Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, on Thursday narrated how the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) allegedly duped the state of N400 million, over failed projects.
Wike made his claim while addressing visiting House Committee on NDDC, led by Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo at the Government House, Port Harcourt, the state’s capital.
According to Wike, the State Government was duped after a failed partnership to develop the Mother and Child hospital in Port Harcourt.
He said: “NDDC fraudulently duped us over the Mother and Child hospital. They had an agreement with the State government to build a regional hospital called Mother and Child hospital. They agreed that it will be N1.7 Billion Naira.
“State government was to bring N800 million, NDDC N900 million. The state government at the time paid their N800 million. NDDC mobilised the contractor with N400 million of the N800 million we brought, then abandoned the contract, and the contractor left the site.”
Wike said when his administration came on board, he stopped the partnership and demanded a refund of the N400 million, which according to him,“became a problem. Politics came in.”
He further claimed that NDDC mandate governors are being sidelined by the Commission, noting that the ruling party on federal level dictates what happens in the Commission, making the NDDC act as a state of its own and refuses to interface with the Governors to strategically develop the region.
He said since the inauguration of the NDDC Advisory Council last year, the President Muhammadu Buhari government has ensured that the governors remain sidelined in the affairs of the commission.
“Even when we are inaugurated, we were not involved in anything that happens in NDDC. Which is most unfortunate,” Wike lamented.
However, to ensure that the NDDC does not embark on more indiscriminate execution of projects, the Rivers state government have obtained a court order prohibiting the commission from carrying out projects without the consent of the state government, adding that the commission will be dragged to court if it fails to respect the said court order.
Wike also urged the National Assembly to be resolute in its oversight function by ensuring that NDDC stops frittering resources meant for the development of the region on building roads in Army barracks, police stations, and spending Billions of Naira to allegedly ensure he did not win reelection.
Speaking to Wike, the Chairman of the House Committee, Tunji- Ojo, said: “People outside Niger Delta believe development might not be possible in the region. The projects we have in Rivers state shows that Niger Delta can actually work.
“We are here in line with section 88 of the constitution which empowers us to oversight agencies that we appropriate funds to ensure accountability, transparency, and the effective utilisation of public funds for the people of Nigeria.
“I assure you that under the watchful eyes of this committee, we will ensure that NDDC works in synergy with critical stakeholders of the region.”
By Emmanuel Ibe..
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