Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
president Muhammadu Buhari said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has recovered over N3.7 billion and various assets worth billions of naira from contractors and former directors of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
“Furthermore, I am told that Government agencies have placed liens on over N6 billion of assets which are being investigated,” he said.
He made the disclosure yesterday, in Abuja, at the inauguration of NDDC Advisory Committee, comprising nine governors of the Niger Delta region and the ministers of Niger Delta Affairs and Environment.
Buhari said it was in the bid to forestal graft and impunity that he approved that forensic audit should be carried out on the commission and an advisory board inaugurated.
The Niger Delta states are Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers.
The President told the advisory committee that the abuses of the past showed the need for strict and diligent oversight of the NDDC.
He said he looked forward to seeing positive changes in the administration of the NDDC as well as improvement in infrastructure in the Niger Delta region.
Buhari said in 2016, his administration launched the “New Vision for the Niger Delta (NEVIND)” aimed at bringing sustainable peace, security, infrastructure and human capital development to the region.
According to him, the medium to achieve this objective was through the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, NDDC and the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).
He however, expressed regret that in the past these institutions were unable to deliver their mandates due to mismanagement.
Speaking on behalf of the members of the Advisory Committee, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State thanked the President for inaugurating the committee and granting the request of governors from the region for a forensic audit of the NDDC.
He said the advisory board though established by the NDDC Act had not been in place for sometime. The committee was last in place during the Olusegun Obasanjo administration.
He expressed the hope that the result from the forensic audit would help streamline the activities of the NDDC with a view to putting it on course to deliver on its mandate to the people.
Niger Delta Minister, Mr. Godswill Akpabio, who spoke on the forensic audit, disclosed that 55 companies were currently going through evaluations and that majority of them were international firms. He said the lead consultant for the audit had divided the region into 16 lots based on the volume of work.
Akpabio said the consultant would also do personnel auditing and recommend governance structure for the NDDC in other to check future excesses or abuses.