The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, has disclosed that the previous managements of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) did not utilize up to 30% of the N5 trillion that accrued to the Commission in the last 20 years.
Akpabio argued that if the funds were put to use by previous administrations over the years, “we would have seen something on ground to alleviate the suffering of Niger Deltans.”
The Minister who made this statement when a delegation of members of Petrol Station Owners Association (PESOA) Rivers State chapter visited him in Abuja, said that he could not understand why Nigerians “have suddenly lost their voices and have refused to ask questions concerning the activities of NDDC since 2001 despite the orchestrated campaign of calumny against the Minister, the Ministry and Mr. President”.
According to him, “having a child with stunted growth definitely calls for worry at any time; hence the approval of forensic auditing by the President would not have been out of place. Why is it only now that the noise is loudest and the Parliament find it comfortable to embark on selective probe focusing on the last five months instead of taking a holistic view of its twenty years of existence in which N5 trillion would have been expended in the region without any tangible thing to show.”
He assured the Association that the government would do everything to ensure that the East West road is completed and commissioned in December 2021, adding that he will soon visit the site to have firsthand information of what should be done about the revaluation of compensation, demanded by the group.
In his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Adesola Olusade, noted that there was a strong reason for them to embark on this courtesy call.
He said one of the achievements of the Ministry under Senator Akpabio is the accelerated completion of the NDDC Headquarters in Port-Harcourt, River State, from 45% to over 95% completion.
The Coordinator of the Association Dr. Joseph Obele, expressed their profound gratitude to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari for releasing the funds needed for the construction of the East-West road, “which is one of the roads that contributes to the economic sustenance of the South- South region in particular and the country at large”.
Obele noted that the Niger Delta region was full of excitement when the Minister was appointed to head the MNDA by the President. He said that the appointment was based on Sen. Akpabio’s record of accomplishment as the Governor of Akwa -Ibom State, adding that the Minister has left a legacy that will be remembered by generations unborn in his State as he turned the fortunes of his people around.
He further requested that the Minister should use his good offices “to approve the revaluation of the compensation plan made six years ago concerning the 41 Petrol/filling station belonging to their members within the Eleme junction to Onne Trailer Park axis of the East- West road.”