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Niger Delta minister forbids NDDC board from awarding new contracts

By Matthew Ogune Abuja
04 January 2023   |   4:10 pm
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Umana Okon Umana has urged the newly inaugurated board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to shun the impulse for the award of spurious and indiscriminate new contracts.

Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Umana Okon Umana.

… threaten sanction on violators of the procurement act

Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Umana Okon Umana has urged the newly inaugurated board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to shun the impulse for the award of spurious and indiscriminate new contracts.

The minister instead, suggested to members of the governing board to focus on the completion of ongoing projects to better serve the people of the region and deliver on the mandate of the NDCC, adding that the process will help to repair the negative public perception for the Commission.

Umana who made this observation, Wednesday in Abuja while inaugurating members of the board into office, said any breach of the provisions of the procurement act by the NDDC will be appropriately sanctioned, maintaining that the ministry is very serious about it.

He also urged the board to look into allegations of irregular employment from 2019 and follow up on the ongoing personnel audit in the Commission.

His words: “The tasks before the New Board shall include a faithful implementation of the recommendations of the report of the Forensic Audit.

“Besides the findings of the Forensic Audit, Government has received numerous petitions alleging irregularities in employment in the Commission.

“The New Board will have to look into these allegations of irregular employment from 2019 and follow up on the ongoing personnel audit in the Commission to make sure that all cases of employment during the period under review were in accordance with extant rules and regulations of the Service.

“The white paper or the findings of that audit will be issued very soon. The primary responsibility of this board will be to implement the recommendations of that audit. The whole idea is to reposition the NDDC for better performance. We want to move away from the era where contracts were awarded indiscriminately without due process being followed, the era of contract splitting and that is why we have emphasised the need to be very strict with the provisions of the procurement Act.

“And I also pointed out that any breach of the provisions of the Act procurement act will be appropriately sanctioned and we are very serious about this.”

Members of the board includes: Buhari’s Special Assistant on New Media, Lauretta Onochie, as the substantive chairman for the Board, from Delta State, representing the South-South geopolitical zone on the board; Major-General Charles Airhiavbere (rtd) from Edo State as the (Executive Director, Finance); and Charles Ogunmola from Ondo State, as Executive Director, Projects.

Others are Dimgba Erugba, representing Abia State; Dr Emem Willcox Wills (Akwa Ibom State), Elder Denyanbofa Dimaro (Bayelsa State), Orok Duke (Cross River State) and Dr Pius Odudu (Edo State).

Also on the board are Anthony Ekenne (Imo State), Gbenga Edema (Ondo State), Elekwachi Dimkpa (Rivers State), Alhaji Mohammed Kabir Abubakar (Nasarawa State) representing North-Cenral zone), Alhaji Sadiq Sami Sule-Ikoh (Kebbi State, North-West) and Prof. Tahir Mamman, SAN, (Adamawa State, North-East).

Chief Samuel Ogbokwu from Bayelsa State will serve as the Managing Director.

Speaking after, the inauguration, Onochie said the board will work to review existing policies and guidelines to enable it to have a clear sight and hit the ground running.

She said: “There is no doubt that we have a huge task ahead of us and will ask for the support of Nigerians in general, the Nicer Delta in particular, we ask that you give us a breathing space to generate great ideas that will bring about the desired change in the region.

“We are determined to do a great job. We are committed to the improvement of the economic and ecological well-being of our region. We are devoted to the prosperous future of the region. We will not fail. It’s a promise, but we ask that you give us the breathing space to do our job.”

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