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President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday approved the composition of a committee to monitor the activities of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

A statement from Mr Buhari’s spokesperson, Femi Adesina, said the establishment of the committee was in line with the provisions of Part V1, Section 21 of the NDDC Establishment Act.

The NDDC monitoring committee is headed by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio.

The Minister of State in the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and the permanent secretary in the ministry, Omotayo Alasoadura and Olusola Adesola, respectively, are also members of the committee.

Alfred Abah, a director in the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, is a a member and secretary of the committee.

Other members are Shamsuddin Bello, representing the office of the Accountant General of the Federation; Charles Ikeah, representative of the Federal Ministry of Environment; Atanda Musiliu, representing Ministry of Petroleum Resources; Aisha Umar, representing Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning; M.K Mohammed, representing Federal Ministry of Works and Housing; and Dorothy Nwodo, representing the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

Mr Buhari recently replaced the acting managing director of the commission, Joy Nunieh.

The NDDC was set up in 2000 by the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo to fast-track development in the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria.

Twenty years later, the region still remains backward in terms of infrastructure and standard of living, despite the huge amount of money made from oil exploration in the area.

The commission itself has been plagued by poor funding and corruption.

Mr Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa Ibom State, said last year that the NDDC was bedevilled by corruption, so much so that the commission was being seen as an automated teller machine (ATM) “where people could just walk in to pick cash”.

Mr Akpabio later claimed that the NDDC ‘abandoned’ $70 million in a bank for 13 years, while hundreds of its projects remain abandoned and uncompleted across the oil producing states, partly due to non-release of funds.

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