From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Niger Delta Patriotic Alliance (NDPA), North Carolina chapter, a coalition of Nigerian professionals based in the United States, has commended the Mr Effiong Okon Akwa led interim administration of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) over the screening and payment of thousands of contractors being owed outstanding debts by the Commission.
According to the NDPA, the decision of NDDC under the supervision of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, to fulfil its promise and commence payment of contractors is welcomed and commendable.
The convener of the group, Dr Ebi Alex, in a statement made available to reporters via email, said the payment of contractors have saved some families in the region from over 20 years of suffering and deaths due to abandonment without payments despite their job completion.
NDPA stated that in a country where people seems to distrust their leaders due to unfulfilled promises in the past, Akwa has proved sceptics wrong with the commencement of payment of outstanding debts.
‘Many of these contractors went bankrupt leaving their families in tatters, and many others have died in frustration.
‘Many of the Commission’s contractors, wasting away in misery and frustrated by years of unfulfilled promises from numerous substantive or acting Managing Directors of the Commission since the year 2000, were shocked and moved to tears by the fulfilled promises under the new NDDC being led by Effiong Okon Akwa.
‘As the new administrator in charge of the Commission, and in answer to the cogent observation made by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and various stakeholders in the region, Mr Akwa, who has become a hope for the future of the region, instituted a new narrative for the economic activities for the region.
‘Despite the limited financial resources, Mr Akwa policies and prompt payments to contractors upon job completion verification have replaced tears of sorrows from the eyes of thousands of contractors with tears of joy.
‘Given the monumental crowd of past and present contractors waiting to be heard at the Commission, Mr Effiong Akwa, temporarily relocated from his office space to the large reception hall within the Commission headquarters to attend to concerned contractors and Niger Deltans, at an event which saw many persons leaving with tears of joy after resolving their pending issues.
‘The repositioned Commission by Mr Efiong Akwa also initiated new policies to fast-track payments to contractors upon conducting job completion verification, payments to forgotten and bankrupt contractors.’