The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio has inaugurated the field forensic auditors billed to audit the activities of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in the nine States of the region, and tasked them to audit the activities of the Commission from 2001 when it was established to 2019.
Akpabio who inaugurated the team of 16 auditing firms during NDDC strategic capacity building workshop in Uyo Friday, said the team of forensic auditors “should be able to get the job done within three to four months.”
He said the delay in the commencement of the field forensic audit of NDDC was to put logistics in place for safe take off of the exercise.
“There is no way you can send such high caliber chartered accountants to a volatile region, even though we are now peaceful, without giving them adequate security, honorarium, logistics and accommodation wherever they are. Those were some of the things that caused the delay.
The President has sorted out all those things, and the Ministry of Finance has released all the funds. So I don’t expect stories.”
The Minister seized the moment of the inauguration to explain that the idea of forensic auditing of NDDC books was to put the records straight and reposition the commission for effective service delivery.
“I just want to disabuse the minds of people who probably thought the forensic audit is a ruse to keep the interim management on. What do I need the interim management for, I am not a contractor. All we need is to change NDDC. It is the considered opinion of Mr. President that before we have a properly inaugurated board of NDDC, we should look at what has happened in NDDC from 2001 when they started operation.
“I won’t be a Minister forever. It is a privilege from Mr. President for me to be a minister at this time. I thank God that I share his vision that we cannot leave the region the way we met it. All other attempts in the past to have a developmental structure for the Niger Delta Region always ended in a fiasco, disaster, corruption and all sort of things starting from 1958”. Akpabio asked staff and management of the NDDC to avail the forensic auditors with all the support needed for them to succeed in the task.
The lead consultant Olumuyiwa Basiru & Co, Kabiru Ahmed said the forensic audit exercise should be considered as an exercise geared towards salvaging the Commission from decay and destruction, stopping the rot, and galvanizing the process of repositioning the Niger Delta Development Commission to serve the purpose it was created.
He assured the people that the auditors would approach the responsibility with sincerity and integrity as watchwords adding that the region would not be the same again after the exercise.