The Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, has charged the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to accord the state a better treatment in the allocation of development projects.
The governor, was speaking on Friday at the Government House Uyo when the Senate Committee on the Niger Delta and the NDDC directors led by the Acting Managing Director, Mrs Ibim Semenetari, paid him a courtesy visit. He was represented by the Deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo, who stressed that “Akwa Ibom State deserves a bigger allocation of projects from the NDDC.”
He justified the demand for a more generous allocation by stating that Akwa Ibom State was contributing over 40 per cent to the wealth of the country through oil and was also the biggest contributor to the funds of the NDDC.
“We think that the NDDC should constantly cross-check with states in the region on projects to avoid unnecessary duplications. The commission should also monitor and supervise projects properly to ensure that acceptable standards are met. I doubt that that is being done currently.”
The Deputy Governor urged the NDDC to complete all on-going and abandoned projects in the state and thereafter begin new ones that would be relevant to the needs of the state. “There are so many projects scattered all over the state. Some are described as on-going, yet the contractors have since left the sites. NDDC should look at such cases,” he advised.
On the Amnesty Programme, Chief Ekpo regretted that former militants from Akwa Ibom State were not integrated in the rehabilitation scheme and “we don’t know why this is so.”
In his remarks, the chairman of the Senate Committee, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, said that they were on a fact-finding mission. “We are here on referral from the Senate on the performance of NDDC. The Senate directed we should find out the impact of the NDDC on the lives of the people of the Niger Delta.”
Senator Nwaoboshi said the committee oversights NDDC, the Ministry of Niger Delta and the Amnesty Programme of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, adding that its mission was not to witch-hunt.
“We are here to find out what the NDDC has done with the funds appropriated for it. Have they been able to positively affect the lives of the people? Has the money been judiciously used for the benefit of the people? Secondly, we are about working out the details of the 2016 budget. So, we need to find out the special interest of the states in terms of projects.”
He said that Akwa Ibom State was a major stakeholder in the Niger Delta region and as such it was important for the committee to ensure that it was getting commensurate benefit from the NDDC.