The unfolding drama involving high profile cases bordering on corruption has again brought to the fore the rot in the public sector. The mind blowing allegations of the mismanagement of the well over 15 trillion naira received by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) since its inception in 2000 and the arrest of the anti-corruption Czar and acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commision (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu for alleged gross misconduct and insurbodination clearly shows that some of our leaders are pathologically inept and shameless in their conduct in public office. This has contributed in no small measure to frustrate the fight against corruption. Only days ago, Nigerians watched in awe the verbal but hot exchanges between the Minister for Niger Delta, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, Dr. Joi Nunieh, former acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commision and the Chairman of the investigation panel in the National Assembly over accusation bordering on massive looting at the NDDC running into billions of naira within a short spell of time in the guise of doling out palliatives to staff and other concerned groups in the region. Professor Kemebradikumo Daniel Pondei, Acting Managing Director of NDDC revealed that the Commision spent 1.5 billion naira to provide palliatives.
Another 40 billion naira was spent in three months, while a whopping 81.5 billion naira was also squandered between January and July, 2020. It was a show of shame when the Minister for the Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio wanted to spill the beans, accusing the Chairman of the panel and members of the National Assembly of cornering a perfect chunk of the contracts awarded by the NDDC but was cut short midway into opening the can of worms which may indict the National Assembly members. However one looks at it, the mess at the NDDC is pervasive. The fear of many Nigerians is that the probe, like several others in the past, may not see the light of the day except the President intervenes and calls to order those found culpable. He must not spare the rod in this case and ensure that monies ilegally siphoned are recovered. We throw our weight behind the forensic audit of the NDDC to ascertain how it spent the over 15 trillion naira allocated to it by Federal Government since it came into being in the year 2000.
Yet another weighty corruption case in the recent time that should be of concern is that implicating the suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commision (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu. He is alleged, among others, of relooting recovered loots, sale of seized assets to cronies, associates and friends; allegation of favouritism towards selected EFCC investigators called the Magu boys for juicy assignments. An allegation he has denied. The case should be properly investigated to prove his innocence or guilt. Sadly, Transparency International, the global corruption watch dog, had ranked Nigeria in the corruption perception index 146/180 (countries surveyed in 2019) with the damning verdict that its public sector stinks and riddled with corruption. Now it behoves on the Civil Society groups to closely monitor how public monies are disbursed and spent at the different levels of government to check the excesses of public officers in charge of our commonwealth. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation must also not be immune from detailed audit. Above all, our leaders should know that God is watching and would be called one day to give account of their stewardship