September 23, 2021

Reps abandon probe of NDDC road contracts


•Relinquish your stronghold on NDDC, Ndokwa youths tell Akpabio

Ex-militant leader tasks Buhari to constitute substantive board

By Samuel Oyadonghan, Tordue Salem, Ochuko Akuopha & Chancel Sunday

The House of Representatives has abandoned the probe it initiated into capital projects by Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, in Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, and Rivers states.

This is as Ndokwa National Youth Movement, NNYM, yesterday, vowed to shut down activities of NDDC, should the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio fail to relinquish his “stronghold” on the commission and allow for the inauguration of a substantive board to run its affairs.

Also, an ex-militant Mr Austin Bright, has tasked President Muhammadu Buhari to constitute a substantive board for the NDDC.

It would be recalled that the House of Representatives had on August 26, 2019, initiated a probe into the abandonment of capital projects by NDDC in the Niger Delta states but was abandoned midway.

The House Ad-hoc Committee on NDDC was headed by Nicholas Ossai(PDP-Delta).

According to documents obtained by Vanguard, the committee summoned governors of Niger Delta states, ministries, and other agencies of government, to explain their roles in the abandonment of the projects.

The probe commenced within two weeks, through a Public Hearing at the National Assembly, but stalled along the way.

The Chairman of the Committee complained that it wasn’t concluded, “because as we speak, we have not been able to summon some agencies, because there is no funding. We don’t even have money to do other things and write our reports.

“How do you expect us to function like that, it is not possible?” he had said and to date, nothing has come out from the probe committee.

Meanwhile, NNYM, in a statement by its National Secretary, Presley Idi, said: “It has become imperative that we re-address issues as they concern the NDDC, so the world will know where we stand.

“it would be recalled that following the ultimatum that was issued by the Ijaw Youth Congress, IYC, to Akpabio,  Government “Tompolo” Ekpemupolo, and us, we made it clear that should the Minister who is in charge of the commission fails to inaugurate a substantive board, we will mobilise massively and join the protest.

READ ALSO: Reps abandon probe of trillion-naira NDDC contracts, N3.4bn solar project

“Following the ultimatum, the Minister quickly convoked a stakeholders meeting, where he made different promises which included the board inauguration by the end of June and this was the reason we shelved our plans.

“Today, not only has the month of June come and gone, the forensic audit has now been completed and submitted, what then is stopping the inauguration of a substantive board?

“We are deeply worried and saddened that less than two years to the end of this current government, our people have been denied effective representation with the Minister running the commission like his personal property.

“The NDDC doesn’t belong to Akpabio, so we will not allow him to continue to hold the entire Niger Delta to ransom.”

Ex-militant leader tasks Buhari on board                                                              

Bright, who is Bayelsa State chairman, Phase 2 ex-militants, gave the task in Yenagoa, yesterday, stressing that it was long overdue for Buhari to perform his duty.

He said: “I am calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to without further delay, constitute a substantive board of the NDDC for smooth running.

“The presidency should, henceforth, stop appointing NDDC leadership on acting capacity, as such has hampered speedy development of the region. We’re fed up with the presidency playing politics with the commission,” he said.

Vanguard News Nigeria