Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The Federal Government has on Tuesday inaugurated a security committee for the field Forensic Auditors of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The committee which was inaugurated by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen Godswill Akpabio, involves auditors who will audit the activities of the commission over the last 19 years and and also security agencies who will help secure the auditors as they commence the excercise.
At the inauguration, Sen Akpabio said that this is the first time in Nigeria’s history where such an auditing excercise will be carried out. He said that though 95 per cent of Nigeria’s economy is from the oil in Niger Delta, not much development has come to the region because of the failure of NDDC.
He said: “There has been complaints about duplicated projects in the NDDC, there has also been complaints about the stunted growth of the NDDC in the last 19 years. But above all, there are complaints about the corruption that has taken place. From what I have seen from my assessment, I describe it like an ATM where people were going in there to pluck money for elections.
“I must say that this is the first time in our nation’s history that this kind of auditing excercise is taken place and therefore it is a major excercise. So I am happy that the armed forces have taken this very seriously by sending very senior officers to be on this security committee.”
Akpabio further stressed that the exercise is aimed at repositioning the NDDC to help fulfill its mandate of developing the Niger Delta region. He noted that the committee is very much needed now because of the thousands of abandoned projects in the region.
He went on to mention that the NDDC has over 300 bank accounts, and said that they will all be traced and audited properly. Speaking about the amnesty program, he said it has become a problem in the region, stressing that the program was not supposed to be a permanent program.
“The program was supposed to last for ten years and was supposed to be for those who had taken to arms at the time. But now, we see young Niger Deltans who are struggling to get into Amnesty program and then take to arms to reach that aim,” he said.
Akpabio finally thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his support of the region and mention that the President had released almost N20b for the development of the region