…Says exercise not a witch-hunt
…Assures new Niger Delta will emerge after exercise
By Chris Ochayi
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio has charged the audit firms conducting the forensic audit of the activities of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC to come with a report that will serve as benchmark for reposition the Commission for other development agencies to emulate.
Senator Akpabio, who gave the charge, while inaugurating the last batch of eight forensic auditors, weekend in Abuja, further asked them to go through all the nooks and crannies of the region to ascertain all the activities and utilization of funds by the NDDC since inception to August 2019.
The minister stated that “In spite of the misplaced reservations and resistance by various interest groups from within and outside the Niger Delta region, we are today witnessing another important milestone in our guest to ensure the actualisation of the presidential directives to undertake the Forensic Audit of NDDC covering a period of approximately twenty years from 2001 to 2019 against all odds.”
According to him, “This bold attempt by Mr. President to order the holistic examination of the activities of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, from inception to date has clearly demonstrated his concern and love for the good people of the Niger Delta region.
“I have no doubt that your Firms have gone through critical and in-depth assessment by relevant authorities to have come this far in order to understand the enormity of the task ahead.
“The Forensic Audit, to all intent and purpose should be seen as an opportunity to assess our performance in the region and not a witch-hunt.
“It is considered as an important project by this administration because it will, apart from righting the wrongs, it will also provide a strong base upon which a new Niger Delta Development Commission will emerge.
“We must not allow this laudable project to be scuttled by those benefitting today immensely from the current situation to the detriment of the people of Niger Delta.
“It is expected that at the end of the forensic audit exercise as directed by Mr. President, a new NDDC that will be socially responsive and responsible, as well as a catalyst for economic opportunities for the majority of the people of the region in the provision of good education and health, information technology, infrastructural development, trade and industry, and above all, youth and women development will emerge.
“Furthermore, considering the various interest shown by both the stakeholders and those who had benefitted from the mismanagement of the funds meant to develop the region over the years, in addition to the volatility of the region, I have constituted and inaugurated a Security Committee to provide the needed security to all your personnel and properties throughout the duration of the audit exercise.”
Members of the security committee headed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs according to Senator Akpabio are drawn from the Navy, Army, Police, Department of State Service, DSS, Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps, NSCDC, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, ICPC.