ASABA – THE Niger
Delta Development Commission, NDDC, on Tuesday, said it stood by the list of
prominent Niger Delta leaders released by the Minister of Niger Delta, Senator
Godswill Akpabio, as contractors in the Commission, saying what the Minister
released was only a tip of the iceberg.
Affairs, NDDC, Mr. Charles Odili, said the Commission has details of the
contracts and proxies used to collect them, including the 250 contracts
collected in one day in the name of the National Assembly.
He also disclosed
that scholars of the Commission facing hardship abroad over non-remittance of
their fees and stipends would be paid by the end of this week, adding that
President Muhammadu had given an order to the effect.
Commission has invited President Muhammadu Buhari to commission the N24 billion
Ogbia-Nembe Road cutting across 14 riverine communities in Bayelsa State.
Speaking on the
release of list of NDDC contracts handled by members of the National Assembly,
Odili said: “The one submitted by Senator Akpabio was not compiled by the
minister but came from the files in the Commission.”
The NDDC spokesperson
clarified that the list submitted to the National Assembly was actually
compiled by the then management of the Commission in 2018.
He observed that
there was another set of lists for emergency project contracts awarded in 2017
and 2019, but these were not submitted to the National Assembly.
Odili affirmed: “The
Interim Management Committee, IMC, of the Commission stands by the list, which
came from files already in the possession of the forensic auditors.
It is not an
Akpabio’s list, but the NDDC’s list. The list is part of the volume of 8,000
documents already handed over to the forensic auditors.”
He also said that
prominent indigenes of the Niger Delta whose names were on the list should not
panic, as the Commission knew that people used the names of prominent persons
in the region to secure contracts, adding that the ongoing forensic audit would
unearth those behind the contracts.
The spokesperson said
the intention of the list was to expose committee chairmen in the National
Assembly who used fronts to collect contracts from the Commission, some of
which were never executed.
Odili added that the
list did not include the unique case of 250 contracts which were signed for and
collected in one day by one person, ostensibly for members of the National
On the forensic audit
exercise, he said that it was on course and the Commission had positioned 185
media support specialists to identify the sites of every project captured in
its books for verification by the forensic auditors.
Odili advised members
of the public to discountenance the “avalanche of falsehood being orchestrated
by mischief makers,” regretting that “more insinuations and accusations may be
thrown into the public space by those opposed to the IMC.”
On the payment of
scholars, Odili explained: “The delay in the remittance of the fees was caused
by the sudden death of Chief Ibanga Etang, the then Acting Executive Director,
Finance and Administration, EDFA, of the Commission in May.”
Commission’s finance protocol, only the Executive Director (Finance) and the
Executive Director (Projects) can sign for the release of funds from the
Commission’s domiciliary accounts with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
“With the death of
Chief Etang, the remittance has to await the appointment of a new EDFA.”
“Senator Akpabio, the Honourable Minister, said President Buhari who has been
briefed on the protest by students at the Nigerian High Commission in London,
has ordered that all steps be pulled to pay the students by the end of this
We expect a new EDFA
to be appointed this week. As soon as that is done, they would all be paid,” he
On Ogbia-Nembe road,
he asserted that the 29-kilometre flagship project built in conjunction with
the Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, creates a land link to the
ancient city of Nembe for the first time.
He disclosed that
NDDC management’s invitation to Mr President was delivered through the Minister
for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
He said required 10
bridges and 99 culverts, but” to conquer the swampy terrain, the construction
involved digging out four metres of clay soil and sand filling it to provide a
base for the road.”
According to him, the
road has cut the journey time to Yenagoa, the Bayelsa state capital, from three
hours to one and a half hours.
This project is a not
only a flagship of intervention in the Niger Delta, it is also a model of
development partnership between the Commission and international oil companies
in the region, he said.