The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, announced that he remains committed to producing a regional road map for development through the Niger Delta Action Plan.
Akpabio announced this at the new Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Permanent Headquarters, Port Harcourt on Monday, as part of his working visit to the Niger Delta which is meant to collaborate and develop growth policies for the region.
This comes after the recent National House of Assembly probe against the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the NDDC. The commission claimed that it spent N81.5 billion within 7 months (October 2019 to May 2020).
The senate petitioned the IMC of the NDDC to refund the N4.923 billion alleged illegal payments made to the staff of the commission and contractors in breach of the procurement process.
The refund which the senate wants refunded includes Overseas Travel to the United Kingdom N85.7million, Scholarship grants N105.5 million, Union Members’ trip to Italy N164.2 million.
The other refunds which the senate wants made to the NDDC’s Account by the IMC are: payment made for Lassa Fever Kit N1.96 billion, payment for Public Communication valued at N1.12 billion, and COVID-19 fund expenditure N1.49 billion.
In August, The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) interrogated the top management staff of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) over allegations of numerous acts of corruption, including diversion of funds, procurement fraud, and misappropriation of the agency’s COVID-19 funds.
Akpabio, acknowledged today that the NDDC has not lived up to expectations, he said “Whether we like it or not, this child (NDDC) has not grown well in 19 years. It could have done better. Perhaps, we lost track of the developmental plan of the Niger Delta region. The most thrilling thing for me is that change has come to the NDDC. I must commend the management and staff of the NDDC for making this possible. Despite the criticisms and distractions, some positive change has taken place in the Commission and I like to see progress because I am a development-oriented politician.”
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Babayo Ardo said the Commission is refocusing its efforts towards effective service delivery, urging for more actions towards a master plan for regional development in the Niger Delta.