NDDC Building, Port Harcourt

Senator Godswill Akpabio, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs has revealed that the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC has over the years been used as an ATM machine by corrupt contractors, political elites and businessmen.

He wondered why this trend was allowed to continue over years without checking and scrutiny and monitoring of the projects awarded by the commission by previous governments who supervise the commission’s activities.

Senator Akpabio further said because of the activities of these fraudulent people, over 12,000 projects have been abandoned in the nine producing states making up the region.  He said these corrupt people treated the NDDC as an Automated Teller Machine  ATM a place where you can just walk in and cash money and go away.

The Minister was speaking during an interview session with the Nigeria Television Authority NTA. He lamented that the commission has become known for abandoned projects. He also alleged political interference with the work of the commission which has not allowed the commission to make progress.

According to Akpabio “We have also had a lot of political interference, people have not allowed NDDC to work as it ought to, People coming with ideas not to move the region forward but to move their pockets forward. It has always been so.

Senator Akpabio at the NDDC Headquarters, Port Harcourt.

“We currently have about 12,000 abandoned projects across the nine states of the Niger Delta. If those things were completed, you can imagine that the area would have been turned into Eldorado.

“There is no way NDDC road can last for even two years. I think people were treating the place as an ATM, where you just walk in there to go and pluck money and go away, I don’t think they were looking at it as an interventionist agency.

“Even the idea of giving out a job to somebody who does not have the requisite skils is corruption on its own. The idea of bloating the contract is also corruption. Even collecting money and abandoning the site is also corruption.

“We have also had a lot of political interference, people have not allowed NDDC to work as it ought to, people coming with ideas not to move the region forward but to move their pockets forward. It has always been so,” he said.

Continuing, Akpabio lamented,” I wonder why the leaders in the past didn’t find it necessary to look into the activities of the NDDC, with a view to repositioning it. There is nobody that will be happy to see this kind of situation.”

He commended the President for ordering forensic auditing of all NDDC projects from 2001 to the present date stating that this is what past leaders would have done to refocus and redirect the activities of the commission towards ensuring the probity of funds and performance.