Stakeholders from the Niger Delta region have hailed the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, following last week’s submission of a final report on the forensic audit of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to President Muhammadu Buhari. The stakeholders who are members of Centre for Responsive Leadership and Transparency, said with the conclusion of the audit of the NDDC, the coast oss is now clear for the people of the Niger Delta to reap the true dividends of democracy. Executive Director of the Centre, Comrade Preye Dressman, in a statement issued Sunday in Abuja, called on Niger Delta leaders to support the minister in restoring the lost glory of NDDC in line with the vision of President Buhari. Dressman said the era of recklessness and misappropriation of funds by the managers of NDDC will now become history with Akpabio piloting the affairs of the Commission.
He said; “We congratulate Senator Godswill Akpabio for keeping to his promise to submit the report on forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to President Muhammadu Buhari. Saboteurs are the ones calling for the constitution of a board based on the existing system of following alphabetical order. Recall our earlier position on the forensic investigation before the confirmation by the Senate about two years ago. If a new board is constituted now, they will have a roadmap that will be defined by the report. We call on stakeholders in the Niger Delta region to continue to give Akpabio the full support he needs to carry out the mandate of the Commission given to him by President Muhammadu Buhari. We will continue to be consistent in our firm belief in the values of transparency in the management of public finance as demonstrated by Akpabio in the final submission of the forensic report.”
Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, had while receiving the report on behalf of President Buhari, last week, decried that bulk of funds the Commission received for the development of the Niger Delta region, was diverted into private pockets, noting that execution of 13,777 projects were substantially compromised.
Malami said the essence of the forensic audit was to ensure probity and accountability in the use of public funds. He said the federal government was concerned that the NDDC operated a total of 362 bank accounts, leading to “lack of proper reconciliation of accounts”. Malami maintained that the Buhari-led government would in consequence, apply the law to remedy the deficiencies outlined in the audit report, as well as to recover funds that were not properly utilised for the public purposes they were meant for.