The operations of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) will come under critical searchlight, as President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday ordered a forensic audit.
The audit, which would cover 2001 to 2019, according to President Buhari, is as a result of persistent criticisms of the operations of the commission.
According to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari gave the directive after receiving governors of the states that make up the NCDC, led by Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State.
The President noted that what was presently on ground in the South-South region did not justify the huge resources that had been made available to the commission.
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.”
The President, who admitted that developing the Niger Delta area required enormous resources compared to other parts of the country with firmer lands, said further: “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.
He, however, said he would wait for the outcome of the audit before deciding on the next line of action.
Govenor Dickson, while speaking earlier, said the governors of the region were disappointed with the operations of the NDDC.
According to him, the operations of the commission were characterised by poor choice of projects, shoddy handling, uncompleted jobs and lack of the required support for the efforts of the states and local government administration in the region covered by the organisation.
He called on the president to ensure the repositioning of the NDDC so that it can achieve the purpose for which it was set up.