Abuja – President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday placed embargo on award of new contracts in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) until all ongoing projects are completed.
The president gave the directive at the inauguration of the new board of NDDC chaired by Sen. Bassey Ewa-Henshaw held at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa.
Jonathan said that both the board and management of the commission would be “clinically watched’’.
He said that he would take special interest in the running of the NDDC to ensure the people of the region as well as Nigerians at large enjoy the benefit of resources released into the commission.
The president cautioned members of the board against incessant quarrels which he said characterised the activities of their predecessor before they were dissolved.
He frowned at the situation where enormous funds were released into the commission but there were no physical development on ground to justify the fund.
“The Niger Delta people feel that the NDDC is not really doing what they are supposed to do over the period.
“There are so many ongoing projects and a body like NDDC should not just go into a voyage of contracts procurement.
“Ongoing projects must be completed for people to benefit before new ones are awarded.
“There are just too many ongoing projects and we believe that you don’t even have enough manpower to manage the ongoing projects.
“If you aggregate the total amount of money the Federal Government has spent on this agency, it is enormous but I do not believe on ground that we have something to show very clearly,’’ he said.
The president called on governors from the region to meet regularly and play their roles of overseeing development in the NDDC.
In a response, Ewa-Henshaw, said that members of the board were fully aware of the criticisms that have trailed the performances of the commission for a number of years.
He assured that they would do their best possible to change NDDC image before the Nigerian people.
“By adopting a fresh approach and forging a new direction and focus, we hope to create a new more positive image for the commission,’’ he said.
Other members of the board are the Managing Director of the Commission, Bassey Dan-Abia, Executive Director (Finance and Administration), Dr Itotenaan Ogiri, (Rivers) and Executive Director (Projects) Tuoyo Omatsuli (Delta).
Also on the board are, Turofade Oyarede (Bayelsa), Ephraim Sobere Etete (Rivers), Etim Inyang Jnr (Akwa Ibom); Adah Andeshi (Cross River) and Tom Amioku (Delta).
The other members are Samuel Nwogu (Abia), Uchegbu Kyrian (Imo), Maj.-Gen Suleiman Said (Niger, North Central) and Alhaji Abdumalik Mahmud (Bauchi, North East).
Edo and Ondo States and the North East are yet to have nominees on the board. (NAN)