Following the forensic audit of the activities of the Niger-Delta Development Commission, NDDC, the Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency (CESJET) has written the Inspector- General of Police and the Director-General of the Directorate of State Services to beef up security around the Managing Director of the commission, Dr. (Mrs.) Joi Nunieh.
The centre, in a letter dated 28th January, 2020, made available to newsmen in Abuja, said the forensic probe has made the MD of the commission a target for disgruntled element who may be found culpable during the probe.
The centre said there is no gainsaying the fact that the issue of certificate forgery is popping up at this material time mainly because Dr. Nunieh has inaugurated a 50 (Fifty) man Verification Committee headed by Dr. Cairo Ojougboh to audit and document projects and contracts awarded in the 9 (Nine) Niger Delta States to ascertain the authenticity or otherwise of certain suspicious Interim Payment Certificates (IPCs) paid to contractors, which has placed a debt burden of about N3 Trillion Naira on the Commission.
According to Barrister Abiodun Sodiq Babalola, Director of Strategic Communication of CESJET, the centre observed that the unfortunate rage trailing the inauguration of the Interim Management Committee sometime in October, 2019 by the Federal Government of Nigeria to run the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is taking an alarming dimension.
He therefore sought security protection from relevant security agencies for the NDDC boss
”We recall that the Committee under the Chairmanship of Dr. (Mrs.) Joi Nunieh who doubles as Acting Managing Director of the Commission was meant to create an enabling environment for the forensic audit of the NDDC with a view to identifying and or exposing the massive corrupt practices perceived to have disrupted the original purpose of establishing the NDDC as an interventionist agency to alleviate the sufferings of the Niger Delta people.
”The forensic audit in the wisdom of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR who sanctioned it was meant to cover 18 (Eighteen) years of the operation of the Commission.
”We can confirm that Dr. Gbene Joi Nunieh has not disappointed the Niger Delta people and indeed the whole country in carrying out her mandate. The huge success recorded by the Committee within a very short period is there for every observer to evaluate. Only on 19th December, 2019 it was revealed that the Committee following a tip-off, discovered the components of a Power Station worth $34 Million abandoned on the premises of the Nigeria Ports Authority in Port Harcourt since 2017. The said equipment was meant for the NDDC Sub-Station in Ekparagwa and Ikot Ekpene within Akwa Ibom State but left unused by a group of politicians turned contractors who would stop at nothing to loot and cripple the Nigerian economy.
”Little wonder then that Dr. Gbene Joi Nunieh is now a target for blackmail and possible assassination by agents of those persons who are afraid that the tsunami of the forensic audit will soon consume them. There was a recent accusation against Dr. Nunieh that she parades fake NYSC certificate. We make bold to state that this accusation is nothing but a deliberate attempt at smearing her hard reputation and distracting the ongoing drive to recover funds looted from NDDC.
”It gladdens our hearts to note that right thinking citizens of this country who know Dr. Nunieh and follow her antecedents over the years have since risen to the occasion under different Civil Society platforms to clear the air. There is no gainsaying the fact that the issue of certificate forgery is popping up at this material time mainly because Dr. Nunieh has inaugurated a 50 (Fifty) man Verification Committee headed by Dr. Cairo Ojougboh to audit and document projects and contracts awarded in the 9 (Nine) Niger Delta States to ascertain the authenticity or otherwise of certain suspicious Interim Payment Certificates (IPCs) paid to contractors, which has placed a debt burden of about N3 Trillion Naira on the Commission. The Verification Committee is billed to submit its report within the next two weeks as a prelude to the proper forensic audit”, he said.
He said the worry of the centre at the moment is the security of Dr. Gbene Joi Nunieh who, had become a soft target by the very looters and economic saboteurs she is exposing.
He called on the Department of State Services (DSS) to brace up to the task of beefing up security around Dr. Nunieh in the coming days.
”Incidences of threat to lives of public officials in Nigeria are not new but must be swiftly nipped in the bud before they become realities” he also said.