Abandoned NDDC projects to gulp N1.4tn –Investigation

| March 3, 2013 | 0 Comments

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Abandoned Niger Delta Development Commission will gulp at least N1.4trn to complete them, a SUNDAY PUNCH investigation has shown.

The NDDC, which has come under intense criticism over abandoned projects, however said it wants to complete all the projects but was hampered by paucity of fund.

The people of the oil-rich Ilaje communities have raised the alarm over abandoned projects in the area by the NDDC.

The Chairman of Ugbo Kingdom Council of Chiefs Committee on NDDC projects, Mr. Roberts Nana and the Secretary, Mr. John Fagbiye, told journalists in Igbokoda, headquarters of the local government area that many of the NDDC projects were either poorly executed or abandoned.

They expressed dismay over the execution of some of the projects, particularly the Ugbo-Oghoye Road, which was awarded for construction on December 16, 2010.

They said Ayetoro shoreline protection project that was awarded in 2009 had not been executed and urged the NDDC board to visit the project for an on-the-spot assessment.

The people urged the commission to find out what happened to the N2.7bn paid to the contractor handling the Ugbo-Oghoye Road, adding that the N5.5bn Ayetoro shoreline protection contract should also be probed.

Also, youths from Bonny Local Government Area, Rivers State, expressed worry over the abandonment of some projects by the commission.

The youths, who had in the past embarked on protests over the abandoned projects, observed that while the completion of some NDDC projects in the area was being delayed, others had been utterly abandoned.

One of them, Andy Stevens, who spoke with SUNDAY PUNCH on Friday, identified the Bonny Ring Road as one of the abandoned projects.

He added that government should revoke the N11.2bn contract.

Though the NDDC hostel projects in the University of Port Harcourt and the Rivers State University of Science and Technology were abandoned in the past, the management of the two institutions said work had been intensified with a view to completing them in due course.

UNIPORT Public Relations Officer, Dr. William Wodi, said, “The new contractor handling our hostel project is doing a good job. So far, 70 per cent of the project had been achieved. The project was abandoned before, but the NDDC took the contract away from the first contractor and gave it to another one that is doing a good job now.”

Similarly, RSUST Public Relations Officer, Mr. Des Wosu, said work had been ongoing, recalling that the hostel project in the university was abandoned in the past.

In Cross Rivers State, the commission had earmarked N35bn on urban and rural roads in the state in 2012.

The Commissioner representing the state in NDDC, Chief Dominic Aqua-Edem, said the multi-billion naira road projects for the state was contained in the commission’s 2011 budget.

The breakdown of the road projects, according to Aqua-Edem, is Adiabo/Eseku Road at the cost of N6bn, Agbokim Road, over N5bn); Nkpot Road, N7bn; Asagha-Biakpan-Etono, N6.5bn; Ikot-Eyo/Ikot-Ntan Road, N2bn; Ikun Abanwan Road, N1.5bn; Ekpirikan-Idebe Road, N1.5bn; Ikot-Effiom/Nakanda Road, N1.4bn and Obudu Road at the cost of N1.4bn.

Media assistant to the NDDC Managing Director, Mr. Honour Sirawo, however told SUNDAY PUNCH in a telephone interview that the commission got a mandate from the presidency to revisit and complete all abandoned and uncompleted projects across the region.

He explained that while the commission got N250bn for the execution of projects in 2011, it (NDDC) received about N235bn in 2012.

Sirawo pointed out that the amount received since the new management of the commission came on board was not up to the N1.4trn needed to complete abandoned and ongoing projects.

He said, “The mandate to the new board is that it should complete abandoned and ongoing projects. The presidency directed that it should not embark on new projects.

“In the past, some contractors collected funds for projects, used them to marry new wives and abandoned them. That is not the case this time because we are ready to serve the people.

“The abandoned projects will be revisited, but all of them cannot be handled at the same time because funds are needed to complete them.”

Sirawo said the commission was doing its best to complete some of the projects on the ground based on the funds at its disposal.

He pointed that the NDDC had established its presence in all the local government areas across the Niger Delta region, adding that the NDDC was working round the clock to ensure that some of the projects inherited by the new board were completed.

He, however, urged the people of Niger Delta to be patient with the commission, maintaining that the NDDC was religious in its approach to the development of the region.


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