- Some Big People Instigated the Protest, Says MD
Trouble is looming at Niger Delta Basin Development Authority (NDBDA) over alleged misappropriation and embezzlement of funds.
National Network gathered workers under aegis of NDBDA Staff Union petitioned Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-graft agencies to arrest and prosecute management of the federal government agency over the allegation.
The branch Chairperson of the Union, Comrade (Mrs) Ifiemi-Ikpai Kpai, while speaking to journalists on the sidelines of a protest at the premises of the Agency in Port-Harcourt on Monday said: “We want ICPC, EFCC to come in and ask the management what they did with the money disbursed by the Federal Government for the establishment of Songhai Farm in the area.
“We are aware that money has been disbursed for over three years for the project but the Songhai farm is nowhere to be found”.
On his part, Secretary of Staff Union of Federal Ministry of Water Resources and all River Basins , Comrade Nwafor Nkiken, said: “Graduate Youth Scheme launched by the Federal Government in 2017 which is a PET project of the Minister of Water Resources, Suileman Adamu, have gone into oblivion but is functioning in other basins in the country”.
Comrade Nkiken accused the management of NDBDA of siphoning the money meant for Basin Village to include school, police station and Songhai farm.
He alleged members of top management shared the money for the project among themselves and called on Federal Government to carry out forensic audit of NDBDA with a view to unravelling extent of fraud reportedly perpetrated by the management.
Our reporter who covered the protest reports that the workers shut down all offices and main entrance to the complex during the protest and vowed to continue the protest until the Songhai Farm was established.
The protesters carried several placards with inscriptions such as “EFCC come to our aid”, “Sack management of NDBDA now”, ICPC come to our aid” among others.
Reacting, Managing Director of Niger Delta Basin Development Authority, Engr Tonye David West, said there was no “atom of truth” in the allegation made by staff of the agency.
He said Niger Delta Basin Development Authority used funds earmarked for Songhai Farm to establish the farm in Nkpor in Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State and said staff of the agency benefited from proceeds of the farm.
He said: “We are doing what the money is released for. If you go to Nkpor (in Khana Local Government Area), you will see what we are doing (on Songhai farm), you will see what is happening there and they are benefiting from it because we sell egg to them the staff”.
He refuted claims that management was not taking care of welfare of staff saying that the staff were “lying” over the claim.
The managing director of Niger Delta Basin Development Authority said staff of the agency went on strike because “some big people instigated them. Some people's tenure has finished so they want to set confusion so that the MD will be part of the confusion with them…but I'm not the Minister”.