According to the EFCC, Ekere allegedly received kickbacks from contractors between 2017 and 2019.
The former NDDC boss, who was the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Akwa Ibom in 2019, was said to have been picked up by officials of the Lagos branch of the EFCC.
An official of the EFCC said, “Ekere is currently in custody at the Lagos zonal office for fraud to the tune of N47bn. These monies were paid to him as kickbacks by registered contractors of the NDDC.
“We have traced a choice property to him in Lagos while investigations continue.”
Established in 2000 as successor to the Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission to hasten development and tackle ecological problems, arising from the exploration of oil minerals in the largely neglected oil-producing areas of the country, the NDDC is believed to be among the most corrupt agencies in the country.
The commission, according to its enabling law, has the mandate to construct roads, develop jetties, health facilities and promote education, job creation, agriculture, fisheries, housing, urban development, among other things.
The law also charges the NDDC with the responsibility of preparing “master plans and schemes designed to promote the physical development of the Niger Delta area and the estimates of the costs of implementing the master plans and schemes.
In 2020, the House of Representatives set up an ad hoc committee to investigate claims that N81.5bn was diverted during the COVID-19 lockdown. However, its acting Managing Director, Kemebradikumo Pondei, “slumped” while being questioned.