By Obas Esiedesa
The Federal Government has engaged 16 Nigerian firms to carry out a forensic audit on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The audit which would be paid for by the Presidency covers the operations of the beleaguered commission since it was established 20 years ago.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio who inaugurated the last batch of eight companies in Abuja at the weekend said the forensic audit would last for six months.
The Minister, who noted that the audit was not a witch-hunt, explained that it was an opportunity to assess the performance of the commission in the region.
“It is considered an important project by this administration because it will, apart from righting the wrongs, it will also provide a strong base upon which a new Niger Delta Development Commission will emerge. We must not allow this laudable project to be scuttled by those benefiting today from the current situation to the detriment of the majority of the people of the Niger Delta”, he state.
He expressed optimism that “at the forensic audit exercise as directed by Mr. President, a new NDDC that will be socially responsive and responsible, as well as catalyst for economic opportunities for the majority of the people of the region in the provision of good education and health, information technology, infrastructure development, trade and industry, and above all youth and women empowernment will emerge.
“Furthermore, considering the various interests shown by both the stakeholders and those who had benefited from the mismanagement of the funds meant to develop the region over the years, in addition to the volatility of the region over the years, I have constituted and inaugurated a Security Committee to provide security to all your personnel and property throughout the duration of the audit exercise”, he told the companies.
He charged the companies to go through “all the nooks and crannies of the region to ascertain all the activities and utilization of funds by the NDDC since its inception to August, 2019 and come up with a report that will serve as benchmark for repositioning NDDC for other development agencies to emulate”.
Some of the companies engaged for the audit include Crowe Dafinone, Henry Young and Co, Murix & Co and Haruna Yahaya & Co.
Speaking on behalf of the audit firms, Mr. Ede Dafinone assured the Minister that the companies will do a thorough job and complete it within the stipulated period.