*N6trn Approved in 18yrs
*13,777 Projects Awarded But Uncompleted
*NDDC Operates 362 Bank Accounts
*FG Vows to Launch Criminal Investigation
It took time in coming, compelling all stakeholders to wait for it with bathed breath. But now out at last, the forensic investigation audit launched to unearth what transpired behind closed doors in the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has unfolded a cocktail of dubious deals.
The report, presented in sacks, was received from the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, by President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented by Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami.
Among others, the reports alleges that NDDC managers set the country back by ages having misused a chunk of the over N6tr allocated to the commission in 18 years.
It adds that within the period, NDDC awarded thousands of development projects, designed to directly affect the people in the country’s oil producing Niger Delta regions but that 13,777 of the projects, valued at over N3tr, remained uncompleted even though monies for same have been disbursed.
The commission, according to the reported, operated 362 bank accounts without proper reconciliation, ostensibly orchestrated to aid the handlers in continuing in the orgy of their sleazy engagements at the expense of the people.
“It is on record that between 2001 and 2019, the Federal Government has approved N3,375,735,776,794.93; as budgetary allocation and N2,420,948,894,191.00 as income from statutory and non-statutory sources, which brings the total figure to the sum of approximately N6 trillion given to the NDDC.
“Consequently, the Federal Executive Council, FEC, approved the engagement of a Lead Forensic Auditor, as well as 16 reputable audit firms to conduct the audit exercise.
“The President is delighted that the auditors have now completed this exercise…” Malami announced while receiving the report.
Malami, who reiterated the point that the federal government is determined to address issues militating against the commission’s mandates, pointed out that the recently signed Petroleum Industry, PIA, Act, is aimed at doing just that.
“It is in the broader context of the foregoing developments that the President recently signed into law the Petroleum Industry Act, PIA, which has been a contentious issue over the years for successive governments, to bring about prudence and accountability in the petroleum sector and to give a sense of participation and ownership to the host communities.”
While promising to take appropriate actions on the report, the federal government assured that it will keep the Nigerian public abreast of” what has been spent and how that has been spent”, adding that it will not hesitate to wield the hammer where and when appropriate.
“The Federal Government will in consequence apply the law to remedy the deficiencies outlined in the audit report as appropriate.
“This will include but not limited to initiation of criminal investigations, prosecution, recovery of funds not properly utilized for the public purposes for which they were meant for review of the laws to re-position and restructure the NDDC for the efficiency of better service delivery, among others.
“In all these instances of actions, legal due processes will strictly be complied with. The President has directed that the forensic audit report be forwarded to the Federal Ministry of Justice for a legal review and relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, of government will be engaged in doing justice to the findings accordingly,” Malami said.