By Prince Okafor
NIGERIA Extractive Indus-tries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), yesterday, said that N7.4 billion allocated to member states of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for grass root development could not be accounted for, while twenty two of such projects valued at N1.19 billion were duplicated.
The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Waziri Adio, who made this known at a retreat organized by the Commission in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, noted that $1.98 billion were remitted to the NDDC between 2007 and 2014, adding: “This was in addition to the sum of N594 billion paid to the Commission in local currency during the same period. The breakdown of the remittances show that NDDC received N594 billion from 2007 to 2011 while $559 million was paid to the Commission in 2012.”
NEITI report also showed that in 2013, the NDDC received $563 billion while in 2014, the sum of $865 million were remitted to the Commission.
Adio who was represented by NEITI’s Director, Communications, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, also said it will partner with the NDDC to enthrone transparency and accountability in the operations of the Commission.
He noted that the NDDC and NEITI were set up with similar mandates targeted at addressing the syndrome of resource curse, a situation where countries like Nigeria blessed with abundant natural resources find their larger population living in abject poverty as a result of over dependence on the natural resource and mismanagement of revenues accruing from the resource.
He lamented that over the years public perception of NDDC was more of an agency with huge revenue resources but with little impact on the lives of the people of the Niger Delta and urged the new team at the NDDC to carry out a corruption risk assessment that will enable the agency develop a framework to strengthen its operations.
He told the new board and management of the NDDC to carry out an independent project implementation audit, commit to good corporate governance and the principles of the global extractive industries transparency initiative.
The Managing Director of the NDDC, Mr. Nsima Ekere, welcomed the emerging partnership between NEITI and the NDDC and pledged to use the NEITI’s reports as major tools to enthrone accountability and corporate governance
He gave the assurance that the NDDC under the new Board and management will fully embrace the principles of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to reverse the resource curse syndrome in the Niger Delta, through efficient resource utilization, corporate governance and project delivery.