How to develop Niger Delta – NDDC boss

From Fred Itua, Abuja The Interim Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Efiong Akwa, has revealed how the Niger Delta region can be developed and meet the yearnings of the people. According to him, the Commission must be transparent in its operations to better deliver on its mandate to the Niger Delta region. […] The post How to develop Niger Delta – NDDC boss appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.

How to develop Niger Delta – NDDC boss

From Fred Itua, Abuja

The Interim Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Efiong Akwa, has revealed how the Niger Delta region can be developed and meet the yearnings of the people.

According to him, the Commission must be transparent in its operations to better deliver on its mandate to the Niger Delta region.

Speaking during a two-day workshop for management staff of the Commission in Port Harcourt, Akwa declared that one of the biggest challenges to achieving organisational goals was lack of transparency and integrity.

He said: “This workshop is part of on-going efforts initiated by President Muhammadu Buhari through the institution of the forensic audit into the activities of the Niger Delta Development Commission from inception to make the Commission better prepared to discharge its mandate to the Niger Delta region and Nigeria.

“The expected outcome is to enhance the performance and job delivery efficiency of all the Commission’s staff to ensure that we are better equipped to offer the Niger Delta region a service that meets their expectations and dreams. And this is very vital to the life and relevance of this Commission to be able to facilitate the sustainable development of the Niger Delta diligently, efficiently, and effectively.

“As a Commission, the task before us is to establish the institutional framework that will support the prudent and diligent discharge of our duties within the legal and institutional demands for integrity, decency, and due process.

“To achieve our mandate,” he stated, “we must be willing and determined to be the change we seek for the Niger Delta region. We must be willing and ready to comply with the civil service rules, financial regulations, as well as with the ICPC, EFCC and CCB acts and other extant rules and laws in Nigeria.

“The Federal Government, under President Buhari, and our supervising Minister, Senator Godswill Akpabio, is keen to establish within the Commission, and within us all, a new attitude towards our duties within the workplace. If we must become change agents, we must be equipped adequately to do what is right, within the law and our moral obligations. That is the new spirit we must embrace in NDDC. That is the new NDDC we must, collectively, build. We owe it to ourselves, this Commission, our stakeholders, and this great region. In the end, we will stand right before man and before God.”

Meanwhile, a former director of Public Enlightenment and Education of Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa, on her part, identified the best way to stop people from leaving Nigeria for greener pastures abroad.

Okoduwa stated that if corruption is dealt with swiftly and appropriately, citizens will not have a need to go to other countries.

“Corruption affects the development of any country. It makes it difficult for any country to function effectively. That is why many leave their country for other countries where everything works and there is little or no corruption. Because people leave for a better life.

“Stop corruption, make things work, and you’ll see that people will be less likely to travel abroad for greener pastures,” she said.

Mrs Okoduwa, who spoke on ‘Anti-corruption Transparency and Monitoring Unit’ (ACTU), stated that “one of the major challenges of an institution on the fight against corruption is the identification of ACTUs as spies, instead of change agents that they are”.

According to her, ACTU was created by the ICPC as an intervention mechanism in all ministries, departments and agencies of Government as a corruption prevention mechanism and encouraged the staff and management of NDDC to work closely with ACTU in its fight against corruption.

She added: “ACTU exists for institutional change. Only an internal body can create change within an organisation, because it knows where the loopholes and challenges are.”

Chairman, Code of Conduct Bureau, Professor Mohammad Isah, said President of Nigeria does not have the power to pardon nor commute the sentence of any public official convicted of corrupt practices in government.

In his presentation on “Asset Declaration: A Viable Tool for Corruption Prevention”, Professor Isah stated that the constitution recognises corruption in public service as an unpardonable crime and admonished the officials to avoid unwholesome practices while in government service.

He also revealed that corruption does not offer double jeopardy to the convicted, stating that an officer convicted for corrupt practices could be retried on the same offence.

Professor Isah confessed that corruption was a worldwide phenomenon and regretted that Nigeria was usually presented as a country with a high incidence of corrupt practices in government, adding that Nigeria had established institutions meant to check corrupt practices in the public service.

He said that as societies were becoming sophisticated, it was important for these institutions to focus on specialized ways of fighting corruption, noting that there was need for more sophisticated institutions to address the new challenges.

These evolving trends, he remarked, led to the establishment of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in addition to the Code of Conduct Bureau which was already existing.

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