The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has on Wednesday, arrested the former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Nsima Ekere for alleged embezzlement and diversion of funds to the tune of N47 billion through registered contractors of the agency.
Nsima Ekere was only in charge of the NDDC between 2016 and 2018 before leaving to become the Akwa Ibom governorship candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 elections.
According to reports, Ekere got wind of a close up on him by EFCC and voluntarily reported at the Lagos office of the commission on Wednesday for interrogation.
The EFCC spokesperson, spokesperson Wilson Uwajaren, also confirmed his arrest.
Nsima Ekere, 56, is being investigated for phony contracts were allegedly awarded for diversion purpose. The President had in 2019 ordered a forensic audit of the NDDC, vowing to recover “every kobo” misappropriated.
“The serial abuse, lack of delivery, and what had become an entrenched institutional decay was the reason why I called for the forensic audit,” The President said in December 2021 while commissioning the NDDC Prototype Hostel at the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom.
“Therefore, going forward we shall ensure every recoverable kobo, is recovered for use in service of the people of this region, and those found culpable shall face the Law,” the President added.
Sources in the EFCC close to the situation said the former Director is being investigated and has been detained.
Before then, the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Senator Godswill Akpabio had said there are 13,000 abandoned projects in the region.
“The report of the audit committee showed that there are over 13,000 abandoned projects in the Niger Delta and even before the submission of the report some contractors have returned to site on their own and completed about 77 road projects,” the former Akwa Ibom governor said when he submitted the audit report to Buhari in September 2021.
“Although the exercise had a checkered history, I thank Mr President and all those who supported and ensured its success.”
Nsima Ekere’s arrest is coming just few days after the EFCC picked up Nigeria’s Accountant General of Federation, Idris Ahmed, for fraud allegations to the tune of N80bn.
The Accountant General was however suspended by the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, citing the ongoing investigations with the EFCC.