RAIL PROJECT: ANEEJ Calls for Full-Scale Investigation into the $15 Billion MoU between NDDC, US firm.
BENIN CITY, NIGERIA. May 10, 2023… The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, anchor of the anti-corruption cluster of SCALE project has called on the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, commission a full-scale investigation into the alleged $15 billion Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and a US firm, Atlanta Global Resources Inc. for a mega rail project.
The Executive Director of ANEEJ, the Rev. David Ugolor, made the call in a swift reaction to a statement issued by the Chairman of the NDDC governing board recently, in which she disowned the said MoU for the construction of a Mega rail project across the Niger Delta, from Lagos to Calabar, as “illegal” and “shady” because, according to the Chairperson, it lacks NDDC board authorization and FEC approval.
“We applaud the NDDC Chairman for taking such a bold step by publicly exposing this unlawful arrangement which demonstrates her commitment to due process, transparency and accountability,” Ugolor stated.
“We expected that the new management of NDDC would learn from the mistakes of past administration who brazenly plunged the commission into huge scandal through fraudulent contracts and mismanagement of public funds.
“The action of the management of the commission should be duly investigated and those found wanting should be sanctioned to serve as a deterrent to others who may have similar intentions,”. Ugolor demanded.
It will be recalled that the chairperson of NDDC Board, Lauretta Onochie issued a statement to condemn the action of the commission on the controversial rail project and insisted that the NDDC has not and could not have signed an MOU, worth $15 billion (USD) without the Board and FEC’s approval.
ANEEJ and its eight (8) cluster members are implementing the “Enhancing Anti-corruption and Social Inclusive Reform Initiatives in Nigeria” project, which is a subset of the Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) project being implemented by Palladium with support from USAID. The project is advocating for reforms in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), to improve the livelihoods of the people of the oil-rich Niger Delta Region.