Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has expressed serious concern over the alarming rate of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) projects abandoned over the years in the State, describing the trend as unacceptable.
Hon. Dickson, who spoke in Yenagoa, while inaugurating a 9-member special committee on the monitoring of NDDC projects in Bayelsa State, noted that there are concerns that, most of the projects awarded by the interventionist agency to complement development efforts in the state have been abandoned.
He said the committee was not set up to witch-hunt anybody, but to ensure that the state gets its fair share of NDDC’s projects as a major contributor of the funds with which the commission executes its core mandate in the region.
He identified the perennial politicisation of the Commission as a major factor militating against the effective implementation of of development projects, noting that, some contractors defraud the state and go scot-free with ill-gotten wealth at the the detriment of the people.
The governor maintained that, ” There are concerns that some projects are completed and payments made only on paper and because of the over politicisation of NDDC, you have a situation where people sit down in other places, get contracts awarded to themselves and their cronies, receive payment, but will not come on ground to do those jobs, and even when they come, they don’t execute the jobs to the end.
“I appreciate the Federal Government for the various intervention programmes they have executed in this state using the NDDC. But, a number of Bayelsans are asking, why is it that most NDDC projects in some other neighbouring states are completed, visible and being used by their people. You see, most of those projects in other states, but you don’t see many of them in Bayelsa.
Continuing he said: ” Some have even asked, are we sure that our state benefits maximally according to our production, and therefore our contribution to that fund. These are all relevant questions that we must find answers for our people, because it is their right to know.
While warning such unscrupulous contractors to turn a new leaf, Governor Dickson assured Bayelsans of his administration’s readiness to complement the Federal Government in monitoring projects meant for the state to ensure their completion.
To this end, he mandated the committee to identify all contracts awarded by the NDDC from its inception in Bayelsa, find out their locations as well as identify the contractors.
The committee is also expected to determine the costs of those contracts, ascertain the amounts paid as well as the extent of work done and also look at the issue of whether, the state is appropriately represented in all cadres of the NDDC, among other terms of reference.
Responding, the Chairman of the Committee, Chief Lionel Jonathan-Omo thanked the Governor for finding them worthy to carry out what he described as a great task and pledged to do their best for the good of the state.
Engineer Wenapre Deo is the Secretary of the committee, while a former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Donald Egberibein, Dr Meeting Andawei and Mrs Rebecca Suowari are to serve as members.
Other members include the immediate past commissioner for Science, Technology and Manpower Development in the State, Mr MacManuel Parkinson, Mr Timi Kay and Mr Sunny Omekwe.