NDDC Projects: Contractors To Face Prosecution After 30 Days Ultimatum

NDDC Gives Contractors 30 Days to Return to SiteThe Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has given contractors handling its projects 30 days to return to site and complete the projects or face prosecution.

The Managing Director of NDDC, Mr Nsima Ekere, stated this following an Inter-Ministerial meeting in Abuja chaired by Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

The meeting, which took place over the weekend, had in attendance Ministers of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Environment, Niger Delta, Information and Culture, as well as the Presidential Amnesty Office.

It 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.

Mr Ekere said “a list of such contractors is being compiled in all the nine NDDC states and defaulters would be prosecuted”.

He stressed the need to fast-track the ongoing audit of projects awarded in the Niger Delta region, in line with government directives.

“It is important for our contractors to realise that 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.

Workable Plan

“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. It is 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, in order to roll them into one workable plan.

“We are all going to initiate quick-win projects that will give a sense of involvement to government’s approach to handling issues that will 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,” Ekere said.

The NDDC boss also emphasised the need for the Commission to work with the Ministry of Environment and NOSREA, to facilitate the clean-up exercise in affected areas of oil spill, work on a time frame and encourage IOCs to provide more power to their host communities beyond working with Electricity Distribution Companies.

“Satellite mapping 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,” he said.

 

NDDC Denies Buying Cars Worth Over N1bn

NDDC Denies Buying Cars Worth Over N1bnThe management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has denied the allegations of procurement of over 70 luxury cars each costing tens of millions of Naira, made by the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Professor Itse Sagay.

In a statement issued on Thursday by the Head of Corporate Affairs at the NDDC, Chijioke Amu-Nnadi, the commission denied making such purchases since its current governing board assumed office on November 4, 2016.

According to the statement, the NDDC Chairman, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, and the Managing Director/CEO, Nsima Ekere, as well as the two Executive Directors are still using their private vehicles three months after assumption of duties.

The statement added that the agency is only now in the process of acquiring work vehicles.

The NDDC said it is adhering strictly to due process which includes seeking approval of the Federal Executive Council, expressing its readiness to open its books for audit at any time.

The statement read: “The NDDC is only now in the process of acquiring work vehicles, and is adhering strictly to due process. These include five (5) Toyota Prado jeeps, 10 Toyota Hilux trucks, four (4) Toyota Land Cruiser jeeps, one (1) Toyota Coaster bus and two (2) Toyota Hiace buses.

“The Commission has just received the Due Process Compliance Certificate from the Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, and is preparing the mandatory memo for the approval of the Federal Executive Council.

Doing What Is Right

“We wish to restate that the current Board and Management of the NDDC is committed to making its transactions transparent, by adhering strictly to processes and procedures of government, as espoused in the Board’s 4-R Initiative of restoring the Commission’s core mandate, restructuring the balance sheet, reforming our processes and reaffirming a commitment to doing what is right and proper at all times in facilitating the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region.

“In this regard, the Commission is also partnering with Bureau for Public Service Reforms (BPSR), Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and Open Government Partnership (OGP) to improve the Commission’s governance systems, procurement and project implementation processes, in order to plug all loopholes and systematically eliminate all incidences of mismanagement and corruption.

“NDDC is always ready to open its books for audit. We are also committed to responding to all inquiries from well-meaning individuals and groups seeking clarification on rumours and possible false information.

“While asking for support from all stakeholders to enable the Commission succeed in the ambitious task of reforms, the New NDDC is evolving as a responsible public institution and members of the public should feel free to get authentic information on its activities to avoid sensationalism”.

Ondo Blackout: NDDC Assures Of Power Restoration

We Will Complete All Ongoing Projects, NDDC AssuresThe Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has assured Ondo Southerners a total restoration of their electricity, after seven years of total blackout in Southern Senatorial District of the state.

The State Director of NDDC, Mr Emmanuel Audu, while speaking with journalists in Akure, the state capital, said the commission was working to connect the area to the national grid latest December 2017.

According to Audu, this area has been battling with power outage for almost seven years in which NDDC has risen to the occasion and ensured that the residents are brought back to limelight.

“From our findings, the 33kv supply line that connects the Southern Senatorial district emanates from Osogbo but the line is old, dilapidated and not in use which has put the communities in darkness”. He said.

Audu further said that NDDC found out that the solution required was to bring bulk power from Omotosho Power Plant to Okitipupa, and construction of 132kv line was awarded in 2013 from the power plant to Okitipupa which covers 60 km distance together with construction of transmitting line over 150 towers.

He also said the second part of the contract is construction of 2 by 30LVA injection substations to run 33 feeder lines that will power the areas.

“That project is currently on and we have achieved over 48 per cent completion of that project. And if that project comes on stream, the power issue within Igbokoda, Okitipupa and even the neighboring communities will be over,” he stated.

The NDDC director, however, decried funding challenges hindering the smooth payment to the contractors handling the project.

“Funding has affected it because we did not make the payment at as when due but efforts are on to get the contractor paid, though they are back to site now.

“We hope that before the end of this year or before the first quarter of next year we will round off that project and the electricity issue in the state will be totally resolved,” he assured.

While adding that paucity of money contributed to slow pace of series of projects seemed to have been abandoned in the area, the NDDC boss said,” NDDC gets its funding from Federal Government and oil companies but there has been drastic reduction of funding received from the companies because of reduction in their sales and we rely solely on them for project execution”.

“But we are working on it since this present administration came on board, the Federal Government has quite been responding as regard its payment. I had, nevertheless, talked with the contractors handling them; we had meetings and I made a promise to them and we were able to pay some of them, at least about 40 per cent of contractors are back to site.

“I think we are able to build confidence in the system once more and it’s a question of time,  we believe that in a short time the projects will all be robust and everybody will be happy,” he stated

However, the state NDDC director noted that there is perennial problem in Niger Delta region, making construction period reduced, because of mangroves swam of the area.

“We have rain most of the time and we have less than 4 months in a year to actively do construction and if you are doing road construction you need good weather to work and all these factors hamper the work, but the state office is up to the task by engaging with contractors,” he assured.

NDDC Orders Road Contractor To Return To Site

NDDC, Road Contractor The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has ordered the contractor handling the Dualisation of Igwruta-Etche Road to return to site immediately.

The NDDC Executive Director Projects, Mr Samuel Adjogbe, gave the directive when he led a team of directors and engineers to inspect the 23.58-kilometre Road.

He said that the NDDC had made commitments to urgently engage relevant stakeholders and contractors, with a view to ensuring that all the Commission’s projects were brought back on track, especially projects that have been stalled for some time.

“The contractor can confirm that payment has been made and the design issues in terms of low level filling point were addressed.

“However, we will go ahead with the original design.”

Adjogbe stated that the original scope of work would be maintained and an additional drainage system would be introduced.

Furthermore, he stated that the project which would have a 60-metre bridge would enhance economic activities in the host Etche and other communities in the area.

On the completion date for the project, the engineer said that all relevant stakeholder issues would be sorted out before any definite date would be given.

He, however assured that the benefitting communities would soon get a relief as the Commission was prepared to complete the project.

“It is no longer going to be business as usual and all stakeholders should play their parts well, so as to give a sense of belonging to the people of the Niger Delta”.

Senate Committee Accuses NDDC Of Undermining Accountability

Senate-NigeriaSenate Committee on Public Accounts has accused the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) of failing to take matters of accountability seriously.

The lawmakers made the allegations on Wednesday following an investigation into the allegation of corruption in the award of contracts by the commission.

Chairman of the committee, Senator Andy Uba, at the meeting with the acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Mrs Ibims Seminitari, also accused the agency of failing to keep proper records of its income and expenditure.

The committee also expressed displeasure at what it described as the “persistent inability of the NDDC boss” to honour the invitations to appear before the committee and furnish members with details of contracts awarded and its expenditure.

On her part, Mrs Seminitari promised to make all necessary documents available to the committee within the stipulated time.

She had taken over the baton of the NDDC leadership from Sir Bassey Dan-Abia in December 2015.

Speaking shortly after receiving the handover notes from her predecessor at the commission’s headquarters at that time, Seminitari said her mission was to complete all existing projects.

The former Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communication added that she had a responsibility to God and President Muhammadu Buhari to drive development in the Niger Delta region.

Agitations in the region have continued to rage, with militant groups springing up and destroying oil facilities in the region.

Some of the groups allege that the region had been ignored, with some areas getting little developmental projects to show for the crude oil the area is blessed with.

The Commission was set up to address the challenges of infrastructure in the region, but most communities still lack basic amenities, with their farmlands and waters polluted due to mining activities.

The government had some months back launched a clean-up campaign in Ogoni Land, one of the communities highly affected by oil spill.

Governor Ayade Asks NDDC To Execute Projects In Cross River

NDDC, Ayade, Cross-riverGovernor of Cross River State, Professor Ben Ayade, has appealed to the Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC), to faithfully execute all the projects it allocated to the state in the 2016 budget.

The Governor made the appeal on Tuesday, at the Government House in Calabar, when the Senate Committee on the Niger Delta and the NDDC directors led by the Acting Managing Director, Mrs Ibim Semenitari, paid him a courtesy visit.

He was represented by the Deputy Governor, Professor Ivara Esu, who said that the state deserved sympathy because it was disadvantaged among the Niger Delta states.

The governor’s plea came just as the government is considering to begin work on Calabar-Itu-Ikot Ekpene-Aba Road in Cross River State which had been in a poor state.

 

While the River State Governor is asking for more projects in the state, the 127.6 kilometer long Lagos–Ibadan Expressway, a major route to the northern, southern and eastern parts of Nigeria also craves for attention.

The contractor, Julius Berger, may have returned to site but the impact of rehabilitation said to be ongoing, is yet to be fully felt.

Rail transportation has also been a major craving as it would serve as an alternative in reducing the current pressure on Nigerian roads.

In June, the Minister for Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi disclosed that the proposed Lagos-Ibadan segment of Lagos-Kano rail line and the Port Harcourt- Calabar project, would be ready and operational within the next two and half years when the administration would be rounding up its four-year term.

So far, the government through the Minister Of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, claims it has released 420 billion Naira into the system, with plans to add another 350 billion Naira.

That, according to the Minister, makes 770 million Naira already channeled into capital projects, especially in the works, defense, transportation, interior, power and agriculture sectors.

She also disclosed that the administration was working on raising $1 billion Eurobond and the proceeds for this, would be used only for capital projects.

Stakeholders Meet To Resolve Niger Delta Crisis

Niger Delta MilitantsMajor stakeholders in the Niger Delta have met to curtail the continued militant attacks on Nigeria’s oil facilities in the region.

The stakeholders converged on Delta State, south-south Nigeria to hold an all-inclusive Niger Delta Coastal States Stakeholders’ Consultative meeting to further curtail the recent tension that has gripped the region.

The convener of the meeting and elder statesman, Dr. Edwin Clark, stressed the importance of the meeting.

He said it would enable concerned parties air their views on issues affecting the security of oil and gas facilities in the oil-rich region.

Dr. Clark further stated that efforts to bring the destruction of pipelines to a halt gave rise to the meeting held at the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI), Effurun which was attended by many delegates from different state of the region, including the Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa.

Okowa, Delta State, Knowledge-Based Development
Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa

In his remark at the meeting held on Friday, Governor Okowa emphasised the need to work in synergy in the selection of representatives to ensure they speak in one voice at any discussion or dialogue with the Federal Government.

Various participants at the meeting also said it was imperative for the militants to channel their grievances to the government, rather than engaging in the destruction of facilities.

However, they called for the implementation of the recommendations at the last National Conference, the commencement of the Maritime University at Okerenkoko and the adequate funding of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) among others.

In spite of efforts to stop militants’ activities, two pipelines operated by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) were attacked by suspected militants on Friday.

The attacks were said to have occurred in Owhrode community which was about 20 kilometres from the venue of the stakeholders’ meeting.

A technical team of the NPDC and security officials have been deployed to the area to prevent the spread of crude to other communities.

Urhobo Leaders Support Buhari’s Corruption Fight

Urhobo-Corruption-Muhammadu-BuhariLeaders of the Urhobo ethnic group in Delta State have pledged their support for President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade.

The leaders, under the aegis of the Urhobo Political Movement, voiced their support at a solidarity rally to protest the alleged abandonment of some projects of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in the oil-rich state in south-south Nigeria.

The Chairman of the group, Obiuwevbi Ominimini, lauded the recent appointment of one of their own, Mr Samuel Adjogbe, as the Executive Director of Projects, representing Delta State in the board of the NDDC.

He described the appointment as another form of fighting corruption, most especially in the areas of project abandonment caused by embezzlement and misuse of funds.

The group expressed optimism with the development, as they looked forward to a sustainable development for not just Delta State but the whole of the Niger Delta region.

Insecurity: Abdulsalami Abubakar Calls For Dialogue

Abdulsalami-AbubakaNigeria’s former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (Rtd), believes that lasting peace can return to the country with dialogue between government and various insurgency groups including the Niger Delta Avengers militant group.

Abubakar stated this on Tuesday when he received members of the Niger State House of Assembly who visited his residence to wish him a happy birthday.

He lamented that Nigerians were suffering unduly because of the actions of various insurgents including the Boko Haram, Avengers and Biafra agitators.

“All we need to do is to sit down in a round table and discuss this problem. Even if you fight a war and win you must come and sit down with the people you conquered.

“What is Boko Haram?  Nobody knows what they want. The Avengers are now out, what are they avenging?“, he asked.

He stated the need for the Avengers to understand that they are destroying their own land while oil production had dropped to lowest level in decades.

He cautioned that the constant blow up of oil pipelines by the Niger Delta Avengers would ultimately affect the 13% derivation to the region due to a sharp decline in oil revenue.

In addition, Gen. Abubakar said that the activities of the militants could also lead to a drop in the funding of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) while much harm is done to land and aquatic lives of the region.

“I hope that they will come back to their senses and let us try to give this country peace. We do not deserve what we are going through.

“We need peace and I am begging everybody in the spirit of Ramadan, whatever religion everybody is following. Please let us give peace a chance”, he pleaded.

In his remark the Speaker of the Niger State House of Assembly, Ahmed Marafa, expressed gratitude to God for using the former head of state to restore democracy to the country.

He described General Abubakar as an illustrious son of the state whose counsel has guided the Assembly in its efforts to deliver good governance in the interest of the people.

Buhari Urges NASS To Consider And Pass Statutory Budgets

Muhammadu Buhari meets with National Assembly seeks passaged of  Statutory BudgetsPresident Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria is asking the National Assembly to consider and pass the statutory budgets of the Federal Capital Territory and the Niger Delta Development Commission before June 13.

He said that the passage of the budgets would enable them to execute their statutory mandate.

The President made the appeal at a Democracy Day Dinner in honour of the Federal lawmakers and held at the Presidential Villa on Monday.

“I am conscious that on June 9, 2016, the National Assembly will complete one legislative year.

“May I appeal to you to consider and pass these submitted bills particularly the statutory budget of the Federal Capital Territory and the Niger Delta Development Commission’s budget.

“These bodies cannot execute their statutory mandate nor incur expenditure unless their budgets are approved by the National Assembly,” he told the gathering.

“No Mean Feat”

President Buhari also reiterated the commitment of his administration to observing the Principles of Separation of Power, promising that the Executive Arm of Government, under his watch, will not interfere with the functions of the Legislature nor the Judiciary.

“I hereby reiterate the commitment of this administration to observing the Principles of Separation of Power which defines and delegates the functions and powers of each of the Arms of Government.

“Thurs far, we at the executive has restricted ourselves to our constitutional roles.

“Therefore, I as President and we, as Executive Arm of Government, will not interfere with the functions, functioning and process of the legislature, nor the judiciary,” he reassured the lawmakers.

Bukola Saraki President National Assembly Nigeria
Bukola Saraki, President of the Nigerian Senate

The leader of the National Assembly and the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, in his speech, congratulated Nigerians for undergoing 17 years of uninterrupted democracy, describing it as a no mean feat.

“It is not easy for a country to go through 17 years of uninterrupted democracy and also to be able, through electoral process, decide in changing one government to another.

“Our democracy is no longer at puberty, but our democracy has matured,” he stated.

FG Pledges More Support For Nigeria Police

policeThe Federal Government of Nigeria has assured the Police of continuous support in order to ensure the safety of lives and property of Nigerians and foreigners within the country.

The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, gave the assurance on Friday at the official launch of operational vehicles and commissioning of the law complex of the Nigeria Police.

Professor Osinbajo said that the Federal Government is exploring diplomatic channels for the training of men and officers of the force in order to strengthen their ‎capacity to curb crimes in the country.

He said that the law complex of the force would enhance the functional capacity of lawyers within the Police to effectively prosecute criminals.

The Inspector General, Solomon Arase, used the occasion to reaffirm the commitment of the force to a safer Nigeria just as the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), that provided some of the vehicles, promised to partner with the force.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmoud Mohammed, called on lawyers within the  force to be diligent in the prosecution of cases while the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Police Affairs, Abu Ibrahim, appealed for improved funding of the force.

The vehicles commissioned include: 200 Hilux vans equipped with Police communication gadgets and armoured personnel carriers, 15 Mercedes Benz troop carrier trucks, nine water tankers, 50 saloon cars and 20 Hilux armoured vans among others.

Niger Delta Development: Get Back To Work, Or Face EFCC, Senate Tells Contractors

Senate-NigeriaThe Nigerian Senate has ordered all contractors that had abandoned some projects of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in Imo State after being paid to “go back to site”.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on the NDDC, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, gave the order on Tuesday in Owerri, the capital of Imo State.

Senator Nwaoboshi led members of the committee on a visit to the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, at the government house in Owerri.

Working With The EFCC

He said that the Committee was working closely with the EFCC to go after all contractors who in one way or the other have embezzled project funds without delivery.

The Senator added that the present crop of Senators would not leave any stone unturned in fishing out all corrupt officials of the NDDC who had collaborated with some contractors to embezzle the NDDC funds.

Meanwhile Governor Okorocha expressed displeasure over the treatment given to Imo State by the NDDC in the past.

He said even as one of the oil producing states, Imo State never had any tangible project from the NDDC.

“Imo State has always been side-lined in the scheme of things,” he said.

The Governor pointed out that most of the contractors sent to Imo State to handle projects always abscond with the funds without delivering the job.

He urged the Senate to get to the root of the matter and find a lasting solution to corrupt malpractices by contractors and some officials of the NDDC.