The Nigerian government says it was concerned that over 13,777 projects being handled by the Niger Delta Development Commission have their execution “substantially compromised.”
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said this while receiving the forensic audit report of the NDDC from the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, in Abuja on Thursday.
President Buhari had, in 2019, ordered a forensic audit of the NDDC’s operations from 2001 to 2019.
Kemebradikumo Pondei, the then-Acting Managing Director of the commission, was sacked over allegations of mismanagement of funds, and in December 2020, the President appointed Effiong Akwa as the new head of the agency.
In his speech, Malami also noted that 362 accounts belonging to the NDDC were not properly reconciled.
According to him, the essence of the forensic audit was to ensure accountability in the use of public funds.
The minister said, “It is on record that between 2001 and 2019, the Federal Government has approved N3,375,735,776,794.93 as budgetary allocation and N2,420,948,894,191.00 as Income from Statutory and Non Statutory Sources, which brings the total figure to the sum of approximately N6 trillion given to the Niger Delta Development Commission.
“The Federal Government is particularly concerned with the colossal loss occasioned by uncompleted and unverified development projects in the Niger Delta region, in spite of the huge resources made available to uplift the living standard of the citizens.
“We have on record over 13,777 projects, the execution of which is substantially compromised. The Federal Government is also concerned with the multitudes of Niger Delta Development Commission’s bank accounts amounting to 362 and lack of proper reconciliation of accounts.”
Malami said it was clear that considerable resources have been channelled by the Federal Government to the development of the Niger Delta from 2001 to 2019.
He said it was therefore important for the Federal Government and the public to be properly informed of what has been spent and how that has been spent.
“The essence of the forensic audit is to ensure probity and accountability in the use of public funds. It is against this background that the Federal Government will without hesitation strategically implement all aspects of the audit exercise that will promote probity and greater prosperity for the Niger Delta Region and Nigeria as whole,” he asserted.
Malami added that the Petroleum Industry Act recently signed into law was to “to bring about the prudence and accountability in the Petroleum Sector and to give a sense of participation and ownership to the Host communities.”