Akpabio Asks NDDC Board to Cooperate with Forensic Auditors

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Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has charged the enlarged Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to cooperate with forensic auditors to scrutinise the operations of the commission as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

President Buhari had last Wednesday approved the enlargement of the IMC of the NDDC from three to five.

The five-member committee includes Prof Kemebradikumo Daniel Pondei (acting Managing Director) replacing Joi Nunieh; Chief Ibanga Bassey Etang, acting Executive Director (Finance and Administration); Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, acting Executive Director (Projects); Mrs. Caroline Nagbo (member) and Cecilia Bukola Akintomide (member).

Inaugurating the new acting managing director and other IMC members in Abuja, Akpabio said President Buhari enlarged the committee to inject new blood into the commission for better service delivery.

According to a statement issued by Patricia Deworitshe on behalf of the Niger Delta Ministry, Akpabio said change was inevitable in a commission like the NDDC, adding that the NDDC was passing through a phase that would soon be over, and thanked President Buhari for giving the ministry the responsibility of supervising the NDDC.

He said: “The story of NDDC in the last 19 years has not been so rosy. The NDDC, we believe, could have achieved more. You have a stunted child who could have been a six-footer. We need to find out the reason why the child could not grow. Is it that the child was not given enough nourishment?

“And then the country is looking at the fact that a lot of money has gone into the NDDC but we could not see a commensurate result. I am not saying this to deride or bring down anybody. I am not saying this to make a political point, I am saying this from the point of truism.

“I am a Niger Deltan, and I believe in the Niger Delta region. God has put us in the region to make a difference. I had the opportunity of being a governor in the Niger Delta and I left my mark behind. Nobody can deny that there was uncommon transformation of Akwa Ibom State.

“I will like to see the NDDC build specialist hospitals. I will like to see the NDDC provide electric power to communities in darkness. I would like to see the NDDC support industrialisation and food sufficiency in the region. These things are possible, it is a question of commitment.

“I want to thank President Buhari for the interest he has shown in the Niger Delta region. That is why he ordered the forensic audit of the commission. As soon as the forensic auditor was appointed, there was need to inject new blood into the IMC. The NDDC must change and we will all work together to achieve that.”

Akpabio advised the IMC members on the goal set for them by President Buhari, adding that as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, he was not interested in running the NDDC but would be interested in how the commission is run.

The Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Omotayo Alasoadura, emphasised on the need for a synergy between the ministry and the commission. He said since President Buhari had in his wisdom asked the ministry to supervise the commission, the NDDC had no other option than to work and deliver on their mandate with absolute cooperation between the ministry and the NDDC

Responding, the new acting Managing Director of NDDC, Prof Pondei, thanked President Buhari for the confidence reposed in them to manage the affairs of the NDDC and see through the forensic audit of the commission, noting that a huge task has been bestowed on him to make a difference in the region.

He solicited the cooperation of the ministry and stakeholders in the Niger Delta area to enable him and his team realise President Buhari’s vision in the region.