President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered a forensic audit of the operations of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) from 2001 to 2019, because he doesn’t think projects on the ground in the region are commensurate with how much has been disbursed.
Since the establishment of the NDDC by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2000, the commission has received at least N15 trillion project funds, yet failed to achieve the Niger Delta Regional Development Masterplan to lay the foundation for transforming the region into Nigeria’s Dubai.
In a statement by the Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Femi Adesina, said Buhari ordered a full audit into the budgets and spending at NDDC, saying:
“You just cannot say you spent so much billions and when the place is visited, one cannot see the structures that have been done..those that are responsible have to explain certain issues.”
The projects that are said to have been done must be verifiable. One cannot just say billions have been spent and when the sites are visited, there is nothing to be seen as proof of work done. The forensic audit will cover the NDDC’s operations from 2001 to 2019.
— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) October 17, 2019
The President said what was presently on ground in the South-South region did not justify the huge resources that had been made available to the agency. He said:
“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.”
Buhari admitted that developing the Niger Delta area required enormous resources 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 said.
Buhari, however, said that he would wait for the report of the audit before deciding on the next line of action regarding the organisation.
Boroh is a former Special Adviser on Niger Delta matters to President Muhammadu Buhari.