Leader of the Network for the Defence of Democratic and Good Governance (NDDGG) Ambassador Sobomabo Jackrich has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to hold Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike accointable in case of the mismanagement of the refunded N78.9 billion by the federal government.
He also accused Wike of compromising all government appointees and elected officials of the state from the Riverine axis including his deputy governor a woman, whom, he said, he has relegated to the background without any form of respect or responsibility in flagrant breach of the 1999 constitution.
A statement signed by Sobomabo Jackrich and Sankara E. Young, onbehalf NDDGG, said President Buhari “who has continued to show commitment to the development of the Niger Delta and particularly Rivers state, should kindly ensure, although Rivers state government is not an appendage of the federal government, he should ensure that monies allocated to the state particularly the N78.9 billion is accounted for and does not continue to develop wings.”
“We commend His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari for the magnanimity of his government to make refunds of seventy-eight billion, nine hundred million Naira (78.9 billion Naira) to rivers government as confirmed by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state in his thank you letter to the President.
“You will recall that sometime in June 2020, the NDDGG in line with the Freedom of Information Act, wrote the Rivers state government some letters seeking explanation concerning a publication in The Nation Newspaper over a certain 118 billion Naira which it allegedly embezzled but the state has still not responded appropriately.
The group further alleged that Governor Wike has continued to run a government that lacks transparency, saying: “Rivers state government does not have any accessible budget since the inception of Governor Nyesom Wike in 2015 till date and whereas the budget of Rivers state 2020 if any, that the government should publish details as to how and what projects the 78.9 billion would be used for in line with the Public Procurement Laws. This will enable interested watchers to monitor the process to avoid irregularities and diversion of the money.
“The state government should publish identifiable and verifiable projects wherein it expended the proceeds of the thirteenth per cent (13%) derivation funds allocated to the Oil bearing Communities through its account by the federal government of Nigeria from 2015 till date.
“The federal government should review the 13% derivation funds to integrate a committee of community-appointed representatives of Oil Producing Communities in the structure to manage the funds. This will enable them to determine what projects are carried out in their respective Oil-producing Communities.
“This trust fund structure should have both anti-graft and civil society representatives as to checkmate the activities of the committee particularly in Rivers state where these monies are not accounted for during the reign of this current administration.
NDDGG also accused Wike of marginalizing the riverine areas of the state despite producing 60% of its oil revenue.
“The Rivers state government should publish verifiable mega projects it has executed in the riverine part of the states which produces over 60% of revenue derived in the state and contributes to the GDP of the federation but has been deliberately marginalised by the Nyesom Wike administration in the areas of the project citing and general government attention etc.
“The Rivers State Governor has compromised all government appointees and elected officials of the state from the Riverine axis including his deputy governor a woman, whom he has relegated to the background without any form of respect or responsibility in flagrant breach of the 1999 constitution.
“All proposed bridges and roads that should open up and connect the riverine communities of the state for economic and social opportunities have been placed on perpetual embargo by the Governor. Even though the majority of the riverine communities are oil-producing and are beneficiaries of the 13% derivation funds, the state government has refused to utilize it but rather embezzle it”.
It further called on President Buhari to hold governor Wike accountable for the mismanagement of the refunded N78.9 billion.