By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN—THE Chairman, Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, yesterday said the Commission would establish a Niger Delta Development Bank with a view to sustaining and accelerating developmental efforts of government in the region.
This came as Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, yesterday urged the NDDC to help in the management of resources for Niger Delta states, noting that accounts of individual member states should be operated to facilitate appropriation of funds for project execution.
He said the six states in the South-South would have shares in the bank, explaining that the commission had resolved to collaborate with member states in the Niger Delta to execute projects.
The board chairman spoke when he led the management of NDDC on a visit to Governor Obaseki at Government House Benin City.
According to him, “This commission is on image laundering and we must succeed in ensuring that the Niger Delta is developed. That is why we intend to establish a Niger Delta Development Bank so that the budget formation process for the commission would be strengthened and we are going to involve governors of the member states so we can work together and get our priorities right.”
On the commission’s activities in Edo, he said that a total of 708 projects, valued at N86. 34 billion had been awarded in the state since the inception of the commission.
They included 233 ongoing projects, 130 yet to commence, 131 completed but not inaugurated while 173 were completed and inaugurated.
Responding, Governor Obaseki urged the NDDC, to help in the management of resources for the Niger Delta states, noting that individual member states accounts should be operated to facilitate appropriation of funds for project execution.
Governor Obaseki explained that the Benin-Abraka road was of high priority and great economic benefit to the state, saying: “The road links Benin with Oben, a location which is the gas hub of the country.”
Rehabilitation of the road will also open up 25, 000 hectares of land for agricultural production.”
According to the governor, the prior notice given to NDDC contractors in the state to stop work was not to embarrass the commission, but to understand what the contractors were doing, noting that Edo formed an integral of the Niger Delta region and the state would work with the commission to foster development of the region.
He also disclosed that his administration was unhappy with some of the projects executed in the state, urging the commission to manage one major account made up of management fees paid by member states, while separate accounts should be dedicated to member states for project execution.