President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday ordered a speedy investigation into activities of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
In a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the president directed all investigative agencies and auditing firms working with the National Assembly to speed up the ongoing probe of the commission.
He expressed his strong determination to get to the root of the problem undermining the development of the oil-rich region and its peoples despite enormous national resources voted by the government annually for the purpose.
President Buhari also demanded better coordination among the groups “to ensure that the administration’s effort to bring sanity, transparency, and accountability to the management of the large amount of resources dedicated to the development of the Niger Delta sub-region is not derailed.”
He said: “I am determined to get to the root of the problem undermining the development of the Niger Delta, in spite of the enormous national resources dedicated to this annually. This administration remains committed to bringing rapid, even and sustainable development to the region.
“All investigating agencies and auditing firms currently working collaboratively with National Assembly Committees to audit and reposition the NDDC must act with urgency and a sense of purpose, and ensure that I am kept informed of any and all actions being taken.
“Our determination to entrench transparency and accountability applies not only to the NDDC, but also to all other institutions of the Federal Government. We will not relent.”
The president had in October 2019 ordered a forensic audit of the commission from its inception in 2001 till last year.
And in May, the National Assembly set up a seven-man ad hoc committee to investigate the alleged misappropriation of N40billion by the commission’s Interim Management Committee (IMC).
Since the probe began, there had been accusations and counter-accusations, especially between the commission’s former acting managing director, Ms. Joi Nunieh and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio.
Nunieh claimed that Akpabio asked her to change the dollars in the NDDC account and sack the head of the legal team among other allegations.
The ex-NDDC chief also accused the minister of sexual harassment, budget padding and awarding of 30 contracts.
But the ex-Akwa Ibom governor had denied all the allegations.
Some-heavily armed policemen laid siege to Nunieh’s residence in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Thursday.
But she was rescued by the state governor, Nyesom Wike who ordered the policemen to leave the premises.
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