The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, has said the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is broke and needs better funding to carry out its duties.
Speaking at the NDDC capacity building workshop held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, on Friday, Akpabio said the commission needs to be better funded to improve service delivery in the Niger Delta region
He said in order for the commission to fulfill its mandate to the Niger Delta people, the NNDC must tackle the issue of bribery and corruption.
He said: “The current funding patterns and budgeting processes must embrace best practices in order to achieve the best while asking for more funding to do even more sustainable projects,” .
“In most instances, it’s like going cap in hand to beg. The commission isn’t just broke because they’re owing almost 2.9 trillion, the commission is broke because the funding system has not been stable.
“To achieve good governance, there must be a conscious strategy. Lack of proper engagement with the communities and state governments must also change. We must ensure that we have consultations with the communities and state governments.”
The minister also called for a review of the governance system to ensure a smooth process of payment for contracts.
He said: “It takes almost 26 signatories before one payment is made. That means even if one or two signatories are sick, that payment is not done. You can now imagine why people have completed their jobs and are not paid years after completion. That system cannot guarantee good governance.
“We all know the problems of the NDDC and that is why we are here. I’m happy the national assembly is here. We must leave the NDDC better than we met it.”
Akpabio’s comment comes months after a house of representatives panel probed the alleged mismanagement of N81.5 billion by the interim management committee (IMC) of the commission.
While appearing before the panel in July 2020, Akpabio had said federal lawmakers were the biggest beneficiaries of contracts awarded by the NDDC.