– Barrister Inibehe Effiong declared that any youth that still supports alleged criminally-minded leaders from the Niger Delta seriously need prayers
– Effiong accused politicians from the region as responsible for the hardship being faced by people of the Niger Delta currently
– The lawyer accused former President Goodluck Jonathan of making stealing a part of his administration’s policy
Human rights lawyer and public defender, Barrister Inibehe Effiong, has alleged that the fund stolen by former Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom state is enough to fund the budget of neighbouring Ebonyi for two decades.
Effiong made the allegation in a lengthy article on social media where he condemned youths in the Niger Delta region for being in solidarity with their leaders who actually plunged the zone into its sorry state.
Akpabio, now the minority leader of the Nigerian Senate, could not be reached for his reaction.
“If you are from the Niger Delta and you are not ashamed of and disgusted by the criminals that we call our leaders in the region, you need more than prayers.
“Politicians in the region have continued to point their corrupt accusing fingers at the rest of the country to evade taking responsibility for their criminal mass looting of oil revenues accruing to the region,” he said while lamenting that much of the region’s funds have been stolen and misappropriated by the same politicians from the Niger Delta.
The lawyer, who is from Akwa Ibom alleged that in the last 10 years, nearly N3 trillion accrued to the state from the Federation and Excess Crude Accounts.
He said: “What do we have to show for it? Over 65 percent of the money has been stolen by politicians, criminals in government and perverts. The poverty level is worsening, while few people are acquiring multi-billion Naira properties across the globe.
“The money that was stolen from Akwa Ibom state alone under the administration of Godswill Akpabio could have funded the annual budget(s) of Ebonyi state for the next two to three decades.
“Instead of us demanding accountability from our leaders, we have chosen to look at Abuja as the beginning and the end of our existence.
“Have we really queried the utilisation of the hundreds of billions that has accrued to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) since its establishment? Do we care whether the bulk of the funds have been stolen and misappropriated?
“It is reported that ‘N425 billion worth of contracts awarded by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs between 2009 and 2015 down the drain with only 18 percent completion of projects and 8 percent impact. In most cases, contractors and government officials just collected the money and vamoosed, leaving the communities in penury and squalor’.”
Effiong said he supports resource control, but also supports management of resources with more vigour.
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“When Goodluck Jonathan was the President of Nigeria, he made looting and stealing an official policy of his administration.
“Jonathan was so terrible. Today, nobody can point at a single project in Akwa Ibom state that can be traced to the Jonathan regime. Even Governor Henry Seriake Dickson recently declared that Jonathan’s regime was a failure.
“Yet, we find some tribal and regional bigots from the Niger Delta defending the same Jonathan on social media simply because ‘he is our brother’; our thief, and not their thief.
“Is this a sane way to live?
“I am not saying that the federal government has not failed the people of the Niger Delta.
“But which region has really been developed by the Federal Government over the years. We are all victims of mis-governance in Nigeria.
“My point is that we should stop localizing and ethnitizing corruption and incompetence. The people of the Niger Delta must rise and demand accountability from their leaders, not just the federal government,” he advised.
Meanwhile, former President Goodluck Jonathan recently called Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state a pathological liar as the duo clashed over how the country’s Ecological Fund was reportedly distributed under the immediate past administration.
Watch what this Nigerian thinks about Jonathan and his administration: