Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has given contractors handling its projects across the Niger Delta region 30 days to return to site in order to complete the projects or face prosecution.
A statement issued in Port Harcourt yesterday by the Head, Corporate Affairs of NDDC, Mr. Chijioke Amu-Nnadi, said the Managing Director of the commission, Mr. Nsima Ekere, gave the directive at the weekend after an Inter-Ministerial meeting chaired by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo in Abuja.
He disclosed that Ekere said a list of such contractors was being compiled in all the nine NDDC states and that defaulters would be prosecuted.
Ekere said it had become imperative to fast track the on-going audit of projects awarded in the region, in line with government directives and one of the planks of the new governing board’s 4-R Initiative, “which is to restructure the balance sheet of the commission and determine poor performing projects.”
He declared: “It is important for our contractors to realise it can’t be business as usual. President Muhammadu Buhari is determined to change how government business is conducted and everyone must wake up to that reality. But beyond that is the fact that we owe the Niger Delta region and our people the duty to implement and complete these projects, in order to facilitate sustainable regional development.
“This is a necessary process to ensure that things are done properly, how they ought to be done and when they ought to be done,” he added.
The meeting, which was also attended by Ministers of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources; Environment, Niger Delta and Information and Culture, as well as Ministers of State for Petroleum and Environment and the Presidential Amnesty Office also reviewed the 20-Point Agenda of the Petroleum Ministry with regards to the Niger Delta, as well as the Amnesty Programme and the 16 point demand of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, he said.
“It was important to consolidate the agenda with that of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources as well as the blueprint of the state governments, the amnesty office and the NDDC master plan,” the NDDC managing director said, “in order to roll them into one workable plan.”
Ekere added: “We are all going to initiate quick-win projects that would give a sense of involvement to government’s approach to handling issues that would impact the people. We will organise frequent town hall meetings with all stakeholders and collaborate in building sustainable economic models for the communities of the Niger Delta.”
Among other decisions, he said, were the need for the commission to work with the Ministry of Environment and NOSREA to facilitate the Niger Delta clean-up of affected areas of oil spill, working on a time frame as well as encourage IOCs to provide more power to their host communities, beyond working with PHCN and Discos.
“Satellite mapping,” Ekere declared, “will be used to identify polluted areas in the Niger Delta and a comprehensive plan of action adopted to ensure regional clean up. This is important, because we must ensure that we safeguard our environment and give our people the opportunity and enabling environment to pursue our predominant traditional livelihoods.
“Agriculture and aquaculture are key to facilitating sustainable development in the region, particularly as we seek alternate productive socio-economic activities beyond oil and gas. This is a future we must all work to safeguard.”