Presidential Committee Alleges NDDC, Customs Corrupt

PACAC Chiarman, Prof. Itse Sagey
PACAC Chiarman, Prof. Itse Sagay

The Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, PACAC, has leveled corruption allegations on two top federal government institutions namely: the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, and the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS.

Chairman of the committee, Itse Sagay, a professor of law, at the opening of a two-day national dialogue on corruption on Thursday in Abuja said that the NDDC is wasting the funds voted to it for the development of the Niger Delta on frivolous and reckless spending.

Sagay said that the NDDC recently took delivery of 70 vehicles, including 8 Super Lexus Jeeps valued at N78 million each and 10 Land cruisers worth N63 million each.

“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,” Sagay said.

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“These huge sums were plundered from their allocations and yet the Managing Director was ironically complaining as reported by the Nation newspaper of Feb. 6, 2017 that the NDDC lacks funds to execute 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,” he lamented.

Sagay also criticized the Nigeria Customs Service, which he said has recorded no change since the present administration took office in May 2015.

For instance, he said that Customs officials at the Tin Can Island, Lagos,now charge money in order to manually examine goods following the breakdown of the scanner.

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The PACAC chair noted that there were many other instances which the committee had brought to the attention of the Comptroller General during a recent visit.

He said that the Nigerian masses have over the years gotten so used to condoning corruption by government officials to the extent that there was no longer any fear of consequence by the perpetrators.

“We are definitely overwhelmed by the epidemic of kleptomania. But do we also have a collective psychiatric problem?” Sagay queried.

“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?”

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Sagay also blamed the Judiciary for contributing to the festering of corruption in the country.

He pointed out that some judges still grant adjournments running into months, contrary to the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

He also accused lawyers of contributing to the problem by using different delay tactics during corruption hearings.

Sagay revealed that PACAC has recruited a group of young lawyers to monitor court sittings and note issues of adjournments.

He said that the committee would put together a report based on information from the monitors and forwarded to the National Judicial Council for appropriate action.