No NDDC Contracts For Niger-Deltans Without Northerners’ Help

Alaowei Broderick Bozimo, elder statesman, was Minister of Police Affairs under President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration. In this interview, Bozimo speaks on issues bedeviling the peace and progress of Nigeria and Niger Delta among other issues in the polity. Excerpts:

The forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has been concluded with several Niger Deltans calling for the constitution of its substantive board with no response from Federal Government. What is your position?

I think every right-thinking Nigerian, especially Niger Deltans, appreciate the need for the forensic audit, the reason being that so many stories have been told about the inefficiency of the NDDC and how some Niger-Deltans fleeced the Board, and all the blames heaped on Niger-Deltans.

But, we know better, we know that a lot of the practices, the fraud and all things alleged to be happening there cannot be heaped on Niger-Deltans alone.

I know of the happenings in those days, if you wanted contract, you had to have connection with a northerner who will make things smooth for you. I saw it, I experienced it as a young legal practitioner.

Therefore, when President Muhammadu Buhari decided to investigate the board, we applauded the decision, but you know that everything in Nigeria is politics and, before you knew it, the investigation became skewed against our people.

It was another opportunity for Niger-Deltans, elders, youths and the progressives to be humiliated and disgraced so that there’ll be justification for the allegation that Niger-Deltans are not capable of managing their own affairs. It’s very regrettable, it’s a pity.

The media have been awash with all kinds of allegations against very prominent Niger-Deltans and I don’t want to mention names because if I do, you will say, “ah, what do you expect? Alaowei will always defend his people”.

But the truth of the matter is that there’s need for these investigations to be go with justice and truth so that people are not crucified unjustly.

I have read the report and the findings must be taken with a pinch of salt because it was hurriedly done as you know, the parameters were ill-defined.

If you want forensic auditing, you go for the best international auditors that would have handled it. It seems the thing was hurriedly done to serve certain interests. My take is that the NDDC should be re-audited to get the truth unveiled.

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