wriiten to relevant Government agencies and departments. Worried by the Nigeria’s Federal Government dilly-dallying approaches to comply with the demand which is legitimate under the Laws, particularly section 4 and 7 of the freedom of information act 2011 and other extant legislations in Nigeria. The Niger-Delta Anti-Corruption Coalition has said that, the last resort will be litigations
(court of law), if the Federal Government or Attorney-General of the Federation within two weeks of the press conference fails to release the all important Forensic Audit Reports of the Niger-Delta Development Commission for the public to know the outcome

The media learnt this today being on Sunday, 16th day of October, 2022 from the leadership of the Niger-Delta Anti-Corruption Network in a press statement by its Convener, and Programmes Co-ordinator, Social Development Integrated Centre (Social Action), Botti Isaac, which was made available to some group of Journalists in Asaba, Delta State capital, which is in line with the Outcome of the press conference the groups had on Friday, 14th day of October, 2022 in Rivers State, Porthacourt.

The leadership stated that, Niger Delta Anti-Corruption Network is a coalition of 26 Nigerian Based Civil Society and Non-Governmental Organizations in the Niger Delta, that promotes probity and accountability in government, the rule of law, advances democracy and the anti-corruption policies of the present administration, and advocates for openness in government business and processes in Nigeria.

According to the Niger-Delta Antu-Corruption Network stated further that, in the past year, the coalition had advocated for the NDDC Forensic Audit Report to be made public and to this effect has written to relevant government agencies and departments.

You could recall that, due to the perceived corruption, ineptitude, failure, and inability of the Niger Delta Development Commission [NDDC] to deliver on its core mandate of developing the Niger Delta Region, Federal government instituted the financial audit of the agency to ascertain how the huge financial resources committed by successive Nigeria Governments to the agency has been utilized.

The statement by the leadership of Niger-Delta Antu-Corruption Network reads in parts: “It was in the media and widely circulated across the country that over Thirteen Thousand Projects [13,000] are abandoned by the agency. It is even alleged that contractors of many of these abandoned projects have received full payment. Further disturbing media report reveals that abandoned projects from Niger Delta Development Commission in the region worth over [₦6,000,000,000,000] Six Trillion Naira”.

“Niger-Delta Anti-Corruption Network is worried by these ugly developments as regards the delay in releasing the Forensic Audit Reports of the Niger-Delta Development Commission (NDDC). That is, the reports emanated from the the audit of the agency, the Niger Delta Anti-Corruption Coalition had expected that the government would make public the outcome of this all-important audit report”.

“To bring to the knowledge of the Nigeria Public, the companies and contractors responsible for such a huge scam of state resources are in line with the government’s anti-corruption policy and relevant federal laws”.

“Surprisingly, the government appears reluctant to comply with this demand which is legitimate under our laws, particularly the freedom of information act 2011”.

“It will interest you to note, that on the 13th of September, 2022, the coalition wrote to the Attorney General of the Federation a letter [Pre-action Notice] demanding that he produce and release to the Nigeria Public the Forensic Audit Report of the Niger Delta Development Commission [NDDC], the said letter was duly received at the office of the Attorney of the Federation in 20th of September, 2022”.

“Again, on the 4th of October, 2022, the coalition Network issued a Freedom of Information request in line with Section 1 [1] of the Freedom of Information act 2011 to the office of the Attorney General of the Federation the letter was duly received on the said 4th of October, 202”..

” Also on the 12th of October, 2022, a freedom of information request was sent to the office of the honorable minister for Niger Delta Affairs demanding and requesting that the NDDC Forensic Audit Report be made public. All these requests and many other official communications on the matter by the coalition have not been responded to in line with Sections 4 and 7 of the Freedom of Information Act and other extant legislations in Nigeria”.

“As a responsible anti-corruption coalition committed to the rule of law, democracy, probity, and accountability in government we have resolved that the government must make public the NDDC Audit Report to enable Nigerians to know how public funds are spent over the years by the agency but more to justify the public funds spent on the Forensic Audit Report”.

“Consequently, for the coalition to drive home its demand on behalf of the Nigerian Peop youle and itself and to deepen the anti-corruption policy of this government hereby give the relevant government agencies, officials, and departments particularly the Ministry and Minister of Justice and the Niger Delta Ministry and Minister 14 days to release the said report and make same public”..

“It is worth noting that at the expiration of the said period the coalition will have no other option than to seek a legal redress compelling the said agencies to respond to its request and demand as stipulated in our laws particularly the Freedom of Information Act 2011”.

“Finally, we thank the media for their support of this campaign. We shall keep you informed of further developments as the campaign progresses. We hope that the government will do the needful in the next two weeks and make public the said report to avert litigation on this matter”.

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