The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, hailed the decision of Acting Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei, to pay for only projects that are fully verified, henceforth.
In a release issued by CACOL and signed by Adegboyega Otunuga, the anti-corruption organization’s Coordinator, Media and Publications on behalf of its Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he noted, “Recently, a delegation from Ogboin-Ebe Unity Forum in Bayelsa and Delta states, led by their president, Ambaiowe Betebekurogha paid a courtesy visit to the headquarters of NDDC in Port-Harcout where they met with the MD of the commission, Professor Pondei. He seized the occasion to shed light on enormous work that is ongoing on verification of projects that were conclusively done and those that were left undone and for which contractors are hustling to be paid, and insisted that only those that performed the works that were contracted out to specifications would be adequately paid and that those wrongs of the past in managing and repositioning the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, would be corrected under his watch.
‘It would be recalled that after series of accusations and counter accusations over the mismanagement of much of funds allocated to the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, President Muhammadu Buhari late in 2019, dissolved the board of the NDDC headed by Victor Ndoma Egba, former Senate Leader and Nsima Ekere as Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, and thereafter appointed an interim management committee, IMC, following a Federal Executive Council (FEC) resolution, and equally vested the supervisory role of the commission in the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, after approving the dissolution of the extant board. The NDDC was established in 2000 to facilitate rapid, even and sustainable development of the Niger Delta into a region that is economically prosperous, socially stable, ecologically regenerative and politically peaceful. It is a federal government agency established with the sole mandate of developing the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria; a region that supplied the country its first deposit of crude oil in 1957 in Oloibiri, now in Bayelsa state and supplies of 65 percent of total crude oil for the country till date, a product that still remains the mainstay of the national economy due to lack of proper management and diversification of the nation’s economy.”
The National Coordinator of CACOL added, “It is quite disheartening that such critical commission that came into being to ameliorate the sufferings of the oil-producing states that served as the cash-cow to the nation for decades at the break of independence, but with little or nothing tangible to parade other than environmental degradation, chronic and gnawing squalor and huge absence of federal government presence until recently, could have much of its allocations to this board syphoned by their own indigenes. At the last count, trillions of Naira have been budgeted and committed by the federal government and respective stakeholders, with same stakeholders also owing uncountable trillions to same commission till date. This is why CACOL heaves a sigh of relief at the public declaration and attestation to turn a different leaf from its predecessors by the interim committee led by Professor Daniel Pondei. It is equally gratifying that Mr. President has ordered forensic audition of NDDC account from inception to date. This is no doubt, a laudable step that should sanitize much of the rots and decadence that had hallmarked its operation for sometimes now. This should provide a window for recouping much of the mismanaged funds as well as bringing identifiable culprits to book, to serve as a deterrent.”