Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio has stated that some government officials were frightened by the impending forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), assuring that as a leader, he was committed to changing the narrative in the commission by enthroning accountability.
Akpabio, who reaffirmed his commitment to reposition the Niger Delta region and make it more attractive to foreign investors, spoke when a group of ex- agitators from Akwa Ibom and Cross River States paid him a courtesy call in Abuja, weekend.
In a statement issued by the ministry, Akpabio promised to reposition the NDDC by making life better for the people of the region, noting that he would not be deterred by what he described as a campaign of calumny by some faceless individuals who had benefitted over the years from the Commission.
According to him, so much money had been given to the NDDC over the years, regretting that nothing commensurate is on the ground.
He stated that some unnamed people in government were frightened by the impending forensic audit directed by President Muhammadu Buhari, adding that as a leader, he was committed to changing the situation in the commission by promoting accountability.
Acccording to him, the NDDC would open a separate account for contractors, who collected mobilisation money without commencing work to refund monies collected or return to site.
The minister thanked contractors who are back to site, and romised to ensure that all ex-agitators in the Niger Delta region are captured in the Presidential Amnesty Programme and other empowerment programmes.
The present administration, he added, was determined to set a standard by establishing many industrial areas in the region
He called on the youths in the area to consider engaging in variable economic activities by setting up palm oil factories with modern facilities, investing in garment industries and agricultural production for exports through the Post Amnesty Initiative (PAI).
Earlier, the Coordinator of the Akwa-Cross ex-agitators, Bishop Alfred Etuk appreciated the minister for his leadership qualities which he said, has endeared him to the people.
He also thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing a man of Akpabio’s standing, promising to work with him at all times to ensure that there is sustainable peace and development in the region, adding that a true Ijaw man does not betray his brother.
Etuk described the group as well-coordinated, noting that Akwa Ibom and Cross River State citizens had been sidelined over the years in the scheme of things in the Niger Delta region.
In his remarks, the President of Ijaw Youth Council, Bar. Oweilami Pereotubo who was in attendance, urged the minister to disregard the call in the media by some group of people calling for his sack.