A civil society organisation, Peoples Alliance for Indigenous Rights (PAIR), has described the allegations of corruption by the former acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Joy Nunieh, against the current management of the commission as “wild, overly dramatic and stage-managed.”
PAIR, at a media briefing on Thursday in Abuja, also expressed displeasure over the recent conduct of former official of the NDDC.
The group’s reaction came days after Nunieh accused the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, and the present NDDC management of corrupt practices. She had also accused Akpabio of sexually harassing her at his guest house in Abuja.
But, speaking at the media briefing, PAIR’s coordinator, Iriogbe Emmanuel, and national secretary, James Okoronkwo, called on the House of Representatives and the ex-NDDC to allow the forensic audit ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari run its course.
The group claimed that Nuneih had weaponised “kidnapping and sexual harassment in order to score some political mileage,” referring to her allegations against Akpabio.
The text of the media briefing reads: “We have since observed the unfortunate drama playing out in the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, and wish to state that facts have become obscured as the dramatic and playing to the gallery has taken centre stage.
“If those, especially Ms. Joy Nuneih, a former Managing Director of the NDDC, were out to expose corruption as have been alleged by them, then this unnecessary orchestrated drama would not be part of the “fact finding” by the House of Reps.
“It is regrettable that those who parade themselves as saints are in themselves mired deep in rot, therefore, the determination to smear others with mud.
“On Thursday, it was alleged that Ms. Nuneih’s home in Port Harcourt was besieged by gun wielding security men. How convenient! To imagine that this is happening barely after 24 hours when the Rivers state governor, Mr. Nyesom Wike, warned against any attempt to undermine the security and life of Ms. Nuneih speaks to a sinister plot by those who hope to gain from this macabre plot.
“Today, Governor Wike is seen as a ‘super hero’ for ‘rescuing’ the ex-MD of the embattled commission when credible sources suggest it was a hatchet plot by the ‘super hero.’
“Also, it is pertinent to state that in all of the shouting, puffing and huffing, Ms. Nuneih is yet to tender any document to the House of Reps. By the wayward the chairman of the house committee on NDDC, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, is enmeshed in corruption allegation of having benefited from a 17km road contract.
“While it is not cast in stone that some things may have gone wrong, Ms. Nuneih and her co-travellers should allow the forensic audit ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari go on. It is only proper that any grievances and allegations of wrong doing should be channelled to the audit panel and not the red herring all over the place.
“The new management of the NDDC, the Interim Management Committee and Minister of the Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio, should be allowed some breathing space to re-position a terribly battered commission.”