The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is likely to be scrapped and its functions transferred to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The planned scrapping of the agency is allegedly part of the efforts by the federal government to increase the pace of development in the oil-producing South-South.
NAIJA LIVE TV gathered that, as part of the planned restructuring, the ministry headed by Sen. Godswill Akpabio will assume the functions of the NDDC.
A source, highly placed in the ministry said that the unfolding process is largely responsible for the delay in reconstituting a substantive NDDC board.
According to the source, although the scrapping of the agency was not part of the recommendations of the forensic auditors, the Federal Government has lost confidence in the ability of the commission as currently constituted to deliver on the mandate of developing the oil-bearing states.
The source said, one other possible reason for the planned development is that the presidency is considering bringing the NDDC directly under the President’s supervision.
Meanwhile, the delay in reconstituting the NDDC board has caused some concerns in the Niger Delta region, with ex-militants threatening, at some point, to resort to violence if the board was not announced immediately.
The threat forced Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Godswill Akpabio, to travel to Delta State for meeting with stakeholders to appeal to them for patience.
There has been a shakeup in the commission since the forensic audit report was submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari on September 2, 2021, which recommended the abolition of mobilization payment to contractors.
It also recommended the employment of the services of professional project consultants to ensure accurate supervision and valuation of projects.
It was also recommended that the commission should adopt a standard for costing contracts with appropriate profit margins.
The President, upon receiving the forensic report from Akpabio, said government was particularly concerned by the colossal losses occasioned by uncompleted and unverified development projects in the Niger Delta region, despite the huge resources made available to uplift the living standard of the citizens.
He vowed that the Federal Government would initiate criminal investigations, prosecution and funds recovery against contractors, firms and politicians indicted by the forensic audit report.
According to him, the government will apply the law to remedy the deficiencies outlined in the audit report.
In his words, “the report on the forensic audit of the NDDC and your recommendations will therefore be critically analysed for necessary action and implementation.
“We owe it a duty to the people of the Niger Delta region to improve their standard of living through the provision of adequate infrastructural and socio-economic development.”
However, when contacted, the Director of Press at the Niger Delta Affairs Ministry, Doworitsh Patricia, said she was not aware of any plan to merge the commission with the Ministry.
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