..Reveals 13,700 Abandoned Projects, 362 Operated Bank Accounts, N6 Trillion Collected By Agency
A forensic audit ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari, has exposed bad deals in Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC with over 37,000 abandoned projects.
It revealed that billions of dollars in funding aimed at developing the Niger Delta, Nigeria’s volatile and impoverished oil-producing region, have been lost over the past two decades.
The region a vast wetlands in the far south of Nigeria, has been home to a lucrative oil industry since the 1960s but still lacks decent roads, electricity and basic public services, a state of affairs that has fuelled insurgency and criminality.
The forensic audit revealed that vast investments made from 2001 to 2019 had gone to waste.
Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, said a total of 6 trillion naira, or $14 billion at the current official exchange rate, had been ploughed in to the NDDC during that period.
“The Federal Government is particularly concerned with the colossal loss occasioned by uncompleted and unverified development projects in the Niger Delta Region, in spite of the huge resources made available to uplift the living standard of the citizens,” he said.
Malami said over 13,700 projects were “substantially compromised.” He also said the NDDC had 362 bank accounts and there was no proper reconciliation of accounts.
Malami said the deficiencies identified by the audit would be remedied through “initiation of criminal investigations, prosecution, recovery of funds not properly utilized for the public purposes for which they were meant.”
Nigeria’s federal and state governments have struggled to deliver public services across the country, but the problems are most keenly felt in the Niger Delta, where local communities are highly aware that their region generates vast amounts of wealth.
The revenues from the region’s oil wells are shared between the mostly Western oil majors that operate them, the federal government and all 36 of Nigeria’s states.
A new Petroleum Industry Act was recently passed that stipulates 3% of the annual operating expenditure of oil companies should be sent to the communities where the oil is produced. Some community leaders have said that was not enough.