Commission’s defaulting contractors must be jailed, gov insists
The Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has maintained that his administration is strongly in support of the directive by President Muhammadu Buhari for a forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), noting that the state ranks highest in the commission’s abandoned project list.
Obaseki said this when he received the acting Managing Director of NDDC, Dr Gbene Joi Nunieh, with other members of the Interim Management Committee (IMC), who were on a courtesy visit at the Government House in Benin City, the Edo State Capital.
The governor also frowned at the top-to-bottom governance arrangement of the NDDC, adding that it can’t develop the region, stressing that the commission’s defaulting contractors must be jailed.
“To resolve the issue of corruption in NDDC, people must go to jail. Those who supervised and managed these contracts and every other person found culpable must be made to face the law,” he said.
Governor Obaseki, who congratulated the commission’s boss on her appointment, assured that his administration will work with the new NDDC management to ensure it meets its goals.
“The NDDC has not been fair to Edo State as we have more abandoned projects in the state than other states. We are disappointed with the old management and board of NDDC. We insist on the forensic audit to ensure such doesn’t happen again. I hope that with the new acting MD, we would begin to do the right thing and move the region forward.”
Obaseki continued, “The truth is that the governance arrangement of NDDC from top to bottom can’t develop the region. Its DNA is corruption. We see how NDDC contracts are traded and how much premium is paid on the contracts.
Obaseki thanked the new MD for pushing for the Advisory Council Meeting of Governors in the nine states, scheduled to hold in January 2020.
In her response, Dr Nunieh said the commission was in the state to inspect some of the roads and projects the NDDC listed as completed, abandoned, failed and on-going.
She noted, “President Muhammad Buhari has ordered for a forensic audit to commence and we have gotten documents ready and the process will start in January 2020”.
The NDDC boss said most of NDDC contractors have failed because they got multiple contracts from various sources, adding, “Since the commencement of its intervention in Edo State, the NDDC has embarked on 738 infrastructural conventional projects valued at over N118 billion. Of these, 48 valued at N36.6 billion, are reported as on-going or abandoned.”
The high point of the visit was the unveiling of the equipment donated by NDDC to Edo State Government. The items donated include two Toyota ambulances; Lassa fever protective kits; cold chain facility to store vaccines; 2,000 units of personnel protective kits and drugs for Irrua Specialist Hospital, and Science Laboratory tools for secondary schools as well as four sewage trucks.