By Christiana Ekpa
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio on Tuesday eulogised President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to conduct forensic audit of the accounts and operations of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Senator Akpabio who spoke to after the 2019/2020 budget defence held in Abuja, disclosed that the audit will be carried out on state to state basis.
President Buhari’s directive came few days after the Ad-hoc Committee chaired by Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai concluded its investigation on NDDC from 2000 to 2019.
As stipulated in the 2020 budget estimates presented by Mr. President, total sum of N80.88 billion was proposed for Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as one of the beneficiaries of the First Line Charge.
According to the office of the Accountant General of the Federation (oAGF), total sum of N738.026 billion has so far been released to Niger Delta Development Commission over the past 19 years for implementation of projects in the nine oil producing states, while the report from the office of the Auditor-General of the Federation showed that total sum of N70.4 billion for varioua abandoned projects awarded to 1,723 contractors by the NDDC.
Nigerian Tribune reliably gathered that the Hon. Ossai-led Adhoc Committee is expected to lay its report when the House resumes plenary next week.
While responding to questions on the proposed forensic audit from the newsmen, Senator Akpabio said: “if you were to be a Nigerian who has benefited from the NDDC in the last 10 years, and you have not carried out the jobs, but you were able to build houses, you will be happy that the NDDC has lived up to expectations, because your pocket was moved forward.
“But if you are from the region and you have no road to pass, but the road has been awarded, you will be disappointed.
“But if you are President of a country like President Muhammadu Buhari, and you know that billions has gone in there and you are not getting commensurate result, then you will take the kind of action that he has taken to order for forensic auditing both in terms of projects and finances of the NDDC from day one, so that you can see where the money has been going.
“We are going to look into what has gone into each State in terms of projects, what stages they are and how much they have been paid and why do we have 12,000 abandoned projects which are the projects we can take as low hanging fruits and complete them for the benefit of the people.
“Things cannot be the same. I am agent of change, my colleagues the Minister of State believe strongly in change. We have confidence in what the President is doing and we are assuring the Nigerian public that NDDC after 2019 cannot be the same again,” Senator Akpabio assured.