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NDDC was reassigned to tackle graft headlong, Buhari clarifies

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Opens commission’s hqtrs complex in Rivers, S’South govs absent

President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, said he reassigned the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and undertook critical reforms in the interventionist agency to ‘kill corruption’ in line with his campaign promises.

“In 2015, as part of our administration’s cardinal objectives to kill corruption, some critical reforms were embarked upon, part of which was a holistic reform of the NDDC for greater service delivery for the people of the region.

“To achieve this, I reassigned the supervision of the NDDC to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio for administrative efficiency. Second, was the appointment of forensic auditors to review the operations of the commission from inception to 2019, and to ensure that the appropriations made to the NDDC are commensurate with what is on the ground,” he stated.

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During his virtual opening from Abuja of the agency’s headquarters building 25 years after its groundbreaking in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the President commended Akpabio for steadfastness and checking profligacy in the commission.

CURIOUSLY, the six South South governors were absent at the inauguration. They included Nyesom Wike of Rivers State; Diri Douye (Bayelsa); Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta); Godwin Obaseki (Edo); Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom) and Ben Ayade (Cross River). It was only Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State that attended.

Buhari recalled that the land for the complex was acquired by the defunct Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC) in 1996 before being abandoned by successive governments after series of design amendments.

The Nigerian leader urged the management to commit the saved rents to more rewarding endeavours. He continued: “I, therefore, use this opportunity to commend the minister for providing the required leadership that saw to the completion of this edifice.

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“Today, we are handing over to the people of Niger Delta a befitting head office complex for present and future use. Consequently, huge yearly rents would now be saved and deployed to other areas of needs in the region.

“I commend the management and staff of the NDDC for staying the course and keying into the reform agenda of our administration. I am particularly pleased to note the cordial relationship between the NDDC and the National Assembly, and hope that this relationship will be strengthened further for the benefit of the people of the Niger Delta region.”

In his remarks, Uzodimma assured the nation’s first citizen that his colleagues in the nine oil-bearing states would keep supporting his developmental efforts.

Also speaking, Akpabio noted that the delivery of the building attests to the President’s commitment to the development of the area and taming of graft among public officials. He pleaded with traditional rulers and youths in the region to support the Buhari administration for more democracy dividends.

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