By Egufe Yafugborhi
FORUM of Niger Delta Activists and Leaders (FNDAL) has urged consultants on ongoing forensic audit on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to ensure they expose those who allegedly hijacked N376 billion excess budget for the commission between 2018 and 2019.
FNDAL, convened by Oprite Amachree in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Saturday, accused perceived hijackers of the said funds of putting the current heat on Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen Godswill Akpabio and the Prof Kemebradikumor Pondei-led NDDC Interim Management Committee (IMC) to truncate the forensic audit to bury past financial recklessness.
Amachree said: “In 2019, Executive Officers of NDDC and those who wield one form of power or the other over NDDC awarded contracts in excess N194,966,220,944.24, 64.45 per cent higher than the budgeted N302,491,651,289.09.
“For 2018, the top management as at then which was different from those of 2019, also awarded contracts in excess of budgetary provisions to the tune of N181,336,176,326.47, 84.15 per cent above approved budget for the year.
“From the foregoing, before Akpabio was made Minister of NIger Delta and Pondei-led IMC, two different managements had awarded contracts in excess of N376,302,400,270.71, representing 148.60 per cent above budgeted N517,990,914,051.59 for both years.
“The questions begging for the forensic audit answers are, who are those individuals/associates in possession of NDDC’s N376 billion illegally acquired? Were they being probed by the National Assembly? Did we not have a National Assembly when these acts of impropriety were committed?
“Who were chairmen, Senate and House Committees on the NDDC, and what did they do to stop these humongous lootings of the NDDC, or were they part and parcel or chief accomplices of this crime against the Niger Delta people and humanity?”
The region’s activists said Akpabio and Pondei were committed to “fighting against powers and principalities in possession of the looted NDDC N376Billions”, urging stakeholders to support the duo in cleansing the commission in the interest of the Niger Delta.