Engaging formidable security team for Forensic Audit paramount-Akpabio

The Honourable Minister, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, CON, has said, with the approval of the engagement of the final batch of the forensic auditors by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and the commencement of the exercise in earnest, there is an urgent need to provide necessary security for the Audit Firms and their personnel throughout the duration of the audit exercise.

The Minister stated this during the inauguration of the Security Committee for the Field Forensic Auditors of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) on Tuesday September 29, 2020.

The Minister recalled that in response to the yearnings of the Governors of the Niger Delta region arising from the huge gap between resources invested in the region vis a vis the infrastructural, human and economic development recorded by the NDDC, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered a holistic Forensic Audit of the activities of the Commission from inception to August 2019 in other to reposition it for effective service delivery to the region.

Stating the terms of reference for the Committee, the Minister noted among other responsibilities that, they are to “ensure security and protection for the Forensic Audit Personnel and the materials to be used and also make appropriate security recommendations to the Ministry in the conduct of the Forensic exercise when necessary.”

Speaking further, Akpabio stated that the importance of the Security Committee to the success of the forensic audit exercise cannot be over emphasized considering the various interest, the volatility of the region and desperate attempt of some individuals to derail the exercise.

The Minister therefore solicited for the maximum cooperation, of the Security Committee members, adding that he is counting on their professionalism and expertise to ensure a hitch free exercise.

The Membership of the Committee is drawn from both the Ministry and Security Agencies, with the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Dr. Babayo Ardo as Chairman and Director, Planning Research and Statistic (PRS), Mr. Alfred Abah, Secretary. Representatives of the following Agencies as members of the Security Committee include: Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Police Force, Department of State Security Services, Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC).

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Dr. Babayo Ardo in his remarks noted that the inauguration of the Security Committee for the Forensic Auditors of the NDDC marks another milestone in the drive by Mr. President and the Minister to reposition the NDDC away from the hullabaloo situation being witnessed in the Commission to that of a well-positioned and better-focused interventionist agency for effective service delivery.

He said that from 1999 to date, out of the 12,000 projects said to have been executed, available information shows that some of these projects are yet to commence, while some have been abandoned. Therefore, Mr. President in his wisdom approved the Forensic Auditing of the various projects, to ascertain the correct position of things in the Commission. Sixteen Forensic Auditors have been approved for the exercise.

In his response, Commodore Bamidele Oluwagbamila of the Nigerian Navy (NN) on behalf of members of the Security Committee for the Field Forensic Auditors of the NDDC, said it is an honour to be part of the Committee and pledged their loyalty to work assiduously with the auditors to achieve their purpose and ensure that the overall objective of Mr. President for setting up the Committee is achieved.

Deworitshe Patricia,
D (Press & PR), 
September 30, 2020

Ogoni People Commend President Buhari on East West Road

* As IPMAN express support for deregulation

There was excitement in the air as Chiefs, Elders and Youths of Ogoni land trooped out enmasse at the Reynolds Construction Company (RCC), Yard, Eleme, Rivers State to welcome the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio who embarked on project inspection over the weekend.

The Minister who was accompanied by the Permanent Secretary, Dr Babayo Addo and the Executive Director of Finance and Administration of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Mr. Akwa Effiong inspected Sections 3 and 4 of the East West road.

Speaking on behalf of the Communities along the East West road, representative of the traditional rulers, Chief B.P. Festus and the Leader of Ogoni Youths Federation, Comrade Legborsi Yamaabana, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his renewed commitment towards the completion of the East West road and pledged total support and the cooperation of the people in ensuring the timely completion of the project.

Conducting the Minister round the Okuru Bridge in Alito, along the East West road, the Chairman of Eleme Local Government Area, Barrister Philip Okparaji lamented the state of the bridge which he said was constructed in 1956 but was in serious state of dilapidation.

He said the road and bridge which leads to Akwa Ibom and Cross River State and eight Local Government Areas of Rivers State needed urgent attention and appealed to the Federal Government to expedite action on the road and bridges which were the gateways to multinational oil and gas companies in the Niger Delta.

In his response, Senator Akpabio said President Buhari has shown the political will in completing the East West road which was started by the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo. He commended the President for the release of funds for the project and hinted that the Contractors have already been mobilized to the sites.

He said because of the importance of the East West road to the economy of the country, the Ministry will work with other agencies to source for funds to complete the project by the end of 2021. Adding that he has directed NDDC to make provision in the budget for the completion of East-West road.

The Chairman of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) South-South Zone, Dr Joseph Obele commended President Buhari for the reform in the oil sector most especially the removal of oil subsidy and deregulation of the Petroleum sector.

“The subsidy was a racket to a cabal and the President has taken a bold step by removing the subsidy. We want to appeal to our brothers in the labour unions to shelve the proposed strike action and engage in dialogue and negotiations,” he said.

He gave kudos to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Akpabio for his zeal in getting the East West road completed. He said Section III of the East West road which construction started six years ago, would have been commissioned before now, but for lack of commitment the project suffered a lot of set back until Senator Akpabio was appointed the Minister and the project transferred to the Ministry.

Dr. Obele appealed to the Minister to look into the payment of compensation for property owners affected by the expansion of the road.

Earlier Senator Akpabio and his entourage were similarly received at Ikot Usekong, Eket Local Government Area Section of the East West road where the Community defied the rain to welcome the Inspection team.

Deworitshe Patricia
D (Press & PR)
September 27th, 2020

NDDC needs new Master Plan for Niger Delta Development - Akpabio

The Honourable Minister, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, CON, says that the ministry is committed to harmonizing the Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan with the Niger Delta Action Plan to produce one regional road map for development in Nigeria’s oil-rich region.

Akpabio, who spoke at the new Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Permanent Headquarters at the Eastern By-Pass, Port Harcourt as part of the activities during his working visit to the Niger Delta, harped on the need for collaboration and synergy in the effort to develop the Niger Delta region.

The Minister and his entourage, which included the Permanent Secretary of his ministry, Dr Babayo Ardo, inspected the high-rise office complex and remarked that the building tells a positive story for the NDDC.

The visiting team was received by the NDDC Acting Managing Director, Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei, in the company of the Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Mr. Effiong Akwa, a member of the Interim Management Committee, IMC, Mrs. Caroline Nagbo and directors of the Commission.

The Minister regretted that the NDDC had not lived up to expectations, noting: “Whether we like it or not, this child (NDDC) has not grown well in 19 years. It could have done better. Perhaps, we lost track of the developmental plan of the Niger Delta region.”

He, however, congratulated the NDDC Acting Managing Director and members of the IMC for doing a good job in delivering the new office complex, which he described as “a good story for the NDDC.”

He said further: “The most thrilling thing for me is that change has come to the NDDC. I must commend the management and staff of the NDDC for making this possible. Despite the criticisms and distractions, some positive change has taken place in the Commission and I like to see progress because I am a development-oriented politician.”

Akpabio said that Prof Pondei should be proud to be the first Chief Executive Officer of the NDDC to move into a new edifice. “The feat could not have been achieved without the cooperation of members of the IMC and the Ministry of the Niger Delta Affairs,” he said.

Akpabio remarked: “The completion of the new NDDC headquarters is a positive story for Nigeria, especially when you consider that the project has taken over 24 years to get to this point.

“It is to the glory of President Buhari that we are sitting in the new headquarters today. This is a legacy project which the IMC will be remembered for.”

The Minister said that with the inauguration of the NDDC Advisory Council by Mr President, the Commission would work closely with the governors so that there would be synergy and the problem of duplication of projects would be addressed.

Akpabio noted that President Buhari inaugurated the NDDC Advisory Committee, comprising the nine governors of the Niger Delta Region and the Ministers of Niger Delta Affairs and Environment in line with the provisions of the NDDC Establishment Act.

He declared: “I want a positive image for the NDDC. Therefore, we must collaborate with the National Assembly to change the situation. If there is need to rejig the law, we will encourage the lawmakers to do that, particularly in the area of budgeting. We must budget for more regional projects that will impact lives of the people. We must budget to bring industrial development, as well as bring about capacity building in the region.”

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Babayo Ardo, in his remarks, noted that the site inspection embarked by the Minister is to appraise the progress of work done and also to give appropriate attention to areas where the Ministry with other development partners would intervene to ensure that the project is completed for the benefit of the people in the region.

Dr. Ardo said that, NDDC is being repositioned and refocused on the mandate of the Ministry with the Support of President Muhammadu Buhari for effective service delivery. Therefore, it is important to synergise the master plan and actions with all development partners.

Speaking earlier, the NDDC Chief Executive Officer said that the new headquarters would add value to the work of the NDDC towards meeting its mandate of facilitating the rapid development of the Niger Delta region.

He stated: “It is part of the mandate of the IMC to reposition the NDDC and make sure that the mistakes of the past are corrected and ensure that going forward, NDDC will work towards realizing its mandate of fast-tracking development in the Niger Delta region.

In his own remarks, the NDDC Director of Project Monitoring and Supervision, Engr. Tonye George, said that he felt fulfilled that the project, which started in 1993 during the days of the Oil Minerals Producing Areas Development Commission, OMPADEC, was virtually completed.

He said that the IMC was able to push the project to the level where the contractor was now putting finishing touches because of the active support of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, noting: “As we speak, members of the IMC now work from the new headquarters building.”

Deworitshe Patricia
D (Press & PR)
September 28th, 2020

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