… Why NDDC is inclined to project abandonment -WiKE
By Egufe Yafugborhi
Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) built office and residential complex for the Special Protection Unit (SPU) of the Nigeria Police Force, in Omagwa, Ikwerre Local Government, has been commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The intervention infrastructure consists of an administrative block, an armoury, gate house, underground cell and 66 units of accommodation made up of the commander’s residence, second-in-command’s residence and 64 one-bedroom flats.
Sole Administrator, NDDC, Effiong Akwa, said on the occasion that, “Project was abandoned for ten years as all six contractors were being owed for various milestones completed.”
He said the commission under his headship, with push from the President has been able to complete it against all odds, particularly with paucity of funds, aggravated by reluctance of oil firms to remit funding to the commission in defiance of the NDDC Act.
Akwa said, “Oil companies are reluctant to remit funds against the provisions of the act establishing NDDC. When you confront them they give all sorts of excuses, creating funding challenges for the commission.”
Buhari, represented by Vice President Yemi Osibanjo noted, “Today’s event meets two objectives. First, it is an important part of our government commitment to improve lives and livelihoods of police officers and men. It is also another milestone in my administration’s pursuit of the peace prosperity and development of the Niger Delta.
“Establishing adequate security is integral to this objective, which is why we have committing significant resources to project such as we are about to commission.
“This project is a means by which we can alleviate the accomodations challenges for senior security personnel posted to Rivers and ultimately enhance the security footprint in the region.
“The cumulative impact of this and similar projects would be the improvement of security in the state, and consolidation of the economic and social life of the people of this area.”
Governor Nyesom Wike, disappointed at the propensity of the NDDC to abandon projects, said he was on the verge of taking over the project seven months ago, adding that he NDDC probably got wind of his intention and acted fast to save the situation by completing the project.
Wike said, “This project shouldn’t last one year, if NDDC was committed to effective service delivery. There is no collaboration we have had with NDDC that we have completed. And why would NDDC not be abandoning project? You (NDDC) declare projects without conceptualisation, without funding, no commitment.”
The host governor said NDDC remains a cash cow for political patronage where appointees are distracted by those who appointed them to divert set funds to run elections while genuine development projects are abandoned.
“My problem with NDDC is, no synergy with the mandate states. You distort the development plans of the states. Sometimes you go into our schools, health centers to build, who told you it’s our priority?”, he said.
He said the NDDC, through supervising Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Senator Godswill Akpabio, was already defaulting on a N2.5Billion NDDC counterpart funding to dualise the road leading to the commission’s headquarters, vowing, “If he fails to release the money, I will make sure you (NDDC) does not use that road”.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Alkali Baba Usman, said, “The SPU building “is a legacy project, first as the first major purpose built facility for the SPU since it’s establishment in 2009. It demonstrates NDDC commitment to supporting the President Buhari and the police in the task of internal security.
“It will enhance the operational efficiency of the police in Rivers state, especially in the host environment and also help government in addressing the housing deficiency in the country.”