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Akpabio in Port Harcourt, dishes orders to NDDC management

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  • Akpabio in Port Harcourt, dishes orders to NDDC management

  • Says N1.9Billion for executed water hyacinth jobs be paid from Monday

  • NDDC headquarters must move into permanent office 2020

  • Commission must bring in international external auditors

  • Says I will shield commission from NASS harassment

By Egufe Yafugborhi, Port Harcourt

Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Friday inundated the NDDC management with a number of orders to be obeyed with set deadlines.

Akpabio in Port Harcourt, dishes orders to NDDC management
Sen. Godswill Akpabio, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs
Akpabio, accompanied by Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Festus Keyamo (SAN), handed the directives to the management of the commission under Acting Managing Director, Dr. Enyia Akwagaga, in the first official visit to the NDDC whose past failures he had concentrated on highlighting since his appointment.
Harping on the imperative to “set new templates for NDDC”, the minister said the commission could have done far better than what it did in the past, urging the need for collective efforts to make the intervening agency live to expectations of the region’s people quickly.
What must be done
He directed that “The N1.9 billion for water hyacinth job done by the youths of Niger Delta should be released by NDDC from Monday. The commission will no longer pay rent for its corporate headquarters on Aba Road from next year.
“In 1996, then Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission started a 13-story building as the headquarters of NDDC in Port Harcourt. The money to complete the building can be brought in a month if NDDC’s management chooses to.
“We must determine the total indebtedness of NDDC. We must immediately bring in international or external auditing firms. NDDC must have well-structured fund development regime, whereby all funds that accrue to the commission every month are utilized.
“Staff promotion exercise must also be concluded immediately. The postings of staff should be well-intended and should not be based on punishment. In NDDC, it will no longer be business as usual.
“I will ensure that members of the Senate and House of Representatives’ Committees on Niger Delta on oversight functions do not harass you (NDDC management). Whenever you are invited, make sure you get in touch with me.”
Akpabio urged the commission to improve collaboration with well-meaning development partners to region move the region forward, saying NDDC has no resources adequate to solve all problems of the Niger Delta.
He said, “NDDC has 12,000 projects across nine states of the region which are experiencing funding challenge. We must explore a collaborative partnership with all agencies created by law, as alternative sources of funding.
“The recently completed Ogbia-Nembe Road in Bayelsa State was constructed in partnership with the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), which provided 70 percent of the fund.
“Such initiatives involving other oil companies operating in the Niger Delta should be encouraged and it will serve as a challenge to other International Oil Companies (IOCs) to partner with NDDC to embark on capitals intensive projects in the region.”
Discouraging bloated projects
He said, “The commission must drastically curtail its procurement activities, by reducing the number of big projects and programmes. NDDC to ensure that we determine the total number of ongoing projects and programmes.
The commission must ensure distribution of these programs and projects among the nine states, must put a mechanism in place to reevaluate the viability of some of the projects and programmes. Revise the scope of some of them, relocate some and merge some, and complete them for the benefit of our people.
Our burden -Akwagaga
Akwagaga, the Acting NDDC MD had told Akpabio that political interference and “entitlement mentality remains the greatest burdens that see NDDC funds filtered away, especially through the abandonment of contracts for which monies have been collected.
“Akwagaga said, “Sincerely, as a Commission, we are bothered that we have been cast in a certain negative stereotype. The entitlement culture has not helped our cause where everybody sees NDDC funds as “our money”.
“Certain contractors, regrettably, approach the Commission for jobs with such mentality and of course the first casualty is the fund, then, the Commission and consequently, the people of the region. Such a contractor soon abandons a project and seeks some powerful protection.
“Ultimately, the Commission becomes the scapegoat. We operate under an environment where people take recourse to their partisan loyalty and political affiliations to undermine NDDC’s mandate. We wished it was better than that”

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