Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, yesterday, ordered contractors of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to immediately stop executing projects or undertaking contracts in the state.
The governor said the state government is approaching the court to seek an order stopping the federal government agency from embarking on any project in the state without the consent of the state’s Executive Council.
Speaking to the management team of Seplat Petroleum Company Limited, who were at Government House, in Benin City on a courtesy visit, Obaseki said the NDDC has continued to fail the people of the region in the discharge of its responsibilities.
The governor noted: “We embarked on a very ambitious project by signing an agreement with the NDCC and Edo State Oil and Gas Producing Areas Development Commission (EDOPADEC), to jointly construct the Benin-Abraka Road. Unfortunately, NDDC, as usual, failed and we are going to Court. We will not allow them to operate in the State except subject to our approving every project.
“They are only to execute projects cleared by the State Executive Council. They can’t come into the state and dictate to us what they want to do here. It’s our money and we will determine what we want, not them telling us what they want to do.”
“All NDDC contractors in Edo State are stopped forthwith from undertaking any contract or any work in the state. We want to go back and focus on our priorities. We want to build that Benin/Abraka Road. We are re-awarding that road,” Obaseki added.
Addressing the management team of Seplat Ltd, the governor noted: “We would like to go into an understanding with you to co-finance the project or the stretch leading to your area of operation to enable us have access to good roads in that area.
“We appeal to you to help us provide electricity in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of the state, which is exposed to gas flaring”
Obaseki added: “We are focused on education, retooling and resetting our educational system. Thank you for your quiz programme. Our children are now learning, because we have retooled our educational system in Edo State.
“We would like to work with you on the teachers’ employment programme because as a state, we have experimented a lot in terms of teachers’ reforms. I just reviewed the progress we have made in the three-year teachers programme that we have just introduced in Edo State.
“We already have 38, 000 applicants and we just need 3,000 of them who will be employed into our Civil Service in three years time when they would have completed their training.”
Obaseki said his administration has made huge investment in teachers’ training facilities, adding, “We have restructured the three campuses of the College of Education in the State. The campus in Abudu will take care of early childhood and basic education, while the Igueben campus will focus on training teachers for secondary, technical and vocational training. The one in Afuze will train teachers in special education.
“The federal government has approved the setting up of a Federal College of Education to train teachers in technical subjects”.
Earlier, the Chairman of Seplat Petroleum Company Limited, Dr. ABC Orjiako, congratulated the governor on his well-deserved victory and subsequent swearing-in.
He thanked the governor for the cordial working relationship between the company and Edo State Government, noting that the company has continued to fulfill its corporate social responsibility