The Good Governance and Transparency Coalition (GGTC) has rubbished allegations of fraud in the North East Development Commission (NEDC), absolving the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq and NEDC’s Managing Director, Musa Umar Yashi of any wrongdoing.
Speaking on behalf of the group at a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja, National Coordinator,
Patriot Agibi Gabriel, instead extolled the achievements of the commission in the last one year.
Established in 2017, NEDC is charged with the responsibility to assess, coordinate, harmonies and report on all intervention programs, and initiatives by the Federal Government or any of its Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), States; and other partners and for the implementation of all programs and initiatives for the North East states.
And after a thorough investigation and fact-finding mission in the North East, GGTC said there have indeed been entrenchment of transparency and accountability in NEDA’s operations.
According to the group, “agents of Boko Haram are at work again in ensuring that the NEDC denies North-East Nigeria the numerous interventions necessary for normalcy to return”.
It added that this is “another smear campaign targeted at not just the NEDC, but also the supervisory minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development whose track record speaks volume of transparency and accountability”.
The coalition further expressed satisfaction with the cooperation between the ministry, the NEDC and the Nigerian Military in its rebuilding efforts in North-East.
While warning these agents and their sponsors to quit their smear campaign, GGTC, however, urged Nigerians to disregard the allegations against the NEDC and its supervisory ministry.
The statement reads: “The Good Governance and Transparency Coalition, the umbrella body for civil society organizations dedicated to the entrenchment of good governance and transparency in the conduct of government business in Nigeria, is holding this press conference to put issues in proper perspective with regards to the recent allegations of fraudulent activities in the administration of the affairs of the North East Development Commission.
It must be stated that the Good Governance and Transparency Coalition over the years have been a strong voice in Nigeria and credited to have scrutinized continuously the activities of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) with the view to ensuring that the entrenchment of good governance, transparency and accountability is the watchword.
Consequently, the allegations of fraudulent activities levelled against the management of the North East Development Commission by a group called The Coalition of New Nigeria Transparency and Anti-Corruption (CNNTAC) mandated us to carry out a detailed investigation into the allegations to put issues in proper perspective.
As a start, from our findings, the CNNTAC is not a member of our coalition as there is no record of such a group in our database, which in itself is an anomaly. Nonetheless, we elected to proceed with our investigations and make our findings known to the generality of the Nigerian public.
We wish to state that the crisis in North-East Nigeria has come with its attendant loss of lives, destruction of properties and displacement of millions of people. It is also instructive to state that the Nigerian Military has continuously engaged the Boko Haram terrorist group in ways too numerous to mention.
The level of destruction in North-East Nigeria indeed warranted the effort by the government to commence the reconstruction of North-East Nigeria through the establishment of the North-East Development Commission (NEDC), charged with the responsibility to assess, coordinate, harmonize and report on all intervention programmes, and initiatives by the Federal Government or any of its Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), States; and other Development Partners and for the implementation of all programmes and initiatives for the North East states.
The NEDC Act further mandates the NEDC to coordinate “the resettlement, rehabilitation, integration and reconstruction of infrastructure for victims of terrorism as well as tackling the menace of poverty, illiteracy, ecological challenges in the North-Eastern states and other related matter”.
The Good Governance and Transparency Coalition as a stakeholder in this critical sector has consequently monitored the operations of the NEDC. It wishes to state that in the past one year of its operations, there has been entrenchment of transparency and accountability.
We are consequently alarmed that the CNNTAC could make such spurious allegations without recourse to the implications of their phantom actions which by all intent and purposes are of poor taste and lacking any form of credibility as there are no such infractions in the operations of the NEDC. As a matter of fact, the operational manual of the NEDC is such that is tailored to ensure accountability at all times and as such we wonder how such infractions would have been effected with the multiple layers of checks in place.
The Good Governance and Transparency Coalition is alarmed that some shadowy group could elect to spread outright falsehood at the detriment of national interest and in fulfilment of their inordinate desire to constitute a clog in the wheels of progress in Nigeria.
We state in unequivocal terms that the allegations of contract inflation and other sundry allegations are the figment of the imaginations of the CNNTAC and their promoters as there are no such occurrences in the books of the NEDC, as well as in its operations.
The Good Governance and Transparency Coalition has painstakingly investigated the allegations and came to the sad conclusion that indeed the agents of Boko Haram are at work again in ensuring that the NEDC denies North-East Nigeria the numerous interventions necessary for normalcy to return.
This is another smear campaign targeted at not just the NEDC, but also the supervisory minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development whose track record speaks volume of transparency and accountability.
It is instructive to state that our findings revealed that the Hon. Minister and the MD NEDC are providing support for the Military not just only as part of the mandate of the organization but to help the displaced population in North-East Nigeria return to their communities that have been liberated by the Nigerian Military over the years.
It is thus our considered opinion that the enemies of Nigeria are not happy with the gains recorded by the NEDC in its efforts at rebuilding North-East Nigeria for self-evident reasons. And as such, they have launched a scathing campaign of character assassination against those that are dedicated and compassionate to the plight of the victims of the Boko Haram crisis in North-East Nigeria.
The Good Governance and Transparency Coalition wish to use this medium to inform the members of the unsuspecting general public to disregard the spurious allegations against the NEDC and its supervisory ministry as there is no iota of truth in the allegations, but instead, an evil motive intended to cause disaffection in the polity.
We consequently wish to warn the CNNTAC and their sponsors to desist from any further attempt to blackmail these persons or the institutions that they represent in the interest of peace and respect for the agony which the sponsors of their group have already put the people of the northeast through over the years. This is on the heels that the mandate of the NEDC is unambiguous and its operations since its establishment have impacted positively on the lives of the people of North-East Nigeria.
The Good Governance and Transparency Coalition is glad that the level of cooperation between the ministry, the NEDC and the Nigerian Military in its rebuilding efforts in North-East Nigeria is bringing the desired results.
This is indeed not a time for distractions as Nigerians are more aware of the successes recorded in North-East Nigeria.
We thank you all for your time and attention and encourage all Nigerians to continue to lend their support to the government in its efforts at rebuilding North-East Nigeria.