Sagay: NDDC diverting funds meant for the ‘wretched people’ of Niger Delta

Professor Itse Sagay

Itse Sagay, chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee (PACAC), has accused the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) of being reckless with funds meant for development.

Sagay alleged that the commission recently bought 70 cars, including eight Super Lexus Jeeps at N78 million each and 10 Landcruisers, each costing N63 million.

He said the vehicles were acquired with funds meant for the provision of water, housing, hospital, schools and infrastructure development in the Niger Delta region.

Sagay spoke at the opening of a two-day national dialogue on corruption organised by PACAC in collaboration with the Office of the vice-president.

“The cars were bought with money from funds meant for infrastructure, water, housing, hospital, schools, without conscience and without a thought for the wretched people of the Niger Delta,” he said.

“These huge sums were plundered from their allocations and yet the managing director was ironically complaining as reported by the Nation newspaper of February 6, 2017 that the NDDC lacks funds to executive projects.

“The managing director also said that NDDC was in debt up to the tune of N1.2 trillion. What an irony!

“The recklessness with which public officers spend public funds is insensitive to the point of insanity. The level of insensitivity has become pathological.”

Sagay also took a swipe at the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), saying nothing has changed since the current administration came on board in May 2015.

He cited the instance at Tin Can Island, Lagos, where customs officials are said to be charging fees to physically examine goods, following the breakdown of the scanner.

He described it as “brazen corruption”, and said there were many other instances which PACAC brought to the attention of Hammed Ali, comptroller-general of customs, during a recent visit to him.

Sagay said there was public apathy to issues of corruption in the country, noting that the people’s attitude to graft had become hardened.

“Now, we need to ask ourselves what the problem really is. We are definitely overwhelmed by the epidemic of kleptomania. But do we also have a collective psychiatric problem?” he asked.

“Why should a person loot what he cannot spend in 10 lifetimes, thereby exposing the rest of the population to misery, hunger, poverty and wretchedness?”

Sagay also reflected on judicial corruption, saying some judges still grant adjournments running into months in contravention of provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

He accused lawyers of contributing to the problem by using different delay tactics thereby causing the nation great embarrassment.

He said he had suggested to PACAC on the need to recruit a group of young lawyers to monitor court sittings and note issues of adjournments.

According to him, the reports sent by the monitors will be compiled and sent to the National Judicial Council (NJC) for appropriate action.

He faulted the recent public demonstrations against the present administration, saying they were sponsored by those who lost elections and those whose appointments were not renewed.

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About Gbolagade O. Adebisi 1575 Articles
For over 25 years, (Gbola)’s focus has been on Government and Institutional Business. His involvement has ranged from the Federal, State and Local Governments as well as Donor – funded programmes and projects. [...]

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