September 03, (THEWILL) – The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, on Thursday, revealed that there are over 13,000 abandoned projects in the coastal region.
Senator Akpabio disclosed this in Abuja when he submitted the Forensic Audit Report on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to President Muhammadu Buhari through the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN).
In his remarks shortly before he handed over the report, Akpabio said the forensic audit uncovered 13,777 contracts awarded from 2001 to 2019 but not completed.
He put the value of the contracts at over N3 trillion, disclosing that the commission also operated 362 bank accounts that lacked proper reconciliation.
The AGF, Abubakar Malami, who received the report on behalf of President Buhari, said, “government is worried with the colossal loss occasioned by the uncompleted and unverified development in the Niger Delta region in spite of the huge allocation of resources to uplift the living standards of the people in the region.”
Malami said it is important for the government and the public to be properly informed of what has been spent and how, adding that the government will not hesitate to strategically implement all aspects of the audit exercise that will promote probity and greater prosperity for the Niger Delta region and the country as a whole.
He said the“government will apply the law to remedy the deficiencies outlined in the audit report. This will include but not limited to initiation of criminal investigations, prosecution, recovery of funds not properly utilised for the purpose for which they were meant for, among others.”
According to the minister, the president ordered a holistic forensic audit of the activities of the NDDC from inception in 2001 to August 2019, in response to the yearnings of the people to reposition the commission for effective service delivery. Between 2001 and 2019, Malami said the government approved about N3.4 trillion as budgetary allocation and N2.4 trillion as income from statutory and non-statutory sources, “which brings the total to about N6 trillion given to the NDDC.”
He said the government is determined to address challenges militating against the delivery of the NDDC’s mandate to the people of the Niger Delta region, adding that the forensic audit report and the committee’s recommendations will be critically analysed for necessary action and implementation.