…Canvasses Jail Terms for culpable Persons
Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki has once again lashed out at the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, describing it as a cesspool of corruption. Some weeks ago, the governor had upbraided the interventionist agency accusing it of doing shoddy jobs and littering the state with abandoned projects. This time, Obaseki picked holes in the top-to-bottom governance structure of the commission which he opined cannot develop the region. Baring his mind when the acting Managing Director of NDDC, Gbene Joi Nunieh led other members of the commission’s Interim Management Committee (IMC), to pay him a courtesy visit at the Government House in Benin City, Edo State capital, Obaseki said of the NDDC: “its DNA is corruption. We see how NDDC contracts are traded and how much premium is paid on the contracts”.
The governor asserted that “to resolve the issue of corruption in NDDC, people must go to jail. Those who supervised and managed these contracts and every other person found culpable must be made to face the law”. Obaseki complained bitterly that “the NDDC has not been fair to Edo State as we have more abandoned projects in the state than other states. We are disappointed with the old management and board of NDDC. We insist on the forensic audit to ensure such doesn’t happen again. I hope that with the new acting MD, we would begin to do the right thing and move the region forward”. Congratulating Nunieh on her appointment, the governor assured the new management of synergy to ensure it meets its goals. He thanked the new MD for pushing for the advisory council meeting of governors in the nine states slated for January 2020.
Responding, Nunieh said the commission was in the state to inspect some of the roads and projects the NDDC listed as completed, abandoned, failed, and on-going. She recalled that the president, Muhammad Buhari had ordered a forensic audit “and we have gotten documents ready and the process will start in January 2020″. The NDDC managing director explained that most of NDDC contractors failed because they got multiple contracts from various sources. She said “since commencement of its intervention in Edo State, the NDDC has embarked on 738 infrastructural conventional projects valued at over N118 billion. Of these, 48 valued at N36.6 billion, are reported as on-going or abandoned.”
High point of the visit was the unveiling of
equipment donated by NDDC to Edo State Government. The items donated were two
Toyota ambulances; Lassa fever protective kits; cold chain facility to store
vaccines; 2,000 units of personnel protective kits and drugs for Irrua
Specialist Hospital, and Science Laboratory tools for secondary schools as well
as four sewage trucks.
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