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Niger Delta stakeholders deplore FG’s N1.3tr indebtedness to NDDC

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Stakeholders who attended the Niger Delta Development Commission’s (NDDC) forum in Warri, Delta State, yesterday queried Federal Government’s indebtedness to the interventionist agency amounting to N1.3 trillion.

Most speakers at the forum wondered why the Federal Government should owe the NDDC such a huge amount, while the commission struggles to execute projects in the Niger Delta states, adding that as the major revenue earner for the country, it ought be treated rightly.

They also lamented the abandonment of several development projects in oil producing communities due to dearth of funds and urged the commission to ensure that the Federal Government paid the N1.3 trillion.

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Their reactions emanated when Delta State Coordinator of the NDDC, Dr. Ogaga Ifowodo in his address, said government’s indebtedness to the commission amounted to N1.3 trillion, but commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment to develop the region.

However, the participants were not impressed that a government that was owing NDDC such a huge sum, could still receive accolades from the commission’s senior officials.

Ifowodo further disclosed that President Buhari had directed the Ministry of Finance and other relevant ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to determine the actual amount of government’s indebtedness to the commission, to facilitate payment.

He said that was why the President sent Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to visit all the Niger Delta states to engage with stakeholders and the indigenes.

Meanwhile, Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Yekini Nabena, has accused Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike of sabotaging the NDDC.

Nabena, who spoke to reporters in Abuja yesterday, stated that it was unfortunate that Wike chose to hide under the Rivers State Internal Revenue Service (RIRS) to frustrate the commission.

According to him, the closure of NDDC’s corporate headquarters under the guise of what he termed a bogus N50billion unpaid tax was aimed at frustrating Commission’s development activities for the region.

He urged stakeholders in the Niger Delta region to wade into the matter, insisting that the action remains illegal, as it was done out of bad faith.

The RIRS had closed NDDC’s corporate headquarters in Port Harcourt over an alleged N50b unpaid withholding tax.

Chairman of RIRS, Adoage Norteh, said the NDDC premises was closed because the commission refused to make its financial records available for audit.

But the NDDC denied the claims in a statement by its Director of Corporate Affairs, Charles Odili, saying the commission’s record revealed that the claim was incorrect.


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