The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has accused the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) of misappropriating the sum N7.4 billion, as it is unable to account for it. The funds is said to have been allocated for grassroots development projects.
Making the disclosure at a retreat of NDDC in Port Harcourt, Waziri Adio, executive secretary, urged the new board and management of the NDDC to carry out an independent project implementation audit, corruption risk assessment which would enable it develop a framework to strengthen its operations.
Waziri, who was represented by Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, director of communications, said NDDC and NEITI were set up with similar mandates targeted at addressing the syndrome of resource curse, but in the public’s eye, NDDC is an agency with huge revenue resources and little impact on the lives of the people of the Niger Delta.
Giving a breakdown of the financial remittances to NDDC, Orji said the agency received N594 billion from 2007 to 2011, while $559 million was paid to the commission in 2012. Similarly, the NDDC was said to have received $563 million in 2013 while $865 million was released to is in 2014.
According to Vanguard from the fiscal allocation and statutory disbursement audit report which covered 2007 to 2011, the sum of N7.4 billion allocated to member states of the NDDC for grassroots development projects in the respective states could not be accounted for while 22 of such projects valued at N1.19 billion were duplicated, according to the agency.
In what appears as a confirmation of financial impropriety in the operations of the NDDC, the managing director and chief executive officer of the agency, Mr. Nsima Ekere, noted that, even though the NDDC expended a whopping $40 billion on capital projects, the commission has failed to realise its 15-year master plan. The $40 billion represents 80 per cent of the $50 billion required to implement the vision for the oil-rich region.
“The NDDC master plan originally required 15 years to implement at a cost of $50 billion. The region has received $40 billion over the past 10 years and sadly, there is little evidence to show for the sums spent. Poor governance of self and institutions are at the heart of public sector delivery challenges,” he stated, stressing that the result of such a posting was disheartening.
He, however, contended that for the commission to maximally realise its potential, it must firstly confront and tame what he described in his paper as the “dangerous beasts” that are stalling development and progress at the commission.