A former Nigerian Ambassador to Ethiopia, Mrs Nkoyo Toyo has called for the total scrapping of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) over the alleged corruption perpetrated by some officials in the commission.
Speaking with newsmen on Saturday, the Ex-Ambassador regretted the unfolding events at the Commission, in respect to the current probe by the National Assembly.
“We do not need an NDDC for our resources to be managed, rather let us distribute the money to various state development agencies in the region and specifically direct the governors on how the money should be used.
“We don’t need the manager to come in from Abuja and other places to manage our resources which will not give us access to our money, if, for instance, the money meant for Cross River State is sent to the state, let the state work out what to use the money for, not for people to come in from Abuja to manage our resources for us,” she said
The Ambassador said States in the region should create what she calls State Development Commission (SDC) and the greater part of allocations used for the provision of infrastructural facilities in oil-producing areas while other percentages can go for other areas.
“This should go for infrastructural development such as roads, water and energy and we should talk about the development which will open up the region to the future, not using it to build primary schools, health centres etc. We must close the conduit pipe where this money is abused.
Ambassador Toyo regretted that the actors in the crisis are the sons and daughters of the region, “They are not external people and this raised another question about the accountability of the leadership of the region to the region.
“So far, I have not heard any Governor who opened his mouth to condemn what is going on, while the leadership of the region and the key actors have not spoken their minds to condemn what is going on as well as the embarrassing circumstances of NDDC itself
“This also questions the sensitivity of the region to its own internal corruption and mismanagement of funds. I would agree and concede that these are still allegations but they are very witty allegations and not allegations that can be whisked away because of the amounts of money involved and some people have stepped up to say I did it.
“This to some extent means there are some irregularities in terms of what was actually happening within the funding of NDDC and the use of its fund. I am sorry to say that the region’s leaders and key stakeholders have not come together to raise the kind of questions they have heard today.
“This is about the development of the region, this is about the failure of development in the region, this is about the failure of leadership in the region, this is mismanagement of our future and what would become the region after oil
“They are too many actors, there are too many players, there are too many vested interests in the NDDC and at the end of it all, it would not be about the region, it would be all about these vested interests. We all know that NDDC has a Presidential Amnesty program, the program which started with 30,000 militants, today still has 30, 000, nobody died, nobody moved on or left and became something else.
“What was the amnesty all about, was it to keep people, to collect money in perpetuity or was it something meant to intervene in the critical point of the country timeline? The Niger Delta Region is exploited by its own people, exploited by people outside the region; it is the cash cow of the country, and by all indications, we should continue with the forensic investigations, we don’t know how far it will take us.”