The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio has said that upon conclusion, report of the ongoing forensic audit of the activities of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, would be handed over to President Muhammadu Buhari and recommendations and outcome would implemented by the new board to be inaugurated soon.
Speaking on a live Radio Nigeria Audience participatory programme organized as part of the activities marking the second term of the Buhari Administration at the Radio House in Abuja, Senator Akpabio assured Nigerians that the implementation of the outcome of the forensic audit would reposition the NDDC for effective service delivery in the region.
He said: ”People are commending Mr. President for the efforts, the delay notwithstanding, when the exercise is completed, NDDC cannot be the same again. We have solid Forensic Auditors, one of them in the Head office is international, Ernest & Young,.
”We have also mandated them to come up with an organogram that could make the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) a bankable institution, for example, they could go to any international institution and get money and be able to do major projects to change the lives of the people of the region”.
The Minister recalled that the Forensic Auditors were inaugurated to scrutinize the activities of the NDDC that was mired in allegation of mind boggling corruption in order to change the narrative of the region.
“This is in line with the presidential directive for a holistic examination and review of the operations of the NDDC from inception in 2009 to 2019 to ascertain the exact status of all contracts for projects and services as classified into completed, uncompleted, abandoned, ongoing and facilities that can be managed to be salvaged and whether appropriations made to the Commission is commiserate with developments on ground’ he stated.
He noted that due to lack of budgetary provision, Mr. President, in July 2020, opted that the Forensic Audit should be funded through the budget of the Presidency and presently the exercise is on course and it is expected that the Forensic Audit would be concluded and submitted to the President by July 2021.
In pursuance of the mandate and commitment of the Federal Government to the development of the Niger Delta Region, the supervision of the Commission was assigned to the Ministry for administrative efficiency which brought about the commissioning of the completed NDDC Headquarters after being abandoned for over 19 years. For the first time a Minister visited the NDDC Headquarters that was started in 1996 by OMPADEC and abandoned over the years, today it is completed and commissioned”, the Minister said.
In the area of peace presently enjoyed in the region, Akpabio stated that the Federal Government has constantly and consistently engaged stakeholders to ensure relative peace in the region.
“Buhari’s Administration has done a lot not just for Niger Delta alone but for the whole Country, in the perspective of the Niger Delta Region to keep the Ministry afloat within these years, we’ve had major engagements with stakeholders in the region, we meet with traditional rulers, youths and others to ensure that peace is sustained in the region”.
The immediate past Governor of Akwa Ibom State noted that, ”Buhari’s government has undertaken major projects abandoned by the previous administration which include the East- West Road that starts from the central part of Warri and transverses at least five states of the Niger Delta region in order to alleviate the sufferings of the people and enhance economic activities within and outside the region.
He stressed that “Mr. President in his wisdom redirected that the project be handed over to my Ministry to continue and as l speak, work is going on at a consistent pace and l believe strongly that the projection of 1st and 2nd quarter of next year for the commissioning of the first phase of Section 1-4 that is from Warri to Oron should be ready to be used by the people of Niger Delta Region would be achieved”.
Continuing, he said “l know we also have challenges at the Eleme junction where one of the bridges not originally contemplated collapsed but we are trying to see what we can do to intervene in that area”.
He reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to addressing the infrastructure deficiency, social economic challenges, poverty, environmental degradation and pollution that characterized the region for years to assuage the living condition of the people of Niger Delta region.
NDDC Boss, a Promise Keeper, says UNIUYO VC
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Uyo, Professor Nyakudo Ndaeyo, has described the Interim Administrator/CEO of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mr. Efiong Okon Akwa, as a promise keeper for ensuring that the long-abandoned 1000-bed NDDC hostel would soon be completed.
Professor Ndaeyo made this declaration when Mr. Akwa paid him a courtesy visit at UNIUYO Senate Chambers, as part of an inspection of the hostel project in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital.
The Vice Chancellor disclosed that he had extracted the promise from the NDDC boss to complete the project shortly after his appointment as Head of the interventionist agency.
Professor Ndaeyo thanked the NDDC for assisting the university to ease the pressure of accommodation, stressing the need to provide the university’s undergraduates with a conducive learning and living environment in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Akwa, who was accompanied by the state director of the Commission, Mr. Obot Udoette, and directors of the Commission, stated that the hostel, sited at the permanent site of the University, will be completed and commissioned next month.
He said that the NDDC’s commitment to the completion of the students’ hostel project was a result of a directive from President Muhammadu Buhari to the Commission to ensure the completion of all its projects in the Niger Delta region.
He said: “The 1,000 bed students’ hostel being built will be a first of its kind in the region. It will have 500 bed spaces for male undergraduates and 500 bed spaces for female undergraduates and will include recreational spaces as well.”
He stated that the university was playing a very important role in the economy and lives of the people of Akwa Ibom State and the South-South region.
The NDDC boss observed that in an era of Covid-19 pandemic, it was necessary to assist universities to properly accommodate students in order to ensure adequate provision for social distancing in the hostels.
Speaking after inspecting the hostel project, the NDDC boss assured that the Commission would assist universities in the region to ensure that their students undertake their studies in comfortable and safe environment.
Akwa expressed delight that the project had reached 95 per cent completion, with only external works and landscaping still being worked on.
He added: “We need to pull out our students from the surrounding villages where they currently reside and host them in a conducive environment fit for learning.”
Fara Dagogo’s bill seeking 13% derivation to be paid directly to host communities bill first reading
A bill seeking to alter the Constitution of the country to pay the 13% derivation fund directly to oil producing host communities has passed first reading on the floor of the House of Representatives.
If passed into law, the 13% derivation fund will be paid directly to the host communities of each benefiting states through the Host Communities Development Commissions.
Sponsor of the bill, Hon. Doctor Farah, Member representing Degema/ Bonny Federal Constituency from Rivers State, said the bill ‘Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (HB. 1570)’, is intended to address and correct the injustices the oil producing communities have been experiencing.
In demonstrating its seriousness, a section of the bill recommended that ‘ failure of any state to establish the Host Communities Development Commission shall be deemed as an offence and such a state shall forfeit 30% of her monthly benefit from the 13% derivation fund till such a time that the Commission is established’
Before the presentation of the bill, the Federal Lawmaker had accused the Governors of the Niger Delta states, of wasting N10 trillion from the derivation fund over the years
“This is a very sad commentary as it relates to the oil-producing communities of the Niger Delta. The 13 per cent Derivation is the fund set aside to assist oil-producing communities to tackle infrastructural decay and degradation, emphasis on the oil-producing communities. What it means basically is that in sharing the federation account revenue, 13 per cent should be set aside to assist the development of these oil-producing communities.
” About two decades down the line what is there to show for the humongous monies that have come in? The Governors, past and present, view it as free monies”, he said.
“Between 2000 and 2018, over N10trillion from the 13 per cent derivation principle, have been shared to the Niger Delta Governors, on behalf of the oil-producing communities, yet the deplorable living conditions of the people from these oil-producing communities have remained nauseating and deplorable with the people battling and still reeking with the worst and highest form of poverty, “he noted.
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