Recently, the Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio laid the foundation of a 1,050-bed university hostel in Uyo, for us this is commendable, and we identify with this laudable project.
However, making his address at the project inauguration President Mohammedu Buhari, emphasized that the NDDC must recover all stolen funds and use same for the services of the people of the region henceforth.
“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.”
He remained the audience of the much awaited forensic audit, “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.
Unfortunately, Mr President failed to talk about the unending delay on the part of the government in release of the Audit Report months after it was submitted to the Buhari’s led federal government.
We recall that Akpabio as the Minister in charge had earlier promised that the forensic audit final report would be presented to the President in July, 2021 and action would be taken on time.
But where are the contents of the audit? Why is it taking the federal government so long to make it public?
It is pathetic that reports of this nature in the past had never seen light of day, despite their gravity and importance, and the difference they would have made in deepening public accountability, good governance and deterring future occurrence, if they had been made public.
Why was the audit team constituted in the first place, if the government know it doesn’t have the courage to make it public? Are some individuals that the report might have indicted more powerful than the interest of the country? Is the authority hiding something? These are nagging questions begging for answers.
Nigeria may find it difficult to move forward if vested interests are turned into deities and worshipped instead of national interest. Public funds are often used to constitute these panels or commissions of inquiry only for their findings to be abandoned.
If the particular report on the misdemeanor in NDDC is not made public, then it would leave no other further explanation than for Nigerians to speculate that there may official encouragement of bad behaviour in public service, since infractions and transgressions are not punished to serve as deterrent.
It is not too late in the day for the administration to release the audit report.