By Olalekan Awojodu
After Ten months of Forensic Audit Exercise, the Federal Government has received the much awaited consolidated report on the forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) project and programs since inception in the year 2000.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in 2019 gave directive that a Forensic Audit of the Exercise of Projects and Programs of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) covering the period of 19 years, from the formation date of NDDC in year 2000 to 2019 be carried out.
The Audit exercise which covered the Nine States of the region was carried out by Olumuyiwa Basiru and Co Audit Firm as the Lead Consultant, while Sixteen other Forensic Auditors gave their support while the exercise lasted.
The highpoint of the event was the formal handing over of the report by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator GodsWill Akpabio to his Justice Ministry counterpart, Abubakar Malami SAN.
While receiving the report at his office in Abuja on Thursday, Malami said the move was to reposition the NDDC for effective service delivery.
According to Malami, the action taken by the President Buhari’s Administration, was borne out of huge gaps noticed between resources invested in the region and call for the audit by the people of the Niger Delta Region.
The minister noted further that the federal government was particularly concerned with the collosal loss occasioned by uncompleted and unverified development projects in the region, in spite of huge resources made available to uplift the living standards of the people.
“We have on record over 13,777 projects, the execution of which is substantially compromised coupled with improper reconciliation of about 362 NDDC bank accounts.
“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, adding that approximately Six Trillion Naira had so far been given to the NDDC,” he said.
Malami therefore assured that government will apply the law to remedy the deficiencies outlined in the report, adding that the report of the forensic report and recommendations will also be critically analysed for necessary action and implementation.
In his own speech, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio commended the President commitment towards the upliftment of the standard of living in the Niger Delta Region and Nigeria at large.
The Minister disclosed that there were examination and documentation of a total 13,777 contracts for projects and programmes awarded to contractors/consultants in all Niger Delta States from 2001 to 2019 at a final contract value of N3,274,206,032,213.24.
Akpabio said, “The profligacy exhibited by NDDC previous management Teams also contributed to their unwillingness to see the positive change planned by your Administration for the Commission.
The Minister observed further that despite efforts to truncate the exercise by those who had unjustly benefited in the past and those currently benefiting from the Commission’s policies and operating procedures, the historic exercise was successful.
He then commended the robust security support by the combined efforts of the Nigerian Army, Navy, Nigerian Police Force, Directorate of State Security Service (DSS), and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).