Groups seek transparency, accountability, BPP’s mandatory audit of NDDC
Akwa Ibom community appeals to the commission on embankment project
The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) and Niger Delta Budget Monitoring Group (NDBMG), yesterday, canvassed efficient ways to make the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) more transparent and accountable.
They charged the Ad-hoc committee on the investigation of alleged financial recklessness against the commission to take appropriate steps to rejig the interventionist agency.
According to the groups, recommendations to the committee seek to address the institutional issues that would facilitate citizens’ and institutional oversight on the allocation and management of NDDC’s funds.
In a joint statement made available to The Guardian, the groups argued that NDDC’s major challenge was accountability and transparency, as its budget proposals and approved finances have never been published or made available to the public through any electronic portal or website.
They maintained that it was also on record that NDDC had never published a budget implementation report either on a quarterly, half-yearly, or yearly basis for public scrutiny.
The groups argued that this discrepancy had made the financial transactions of NDDC a secret to Nigerians, and had paved way for financial recklessness, as members of the public neither knew the opening and closing balances of its financial transactions.
Meanwhile, the Iwuochang Community in Ibeno Council Area of Akwa Ibom State has appealed to the NDDC to complete the embankment project it initiated eight years ago.
This followed apprehension caused by the daily upsurge of the sea into the community that could wipe out away houses and human beings if nothing was done urgently to salvage the situation.
Village Head of Iwuochang, Chief Daniel Afia, told journalists that the contractor abandoned the project after initial work, adding that the NDDC awarded the contract since 2012 to Smith Engineering.
He explained that the project was designed to replace an old and worn out embankment around the river to forestall frequent encroachment into the community during the high tides.
Citing several Ibeno Road linking Eastern Obolo as one of the commission’s abandoned projects in the coastal area, he said the community-made several entreaties to Smith Engineering and the NDDC, without positive result, alleging that no NDDC project had been completed in the area.
Also, Youth Vice President of the community, Willie S. Willie, said the contractor’s failure to complete the project had pushed several landlords around the coastal line out of their homes.
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