NDDC thieves must cough out their loot, says Buhari

December 30, 2021

President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerians that every kobo stolen from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) will be recovered.

He said those found culpable will be jailed.

President Buhari spoke on Thursday during the virtual commissioning of the NDDC Prototype Hostel at the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

He added that the concluded report of the forensic audit of the activities of the Commission was being reviewed for this purpose.

The President, however, expressed regret that the special development fund of the entire region was squandered by a few.

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He said the result was that many were left in penury.

Buhari noted that had the funding made available over the years been judiciously and transparently used, the lives of the people of the oil-rich region would have been far better.

He challenged the Commission to prove to both government and the people of the Niger Delta that it could achieve its set objectives and mandate.

The President directed all statutory contributors to its funding to meet their obligations by remitting all outstanding funds, transparently, to the interventionist agency.

“The Niger Delta Development Commission needs to demonstrate that it can achieve the objectives it was conceived for and make its impact felt all over the Niger Delta Region.

“The lives of the people of the Niger Delta could be so much better, if the funding received by this commission since its inception, in billions of naira over the last 20 years, has been judiciously deployed in service of the people.

“The serial abuse, lack of delivery and what had become an entrenched institutional decay, was the reason why I called for the forensic audit.

“Therefore, going forward we shall ensure every recoverable kobo, is recovered for use in service of the people of this region and those found culpable shall face the Law.

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“Consequently, I want to use the opportunity of this commissioning to direct all statutory contributors to the NDDC to remit all outstanding funds to the Commission, and to ensure this is done transparently and according to laid down procedure and process,” he said.

President Buhari directed that all abandoned projects that directly impact the livelihood of the people should be revived and completed.

“When I directed the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs to institute a forensic audit of the Commission, after many representations by major stakeholders in the Niger Delta, I had also directed that all viable projects which had been abandoned, but which would impact positively on the lives and livelihoods of the people, be immediately revived and completed.”

President Buhari noted that the contract for the building of 1,050 capacity hostel for male and female students was awarded in 2004, and like many others, it was abandoned.

“This prototype university hostel consists of 1,050 bed spaces, 525 each for males and females, and is furnished to meet the needs of a university student.

“The complex also boasts of significant hard and soft infrastructure to ensure its sustainability and durability.

“The completion of this structure is equally in recognition of the importance government attaches to providing quality housing and improved education for all Nigerians.

“It is, therefore, another important proof that this administration is committed to satisfying the needs of the people, throughout Nigeria, and fulfilling their expectations.

“Government must continue in its efforts to serve the people, by providing amenities, as well as the enabling environment for scholarships, investments across all sectors, for the sustenance of the environment, and overall growth of the economy.

“Significant part of this success story is that it could easily not have happened. The contract for this hostel was awarded as far back as 2004.

“It was one of many projects abandoned across the Niger Delta region, but which I directed the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, to expeditiously complete and put to use,’’ the President added.

President Buhari said across many public universities and institutions of higher learning children face accommodation challenges, while private investors were taking advantage of the gap to provide accommodation, unfortunately tasking the resources of parents and guardians.

“Many of them are located far away from school premises and come with their own peculiar challenges.”

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