The Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Gbene Dr Joi Nunieh, has re-affirmed the commitment of the Commission to complete all on-going projects in the Niger Delta region.
A report by Charles Obi Odili, Director, Corporate Affairs, released on December 19, 2019, disclosed that Dr. Nunieh spoke while inspecting NDDC projects in Imo State, in the company of the state Deputy Governor, Engr. Gerald Irona; the representative of Ohaji Egbema Federal Constituency, Hon Kinsley Uju; the Commission’s directors and engineers.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer expressed dissatisfaction with the situation at most of the sites visited by the team, saying that non-performance of the contractors provided justification for the worries of President Muhammadu Buhari and his order for a forensic audit of the NDDC.
She said: “At most of the places we visited, people were brandishing Interim Payment Certificates, IPCs, with very little to show on the ground. The Interim Management Committee, IMC, will try to complete the projects to respond to the concerns of the President.
“The reasons for the President’s worries and the pressure on the IMC to change things are becoming obvious. The defaulters do not want us to work to facilitate the carrying out the forensic audit.” Nunieh stressed that the NDDC would carry out the mandate of President Buhari to complete all on-going projects in the region and positively impact on the lives of people in the rural areas.
The inspection team visited the road and bridge leading to Oguta Lake, to connect Egwe Autonomous community and Nnebukwu community in Oguta Local Government Area.
The NDDC boss noted that the project which was awarded in 2010, was abandoned with very little work done, after the contractor had collected N455 million in addition to a mobilisation fee of N700 million.
The Imo State Deputy Governor, Engr. Irona, said that the project was important because of the commitment of the state to tourism, especially at Oguta Lake, which had always been a good tourist attraction, noting that the bridge would link Oguta with Rivers and Anambra states. Another project inspected in Oguta LGA was the Izombe-Mgbele Road, awarded by NDDC in 2014.
The Commission’s Acting MD ordered that the contractor, who she said rushed back to site because of the inspection, should stop work immediately. A similar situation was observed at the Amakofia-Abiaziem Road also in Oguta LGA.
The team also inspected the reclamation and shore protection project at Opuoma in Ohaji-Egbema Local Government Area. Briefing the team, the President of the town union, Mr Harrison Nwereazu, said that for over 12 years, the contractor had been playing hide and seek with the community, without reclaiming any land.
Another project inspected was the 25-kilometre dual carriageway connecting Imo and Rivers states, from Port Harcourt Owerri junction-Etekuru-Ohaji Egbema, terminating at Ogba Egbema Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The representative of Ohaji Egbema Federal Constituency, Hon Kinsley Uju, decried the slow pace of work on the road and thanked President Buhari for setting up a team to take correct the ills at the NDDC.
He observed: “Today, we have seen the wisdom in Mr. President’s appointment of the IMC to unravel the level of infrastructural decay in the Niger Delta region. I have moved round with the Acting Managing Director of the NDDC on inspection of projects and we have seen the level of abandoned projects in Imo State”.
Uju said that the House of Representatives was in agreement with the President’s decision to set up the Interim Management to supervise the forensic audit of the NDDC, stating that the three-man Interim Management deserved the backing of the legislature.