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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has stated that despite the huge funds deployed to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the region has continued to perform below expectation.
The speaker said this on Wednesday during the investigative hearing on the alleged financial mismanagement in the NDDC.
Due to criticisms of the operations of the commission, the president had in 2019 ordered a forensic audit of the operations of the organisation from 2001 to 2019.
Mr Gbajabiamila in his remark said in the 20 years of existence of the commission, the people of the region have not benefited significantly from
“In the over two decades since, that promise has not been kept. Despite its critical importance and the vast sums that have been appropriated by the Federal Government, the Niger Delta of Nigeria continues to score exceptionally low on many of the major human development indices.
“These statistics reflect the reality of disease and deprivation, lack of opportunity and broken dreams that is the plight of many of our fellow citizens in the region.
“It is therefore particularly disturbing and quite frankly, embarrassing that every other news report about the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) seems to centre around escalating allegations of corruption and malfeasance,” he said.
He said the purpose of the investigative hearing “is to ask why the failure persists and to do so with a determination to understand the causes of that failure so that the parliament can act to redeem the NDDC and remove those factors that imperil the commission’s noble mission”.
“We will examine the allegations of corruption and malfeasance that have dogged the commission,” he said. “We will do so with neither fear nor favour, confident in the assurance that we have both a constitutional duty and moral obligation to ensure that the enormous sums of money appropriated to the NDDC over the years are appropriately accounted for by those whose responsibility it has been to manage this important and all too essential public trust.”
The speaker said the success of the investigation will depend on the willingness of the various ‘stakeholders’ in the commission, within government and in the local communities to cooperate with the committee.