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Clark faults plans to use NDDC’s N16b for completion of East-West road

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Sole Administrator, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Effiong Akwa (left); elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark and Chief of Staff to the Sole Administrator, Godwin Ogedengbe during NDDC management’s visit to Clark in Abuja…yesterday

Elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark has faulted alleged plan to use money budgeted for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to complete the East West road.

Speaking when the Sole Administrator of the NDDC, Effiong Okon Akwa, visited him in his Abuja residence, he argued that the initiative was in breach of procedure.

The former Minister of Communication, wondered why the Federal Government was keen on using over N16b budgeted for the development of the Niger Delta region on the East- West road and budgeted N60b for the construction of three roads in Kano state in this year’s budget.

His words: “I was shocked that the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs sometimes ago said that the East West road would be completed and that N18b was voted for the ministry for capital projects. And the minister said they are going to spend about N16b on the East West road and he has brought contractors.

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“He also said that the NDDC budget will be used in the completion of the East West road. East West road is one of the economic roads in Nigeria. I see no reason why the Ministry of Works should not be in charge of the East West road. That is not the duty of the NDDC.”

Clark spoke after Akwa informed him that he was already collaborating with the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to ensure the completion of the road awarded over 20 years ago before the end of the year.

He expressed concern over the problem of interference in the affairs of the NDDC by the ministry and minister of the Niger Delta Affairs adding it would serve the interest of the people of the Niger Delta region if those entrusted with the responsibility of running the affairs of the NDDC are allowed free hand to run its affairs.

While urging peace in the region, Akwa said with the recent passage of the 2021 NDDC budget, the commission was poised to address the environmental degradation, youth unemployment, training, roads construction, payment of scholarships to Niger Delta students and completion of hostels in some universities in the region.

He assured that the current management would prioritise payment of contractors’ claims and completion of NDDC headquarters.

Akwa, however, condemned those planning to steal money meant for the NDDC to further their political interests ahead of the 2023 elections, adding that some previous managers of the commission did not keep to extant public service regulations.

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