Akpabio says no substantive board of NDDC until forensic auditors are through

Senator Godswill Akpabio, the Minister of Niger-Delta Affairs, has said there will be no substantive board of the Niger-Delta Development Commission until the forensic auditors of the NDDC complete their assignment.

The Minister said this while briefing newsmen in Port Harcourt.

His comment is in reaction to calls by the South-South Governors Forum on the Federal government to stop all payments to the NDDC until a Board is set-up.

Ifeanyi Okowa, Chairman of the South-South Governors Forum and Delta State Governor, said it was worrisome that the running of the NDDC in over a year by the Interim Caretaker Committee, “does not augur well for the people of the Niger Delta.

But Senator Akpabio in reaction said he was not opposed to the constitution of a substantive Board for the NDDC.

He, however, explained that setting up a board in the middle of the investigation will compromise the forensic audit, adding that South-South Governors themselves requested for the audit.

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“Let me first tell you that we have appealed to Governors to ensure that Local government councils have elected Executives. Some Governors for eight years use Caretaker Committees to run Local governments and the Federal government did not deny them funds.

“We are not against the formation of a Board for the NDDC but if in 19 years they could not build the NDDC Headquarters. They could not even use a mere N16 million to connect the old NDDC office on Aba Road to the National grid. That is to tell you that the constitution of Boards sometimes has misplaced priorities.

“But we are saying that there would be a formation of Board for the NDDC but we have to first finish the forensic audit. Let me tell you, Boards have various interests; if you are a contractor and you can nominate somebody into the Board, don’t you think the person will conflict with the forensic auditors?

“In a few months the forensic audit will be over and a Board will definitely be inaugurated for the NDDC. It doesn’t need fighting or Governors calling on the President to constitute a Board.

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“Rather, the Governors should concentrate on conducting Local Government elections and not Local government announcements,” Akpabio said.

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