President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday, revealed that the EFCC and other agencies of government have recovered over N3.7 billion in cash and other assets worth billions of naira from contractors and former directors of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The president made the revelation during the inauguration of the NDDC Advisory Committee, comprising the 9 governors in the south-south and the ministers of Niger Delta Affairs and Environment.
He said, “To date, the EFCC and other agencies of Government have recovered over N3.7billion in cash as well as various assets worth billions of Naira from some contractors and former Directors of the Commission.”
He also revealed that investigations are still being carried out by these agencies of government as liens have been placed on over N6 billion worth of assets.
Buhari also recalled that the “New Vision for the Niger Delta (NEVIND),” which was established in 2016 and aimed at bringing sustainable peace, security, infrastructure, and human capital development to the region.
He stated that the initiative had achieved its objective through the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs (NDDC) and the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).
However, he expressed regret, noting that mismanagement of these institutions had crippled the institutions making them unable to deliver their mandates.
“As a result, the people of the Niger Delta were left with abandoned infrastructural projects and substandard social programmes which were designed to improve their living conditions,” Buhari said.
In a bid to reverse this trend, he, therefore, approved a 10-Man Presidential Monitoring Committee (PMC) as provided for in Section 21 of the NDDC Establishment Act.
The president urged them to discharge the new assignment diligently and effectively, working closely with the relevant ministries.
Buhari noted that the inauguration of the committee is to enable the government to develop insights into the affairs of the Commission which will properly guide the Board when reconstituted once the Forensic Audit exercise on the Commission is concluded.
“You may recall that the Federal Executive Council, on 5th of February, 2020 approved the appointment of the Lead Forensic Auditors. I am told they are concluding their pre-engagement activities and should be ready to commence work soon,” he said.
The Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, in his remark, thanked the president for inaugurating the committee and granting the request of the governors, from the region, for a forensic audit of the NDDC.
He said, “We do not want to criticize what has happened in the NDDC for quite some time, but the fact is that the cooperation between the states and the NDDC has not been strengthened over time and we have various cases of duplication of projects that are not properly planned.”
Okowa noted that he is optimistic that the newly inaugurated body will be able to sit down, meet together, work in collaboration and supportively to bring greater developments to the people.