By Ovasa Ogaga,
President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed that the Federal Government will initiate criminal investigations, prosecution and funds recovery against contractors, firms and politicians indicted by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) forensic audit report.
Buhari, who received the final audit report from the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, on Thursday, also stated the Federal Government will apply the law to remedy the deficiencies outlined in the audit report.
According to the President, who was represented by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, noted that the government is particularly concerned by the colossal loss occasioned by uncompleted and unverified development projects in the Niger Delta region, in spite of the huge resources made available to uplift the living standard of the citizens.
The President noted that N6trillion has been given to the NDDC since its creation in 2001 without significant impact, stating that the call for the audit by the people of the Niger Delta region arose from huge gaps between resources invested vis a vis huge gap in infrastructural, human and economic development.
According to the President, “it is on record that between 2001 and 2019, the Federal Government has approved N3, 375,735,776,794.93 as budgetary allocation. And N2, 420,948,894,191.00 as income from statutory and non-statutory sources, which brings the total figure to the sum of approximately six trillion naira given to the Niger Delta Development Commission.
“It is in the broader context of the foregoing developments that the President recently signed into law, the Petroleum Industry Act which has been a contentious issue over the years for successive governments, to bring about prudence and accountability in the Petroleum Sector.
“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”.
The President has directed that the forensic audit report be forwarded to the Ministry of Justice for legal review.