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Return siphoned/diverted NDDC fund to it or face actions – Group tells EFCC

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A Civil Society group, the Act for Positive Transformation Initiative (APTI), has advised the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to return all monies collected from oil-producing companies in the Niger Delta on behalf of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) from 2020 to date to the commission.

The group stated this at a media briefing on Wednesday in Abuja. It also gave the anti-graft agency a seven-day ultimatum to return the funds it allegedly collected but didn’t remit, and stop further collection going forward.

The Director in charge of Research, Strategy and Programming of APTI, Mr Kolawole Johnson who briefed the media recalled how his organization in collaboration with other NGOs carried out extensive research and investigation of the rot in the NDDC under previous managements which ran without a legitimate board in place.

The statement reads, “Against the backdrop of the enabling law regulating the administration of the Niger Delta Development Commission’s funds and assets, the Federal Government through the Economic and Financial Crime Commission has since 2020 engaged in financial illegalities that are daily shortchanging the Commission and the people of the Niger Delta region.

“Believing in the anti-corruption mantra of the Federal Government, a coalition of civil society organizations working with The Act for Positive Transformation Initiatives launched a campaign for probity and accountability on the Niger Delta Development Commission in the year 2020. Thus far, the campaign has merely exposed the present administration as one that only pays lip service to the war against corruption as it has failed to take any deterrent steps despite the volume of evidence presented.

“Rather, the government took advantage of the campaign to engage in systemic feasting on the Commission’s resources.
The Act establishing the Niger Delta Development Commission, without ambiguity, gave the Commission the exclusive power to determine how its assets and funds are to be held and regulated.

“Since 2020, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has taken over, albeit illegally, the role of collecting 3% of the total annual budget of oil-producing companies (The major revenue source for the NDDC) on behalf of the NDDC without remitting the same to the Commission.

“This was done without any legal justification and in flagrant disregard of the NDDC Establishment Act, 2000. By this act, the EFCC ambushed the provision of section 14(2) (b) of the NDDC Act, diverting and syphoning funds assigned, allotted and due to the NDDC.

“Note: oil companies are the largest contributor to the NDDC’s revenue.
This act of the EFCC is ultra-vires of the powers of the EFCC provided in the EFCC Act 2004 of which collecting funds allocated by law to another body enacted by law does not apply.

“Curiously, in the course of a close investigation, the anti-graft agency appeared not to have created a dedicated account for this fund, fueling suspicion that the Agency might have turned in a chunk of the fund into recovery for the Federal Government.

The said fund cannot be classified under recovery and thus, cannot be kept under a government recovery account.

“Some concerned officials from the region have always been willing tools in perpetuating this illegality, perhaps for the satisfaction of feudal lords.

The immediate past Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and the present Minister cannot feign ignorance.

As recent as December 2022, The Minister, claiming to be working on approval from the president, was hoping to access the sum of Four Hundred and Eighty Billion Naira {{480,000,000,000} from the NDDC’s fund with the anti-graft agency to fund some special emergency projects.

“Of note, by law, EFCC is not a revenue collection agency and thus, cannot make itself one through the back door through hoodwinking and instrument of blackmail.

“The law only gives the power to specify how NDDC assets are to be held to the management and Board of the Commission, not EFCC or any other agency of government, not even the Ministry of Finance or the Federal Inland Revenue Service. EFCC cannot assume the role of NDDC management under any guise. It is unlawful and illegal,” the group argued.

It, therefore, made a 4-point demand that includes,”Immediate discontinuance of demand for the 3% of the total annual budget of the oil-producing companies operating onshore and offshore in the Niger Delta, including the gas-producing companies.

“The refund by the EFCC to the NDDC, immediately without illegal deductions of commission or charges whatsoever, within seven (7) days of all the 3% of the total annual budget of the oil-producing companies operating onshore and offshore in the Niger-Delta states including the gas producing companies that have been taken by the EFCC on behalf of the NDDC since 2020.

“The EFCC should within seven working days give a proper account of what has been collected thus far and make the same public for the purpose of accountability.
“While assuming that the Economic and Financial Crime Commission will do what is just in this regard by returning the total sum collected thus far, we call on the Commission to release the fund to a dedicated NDDC account not to be touched till after the general elections and even after the general elections, the management of the Commission should ensure every penny taken out of the fund is properly accounted for probity.’

It also quoted copiously, relevant portions of the NDDC establishment Act to further buttress its position.

“Section 14 of the Niger Delta Development Act 2000 is hereby reproduced below for clarification.

14 (1) The Commission shall establish and maintain a fund from which shall be defrayed all expenditure incurred by the commission.

“(2) There shall be paid and credited to the fund established pursuant to subsection (1) of the section –

(a) From the Federal Government, the equivalent of 15 per cent of the total monthly statutory allocations due to member states of the Commission from the Federal Account; this being the contribution of the Federal Government to the Commission;

“(b) 3 per cent of the total annual budget of any oil-producing company operating onshore and offshore, in the Niger Delta area, including gas processing companies;
“(c) 50 per cent of money due to member states of the Commission from the ecological fund;

“(d) Such monies as may from time to time, be granted or lent or deposited with the Commission by the Federal Government or a State Government, or any other body or institution whether local or foreign;

“(e) All monies raised for the purposes of the Commission by way of gifts, loans, grants-in-aid, testamentary deposition or otherwise; and
“(f) Proceeds from all other assets that may, from time to time, accrue to the Commission.

“(3) The funds shall be managed in accordance with the rules made by the Board, and without prejudice to the generality of power to make rules under this subsection, the rules shall, in particular, contain provisions –


“From the above, no other agency of government is given the power to collect revenue on behalf of the Commission.”

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