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Civil society group accuses Wike of frustrating NDDC probe

…asks Nunieh to submit self for investigation

A civil society organisation, Civil Society Advocacy Group for Accountability and Probity, has accused the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, of frustrating efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari to sanitise the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

At a press conference jointly addressed by Solomon Adodo, convener, and Igwe Ude-umanta, co-convener, the group also urged the former acting managing director of the Commission, Joi Nunieh, to submit herself to the various authorities for investigation of allegations of corruption and insubordination leveed against her.

The group asserted that the efforts of President Buhari to reposition NDDC to actualise the vision for its establishment had begun to yield fruit but for the efforts of powerful persons who had converted the commission to their private estate.

“As the group that keeps watch on society, the media is aware that since President Muhammadu Buhari vowed to sanitise the Niger Delta Development Committee (NDDC) last year, it has received support by concerned Nigerians, but has also been under heavy politicisation by those who know that their hands are soiled.“They have taken to the media (social and traditional), organised protests, sponsored riots all to no avail. They tried to discredit the wisdom and discretion of Mr. President in taking some administrative decisions such as the setting up of an Interim Management Committee to carry out a thorough forensic audit. As we speak today, the probe into the activities of the various previous managements of the NDDC is ongoing and being thoroughly carried out by the Interim Management Committee,” the group said.

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It said the will of the Federal Government to confront the ills in the NDDC was unshaken despite what it described as politicisation aimed to divert attention.“But of particular worry is the reason why the former acting managing director of NDDC, Dr. Joi Nunieh has refused to answer her summons to appear before the Investigative Committee of the House of Representatives on the NDDC. She has also refused to yield to the Nigeria Police for questioning. What else could be the reason except evasion of justice?

“And it becomes more worrisome when Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State shields her from arrest, claiming that she was being abducted, and that he was protecting a citizen of Rivers State. Gov. Wike has always found reasons to obstruct investigations. We are sad that Wike who claims to be the defender of Rivers people only extends that defence to those who have been accused of feeding fat on the country or other crimes. He should desist forthwith. And he should release Dr Joi Nunieh to the Nigeria Police for investigation,” the group said.

It said Gov. Wike’s rescue of Nunieh on Thursday amounted to “obstruction of a lawful arrest”, adding that the action has “betrayed the covert attempt by these people who have diverted the resources of the NDDC to collaborate with the opposition to frustrate the determined effort of Mr. President to clean up the NDDC”.“That action by Wike is nothing other than outright and well-calculated sabotage of investigation into a crime,” the CSO noted.

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It further asked the former NDDC acting managing director to come clean of all allegations against her as it was the honourable thing to be done by any sane citizen.