Over 46 % NDDC Projects Abandoned, says panel

Chief Isaac Jemide led Presidential Monitoring Committee on the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC submitted its report to President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday with a damning verdict on the performance of the commission established to bring relief to the people of Nigeria’s oil producing communities.

The report, the Committee said was a result of painstaking process of inspection, assessment and evaluation of projects and programmes of NDDC executed between 2005 and 2011.

While presenting the report to President Jonathan, Chief Jemide said his committee uncovered large number of projects abandoned by the NDDC. Specifically, Chief Jemide said his Committee discovered that over 46 per cent of projects awarded by the NDDC in Cross River, Edo and Rivers states between 2005 and 2011 were abandoned.

He also said that while most of the water projects executed by the NDDC were no longer functional, his Committee discovered that the approval and execution of some projects were outside the statutory operational scope of the NDDC.

The Committee Chairman also said NDDC refused to provide its accounting records of some of its projects and activities when requested. He added that the Commission has also refused to recover funds given out to contractors who abandoned the projects with the use of the anti graft agencies.

“Specifically, I wish to report to Mr. President that a total of 609 projects spread across the three (3) states were physically inspected and evaluated. Of the 609 projects monitored, 222 (36.5%) were completed, 102 (16.7%) were on-going and 285 (46.8%) were abandoned at various levels of completion. The monitoring of 1,510 projects for the period 2005-2011 in the remaining six (6) NNDC states has been completed and the reports are being compiled for submission to Mr. President”, the Presidential Monitoring Committee Chairman said.

He listed other projects that the NNDC has failed to complete since over a decade the contracts for them were first awarded to include Civic Center projects, shoreline protection projects and University Hostel Projects, scattered across the Niger Delta region.

Chief Jemide also noted that NDDC unjustifiably introduced astronomical variations on the contracts sums of most projects it awarded, sometimes even before the project commencement.

The Committee Chairman who noted that the Commission deliberately excluded some mega projects from inspection of the Presidential Monitoring Committee for evaluation noted that NDDC also usually refused to sanction contractors found to be incompetent in execution of contracts.

Chief Jemide also noted that the Commission renovated a privately owned Club in Port Harcourt, an action outside its mandate.

“Indeed, we are all confident that a faithful implementation of the recommendation will greatly assist the Federal Government and the NDDC in particular in facilitating the realization of the Commission’s mandate of ensuring a principled, coordinated and focused development in the Niger Delta region,” Chief Jemide said while asking the President to act on the report of his Committee.

In his response, President Jonathan promised that his administration will study the report and take appropriate action.

“The NDDC was set up because of the militancy in the Niger Delta, the feeling that the youths in the Niger Delta feel aggrieved. Some are on developmental issues which led to formation of the NDDC. That means that the NDDC must be properly focused to address these issues and there must be efficient management of funds, management of resources and if it is not done that way then of course, the focus of setting up the NDDC will not be realised”, said the President.

He added that government will look into the issues that led to the abandonment of projects, the issues of variations and the renovation of Port-Harcourt club which is privately owned.

President Jonathan however regretted that there was no good rapport between the management and the committee contrary to expectation of government.

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