President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to recover all Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) funds that have been misappropriated. Buhari also stated that his administration is ready to prosecute all of the defendants named in the NDDC forensic report, which is currently being reviewed by the federal government.

“The serial abuse, lack of delivery, and what had become an entrenched institutional decay, was the reason why I called for the forensic audit,” the president said yesterday during the virtual inauguration of the NDDC Prototype Hostel at the University of Uyo.

“As a result, we will ensure that every recoverable kobo is recovered for use in the service of the people of this region in the future, and those found guilty will face the law.”
He regretted that a few individuals had squandered the region’s special development fund for more than 20 years, leaving many people in poverty.

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“The Niger Delta Development Commission must demonstrate that it can achieve the goals for which it was created and have an impact throughout the Niger Delta Region,” the president said.

“The lives of the people of the Niger Delta could be so much better if the billions of naira in funding received by this commission since its inception have been wisely deployed in service of the people.”

“As a result, I’d like to take this opportunity to direct all statutory contributors to the NDDC to remit all outstanding funds to the Commission, and to ensure that this is done transparently and in accordance with established procedure and process.”
Buhari also ordered that all abandoned projects that have a direct impact on people’s livelihoods be revived and completed.

“When I directed the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs to institute a forensic audit of the commission, after many representations from major stakeholders in the Niger Delta, I also directed that all viable projects that had been abandoned but would positively impact people’s lives and livelihoods be immediately revived and completed,” he explained.
The contract for the construction of a 1,050 capacity hostel for male and female students was awarded in 2004, according to the president, but it was abandoned like many others.

“This prototype university hostel consists of 1,050 bed spaces, 525 for each gender, and is furnished to meet the needs of a university student,” he says. The complex also has a significant amount of hard and soft infrastructure to ensure its long-term viability.

“The completion of this structure demonstrates the government’s commitment to providing quality housing and improved education for all Nigerians.”

“It is, therefore, yet another important proof that this administration is committed to meeting the needs and expectations of Nigerians across the country. Government must continue to serve the people by providing amenities and creating an enabling environment for scholarships, investments in all sectors, environmental preservation, and overall economic growth.

“A big part of this success story is that it could have easily gone wrong.” The contract for this hostel was originally awarded in 2004. It was one of many projects abandoned across the Niger Delta region that I directed Senator Godswill Akpabio, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, to complete and put to use as soon as possible.”

Furthermore, Buhari stated that students at many public universities and institutions of higher learning faced housing challenges, while private investors took advantage of the void to fill the gap, putting parents and guardians at a disadvantage.

“Many of them are located far away from school premises and present their own unique challenges,” he explained. It’s great that such an infrastructure gap is being addressed by providing students with affordable, well-built housing in a secure environment.”

The president noted that his vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, had commissioned the Special Protections Unit Base 6 Barracks in Omagwa, Rivers State, which the Niger Delta Development Commission had built and donated to the Nigeria Police.

“First and foremost, as I stated at the time, the complex is an important component of the major reform we are undertaking with the Nigerian Police Force,” he said. While we work to increase the number of police officers and re-equip officers, both in terms of personal gear and hardware, accommodation remains a critical component of the reform. Indeed, it demonstrated that we can overcome the accommodation challenges faced by senior security personnel in order to improve regional security.

“Secondly, this singular intervention demonstrates that the NDDC recognizes the importance of the government’s effort to improve the lives and livelihoods of our police officers, in accordance with my directive that the construction of barracks for men and women of the police force be done in collaboration with the Family Home funds’ Special Housing effort.”

Earlier in his speech, Akpabio stated that the president’s commitment to improving the livelihood of people in the Niger Delta was demonstrated by the completion of the NDDC headquarters complex and other projects.

“President Buhari is focused on the development of Nigeria and the Niger Delta,” he continued. The president wants to make sure that by the time he leaves office, the NDDC is in a position to meet the founding fathers’ expectations.”

Mr. Udom Emmanuel, the governor of Akwa Ibom State, who was represented by Dr. John Etim, the Commissioner for Power and Petroleum Development, praised the president for the hostel’s completion and commissioning.

Mr. Effiong Akwa, the NDDC’s sole administrator, also spoke, thanking the president for honoring the institution by commissioning three projects in a year.
“All three projects had one thing in common: they were all abandoned prior to the forensic audit,” Effiong explained.

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