Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has declared that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has become a political institution where funds are used for political purposes.
Similarly, he accused the Federal Government of deliberately refusing to constitute the NDDC Governors’ Advisory Committee because majority of the South South states are controlled by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Speaking during a courtesy visit by the acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Professor Nelson Braimbaifa, the governor noted that the commission has failed to deliver development projects to the Niger Delta region.
“NDDC has become a political institution where money is set aside for politics. Mention one mega project by the NDDC anywhere in Rivers State.
“The only mega project, the Mother and Child Hospital, which was to be a joint project, the NDDC duped the Rivers State Government. For the Mother and Child Hospital, we paid our counterpart fund and NDDC paid nothing.
“We have taken over the project, yet the NDDC has refused to refund our money. If the NDDC fails to refund our counterpart fund in seven days, we will drag the commission to court,” the governor said.
The governor said NDDC cannot make significant impact on Niger Delta communities because the states are never involved in the sitting and design of projects, insisting that the commission can only make progress when the governments of Niger Delta states are involved in the process of project location and design.
“They have refused to constitute the Governors’ Board since 2015 because majority of the South South states are controlled by PDP.
“Nineteen years after establishment, NDDC is still constructing its headquarters. All the participating states have no mega projects. The NDDC was designed to help the Niger Delta grow, but that is not the situation on ground. Can we justify the funds that have passed through the NDDC?
“You are coming because I have won election. You were on ground for six months, but never thought it wise to visit your chief host.
“The Rivers State Government gave NDDC a building and take off grant to start work. They told you not to come, but God in His own way ensured we are still here.
Earlier, Briambaifa said the commission is committed to executing projects that would improve the lives of the people of the region.
He said several key projects have been designed by the NDDC to improve the living standards of the people.
He called for the revival of the Governors’ Advisory Committee to assist the NDDC carry out its development projects in the region.
Meanwhile, Governor Wike has called for the sensitisation of Rivers people on the electronic registration of migrants in the state by the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS).
Speaking during a courtesy visit by the Controller, Rivers State Command, of the NIS, Wike directed Secretary to the State Government (SSG) to convene a stakeholders’ meeting to kick-start the sensitisation process.
He also directed the constitution of the state advisory committee for citizens.
He said the SSG’s office will liaise with the Immigration controller for the inauguration of the committee.
He regretted that some local government areas give letters of identification to non-indigenes. He said such letters lead to non-indigenes taking over employment opportunities when recruitment exercises are conducted.