The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, has assured that the forensic audit of the Niger Development Commission (NDDC), will provide “a strong base upon which a new NDDC will emerge”.
The Minister allayed the fear of NDDC stakeholders, advising that the forensic audit should be seen as an opportunity and not a witch-hunt.
He said the Presidential directive to carry out holistic examination of activities of the NDDC from its inception in 2001 to August 2019 “is not just in furtherance of the present administration’s policy agenda to check corruption but determined efforts to reposition the NDDC to change the narrative of the region”.
Akpabio, who gave the assurance while inaugurating the Field Forensic Auditors Thursday, disclosed that the eight Forensic Audit Firms were cleared by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) based on their technical competencies and financial compliance.
According to him, “Government’s effort at repositioning the Niger Delta region led to the formation of NDDC in 2000 by an Act of Law mainly to address the issues of Ecological and Socio-economic development problems at the region after many failed attempts.”
He regretted that “most of the problems that led to the failure of the previous Development Institutions created before which includes Niger Delta Development Board (NDDB) created in1958 and Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC) in 1992 all failed because their operations were marred by lack of focus, excessive corruption, political interference and high overhead cost, which are still prominent in the present NDDC.”
He maintained that “it is pertinent to have a forensic audit considering the amount of resources poured into the Commission over the years compared with the level of development recorded over the same period of time.
“The forensic audit of the Commission is supposed to examine and provide answers, as well as creating a framework for reversing the failures recorded in the past in order to recover those resources recoverable, plug the gaps and stop the waste that is keeping the region under developed.
“Therefore, the forensic audit should be seen as an opportunity and not a witch-hunt, it is considered as an important project by President Muhammadu Buhari Administration. It will also provide a strong base upon which a new NDDC will emerge.”