By Chris Ochayi
ABUJA— Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, Tuesday night, disclosed that over 12,000 projects awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, have been abandoned across the nine states that make up the region.
Senator Akpabio, who made the revelation while inaugurating the Security Committee for the field forensic auditor of NDDC in Abuja, said Rivers and Delta states have the highest records of abandoned projects in the region.
The former governor of Akwa Ibom State also revealed that NDDC was operating 311 accounts in different banks, before the advent of Treasury Single Account, TSA.
He added that some funds were even forgotten in some banks because of the large numbers of accounts been maintained by the commission during the period.
The minister charged the security committee to be vigilant and ensure adequate security is provided for the 16-member auditors in the course of discharging their duties.
The committee membership is drawn from the military; Department State Services, DSS; Independent Corrupt Practice and other related offences, ICPC; Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC; Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC and the Police.
Akpabio noted that the scope of the investigation is massive and first of its kind, adding, “I can say this is the first time in the history of this country that this kind of exercise is taking place. it is a very major exercise.
“And I am happy that the armed forces have taken it very serious by sending very senior officers to be on this security committee.
“There was an attempt in 1958 to set up a developmental agency for the Niger Delta region, that did not go down well at the end.
“And various attempts have been made up to 1990-91 when OMPADEC was also inaugurated and came in to be. But the result did not solve the problem of the Niger Delta.
“The agitation that the neglect and the seeming poverty of the region continued because of the environmental hazard and exploitation and all that, are still there.”