The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, on Thursday, revealed that there are over 13,000 abandoned projects within 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.
“The report of the audit committee showed that there are over 13,000 abandoned projects in the Niger Delta and even before the submission of the report some contractors have returned to site on their own and completed about 77 road projects.
“Although the exercise had a checkered history, I thank Mr President and all those who supported and ensured its success,” the minister stated.
He added that the exercise was not done to witch-hunt anyone, but to ensure that the huge sums of funds allocated for developing the region are put to good use.
According to Akpabio, the Niger Delta region has remained backward since 1958 in spite of efforts by successive governments through the creation of various interventionist programmes and projects, a situation he says is changing.
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Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed that the Federal Government will ensure it recovers over N6 trillion allegedly misappropriated in the running of the NDDC between 2001 and 2019.
Buhari who spoke shortly after he received the Forensic Audit Report from Akpabio, claimed that there had been evidence of substantial compromise in the execution of at least 13,777 and the existence of “multitude of NDDC’s bank accounts amounting to 362” which lacked proper reconciliation of accounts.
Consequently, the President directed that the report of the forensic audit on the NDDC be forwarded to the Federal Ministry of Justice for necessary action.
Malami, after receiving the report, assured that it would be critically analysed for necessary action and implementation.
In October 2019, Buhari ordered a holistic forensic audit on the activities of the NDDC from when it was established till August 2019, in response to the yearnings of the people to make the Commission more effective and result oriented.
The President said there was nothing tangible on the ground in the region to show for the huge funds committed over the years through the Commission.
He noted that his administration was concerned about the colossal loss occasioned by uncompleted and unverified development projects in the region, and how the citizens have for long been deprived of the dividends of democracy.