Niger Delta Peace and Development Advocates (NDPDA) has urged the National Assembly to prioritise passage of the 2020 Budget of the Niger Delta Development Commission, instead of the planned probe of the Interim Management Committee.
NDPDA advised the leadership of the 9th National Assembly to be people-oriented, by not only ensuring smooth passage of the Commission’s 2020 budget but also support and ensure the success of the ongoing Forensic Audit ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The group noted that the delay in the passage of the said budget is affecting the development of the NDDC mandate areas, and hampering critical projects that are germane to the fight against the novel coronavirus in the region.
A statement by the group, a copy of which was made available to Sunday Nation, stated: “It is sad and worrisome to note, that at such a time like this, when the world is trying hard to survive from the hard bite of COVID – 19 Pandemic, the NDDC 2019 budget of about N300bn elapsed on May 31, 2020, without executing any single project therein, all due to budget approval delays and other intrigues at the National Assembly.”
“Surprisingly, the same Lawmakers who frustrated its passage and implementation are now asking for details of the performance of the said budget,” the statement signed by Comrade Kevin Ebi Thomas, Hon Uzor, Dappa Somina and Revival Ogbuagha stated.
NDPDA supported the IMC chair, Prof Kemebradikumo Pondei’s assertion that the NASS delay of the 2020 budget is stifling the Commission by rendering it unimplementable, and also bastardizing and massively padding it.
“The NDDC 2020 budget is a budget for the good people of the region. It is a budget for the nine states, it is a budget for the development of our dear region, for the empowerment of our teeming youths and women.”
“Therefore, the NDDC 2020 budget should not be characterised by the same delay or budget padding that has befallen past budgets and which is orchestrated by a few members of the Assembly.”
“Let us sound it very clear here, that the entire Youths of Niger Delta Region will resist any further attempt by any person or group of persons to delay or frustrate the passage of the NDDC 2020 budget. The COVID-19 Pandemic has led to massive loss of jobs, business closure, loss of capital and other negative effects. We are going to make sure our budget is approved and as well used for the said approved purpose.”
“Also, we are calling on all Stakeholders of Niger Delta to come out in one voice, one language and one goal to ensure our collective interest is achieved as a region. NDDC is for all Niger Deltans and not for the few privileged leaders.”