The attention of the Management of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) has been drawn to a misleading report by a blog “forefrontng.com“, which was also used by Nigerian Tribune online, insinuating that the Commission’s allocation for Research and Development was unjustifiably spent.
Mr Abdur-Rahman Balogun, Head, Media, Public Relations and Protocols Unit, NiDCOM in a statement in Abuja on Monday described the allegation as judgemental and derogatory.
First, the background. On the 21st of January, 2022, we responded to a letter from NUJ FCT Chapter, signed by Emmanuel Ogbeche and Ochaka Ugwu seeking to know details of expenditure of our line item budget on Research and Development. As an agency which prides itself on openness and transparency, NIDCOM Management obliged them, invited them to the Commission and showed all records of expenditure for the entire budget of 2021. To now twist facts and figures and come up with such a ridiculous headline and story, smirks of sinister and mischievous intention.
NIDCOM has an FOI Unit, in our Legal Department, and opens its doors to all enquiries. For the reporter to have twisted the information we willingly and quickly gave is unprofessional, misleading, mischievous and depicts lack of knowledge on reporting budget issues and total ignorance, worsened with an intention to destroy the good image of NiDCOM.
Every spending from NiDCOM’s meagre resources is justifiable and prudently spent and we say that without any iota of doubt.
We operate an open door policy and we always welcome professional groups, NGOs , etc who have questions to ask.
The Commission will resist any attempt to blackmail , distract it , or succumb to evil forces of mischief-makers.
Our openness, transparency and accountability should not be taken for granted and we will not succumb to any form of blackmail.
We actually look forward to improved funding for NiDCOM, which is definitely underfunded despite its global nature, mandate and activities.
Despite a 2022 Budget of N165m for capital (which has a shortfall of 187 million from the 2021 budget) and N100m for overhead (about N8m a month), we are determined to continue to do our best to fulfill the vision and mission for which NiDCOM was set up.
Meanwhile, your use of the word “squander” is judgmental and derogatory.
We shall formally lay a complaint against the NUJ Abuja Chapter to the National Body of the NUJ and invite them to see the same documents, (which we actually attached to the letter we sent to the NUJ FCT Chairman) that their members maliciously twisted.
We urge NUJ National to be fair, firm and thorough. We shall not allow ourselves be distracted.