President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the release of outstanding funds owed the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Buhari also ordered the immediate revival and completion of all viable projects which have been abandoned by the NDDC, saying anyone found culpable in the mismanagement of funds and abandonment of projects in the region would be prosecuted.
Speaking on Thursday in Uyo during the virtual commissioning of a 1,050 bed space hostel built and donated by the NDDC to the University of Uyo after it was abandoned for 17 years, the President commended the NDDC for the hostel complex and promised that all recovered funds from the NDDC will be used for the service of the people.
“Therefore, going forward we shall ensure every recoverable kobo recovered will be used for the service of the people of this region and those found capable would face the law.
“Consequently, once we finish this commissioning, I will direct all money contributed to the NDDC to remit all outstanding funds to the commission, and to ensure this is done transparently and according to the laid down procedure and process.
“When I directed the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs to institute a forensic audit of the commission after many representations by major stakeholders in the Niger Delta, I also directed that all viable projects which were being abandoned which will impart positively on the lives and livelihood of the people be immediately revived and completed,” he stated.
Buhari said the Federal Government has invested in the NDDC so that it can execute viable projects that will improve the living standards of people in the region, adding that prudent and efficient implementation of projects would help Nigerians rekindle their trust in the commission.
He described the hostel project comprising 525 rooms for both male and female, as an ultra modern hostel complex equipped with hard and software facilities, saying the Federal Government was concerned and interested in alleviating the accommodation challenges faced by students in the country.
The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel who was represented at the occasion by the Commissioner for Power and Petroleum Development, Dr John Etim, commended the President for the completion and commissioning of the hotel.
Also speaking, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio explained that the forensic audit revealed that 17,000 projects have been abandoned in the region.
Akpabio stated that 77 roads and many health centers have so far been completed, noting that the hostel project is a major transformation effort in the university.
On his part, the Interim Administrator of the NDDC, Mr Effiong Akwa, said the new hostel project is the third time the President will be inaugurating an NDDC project this year, noting that the three project were abandoned before the forensic audit of the commission.
While presenting an award of distinction to the President, Vice Chancellor of the University of Uyo, Prof. Nyaudoh Ndaeyo promised to maintain the new facility.