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Niger Delta communities, stakeholders lament abandoned projects by NDDC

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Stakeholders and participants, including community leaders and representatives, have lamented the huge number of development projects abandoned in communities by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

According to the stakeholders, the uncompleted NDDC projects include water, road, shoreline protection, education buildings, walkways, bridges and hospital projects, among others.

They spoke yesterday in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, at a one-day workshop on advocacy with the theme “Strengthening Community Groups for Beneficiary-Led Project Verification (Focus on NDDC Projects as Pilot)”, jointly organised by three non-governmental organizations – Kebetkache Development and Resource Centre, Mac-Jim Foundation Consortium and FACE Initiative.

The participants, mostly community representatives, were drawn from Sagbama,Kolokuma/Opokuma, Ogbia, Nembe, Yenagoa and Brass local councils of Bayelsa State.Two of the attendees, Douglas Samson Awudulu and Michael Amboro, who are traditional chiefs from Nembe and Sagbama local councils, respectively, alleged that most NDDC contractors sublet their jobs with the active collaboration of some members of staff at the commission.

“The problem we have with the NDDC is that most of the contractors don’t perform. And from our observation, some of these contracts are taken by members of staff of the NDDC themselves, past and present.

“They take the contracts and sell it to the real contractors. So, when they get their own percentage, the contractors go to the field and can’t meet up,” Amboro said.However, some of the participants stated that frivolous demands on contractors ranging from “bush entry fee” to “development fee” by various community groups were also hampering the efforts of the NDDC to develop the communities.

Godson Jim-Dorgu, Executive Director, Mac-Jim Foundation Consortium, said that the workshop was sequel to a town hall meeting held a month ago, which entailed mobilising and orientating communities on the need to collaborate with development agencies.He said that local council advocacy groups had been set up and a project verification template provided for them as a guide to access NDDC projects sited in their areas with a view to writing reports, reviewing such projects and interfacing with the commission for successful implementation of projects.

Jim-Dorgu added: “There is need for communities to collaborate with development agencies and pilot agency such as the NDDC; to work with them collectively in the implantation of projects because communities are faced with a lot of challenges regarding projects implementation.

“The NDDC has its shortcomings but the communities also have their blame on the other hand. So, we are looking at the way forward; how we can come together in the implementation of NDDC projects without hitches, where communities will take ownership and ensure that projects are not abandoned.”

The participants commended the NGOs for the engagement, saying they had been enlightened by the workshop and were prepared to work to ensure that NDDC projects located in their communities are completed for their benefits.


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