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Akpabio says NDDC forensic audit will end in July

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Godswill Akpabio


The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has set July ending, as deadline for the conclusion of forensic audit of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said this at the flag-off of the physical verification phase of audit exercise at Ibom Icon Hotels and Golf Resort in Uyo, saying that the audit involves internal reforms of the NDDC.

Akpabio stated that 16 field auditors selected for the audit would now begin to identify and verify the projects across the Niger Delta region.

The minister, who wondered why some people would be peddling rumours that the forensic audit had derailed, said these detractors falsely claimed that the audit was being used as a ploy to continue with the NDDC interim administration.

“It is the considered position of President Muhammadu Buhari that for us to have a properly constituted board for the NDDC, we should first take a look at what has happened to the commission since inception.

“There was nothing our detractors have not done to stop the audit and this has led some people to be left wondering if it has been aborted.”

Akpabio observed that budgetary delays affected progress of the forensic exercise, prompting the President to intervene to save the situation.

“The President is resolute that he cannot leave Niger Delta and NDDC the way he met it. As a demonstration of this commitment, he is funding the audit from the budget of the Presidency.”

The minister said security component of the audit exercise was very important because of safety issues in the Niger Delta region, stating: “We decided to start the audit exercise from NDDC headquarters, while security arrangements were being firmed up. The field visit is a critical next step, after which we go into the office to produce the reports.”

He stressed that the physical verification was a very serious exercise because the results may lead to prosecution of affected contractors, some of whom, he said, abandoned their contracts without completing them.

Speaking in a similar vein, the Permanent Secretary of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Dr. Babayo Ardo, said the flag-off of the physical verification phase marks a milestone in the quest to reposition NDDC for effective service delivery.

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