… Says Commission Receives N6Tn in 19 Years
…Operates 362 Bank Accounts
The Federal Government has said it allocated N6teillion to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) between 2001 and 2019.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami made the comment when he got the forensic audit report of the NDDC from his Niger Delta counterpart Godswill Akpabio.
“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,” Malami said during the event which took place in Abuja.
According to the minister, the figure is an indication that the Federal Government has allocated a good amount of funds to the development of Nigeria’s oil-bearing region.
He, however, expressed concern over uncompleted and some unverified projects in the Niger Delta despite the allocations.
Meanwhile, the Federal government has said it will probe and prosecute those behind the mismanagement of resources made available to NDDC for the development of the Niger Delta region.
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, made this known in his remark after receiving on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, the report on the forensic audit of the Niger Delta Commission (NDDC).
Malami said the huge gap between invested resources without commensurate infrastructural development called for the forensic audit of NDDC.
The AGF said the call for the audit by the people of the Niger Delta Region arose from the huge gaps between resources invested in the region vis a vis the huge gap in infrastructural, human and economic development.
“It is on record that between 2001 and 2019, the Federal Government has approved N3. 3 Trillion as budgetary allocation.
“A total of over N6 trillion was given to the NDDC.
“Consequently, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the engagement of a Lead Forensic Auditor, as well as 16 reputable Audit Firms to conduct the audit exercise.
“The President is delighted that the auditors have now completed this exercise and the Report is today being presented”.
Malami noted that the President is not oblivious of the interest generated by the stakeholders towards the forensic audit exercise and the agitation for the constitution of the Board of the NDDC.
“However, this Administration is determined to address the challenges militating against the delivery of the mandate of the NDDC to the people of the Niger Delta Region.
“It is in the broader context of the foregoing developments that the President recently signed into Law the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) which has been a contentious issue over the years for successive Governments.
“The PIA will bring about the prudence and accountability in the Petroleum Sector and to give a sense of participation and ownership to the Host communities”.
He assured that the forensic audit report of the NNDC and the recommendations would therefore be critically analysed for necessary actions and implementation.
“We owe it a duty to the people of the Niger Delta Region to improve their standard of living through the provision of adequate infrastructural and socio-economic development.
“The welfare and socio- economic inclusion of the Niger Delta Region is paramount to the development and security of the region and by extension the Country.
“Funds spent on development activities should as a consequence promote political and socio-economic stability in the Region”.
He urged citizens affected by these development projects to also exhibit the ability to contribute to the continuous progress of their immediate and wider communities by engaging in constructive activities that will sustain and support these developmental projects.
“It is evident that considerable resources have been channeled by the federal government to the development of the Niger Delta from 2001 to 2019.
“It is therefore important for the federal government and the public to be properly informed on 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 said the federal government was particularly concerned with the colossal loss occasioned by the 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 multitude of NDDC bank accounts amounting to 362 and lack of proper reconciliation of accounts.
” We will in consequence apply the law to remedy the deficiencies outlined in the audit report as appropriate.