By Chioma Onuegbu
EKET — COMMUNITIES in Eket and Ikot Abasi Local Government Areas, Akwa Ibom State have expressed disappointment over the numerous projects abandoned by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC in the council areas.
Among the projects in Eket LGA include a-six classroom block at Afaha Atai primary school, started during the days of Oil Mineral Producing Areas Commission, OMPADEC, and rewarded by the NDDC in 2011, Ikot Ibiok-Ikot Ekid-Afaha Atai road, awarded by NDDC in 2006, part of which has been abandoned; one and half kilometre road in Ikot-Udota village, awarded in 2012, water project in Ikot Udota which was started by OMPADEC and re-awarded by NDDC and abandoned.
At Ikot Abasi, residents identified some of the NDDC abandoned projects to include civic centre in Ette community, Ette-okopedi road uncompleted with no drainages on the sides, Okongtekong road, Abasute road, water project in Ndauko village, a water project in Ikot Akpan Udo abandoned about 8 years ago.
Niger Delta Voice gathered that some projects like the Solar Power Streetlight along barracks-hospital road in Eket awarded by NDDC in 2012, was completed and the NDDC came to commission it without paying the contractor till today.
Chairman, Afaha Atai village Council, Mr. Samuel Udobong, in an interview with Niger Delta Voice decried the situation, noting that the commission appears not to have a picture of its ongoing projects in the area and that most of the projects were abandoned due to non-payment of mobilization fees to the contractors.
“We are concerned because by abandoning these people oriented projects they have made the living condition of the people worse instead of alleviating their suffering, especially the roads that have become impassable. They should try and do something about the situation. We are not happy,” he said.
A respected community leader in Eket (the Atta of Ekid) and a former Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Chief Nduese Essien, identified ineffective monitoring by the NDDC management as one of the reasons for the abandonment of numerous projects not only in Eket but across the state and urged the new leadership of the commission to always ensure the completion of projects embarked upon before awarding new ones.
His words, “I am disappointed with the way and manner the NDDC has handled its projects. The process of awarding contracts is such that projects are rarely completed because contractors will go to site without specifications being spelt out. Ineffective project monitoring is what has led to so many abandoned projects in Akwa Ibom.”
Attention of the commission
He, however, noted that since the tenure of the MD, of NDDC from Akwa Ibom state was not completed, an Akwa Ibom indigene from any of the oil producing areas of the state should be appointed as soon as possible to complete the four year tenure.
Also speaking, Clan head of Ukpum Ette in Ikot Abasi LGA, Clement Idemudo, lamented that efforts to draw the attention of the commission to the plight of his community as a result of the abandoned and poorly constructed projects in his domain over the years had proved abortive.
He said: “I have written severally to the Chairman and Managing Director of NDDC, especially about the civic centre but nothing has been done.
“NDDC awarded a contract for the building of a hospital project here in Ette, we gave them the land and today my people are not happy with the abandonment.
“We are the goose that lays the golden egg, because of the oil in our territorial waters, but we are not enjoying the fruit of it, so we feel cheated.”
Meanwhile, Obong Sunday Akpanowong, village head of Iwuokpom in Ibeno LGA has decried the lack of NDDC presence throughout council area stressing that but for the ongoing road at Openikan, the commission has not done any project in Ibeno communities.
“You cannot find NDDC projects in Iwuokpom, Mkpanak and others. In fact, the only project I know that is ongoing now is the major road that links Ibeno to Eastern Obolo. We need more projects to be sited in Ibeno by the NDDC. We do not feel NDDC presence in this area,” he noted.
Though the management of the NDDC could not be reached for comment, the member representing Uyo state constituency and Chairman House Committee on NDDC Hon Monday Eyo said, “Letters have been sent to the management of NDDC and they are to appear before this committee this week to explain why those projects were abandoned.
“It is not just only one place, there are so many projects abandoned by the NDDC in different parts of the state. The NDDC was set up to alleviate the suffering of the people, but they are not doing well. The people are suffering because of the abandoned projects. We are very much concerned about the situation.”