Following the persistent criticisms of the operations of the agency, Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday requested for a forensic audit of the operations of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Receiving governors of the states that make up the Commission, led by Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, the President directed that the audit should cover the operations of NDDC from 2001 to 2019.
Buhari said what was on the ground in the South-South region does not justify the huge resources that have been made available to the organisation.
A press statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina Buhari said, “I try to follow the Act setting up these institutions, especially the NDDC.
“With the amount of money that the Federal Government has religiously allocated to the NDDC, we will like to see the results on the ground; those that are responsible for that have to explain certain issues.
“The projects said to have been done must be verifiable. You just cannot say you spent so much billions and when the place is visited, one cannot see the structures that have been done. The consultants must also prove that they are competent,” he said.
Buhari admitted that developing the Niger Delta area required enormous resources compared to other parts of the country with firmer lands.
“I am acutely aware, with my experience, that projects in your area are very expensive; that is why if any job is given, we must make sure that the company is competent and has the capacity to do it well with experienced consultants.”
President Buhari, however, stated that he would wait for the report of the audit before deciding on the next line of action regarding the organisation.
Governor Dickson, who spoke earlier expressed the disappointment of other governors with the operations of the NDDC, explaining that the operations are characterised by the poor choice of projects, shoddy handling, uncompleted jobs and lack of the required support for the efforts of the states and local government administration in the region covered by the organisation.
Dickson therefore, called for the repositioning of the NDDC in order to achieve the objectives for which it was set up, a request that is coming barely nine months after President Buhari approved the appointment of Professor Nelson Braimbraifa as the acting Managing Director for the agency.
It will be recalled that on January 25, the President approved the dissolution of the extant board of the commission and vested its supervisory role in the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.
At its wake, Mr Chris Amadi was also appointed as acting Executive Director (Finance and Administration) of NDDC, while Mr Samuel Adjogbe became the acting Executive Director (Projects).