The Special Assistant, Media, Mrs. Nancy Ijaopo, to the Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Prof. Nelson Brambaifa, has stated that the records of the commission and the activities of the Brambaifa-led management team are very open for public scrutiny.
She also strongly condemned online attention-seeking, uncouth and unprofessional publications, allegedly contracted to do hatchet jobs for political actors, who, according to her, were on a mission to fight a proxy war.
Ijaopo, Saturday, in an online statement, insisted that the acting managing director and other members of the management team of the Federal Government’s interventionist agency remained committed to developing the crude oil and gas-rich Niger Delta and empowering people of the region.
She said: “It is necessary for anti-graft agencies to ask questions and even probe the activities of public agencies, in the greater interest of the public. What we find detestable is the attempt to force the office of the Acting Managing Director of NDDC into a needless media debate on the operations of any anti-graft agency. No one is in doubt as to the competence and patriotic ability of the anti-graft agencies to do what is right, even as we also know that this task does not include media trials.
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“The desperation of the individuals, within and outside NDDC, has come to a crescendo by trying fruitlessly to drag the name of the former Transportation Minister, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, to the running of the commission. We see it for what it is worth: a tool for political blackmail.
“For the avoidance of doubt, NDDC has many layers of stakeholders, which include governors of the region, traditional rulers, opinion leaders, women and youths, who the commission interfaces with on critical issues affecting the region. No segment of the region or group of stakeholders remote-controls or decrees what and how projects are awarded or allocated.
“Prof. Brambaifa is an established academic (of University of Port Harcourt), with many years of administrative competence garnered from within and outside the ivory towers. It is most bizarre for any group or individual to allege that the commission is being teleguided by one man. The task of delivering on the core mandate as an interventionist agency remains paramount on the agenda of the present management team and no amount of sponsored distractions can derail this solemn promise.”
The media aide also reiterated that the present management team of NDDC took office on January 25 this year, with the members opting to stimulate the Niger Delta’s economy by paying off debt accruals of N20 milion and below, which predated the management team.
She noted that over N2 billion had been spent by the Brambaifa-led management of NDDC to clear arrears of tuition and upkeep fees owed the commission’s overseas scholars since 2018, thereby finding it most unpatriotic for online publications to make bogus allegations that some staff of the commission connived with the acting managing director and his children to squander NDDC’s funds.
Ijaopo said: There can never be a more wicked lie than saying that a whopping N100 billion and another N750 billion belonging to NDDC have been looted. The truth is that the commission’s full two years’ budget is less than the figures cheaply bandied. Therefore, such funds cannot be expended or in the imagination of the naysayers, looted in three months.
“Despite the calculated attempts to hoodwink the unsuspecting members of the public about the numerous achievements of Prof. Brambaifa-led management of NDDC since it took office, the naysayers cannot dispute the fact that over five thousand projects have been completed and awaiting commissioning, including the N24 billion Ogbia/Nembe Road.
“It is not lost on the Prof. Brambaifa-led management team of NDDC that what is held in trust is the collective aspiration of the Niger Delta people and this team cannot afford to fail.”
The special assistant, media also assured that the acting managing director and his team would continue to work with Niger Delta’s youths, women, traditional and democratic institutions to make the region one that would continue to fulfil expectations and dreams.
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