By Millicent Umoru-O
100 billion probe: NECSOs,VYOs pass vote of confidence on NEDC
Members of the coalition of North East Civil Society Organisations (NECSOs) and Voluntary Youth Organisations (VYOs) have passed a vote of confidence on the leadership of the North East Development Commission(NEDC).
The members passed the resolution during a World press conference held in Abuja on Monday
The NECSO’s and VYO’s were led by Comrade Adam President Northern Youth Association of Nigeria (NYAN) and Comrade Haruna Abdulsallam Conference of Civil Society Organization (CCSO)
They group called on the National Assembly to tender an unreserved apology to Nigerians for misleading the general public by alleging that N100 billion was misappropriated and diverted from the North East Development Commission (NEDC) within one year of its existence.
They particularly enjoined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Minority Leader in the House of Representatives, Rep. Ndidi Elumelu, who moved the resolution for the probe of the NEDC, to equally publish an apology letter in one of the reputable national dailies.
Comrade Adam said Elumelu’s action had created unnecessary, avoidable confusion and distraction on the attention of the leadership of the commission with a malicious allegation against the organization.
We believe that NEDC has performed credibly well and still contributing immensely to infrastructural and socioeconomic development of the north east region.”group said
“The coalition described the action of the lawmaker as a smear campaign against the Commission and to the north east which according to them will eventually fail in its entirety
“We wish to emphasize, categorically,that the resolution was also an attempt to smear and dent the image of the commission’s leadership and by extension the north, despite the fact that the commission. had performed beyond expectations, the group said
They appeal to legislators to concentrate their energy in their constitutional role of law making and oversight functions, to enhance transparency and accountability in governance
“They also emphasized that the management of NEDC has maintained a harmonious relationship with the House of Representatives Committee on North East Development Commission.
They added that when the allegation came up, the leadership of the commission approached the law makers and admonished them to quickly investigate the lingering issue to ensure that Nigerians have first hand information about how the commission is been manage .
“Our investigation has revealed that the NEDC never receive or get up to N100 billion allocation, since its inception to date and wonder how the NEDC spent what it doesn’t have.
“Comrade Haruna Abdulsalam elaborated that the NEDC was inaugurated in May 2019 and did not get funding or allocation till in November, 2019.
“Members of the coalition collectively dismissed the allegation of high handedness in the process of contract award in the commission.
“We see these allegations as a direct attack on the leadership of the commission for their refusal to favour company of some law makers in the award of contract executed by the commission.
“It is on record that all the contracts awarded by the NEDC were subject to public procurement act and other due processes, with a view to upholding the anti-graft crusade of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
“The NEDC is an open commission, anybody can go to the organisation to verify the facts rather than resorting to blackmail and character assassination.
‘The NEDC operates TSA Account since its inception and all its funding pass through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“This clearly shows that all contract process and expenditure of the commission are subjected to the Governing Board of the commission which has the mandate to give all neccassary approval
” So we cannot imagine how somebody will unilaterally withdraw the sum of N5 billion to procure anything as alleged by the House of Representatives
“We are aware that in September 2019 during the North East Security Conference held in Maiduguri, Borno State Capital, a communiqué was issued and one of the recommendations and resolutions of the security conference was that, the commission should assist to buy vehicles for the security agencies.
“This is to make their Job easier and enhance their operational efficiency.
“Our investigation reveals that a presentation was made and and the board approved, thereafter channeled to the appropriate procurement processes and eventually, vehicles were procured and distributed to the security agencies.
“The coalition, therefore, passe a vote of confidence on the management of the commission under the leadership of Alhaji Mohammad Goni Alkali who has been working tirelessly to ensure that the commission discharges its mandate effectively.