The House of Representatives’ committee on abandoned projects awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has directed the commission to recover over N67billion and other monies disbursed for various unexecuted contracts.
The call was made by the chairman of the committee, Ossai Nicholas Ossai (PDP Delta) at the resumed sitting of the committee on Wednesday. The chairman was responding to submissions by the NDDC management team led by Akwaga Enyia,, its acting managing director, who appeared before the committee to give details of contracts awarded by the commission.
According to him, apart from other funds yet to be revealed, the monies to be recovered include N61.4 billion from some contractors who abandoned sites and a N5.8 billion alleged excess payment to others as discovered in a preliminary report of investigation by the committee.
According to the committee chairman, over 600 contractors were awarded contracts by the NDDC across the states of jurisdiction that were mostly dubious in many ways. It was later revealed during the sitting as disclosed by one of the NDDC officials that there are presently 49 terminated and 342 stalled projects awarded by the NDDC across the Niger Delta region.
In his remarks, the chairman said that, by their findings, the commission, apart from questionable dealings, lacks effective control mechanism in contract awards and project finance which led to flagrant abuse of due process. He therefore directed that all former MDs of the commission should be invited to attend the next hearing slated for Thursday.
In a document submitted by the NDDC management during the hearing, the commission’s approved budget from 2008 to 2018 was N2,832,611,325,966 while the total receipt within the same period was N1,848,774,602,103. The document also revealed that the abandoned projects were categorised into two noting that the first category were those arising from contractors’ fault while the second category were those comprising of uncompleted projects which were beyond the contractors’ control.
Also speaking at the hearing today, a stakeholder and chairman, Niger Delta Projects Consortium lamented the wanton corruption in the NDDC which he said must be stopped for the region to develop. He added that despite the efforts by government especially the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, the people in NDDC and other elements in the Niger Delta region are depriving the region of the needed infrastructural development.
Speaking to journalists after the hearing, a member of the committee, Suleiman Abubakar Mahmud Gumi (PDP Zamfara) said that what was discovered by the committee was shocking and had exposed the level of corruption in the NDDC. He said the committee will submit its report adding that anyone found culpable in depriving the Niger Delta people the needed development by short-changing them through the NDDC would be prosecuted by relevant agencies.
Frontpage December 31, 2019