Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has said that over 12,128 abandoned projects in the Niger Delta region have been uncovered.
Akpabio who made the disclosure during the visit of the United Nations, Deputy Secretary-General, Hajia Amina Mohammed, to him in Abuja, said the abandoned projects were discovered by forensic auditors employed by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
Akpabio, who noted that the abandoned projects have no specific ownership attached to them, stressed further that the development was against the 9,080 projects listed by the government to be considered in the verification process.
The minister, however, sought the collaboration with United Nations to maintain peace and development in the Niger Delta region, which he said remains the most peaceful region in Nigeria.
According to the minister, “Most of these abandoned projects have become sanctuaries to criminals. Projects were embarked on without consultations.
“There was no initial coordination. So, as part of its mandate, the Ministry has adopted a programme called ‘Strategic Implementation Work Plan’, SIWP, which will coordinate the activities of development partners and stakeholders to prevent duplication of projects in the region.”
Responding, the United Nations, Deputy Secretary-General, Hajia Amina Mohammed, noted that issues bordering on the Niger Delta region are peculiar to the heart of the UN and would do everything within UN programmes to address all issues of disillusionment in people’s expectations.
She commended the efforts of the Federal Government and the Ministry in the way they have handled the Niger Delta affairs as well as move to sanitise the NDDC.
Mohammed laid emphasis on the need to maintain peace and stability in the region, because without peace there cannot be any meaningful development, especially when the aspirations and rights of the people are not recognized.