1,700 Abandoned NDDC Projects in Bayelsa Unacceptable, Says Diri

•Urges President Buhari to constitute substantive board

Olusegun Samuel in Yenagoa

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has described the more than 1,700 abandoned projects of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) which litter different parts of the state as unacceptable.

Some of the abandoned projects include the Angalabiri-Ebedebiri-Toru-Orua shore protection project captured in the commission’s 2020 budget, the Sabagreia-Polaku bridge as well as the Akenfa bridge among others.

Diri, who spoke yesterday, when the NDDC Interim Administrator, Dr.  Akwa Effiong, visited him in Government House, Yenagoa, noted that the non-collaboration of the commission with catchment states that would advise on priority projects has led to duplication and abandonment of projects.

Diri also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to constitute without further dela,y a substantive board for the commission in accordance with its enabling Act, saying its absence was hindering the commission’s operations.

Diri, who stressed that the interim administrator’s arrangement was alien to the Act and unacceptable to governors of the Niger Delta, noted that the commission had not been able to meet its mandate because of the absence of a substantive board.

Describing the NDDC as an interventionist body created to fill the developmental gap in the Niger Delta, Diri  said the governors have also been robbed of their advisory role, which would have enabled the board embark on people-oriented projects in the region.

 He expressed his administration’s preparedness to work with the commission to foster development in the state.

“The NDDC has a lot of abandoned projects in Bayelsa State. From reports, we have over 1700 projects that are dotted all over Bayelsa State. I know that is not healthy.

“I like to at this juncture, again, appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to constitute a substantive board for the NDDC according to the Act setting it up.

“The NDDC was conceived and established as an  interventionist body to fill developmental gap. We cannot accept these policy summersaults that make our development to suffer.

“The interim arrangement has become the norm rather than the exception. That is totally unacceptable to us as governors of the Niger Delta states. We have a very huge stake according to the Act establishing the NDDC and that role is not being played. With the interim administration, there is no board for us to advise.

“There must exist a synergy that will profile these projects before they are conceived. NDDC was not to go into every nook and cranny of states in the region. It should be looking at very large projects, sometimes inter-state projects with mutual agreement and cooperation of the state governments,” she added.

Earlier, Dr. Akwa Effiong appreciated the governor for his developmental strides, saying he had done well within the short period in office.

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