President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered a forensic audit of the operations of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
He gave the order on Thursday in Abuja, following the persistent criticisms of the operations of the agency.
Receiving governors of the states that make up the Commission, led by Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, the President directed that the audit should cover the operations of NDDC from 2001 to 2019.
He said what was on the ground in the South-South region does not justify the huge resources that have been made available to the organisation.
“I try to follow the Act setting up these institutions, especially the NDDC,” President Buhari was quoted as saying in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.
He stressed, “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.”
President Buhari admitted that developing the Niger Delta area required enormous resources compared to other parts of the country with firmer lands.
He said, “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.”
The President, however, said he would wait for the report of the audit before deciding on the next line of action regarding the organisation.
Earlier, Governor Dickson expressed the disappointment of other governors with the operations of the NDDC.
According to him, the operations are characterised by the 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.
The governor, therefore, called for the repositioning of the NDDC in order to achieve the objectives for which it was set up.
This comes barely nine months after President Buhari approved the appointment of Professor Nelson Braimbraifa as the acting Managing Director for the agency.
On January 25, the President approved the dissolution of the extant board of the commission and vested its supervisory role in the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.
Mr Chris Amadi was also appointed as acting Executive Director (Finance and Administration) of NDDC, while Mr Samuel Adjogbe became the acting Executive Director (Projects).