NDDC: Forensic auditors uncover 12,128 abandoned projects— Akpabio
Senator Godswill Akpabio

By Festus Ahon

Traditional Rulers from the Niger Delta Region, Wednesday, attacked the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio over his refusal to make public the report of the forensic audit into the management of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.

The monarchs who spoke separately, expressed disappointment that Akpabio failed to fulfill his promises to the region that the report of the forensic audit into the operation of NDDC would be made public on or before July 31st, 2021, to pave the way for the inauguration of the substantive board and management of the development agency.

Calling on Senator Godswill Akpabio to resign or be sacked by President Mohammadu Buhari, for failing to deliver on his promises, the Monarchs also asked President Buhari to immediately inaugurate the board and management of the commission, screened and confirmed by the Senate in 2019.

It would be recalled that Senator Godswill Akpabio and Presidency had at many occasions assured citizens of the region that the report of the forensic audit of the NDDC initiated in 2019 would be ready by the end of July 2021.

The traditional rulers from the oil-producing communities in the region, who were unanimous that Senator Godswill Akpabio had failed his kinsmen in the region by his failure to fulfill his promises, described the much-awaited audit report as a “charade”.

They said their subjects were tired and frustrated by the failure of the minister to act swiftly on the fate of NDDC.

Pere of the oil-rich Seimbiri Kingdom, Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State, Pere Charles Ayemi Botu, doubted the readiness of Akpabio to inaugurate the NDDC board, arguing that the delay in releasing the controversial audit report was a ploy to perpetually keep a sole administrator as manager of the affairs of the commission.

Ayemi-Botu, who is a former Chairman of the Traditional Rulers of the Oil Mineral Producing Communities of Nigeria, TROMPCON, said the unending postponement of the submission date of the forensic report indicated that Akpabio was deceiving the people of the region.

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He said: “July has ended and yet the minister has not been able to present any report. His styles and antics are surely designed to perpetuate the sole administrator in office for selfish reasons. From 2019 to date, a cartel has been in charge in NDDC, stealing money with reckless abandon. Akpabio is a serial liar, he’s not a serious person and he cannot be relied upon.

“Otherwise what was the crime committed by two other members of the defunct management committee that one of them was pronounced as a saint and later made a sole administrator? Akpabio has failed the people and he should either resign or be sacked.”

Also, the Ovie of Idjerhe Kingdom, Ethiope West Local Government Area, Delta State, HRM King Monday Obukowho Whiskey, said Akpabio had lost the trust of his kinsmen in the Niger Delta due to his antecedent and his deep involvement in the affairs of NDDC.

The Monarch gave three options as a way forward, adding that “the NDDC be returned to the Presidency the same way the North East Development Commission is kept under the management of the Presidency”.

Suggesting that the board and management led by a former Deputy Governor of Edo State, Chief Pius Odubu, screened and confirmed by the Senate, be inaugurated forthwith, he said; “apart from the monthly salary of workers, the Federal Government should stop further allocation to NDDC.

“As a governor of Akwa-Ibom state, Akpabio nominated the EDP and a managing director and as a minister he appointed an interim management and so, if the Federal Government wants to do a thorough audit of NDDC, Akpabio is not a fit and proper person to superintendent it because he’s an interested party. He’s one of those, who contributed to the sorry state of NDDC.

“Consequently, we feel strongly that he (Akpabio) should be sacked as he has nothing to offer the people of the Niger Delta region”.

Speaking in the same vein, the Ovie of Agbon Kingdom, Ethiope East Local Government Area, Delta State, HRM Mike Omeru, asked President Buhari to relieve Senator Godswill Akpabio of his office, adding that Senator Godswill Akpabio by his actions, was making mockery of democratic tenets.

He said the antics of the minister was unacceptable to his subjects and urged the Senate to reject any new list that might be presented by Akpabio as fresh nominees into the board and management of the agency.

He said: “Anything short of that, the Senate would have ridiculed itself. To safe its face and maintain its credibilty, the Senate should just insist that the board that it screened and confirmed in 2019 be inaugurated by the President”.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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