Buhari says N3.7bn has been recovered from NDDC contractors and directors

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that law enforcement agencies have recovered over N3.7 billion as well as various assets worth billions of Naira from contractors and former directors of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

President Muhammadu Buhari. [Twitter/@BashirAhmaad]

President Muhammadu Buhari. [Twitter/@BashirAhmaad]

The President made this known at the inauguration of NDDC Advisory Committee, comprising of the nine Governors of the Niger Delta Region and the Ministers of Niger Delta Affairs and Environment at the State House, Abuja, on Tuesday.

He said: ‘‘To date, the EFCC and other agencies of Government have recovered over N3.7 billion in cash as well as various assets worth billions of Naira from some contractors and former Directors of the Commission.

‘‘Furthermore, I am told that Government agencies have placed liens on over N6 billion of assets which are being investigated.’’

The President told the committee that these abuses of the past clearly show the need for strict and diligent oversight, going forward.

He, therefore, charged them to discharge the new assignment diligently and effectively, working closely with the relevant ministries.

The president added that he looked forward to seeing positive changes in the affairs of the Commission as well as on the ground in the Niger Delta region.

He recalled that in 2016, his administration launched the “New Vision for the Niger Delta (NEVIND)”, aimed at bringing sustainable peace, security, infrastructure and human capital development to the region.

President Buhari said the medium to achieve this noble objective was through the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, NDDC and the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).

He, however, expressed regret that in the past these institutions were unable to deliver their mandates due to mismanagement.

‘‘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.

‘‘It is to reverse this trend that I approved, in February 2020, the constitution of a 10-Man Presidential Monitoring Committee (PMC) as provided for in Section 21 of the NDDC Establishment Act,’’ he said.

According to him, the PMC, which will be chaired by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and its members drawn from various MDAs, will focus on monitoring the operations and activities of the commission, and will be reporting to him.

In the same vein, the President said the inauguration of the NDDC Advisory Committee is in line with the provisions of Section 11 (I) of the NDDC Establishment Act.

The governor expressed the hope that the result from the forensic audit would help streamline activities of the NDDC with a view to putting it on course to deliver on its mandate to the people.

While underscoring the roles of the Advisory Committee, the governor noted that for sustainable development of the region, the NDDC must perform its duties in close collaboration with the States to avoid duplication of projects.

‘‘We do not want to criticise 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 overtime and we have various cases of duplication of projects that are not properly planned.

‘‘But I believe that with the inauguration of this body we will be able to sit down, meet together, work in collaboration and supportively to bring greater developments to our people,’’ he said.

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