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Orubebe Asks Senate To Investigate NDDC

Source: EMMA UCHE -
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ABUJA, Nov 30, (THEWILL) - The Minister of Niger Delta, Elder Godsday Orubebe literarily knelt down and appealed to Senate to thoroughly investigate the activities of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

He also demanded that the Senate should ensure that those found guilty of stalling the development of the region are punished.

Orubebe also gave insight into some of the reasons behind the suspension of the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Chibuzor Ugwuoha.

The Minister it could be recalled was earlier summoned by the Senate Committee on Niger Delta alongside Ugwoha to explain the state of the coastal road projects. He however complained that government is six months behind schedule in the projects because of the activities of ‘one man’ and other persons adding that the committee should critically examine everyone’s role connected to the project.

"We are six months behind because of the activities of one man. We have to critically look at what has been done by everybody and if the committee finds anybody culpable the committee should take appropriate measures," he told the Senate Committee on Niger Delta.

He revealed that it was even unfortunate that the erstwhile MD was ignorant of the cost of the coastal East-West road and could not give account of the amount already expended on the contentious project when he was asked to do so at the presidency.

The Minister also told the Committee at the interactive session that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) awarded the contract for the East-West road project without going through due process and without timeline or clear total cost.

"When I became Minister, I discussed with the President on the coastal roads, it was at that point that I was told that the NDDC MD had met with the President. I met with the MD and he said the contractors had done only 15 percent of the job. As a result the Federal Executive Council (FEC) set up a committee on the project. The committee noted in their report that the terms of reference issued by the NDDC for the project was inadequate and could lead to failure.

"The contract was done in-house it did not go through due process, no cost, no time line. When memo was brought before FEC, NDDC brought some bundle of papers overnight claiming that the job had been done up to 80 percent. I am shocked that those of them from the NDDC are doing what they are doing. What Nigerians expect of us is integrity,” Orubebe wrote.

Apparently, to underscore the seriousness of the problem, the Director General of the Bureau of Public Procurement, Engr. Emeka Eze, told Senators about the possibility of an administrative gap in the process.

"NDDC is older than the Ministry, when the Ministry came on board; there was administrative gap that was not handled. If it was done, we would not have been at this level," he said.

However, the NDDC through its Project Director insisted that the claim of 80 percent job completion is true adding that their intention at the time an award letter was issued to the consultants in 2008 was to design the road and hand it over to the Niger Delta Ministry. The construction he added would cost about N1 trillion and it is way beyond the resources of the NDDC.

He also told the committee that there was no agreed cost for the consultant because of the terrain.

The committee however agreed that the NDDC has a lot of explanations to do, but would wait for the report of committee set up the BPP before it could take final action.