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Niger Delta youths protest against non-payment of water hyacinth jobs executed

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Scores of Niger Delta youths yesterday barricaded the main entrance of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) demanding payment for water hyacinth jobs they executed.

Others demanded that they are awarded the jobs instead of politicians.

The aggrieved youths, as at the time of filing in this report, were preventing people from going in and coming out of the NDDC, insisting that the commission must pay them for jobs done.

However, The Guardian gathered that tension is brewing within the NDDC because the payment made last week for water hyacinth and other projects were allegedly done without official voucher due to pressure being exerted on the interim management of the commission by top politicians from the region.

It was also alleged that top politicians from the South-South region were mounting pressure on the commission to pay debts owed their proxies.

The Guardian gathered that most of the contracts for which they are mounting pressure on the interim management to pay were highly-inflated contracts awarded by the immediate past sacked the board of the commission.

Sources in the NDDC told The Guardian that the commission was pressurised to pay part of the N1.9 billion for water hyacinth contracts awarded to some politicians and former militants in the region before the 2019 general elections.

Though the water hyacinth contract, each valued at N2.7 million, was meant for former militants and jobless youths in the region, but politicians were said to have hijacked most of the contracts.

The claim that payment for 100 water hyacinth contracts went to a minister from the region was said to have caused the besieging of the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt by aggrieved youths since last Friday.

The Guardian gathered that part of the pressure was responsible for the authorisation of illegal employment of about 300 members of staff into the NDDC without recourse to due process.

Meanwhile, the Media Aide to the Acting Managing Director, Mr. Bekee Anyalewchi, has refuted the allegation that his boss was being pressurised by top politicians from the region to pay for the contracts awarded to their proxies by the last board and management committee of the NDDC.

He stated that payment made last week for the contentious water hyacinth jobs was based on recommendation of the directorate in charge of the project.

In another development, Chairman of the Niger Delta Civil Society Coalition, Mr. Anyakwee Nsirimovu, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to send the names of the newly-appointed members of the NDDC board to the Senate for screening for the commission to function properly.


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