Days after scandalous amounts in billions of naira were bandied about at the House of Representatives committee probe of alleged financial malfeasance in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the management of the Commission says it has been inundated with calls by members of the public for palliative awards who were apparently deceived into believing that it was paying money as palliatives.
When the amounts were mentioned during the probe sessions, most members of the Niger Delta public and groups were outraged and wondered why they were not included in the alleged largesse.
But the Commission, in a statement in Port Harcourt on Sunday, August 2, 2020, said it was alerting Niger Deltans to the fraudulent activities of dubious individuals who have been asking people to submit their bank details so as to benefit from the monetary palliatives from the NDDC.
It said the fraudsters have been using the social media to deceive vulnerable members of the public who have been battling to survive the scourging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is true that NDDC distributed medical aids and food items as palliatives to ameliorate the sufferings of the people in the nine states of the Niger Delta region,” the Commission said.
“The Commission, indeed, set up a committee to handle the distribution of the palliatives to cushion the effects of coronavirus on our people, especially the vulnerable ones. We also made available N775 million to support the nine states in the Niger Delta region, in addition to releasing another N270 million as palliatives for women, youths and physically challenged persons in the region.”
It said its committee on the distribution of palliatives has since concluded its assignment and so, anyone luring people to submit bank details for palliatives is a fraudster and should be treated as such.
“The public is encouraged to report such persons to security agents for appropriate sanctions,” it said.
In a related development, the Commission also raised alarm that scammers were duping members of the public with various schemes said to come from the NDDC.
The Commission, in another statement signed by its spokesperson, Charles Odili, said it has received several inquiries from potential victims, who were deceived into believing that the NDDC was currently running different training and skill acquisition programmes.
“The hapless job-seekers are being asked by these scammers to pay some enrollment fees into fake accounts.
“These criminals, who claim to be representing officials of the NDDC, deploy all sorts of devious means to dupe innocent people seeking for means of earning a living.
“Members of the public should note that these dubious individuals, who impersonate the officials of the NDDC, are exploiting the social media to carry out their nefarious activities. These criminals also deceive people that they are collating a list of contractors with jobs in the Commission and negotiating for payments.
“We advise those who have genuine businesses with the NDDC to always cross-check their information at the Commission’s official website and other social media handles. We urge them to be careful and circumspect when approached with unverified information on the activities of the Commission,” NDDC said.