Since the establishment of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in the year 2000 during the regime of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the Commission has over the years been vested with the core mandate of assessing and reporting on projects being funded or carried out by NDDC in the 9 oil producing States.
Other mandate of this all important Commission is conception, planning and implementation, in accordance with set roles and regulations of projects and programmes for sustainable development of the Niger Delta area in the field of Transportation, including roads, industrialization, agriculture and fisheries, housing and urban development, water supply, electricity and telecom.
The government, during the establishment of NDDC, had in mind the mission of facilitating the rapid even and sustainable development of the Niger Delta into a region that is economically prosperous, socially stable, ecologically regenerative and politically peaceful.
Over the years, things seems to have fallen apart in this Commission as Road Contract awards and projects which they claimed to have executed are only on paper but nothing to show for it at all.
The Niger Delta Development Commission oversees 9 States in the Country which include Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Imo, Rivers, Edo and Ondo State. Every year, huge sums running into billions of naira are allocated to this crucial agency of government for building of road projects, bridges, class room blocks, intervention programms, scholarships etc .
Indication has shown that the projects being executed by NDDC have never commensurated with the humongous amount the government normally allocate to it, and this is where the crux of the matter is anchored.
Recently, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State was shocked to his marrow when he heard for the first time that NDDC has paid out over 1 billion naira to contractors so as to construct the Ohanku Road Aba, Azikiwe Road and other Road projects which the Commission claimed is ongoing in the State.
During the visit of the management team of the Commission to the Governor in Umuahia, NDDC senior officials, ably led by its acting Managing Director Dr. Joi Nuneih had told Governor Ikpeazu that Ohanku Road Aba among others was listed among NDDC projects executed in Aba with almost I billion naira already paid out to contractors. From the look of things, NDDC has become a cesspool of corruption where officials collude with both local and foreign contractors to siphon fund meant for road projects across the region. This is not fair at all.
It has been observed that NDDC used to pay huge amount of money to politicians and their proxies for phantom road projects.
If only 50% of the road projects listed were delivered according to specifications, Abia State and other States in the region would have had the best road network in the Country.
The time has come for the Federal Government to embark on a thorough overhaul of the management of the Commission and investigate the so many corrupt dealings which has been going on in NDDC and those found culpable must go in for it so as to serve as a deterrent to others.
Written By: Emenike Jason Iroegbu (Editor In Chief – Abia Facts Newspaper)