Irked by the poor state of oil producing region of Nigeria, the Minister of the Niger Delta and former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has declared war against corruption in the Niger Delta.
The visibly angry Akpabio, a former Senate Minority Leader, was infuriated that the region has failed to develop in spite of the huge funds so far disbursed by the federal government to the Niger Delta states. The minister lamented: “what happened in our region was a shame, Niger Delta should have set the standard for development.” He vowed to open an account in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for the recovery of funds paid to contractors who absconded after collecting mobilization without delivering on the contracts. Apkabio assured stakeholders in the region who had collected but who will come to him secretly to admit the amount collected and the willingness to return same, promising that such persons will not be disgraced in the public.
Akpabio warned that it is no longer business as usual.
The minister declared: “We will set up an account in the NDDC for those who collected mobilisation and ran away. They should have the funds to refund the mobilisation.
“I hear 55 contractors have gone back to site. As long as we see you on site it means it is an ongoing project – but if there is no one on site that is misappropriation of funds.
“For the big men in the Niger Delta who are scared, I will advise them not to be scared. There is a time to eat and there is also a time to account and this is the time to account.
“I will make sure nobody disgraces you as long as you call me aside and say, Minister, I only collected N1 million naira but so far I have only N500,000 to drop now, I will drop the other amount next time. I will say to you no problem sir. And I will treat you with respect.
“We are setting up 10 auditing units to look into NDDC projects in all affected States.
“What happened in our region was a shame, Niger Delta should have set the standard for development. Where are the legacy projects? Why can’t NDDC show us 100km of dualised road?
“It can no longer be business as usual.”