The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Godswill Akpabio, says Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, ‘abandoned’ $70 million in a bank for over a decade.

The minister, said NDDC “abandoned” the $70 million in a bank since 2006, and the bank has now offered to return the money.

Mr Akpabio, according to a report published on Friday by The Nation newspaper, said a bank came forward with the revelation on the ‘abandoned’ money after President Muhammadu Buhari ordered a forensic audit of the NDDC accounts.

“I know of a bank that came to say they have $70 million from 2006, one also came to say N170 million had been abandoned, I’ve forgotten in which administrations in the last 11 years, they said they are ready to refund.

“I said no problem, just hang on, we’ll sort all these out when the forensic (audit) comes in to let us know all the recoverable and all that,” The Nation quoted Mr Akpabio to have said in an interview with the paper.

“I think people were treating the place as an ATM, where you just walk in there to go and pluck money and go away, I don’t think they were looking at it as an interventionist agency,” Mr Akpabio had said in November about the level of corruption in the NDDC.

Mr Akpabio said contractors and banks jittery of the impending audit were now coming forward with funds that may have been taken away from un-executed projects.

The minister has vowed to clean up the commission which is under his ministry.

It may take up to four months to audit the commission, he told The Nation.

“The rotten system that made this sensitization process needful took almost 19 years to occur, so we cannot do everything in a month, but the process is on and I assure you in the next three to four months you will see the result and you will be very impressed and the region will be glad for it.

“That will be one of the greatest legacies of President Muhammadu Buhari; being able to clean the Niger Delta Development Commission and being able to refocus it to achieve much for the people of the Niger Delta. History will remember him positively,” the minister said.