Board Chairman, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Victor Ndoma-Egba says the commission owes her contractors a whooping one trillion naira as payments for jobs awarded by the NDDC. He however disclosed that after a thorough contract verification exercise recently carried out by the NDDC board, N200 billion worth of jobs from the N1 Trillion, have been cancelled because of irregularities discovered in the course of the exercise.
When he spoke with www.calitown.com, in Calabar, Cross River State, Ndoma-Egba was also emphatic that the “NDDC is a cash cow plunged into unimaginable debts” by some Nigerians who have taken undue advantage of government’s good intentions for the Niger Delta. As a first step towards ensuring that the commission’s functions are effectively discharged, the NDDC’s budget process he said, has been opened up and stakeholder engagement activated for partnership that will bring about sustainable development, which will in turn reassure the nine state governments the NDDC covers that the commission is more than determined to deliver on her mandate. “Our simple strategy has been to audit the debts, the contracts and our personnel and make a charge on the commission’s finances. I think we would do better if we are properly scrutinized”, he said.
Again, “…we discovered amazingly that they are 63 contract payment points in the NDDC and this of course milks contractors; that has been reduced and we are currently working to ensure that we deploy internet based systems that will see people tender for NDDC jobs online, get them if they are successful and be paid online as well, when their jobs are successfully executed to specification. We just must reduce the amount of time wasted on frivolities.”
He was however unhappy that some states in the Niger Delta have refused to support the NDDC’s current drive to pursue projects that integrate the region, a situation he maintained has the capacity to make the commission’s work difficult. “Through insecurity, we have driven people away from the Niger Delta and I must plead that we must change our ways, our militancy now should be of a new kind, that of development to ensure that the region takes her pride of place in Nigeria”, he concluded.
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