Angry protesters on Tuesday disrupted the investigative hearing on recent allegations of corruption and racketeering in payment systems by the Niger Delta Development Commission. Despite the disruption, however, the management vowed to uphold probity and accountability in its operations.
Following recent reports accusing the management of the commission of corruption in the conduct of its affairs, the Managing Director/CEO, Nsima Ekere, constituted a six-member committee to investigate the allegations.
Led by the Commission’s Special Duties Director, Ekanim Princewill, the committee was asked to work with civil society groups, traditional rulers and the media, to get to the root of the allegations.
On Tuesday, angry youth stormed the venue of the committee at Presidential Hotel in Port Harcourt few minutes after the opening to disrupt proceedings.
The youth said they were annoyed that they were not invited to be part of the hearing, claiming it was a meeting they suspected was called by the commission to “share contracts to some people.”
But, the NDDC said despite the disruption of the investigative committee’s assignment, its management would go ahead with the probe, since it believed in probity, transparency and accountability in its operations.
“The new Governing Board and management are determined to restructure our balance sheet, restore our core mandate, reform all our governance processes and project implementation protocols,” the managing director said in a statement.
“We are determined to do what is right and proper at all times, to give this great region the Commission it deserves.”
Mr. Ekere gave the assurance that the invasion of the venue of the investigative committee by irate youth would not deter, nor distract the commission from its earnest and honest commitment to get to the root of the allegations and clean up the system.
“The Commission remains resolute in its desire to establish the core principles of probity, transparency and due process, while enthroning efficiency, excellence, and professionalism in all governance implementation protocols,” he said.
He decried the disruption of the work of the committee, describing it as an unfortunate setback.
He, however, reiterated the resolve by the governing board and management of the commission to continue to reject corruption, saying they were committed to weed out all such traits, as exemplified by the invasion by the irate youth.
“The commission reaffirms its commitment to conclude this very important investigation and will look into all memoranda and petitions already received by the committee, for a decisive conclusion,” he said.
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