By Ignatius Ushie
The Honourable Minister, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs (MNDA), Senator Godswill Akpabio (CON) has appealed to the Federal Government to urgently consider the implementation of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Forensic Audit Report presented to the President.
In a statement made available to Transport Day in Abuja, the Minister made this known during the presentation of report on Forensic Audit of the NDDC to Mr. President in Abuja.
He noted that implementation of the report would not only demonstrate the President’s commitment to addressing the challenges of development in the Niger Delta Region but would also help to reposition NDDC towards the provision of infrastructural and socio-.economic benefit to the people.
Akpabio, while giving a brief history of the National assignment, said that President Muhammadu Buhari had directed for holistic conduct of the Forensic Audit of the Commission in order to ascertain the huge gap between resources invested and the present state of infrastructural, human and economic development of the region with a view of repositioning the Interventionist Agency for more effective service delivery on its mandate. According to him
“Your commitment and resolve to the upliftment of standard of living in the Niger Delta Region and Nigeria at large necessitated the initiation of the Forensic Audit exercise which has now been successfully completed despite efforts to truncate the exercise by those who had unjustly benefitted in the past and those currently benefiting from the loopholes in the commission’s policies and operating procedures”, adding that Funds were provided for administrative, logistics and robust security support put in place for the assignment.
The Forensic Audit covered a period of 19 years from August 2001-2019 with a total of 13,777 contracts for programmes and projects awarded to Contractors/ Consultants in all the (9) Nine Niger Delta States at a total final contract value of N3,274,206,032,213.24. while receiving the NDDC Forensic Audit report on behalf of the President, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami stated that “we owe it a duty to the people of the Niger Delta to improve their standard of living through the provision of adequate infrastructural and socio-economic development. It was therefore imperative to conduct the Forensic Audit to ensure probity and accountability in the use of public funds, of which the exercise have been completed and report presented today”.
He mentioned that the present administration is determined to address challenges militating against the delivery of the mandate of the NDDC to the people of the Niger Delta Region, assuring that the report and recommendations will be critically analysed for necessary action and implementation.
The representative of the Lead Consultant, Olumuyiwa Basiru and Co, Kabir Ahmed, speaking on behalf of the Sixteen Forensic Audit firms formally engaged to carry out Forensic audit of the NDDC, stated that despite daunting challenges and obstacles encountered in the process of executing the assignment, “the report of the forensic audit has been completed in compliance with the Terms and Conditions of our engagement”.
Kabir said that the recommendations on the restructuring and repositioning are far-reaching and extensive, which if fully implemented would transform the institution and enable the development of the region.