Obaseki seeks probe of alleged N20b NDDC’s projects fund spent in Edo
From Michael Egbejule, Benin City
Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki yesterday sought a probe of the N20b emergency funds allegedly spent by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) on projects in the state covering the last six months.He stated that the state government would explore the option of suing contractors handling the NDDC’s projects for delivering sub-standard projects, which had caused flooding in parts of the state.
The governor said this when the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee on abandoned NDDC projects visited him at Government House, Benin City.Obaseki noted that the state government would stop NDDC contractors from executing sub-standard projects, as there was the need for synergy between the state government and NDDC in delivering quality projects.
“This kind of action is embarrassing to our administration and causing us political problems, as our people are confused about the roads we are constructing and the sub-standard nature of roads executed by NDDC contractors.
“I have instructed the state’s Solicitor-General to begin the process of taking legal action against NDDC contractors who execute sub-standard projects in the state, particularly the Apostolic Street, off Sokponba Road, which led to flooding in the area. We will blacklist them,” he stated.
He added that beyond what the committee was doing, there should be a judicial enquiry into NDDC’s activities. “People must be jailed for their corruption. NDDC has not spent the 13 per cent derivation fund collected from oil-producing communities that was supposed to be used for the development of the region.
“We have registered our displeasure on NDDC projects in Edo State and contest the claims of their spending N20b in the state for emergency work. We signed a tripartite agreement with NDDC. “They were supposed to commit 40 per cent while the state provides 60 per cent. We opened an account but they didn’t remit one kobo into it,” he stated.
Leader of the committee, Sergius Ogun, said they were in the state to investigate abandoned NDDC projects, noting that the committee has a short time to submit its report to the leadership of the House.Ogun said the standing committee that will take over from the Ad-Hoc committee would be announced soon, adding, “This is pro-active.
That was why the Ad-Hoc committee was set up, not waiting for the standing committee to be inaugurated.”Director, Edo State Office of NDDC, Gbubemi Ogor, said the commission was not unaware of the issues raised saying, “We have agreed to review some of our projects in Edo State. “The governor has expressed his dissatisfaction with our projects and we have taken his words to heart and have set up a committee. We will be meeting the Commissioner of Infrastructure next week on the issues.”
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