Akpabio perturbs over financial condition of NDDC, demands better funding


Godswill Akpabio, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, has expressed worry over what he described as a poverty-strickened financial condition of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), and demanded a better funding for the Commission to carry out its duties. 

Akpabio stated this at the NDDC capacity building workshop held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, on Friday, with the theme, “Collaborating, Planning and Re-strategising for a Better Niger Delta Region”.

He said, NDDC is working towards improving service delivery in the Niger Delta region, called for renewed efforts to discourage corruption in the agency.

“The current funding patterns and budgeting processes must embrace best practices in order to achieve the best, while asking for more funding to do even more sustainable projects,” he said.

In most instances, it’s like going cap in hand to beg. The commission isn’t just broke because they’re owing almost 2.9 trillion, the commission is broke because the funding system has not been stable.

“To achieve good governance, there must be conscious strategy. Lack of proper engagement with the communities and state governments must also change. We must ensure that we have consultations with the communities and state governments.”

Akpabio also called for a review of the governance system to ensure smooth process on payment for contracts.

It takes almost 26 signatories before one payment is made. That means even if one or two signatories are sick, that payment is not done. You can now imagine why people have completed their jobs and are not paid years after completion. That system cannot guarantee good governance,” he said.

“We all know the problems of the NDDC and that is why we are here. I’m happy the national assembly is here. We must leave the NDDC better than we met it.”

Akpabio’s comment comes months after a house of representatives panel probed the alleged mismanagement of N81.5 billion by the interim management committee (IMC) of the commission.

While appearing before the panel in July 2020, Akpabio had said federal lawmakers were the biggest beneficiaries of contracts awarded by the NDDC.

In August 2020, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had also said it was investigating some senior officials of NDDC, including Akpabio, on corruption allegations.

Months after the national assembly probe, in February 2021, the senate committee on ethics, privileges and public petitions summoned the NDDC management over allegations of mismanaging N6.25 billion earmarked for the purchase of COVID-19 relief items.

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