As NDDC invites Buhari to commission 29km road project
It’s another IMC drama to divert attention from financial recklessness -NDRA
By Godwin Anene
Niger Delta stakeholders have lashed the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) over the invitation to President Mohammadu Buhari to commission the N24Billion 29km Ogbia-Nembe Road project in Bayelsa.
Zik Gbemre, Coordinator, Niger Delta Peace Coalition (NDPC) chided the commission for claiming glory in a partnership project it contributed “little” compared to Shell just as the Niger Delta Rights Advocates (NDRA) lashed the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of NDDC for diverting attention from alleged financial recklessness with the invitation to the President.
Gbemre said, “We are not against the President being invited to commission a development project, but NDDC being too forward is giving the false impression as lead partner in the delivery of the project, which is so from form the truth.
“In his maiden visit to the NDDC headquarters under Enyia Akwagaga as Acting MD, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen Godswill Akpabio himself noted that Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) contributed 70% counterpart funding to the Ogbia-Nembe Road project.
“Now, added to about N3Billion, could be more, contributed by host Bayelsa state, you can imagine, in simple arithmetic, what fraction NDDC contributed to that project. The bottom line is that without Shell, the project would have remained a mess of abandonment under NDDC, just like their uncompleted headquarters.
“They should stop claiming glory for that Road project. NDDC has absolutely no moral justification to claim glory as they are posturing over the project. It is deceptive and anti development because it is capable of discouraging future commitment of the big partner.”
Darlington Nwauju, Spokesman, NDRA said, “Rather than put his integrity to the crucible of public scrutiny. Prof Kemebradikumor Pondei has again chosen path of dramatization over a road project completed over a year ago by the Prof Nelson Brambaifa NDDC board.
“NDRA recalls that 8 July 2019, former Governor of Bayelsa, Seriake Dickson publicly commended the then NDDC board for completing that project without media glitz or fanfare. Today, we challenge the current IMC to point to one project it has completed.
“Pondei IMC should forget diverting attention with commissioning drama on Ogbia-Nembe Road. The IMC should rather be preoccupied with explaining the indefensible reckless feasting on Niger Delta commonwealth under the following subhead and these are verified spendings, not allegations.
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“Condolences (N122.9m); community relations (N1.3billion); security (N744m); stakeholders engagement (N248.9m); N85.6m paid to 14 staff members to embark on overseas travel to the UK (during lockdown), publicity (N1.121billion); COVID-19 relief funds (N3.14billion).
“N143m paid to 5 member of staff to attend a conference on budgeting during lockdown; N641m paid to assist the NDDC IMC identify its own projects; N1.088billion for distribution of palliatives without a single proof (video or pictorial); N171m paid to 300 drivers to attend training course during the lockdown. N150m paid to some union executives for an ILO conference in Turin, Italy (scheduled during the COVID-19 travel restrictions).
“NDRA have no option than join forces with TUC and sister civil society organizations to publicly protest the seeming delay on the part of the Federal Government in decisively taking action against the current NDDC IMC.”