Bassey Inyang in Calabar
The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has assured former militant leaders of the Niger Delta region that they have nothing to fear if there were genuine contracts awarded them before the current regime of the commission came into office.
The assurance was given against the backdrop of a recent ultimatum given by the former Niger Delta militants to the management of the NDDC, demanding the release the contracts the federal government approved for them, else the commission would face dire consequences.
In a statement released early this month by their Spokesman, Mr. Gbene Emer Kagbue, they said they no longer accept the refusal of NDDC management to release approved contracts to them at the expiration of their one week ultimatum, which has long elapsed.
Chairman of the board of the commission, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN) , who allayed the fears of the former agitators , said there was no cause for alarm, so long as the contracts bandied by them were verifiable.
Ndoma–Egba who stated this recently while responding to question from THISDAY in his Calabar, appealed to the former militant leaders to exercise patience for commission to complete the ongoing contract verification exercise.
While promising the former militant leaders that they had nothing to fear about, pending the outcome of the contract verification exercise, Ndoma-Egba stated what could be described as a veiled reference to unholy practices that generally characterized the award and execution of contracts alleged awarded by the commission.
“I think they (former militant leaders) should just await the outcome of the verification exercise that is ongoing. I don’t know whether it is true, whether they are part of the stories we hear. Like I went to see a very prominent Nigerian, and as soon as he saw me, he said ah! Chairman of the other stock exchange! I said which Stock Exchange? “He said, but your commission’s contracts are traded in the streets the same way shares and stock are traded in the stock market.
“You see somebody holding 16 to 17 contracts, all dated the same date, but in the names of different companies. What would have happened? They would have just simply bought them off somebody. I have also heard, but haven’t confirmed, that a contract was awarded for the protection of shoreline, and it was found out that the community had no shore. So, my appeal to the youths is that let us pass through due process and if they are verifiable project, then why not.”
Ndoma-Egba said the commission would work round the clock to ensure that youths in the region are engaged in venture that would create employment opportunities for them , as we as contribute to the massive development of the region.