Group faults President Buhari on NDDC forensic audit, ‘illegal’ sole administrator

Civil Society Organisation, Niger Delta Elders Forum (NDEF), has condemned President Buhari’s silence on his earlier commitments to make public the entire report of the NDDC forensic audit, which he received on September 2, 2021, and also his promise to inaugurate the Board of NDDC upon receipt of the forensic audit report, in compliance with the law, during his speech on Thursday.

As published in The Nation Newspaper, and many other national newspapers, on Thursday, December 30, 2021, among other things, President Buhari during the virtual commissioning of the NDDC Hostel at the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State stated that the “concluded report of the forensic audit of the activities of the Commission was being reviewed.”

But the group, in a statement signed by its National President, Chief Tonye Ogbogbula, noted that President Buhari’s silence on his commitment to make public the entire report of the forensic audit, and also inaugurate the NDDC Board in accordance with the law, and in fulfilment of his own promise of June 24, 2021, is of “grave concern to Niger Deltans as it indicates a continued disregard by this government for the region as well as unwillingness to submit to transparency in administering NDDC and on the issue of making the forensic audit report public for all Nigerians to see.”

According to NDEF, the two most salient issues that the authentic stakeholders of the Niger Delta have consistently demanded, and which even the President had promised and made commitments on are: “(1) To make public the entire report of the forensic audit, which he received on September 2, 2021; and (2) To end the illegal Interim Management / sole administratorship at the NDDC and inaugurate the Board of the Commission upon receipt of the forensic audit, in compliance with the law, and which promise he made to the nation on June 24, 2021, when he received the leadership of Ijaw National Congress (INC) in Aso Rock, Abuja.”

Ogbogbula affirmed that “the central position of the authentic leadership of the Niger Delta region, and all well-meaning Nigerians is that the Federal Government, which spent public funds and a total of two years to conduct a forensic audit of NDDC should make public the entirety of the Forensic audit report which the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Akpabio, submitted to President Buhari on September 2, 2021.”

According to the group, without any official forensic audit report made available to the Nigerian Public, how will President Buhari determine culprits and transparently ensure that “every kobo stolen from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) will be recovered.”?

On NDDC Board, the group noted that while receiving a delegation of the Ijaw National Congress in Abuja in June this year, President Buhari had said that the Board will be inaugurated once the forensic audit report was submitted.

The President said: ‘‘Based on the mismanagement that had previously bedevilled the NDDC, a forensic audit was set up and the result is expected by the end of July 2021. I want to assure you that as soon as the forensic audit report is submitted and accepted, the NDDC Board will be inaugurated.” That report has been submitted to the President since four months ago, on September 2, 2021, however, President Buhari is yet to inaugurate the board.

Niger Delta Elders Forum also noted with dismay that President Buhari “directed all statutory contributors to its (NDDC) funding to meet their obligations by remitting all outstanding funds, transparently, to the interventionist agency” even when NDDC is “under an illegal sole administrator contraption, while the President was silent on the continued illegality of the interim management committees/sole administrator contraptions which have been foisted on the NDDC since 2019 in breach of the NDDC Act, and has been illegally administering the huge funds accruing to the Commission monthly.”

Ogbogbula stated that “the situation currently in NDDC which has subsisted for over two years is that we have an illegal sole administrator who is both Managing Director, Executive Director of Finance, and Executive Director Projects, in clear breach of NDDC Act which ensures separation of these duties to ensure checks and balances.”

NDEF reminded President Buhari that on the verge of 2022, he should be concerned about the “disdain of the Niger Delta people over the manner he has handled the NDDC, most especially administering the Commission with illegal interim management/sole administrator contraptions for four and a half years in his six and a half year in office, and therefore needs to end the ongoing illegality in NDDC if he is to be remembered for good in the Niger Delta.”

The group, therefore, regrets that “whereas the North East Development Commission (NEDC) has been allowed to function with its duly constituted Board in place in line with its NEDC Act thereby ensuring proper corporate governance, accountability, checks and balances and fair representation of its constituent states, the NDDC, on the other hand, has been run arbitrarily in the last two years by Interim committees/sole administrator in breach of the NDDC Act.”

Recommended Stories


Latest articles


Related articles