…commends President Buhari
…says, over N30B collected, projects abandoned in Akwa Ibom
A lawmaker in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Anietie Eka, representing Uyo State Constituency, has lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for his recent inauguration of an Advisory Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission-NDDC which he, (Eka) nicknamed ‘Stakeholders Committee’. “The president has displayed great political will…” he enthused.
Rt. Hon. Eka, who is the Chairman, House Committee on NDDC told reporters during interaction in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state capital that President Muhammadu Buhari has taken the Bull by its horn by appointing the nine governors of the Niger Delta states as members of the advisory body, headed by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Obong Godswill Akoabio, stating that “…this is a new and welcome development in the history of the Niger Delta area and the commission since it was founded in 2000”.
The member states includes, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Edo, Delta, Rivers, Cross River, Imo and Ondo.
He posit that the move will create a working synergy between the commission and the benefiting communities and eradicate the spectre of abandoned and sub-standard projects littering the Niger delta region and also checkmate corruption in the system.
The finely built politician said that he was especially happy at the development because, according to him, the inclusion of the state governors in the advisory committee will promote unity of purpose and make an in depth analysis of the intrinsic need of the people available to the commission since the state executives are abreast of the basic needs of their people and sitting as members of the committee, will work in tandem with the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and NDDC.
His words; “I am especially happy at this development. Mr. President has indeed displayed great political will and wisdom in tackling the myriad of structural malady and malaise in the area including high-level corruption which is the bane of development in the Niger delta region by the inauguration of this advisory committee comprising the Niger delta state governors.
The lawmaker also told journalists that the era when the commission’s project crisscrossed the state governments’ thereby heating up the polity unnecessarily will be no more as projects will be determined through collaboration with stakeholders (member governors) for effective Democratic deliveries.
“The collaboration of the Ministry, NDDC and the Committee, as an advisory body, will eradicate duplication and abandonment of projects as it was in the past. This is so, because, the NDDC will work in synergy with the advisory committee in determining what project(s) best suits the immediate need of the indigenes of the area, while also monitoring such projects closely at the state level to ensure timely completion and good quality.”
He disclosed that for the first time since the commission was founded in 2000 by the administration of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the state governors who represents the beneficiary communities of the NDDC are given a right of say and input. They are best positioned to know what best suits and benefits the people rather than force projects on the region which mostly are abandoned anyways.
The Assembly Committee Chairman also commended the federal government on-going forensic audit exercise which has so far done a great job. He said federal government effort had uncovered and recovered over N3 Billion cash and assets worth Billions of naira while N6B is held in lien, all of which are proceeds of corrupt practices within the commission in the past.
He hinted that Akwa Ibom State has her own share of abandoned projects littering the state even though monies for these projects has been paid to contractors to the tune of N30B without doing anything.
The lawmaker said that he will work with his committee members on NDDC at the assembly to assist the state government and the NDDC discover sites of abandoned projects in the state with a view to recall the ‘fleeing’ contractors back to site and or recover monies so far collected for jobs not done.
He called on security agencies to descend heavily on any contractor(s) involved in corrupt practices and thereby sabotaging the development of the Niger Delta states.