Abuja, Nov. 26, 2019
The Federal Government says that the forensic audit being carried out on the operations of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) will ensure a well set governance structure for the commission.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, told newsmen on the sideline of the investigative hearing by the House of Representatives Committee on NDDC on Tuesday.
The committee, chaired by Rep. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo (APC-Ondo) was on the Need to Stop Illegality in the NDDC.
President Muhammadu Buhari had, in October, ordered a forensic audit on the operations of the NDDC from 2001 to 2019 following criticisms of the operations of the commission.
Akpabio said that the audit would reveal the reason for the failure of NDDC after 18 years of its establishment.
“The forensic audit is all encompassing; it is about management, the projects, the quality of the deliveries.
“At the end of the audit, I will expect that the governance structure will have been well set.
”I will expect that we will now have the total number of projects and the total number of people who collected money without doing those projects.
“Above all, we would have made NDDC bankable; it is important that such an organisation should be able to approach African Export Import Bank and bring in money and build major industries, service a lot of medium and small scale industries for employment opportunities.
“So we plan for what I call post amnesty initiatives where more than 3,000 youths are in amnesty now. They cannot remain in amnesty that is why the need to have a new NDDC.
“That is the reason for the forensics and people should not think it is targeted at anybody.
”It is to find out what went wrong and how come that people do not own any of the projects of the NDDC because we cannot say it has been a success story,” he said.
The minister also said that the audit would show the responsibilities the Federal Government had to NDDC and how far it carried them out.
“If NDDC is suffering from limitations on account of monies owed by the Federal Government this audit will also bring that out,” he said.
Earlier in his opening speech, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila said the house had resolved to investigate the operations of the commission.
Gbajabiamila, who was represented by the Deputy Majority Leader of the house, Rep. Peter Akpatason, said the investigation was to identify issues that had mitigated against the full achievements of the commission’s goals.
“After these many years, the people of the region and Nigerians are rightly beginning to wonder if the establishment of the NDDC has served any real purpose or made and measurable positive impact on the lives of the people in the region.
“Everything is on the table; whether corruption or mismanagement is the issue, we will uncover them and take necessary corrective actions and we will do so without political consideration or preference for any predetermined outcomes.
“Where funding or the lack of it thereof has been an issue, we will also take action to remedy the situation,” he said.
He said the objective of the committee was to ensure the commission was “properly positioned to carry out its mandate effectively and meet the obligations it owes to the Niger Delta and the nation”.
Also speaking, the chairman of the committee said the hearing would be”fair, thorough and we will follow due process”.
“At the end of the day, we will do our best to ensure that we would be able to produce an NDDC that will work for the progress of the Niger Delta.
“We hope that under this administration, Niger-Delta will be taken to the next level.
“I want to appeal to us to work as a team and know fully well that there is nothing to gain from dispute.”
The investigative hearing was, however, held in a closed door session.