Godswill Akpabio, minister of Niger Delta affairs, says the major problem of the country is corruption.
Akpabio spoke on Monday at a town hall meeting on the protection of oil and gas infrastructure in the country, held in Abuja.
The minister said international oil companies (IOCs) may be discouraged from remitting what is due to host communities because of corruption, since such funds appear unaccounted for.
“The IOCs must have been discouraged by the way the funds made available were used by NDDC. You cannot point to any substantial development in any of the nine states, in spite of the money that has so far gone into the NDDC,” he said.
“So, I thank the president for trying to find out how much has gone into the NDDC and how much has been judiciously spent.
“The reality is that corruption is the major problem of Nigeria. Even when the first prime minister took over from the British government, the British drew as part of their report that the greatest problem facing Nigeria in 1960 was corruption.
“With corruption, no matter the amount we put for the oil communities, we might end up with communal clashes.”
The minister also said the IOCs owe the Niger Delta about $4.2 billion.
“When NDDC came on board, the IOCs collectively owed the NDDC remittance of about $4.2 billion,” Akpabio said.
“It is not only the IOCs alone, because some of the contracts are JVCs [joint venture contracts]. The JVCs are part of these impediments, because NAPIMS [National Petroleum Investment Management Services] or so must collaborate with the IOCs before some of those releases are made.
“We implore members of the national assembly to look into this, because I noticed that there are no sanctions for non-payment of the three percent.
“So, it means every you have to go cap-in-hand, begging the oil communities to pay their percentage as a result of their lackadaisical attitude. So, the region has not been able to get the required funds.”