Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has vowed to challenge some perceived fraudulent provisions in the N500billion budget of the Niger Delta Development Commission for 2023.
The governor disclosed that some politicians were exerting pressure on the National Assembly to hurriedly pass the N500billion NDDC 2023 budget, so that it can be shared in lieu of the upcoming 2023 general elections.
Governor Wike said it was regrettable that those who superintend over the affairs of the NDDC are sons and daughters of the oil producing States, yet the commission has never deemed it appropriate to seek the input of these States in its budget preparation.
Wike who spoke at Elele Civic Centre, venue of the flag-off of construction work on the Elele Internal Roads in Ikwerre Local Government Area, explained that some politicians with vested interest in the 2023 general elections have already determined how the NDDC budget will be siphoned, and if they succeed, the region will further suffer.
He said the Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice has been notified to challenge some perceived fraudulent provisions of the budget, such as the allocation of N60billion for building a spurious safe haven for a particular security agency and N4billion for cleaning of gutters, in court.
The governor lamented that the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs has been rendered redundant, as supervision of the NDDC has now become the role concern of minister in charge of the ministry.
“Since NDDC was established, look at the money that has gone into NDDC. What can we show for it? The NDDC has become a cash cow for politicians. The President has just inaugurated the new board of the NDDC. You know what is going on now? There is N500billion budget for NDDC. Election is coming from 25th February, Now, what the politicians have done is to put pressure on the National Assembly so that they will pass the N500billion budget for NDDC.”
Bearing this in mind, governor Wike has expressed doubt over the capability of the 2023 NDDC budget before the National Assembly to address development issues in the region.
Governor Wike revealed that within the total estimate of N500billion, N70 billion is expected from the Nigeria LNG Limited, N4billion earmarked for distilling of public drains, and N60 billion earmarked as support to security agency.
The Rivers State governor said a critical look at the details of the various estimate reveals that it is fraudulent budget, adding that it was laughable to see a development agency like NDDC earmarking N4 billion to clean public drains when it is supposed to attend to strategic development issues in the region.
He queried why the NDDC will earmark N60 billion to security agency and not devote it to doing an enduring project and see the derivable impact.
Governor Wike said he has between 2019 and now built 12 flyovers, spent over N17 billion Naira to build the Dr. Nabo Graham Douglas Campus of the Nigerian Law School, completed within 10 months and those who opposed it are scrambling to get space for their wards to be admitted.
He maintained that the major problem in Nigeria was not availability of money, but leadership that can stand on truth to promote it and be empathetic towards building a virile society that offer good life to the citizenry.