Following the pressure from citizen groups across the country and in particular, the Niger Delta, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs; Mr. Godswill Akpabio on Thursday 2nd September, 2021 finally submitted the completed forensic audit report to the President.
In line with this, Social Action in a statement, noted that amidst popular demands for actions around the forensic report, this is a good step towards entrenching accountability in the Niger Delta Development Commission.
Recall that since Mr. Akpabio confirmed the receipt of the forensic audit report, Nigerians have intensified calls for actions to be taken on the report. Many have expressed concern over the delay in submitting the report for necessary action noting that such delay may derail attention away from the report.
However, with the presentation of the report to the president seems to have rekindled the hope and trust that Nigerians have that concrete actions will be taken on the findings of the report, they said.
Social Action in the statement by Botti Isaac, however called on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that the forensic report is made available to the public.
“According to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, some 13,000 projects by the commission have been abandoned. It is therefore important that details of such abandoned projects are not kept away from the public who hitherto should benefit from the completion of such projects.
“We hereby call on President Muhammadu Buhari to uphold the integrity of the report by publishing the full details of these projects, the names of the various contractors”, he said.
He further noted that it is distressing to know from the forensic audit report that over N6 trillion disbursed between 2001 and 2019 have not been adequately put into use for the benefit of the Niger Delta.
“Social Action demands the immediate investigation, prosecution, and recovery of embezzled funds from those found culpable in a time-bound manner. The federal government should publish the names of those found culpable, which includes those who approved the over 12,000 abandoned contracts.
“This kind of quick response would reflect the seriousness of the government’s claims of zero tolerance on corruption and would serve as a deterrent to future corrupt acts.
“The cost of this gross mismanagement and wanton corruption in the Niger Delta region cannot be underestimated; hence, anyone found culpable should not be spared. The efforts put into this forensic audit report would be deemed successful only if corrupt officials and contractors are brought to justice and punishment handed out.
“We have absolute confidence that there will be no safe haven for anyone found culpable”, the statement concluded.