By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in Abuja ordered a forensic audit of the operations of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The president gave the order in reaction to persistent criticisms of the operations of the organisation from 2001 to 2019.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, in a statement, said the president’s order came while receiving a delegation of leaders from the nine states that make up the Niger Delta led by Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State.
According to him, Buhari told the delegation that what is currently on ground in the Niger Delta region does not justify the huge resources that have been made available to the NDDC.
“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, “Adesina quoted the president.
He also said Buhari admitted that developing the Niger Delta area required enormous resources when 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,” he also quoted Buhari.
Adesina also said the president pledged to wait for the report of the audit before deciding on the next line of action regarding the organisation.
According to him, Dickson had earlier expressed the disappointment of other governors over the operations of the NDDC, saying they are characterised by poor choice of projects, shoddy handling, uncompleted jobs and lack of required support for the efforts of the states and local government administration in the region covered by the organisation.
“He, therefore, called for the repositioning of the NDDC in order to achieve the objectives for which it was set up,” Adesina said.