President Muhammadu Buhari has said that more than N3.7 billion and other assets worth billions of naira have been recovered from former directors and contractors of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
The President disclosed this on Tuesday during the inauguration of the NDDC Advisory Committee, held at the Executive Council Chambers of the State House, Abuja.
He stated that the assets recovery were made possible by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and other anti-graft agencies.
Last year, the president ordered a forensic audit of the accounts and operations of the interventionist agency and had ratified the constitution of an Interim Management Committee (IMC) to oversee the ordered forensic audit.
According to a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, the President said that assets worth more than N6 billion have been placed under lien by government agencies.
‘‘To date, the EFCC and other agencies of Government have recovered over N3.7billion in cash as well as various assets worth billions of Naira from some contractors and former Directors of the Commission.
‘‘Furthermore, I am told that government agencies have placed liens on over N6 billion of assets which are being investigated,” he said.
Going forward, the President told the committee that these abuses of the past clearly show the need for strict and diligent oversight.
While charging them to discharge their assignment diligently and effectively, he added that he looked forward to positive changes in the affairs of the NDDC and the Niger Delta region at large.
Recalling that his administration launched the New Vision for the Niger Delta, NEVIND, in 2016, with the aim of bringing sustainable peace, security, infrastructure and human capital development to the region, the President said that the channel through which such objective could be achieved, was through the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, NDDC and the Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP.
Expressing his regret over the inability of the institution to deliver their mandates in the past as a result of mismanagement, the former military head of state said: ‘‘As a result, the people of the Niger Delta were left with abandoned infrastructural projects and substandard social programmes which were designed to improve their living conditions.
‘‘It is to reverse this trend that I approved, in February 2020, the constitution of a 10-Man Presidential Monitoring Committee (PMC) as provided for in Section 21 of the NDDC Establishment Act.’’
The PMC, he revealed, will be chaired by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and its members drawn from various MDAs.
He added that the body will focus on monitoring the operations and activities of the commission and make reports available to him.