New Telegraph

February 28, 2024

Graft: APC frustrating govt agencies’ probe –PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of frustrating probes of government agencies because its leaders were allegedly complicit in the corruption going on there. The party also said attack on its leaders by the APC over the insistences on the prosecution of APC leaders indicted in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) probe further betrayed the ruling party’s desperation to shield its corrupt leaders and office holders who have been implicated in the probe.

But the APC has said that the opposition PDP would be exposed by the forensic audit of the NDDC. PDP, in a statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the ongoing NDDC probe has shown how APC leaders have been stealing billions of naira of the commission while people of the region were wallowing in abject poverty and despondency.

“Under this administration, no government agency is safe from the pillaging fingers of the APC. “The APC and its administration is a huge labyrinth of corruption where leaders, cabinet ministers, heads of agencies and departments, presidential aides, anti-corruption agencies and even APC federal lawmakers are all entangled in sharp practices,” the party said. It challenged the APC to address the corruption at the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) where its leaders and cronies were allegedly involved in the looting of about N4.448 billion through underhand contracts.

The party reminded the ruling party that Nigerians have not forgotten the N40 billion allegedly siphoned from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), part of which was reported to have been used to finance APC’s 2019 campaigns. “This is in addition to exposed looting of N33 billion NEMA fund as well as findings by the House of Representatives that the funds were never used for provision of emergency food for victims of insurgency in the North-East among other items as claimed.

“The APC has also remained silent over the allegations that part of the looted funds discovered in the EFCC probe, was given to a very top official of the APC administration. “Nigerians have also not forgotten the alleged malfeasance in the APCled Ministry of Finance and that of Humanitarian Affairs where billions of naira meant for palliatives and other essentials to mitigate the hardship occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic was allegedly stolen,” PDP added. It further recalled other corrupt activities in government agencies such as the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), and the diversion of N18 billion out of the N48 billion meant for the rebuilding of six North-East states ravaged by insurgency.

“We know that the APC leaders are now having sleepless nights. “However, pointing accusing fingers at others, destroying evidence, resorting to antics at the National Assembly, as well as threats, intimidation and attempt to silence vital witnesses will not help the APC as the headquarters of corruption,” PDP further warned. Meanwhile, APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, said: “The PDP, in its self-indicting statement, speaks of the “weight of corruption” bedevilling the operations of the NDDC.

“Nigerians can now understand that the PDP is not interested in the current moves by the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to reposition the NDDC, but the PDP is dead-scared of the outcome of the 2001 to 2019 forensic audit and legislative inquests of the NDDC operations.

The PDP is doing everything to sabotage and frustrate the audits. “In recognition of the ongoing forensic audit and legislative inquest into the operations of the NDDC, as a party we have no intention to trade words on how successive PDP administrations and their cronies institutionalised a culture of contract fraud and other corrupt practices which has robbed the Niger Delta region of badly-needed development. We will rather monitor and await the findings of the ongoing audits.

“However, one thing is clear, no vested interest will continue to turn the NDDC into an Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) while multi-faceted development eludes the Niger Delta region.” Nabena added that: “We must support the forensic audit of the 19 years of the NDDC, which includes the first four years of the Buhari administration as well as well-meaning legislative inquests for the benefit of the Niger Delta region. “As a party, we totally align and support the resolve of President Buhari to audit and reposition the NDDC. As with all institutions of government, we must continue to entrench transparency and accountability. “The commitment of the Buhari administration remains the rapid and sustainable develop-ment of the Niger Delta.

Hence, the audit must be seen as a decisive move to clear any stumbling block undermining the development of the region. “Has the President Buhari administration demonstrated its zero-tolerance for corruption? An emphatic yes! “The administration’s fight against corruption is total, unsparing and there are no sacred cows. Public records show that officials of past administrations, members of the opposition, APC, cabinet members, appointees, private sector, among others, have been given ample opportunity by this administration to defend corruption allegations when they arise.

“The PDP’s tales of “unbridled treasury looting”, illusionary fraud and other fictitious allegations are parts of their tired, baseless and tactless attempts to get public reckoning, cover past fraud and play the role of opposition which it has shockingly failed at.”

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