By Ismaila Chafe
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, says the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the completion of about 9,000 abandoned projects across the Niger Delta region.
Akpabio made the disclosure when he briefed State House correspondents at the end of the Council meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.
The minister announced that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) would also be constructing nine housing estates in the region while about 1,600 people had been empowered in the last 100 days.
“We briefed the council today of the number of people that have so far been empowered in the first hundred days of coming into office.
“Over 1,600 Niger Deltans have been empowered with different skills, through the skills acquisition programme.
“We are building one skills acquisition centre per state in the region and many of them are at 80 to 90 per cent completion levels.
“Each encompasses about 38 buildings, so it’s almost like a technical college, with accommodation and other facilities.
“We are also doing about nine housing estates in the region from the Ministry’s perspective, to also add value to the affordable housing of the federal government’s policy,’’ he said.
According to him, the ministry is engaging the various communities in the Niger Delta region to ensure safety of lives and property and at the same time ensure the growth of the region.
He said the ministry was carrying out remediation works in the affected states in the region.
He revealed that the ministry was also supervising the affairs of the Niger Delta Development Commission for optimal result, saying the ministry was at the verge of concluding the due process to commence the forensic audit of the NDDC.
“I also briefed the council about the preparedness for the forensic audit.
“We have got the Bureau of Public Procurement’s ‘No Objection’ and we have also been able to get the concurrence of the Auditor-General of the Federation’s office and lead consultants have come on board.
“`At the moment we are trying to bring out the forensic auditors. Each state of the Niger Delta is a lot, we have nine lots in that section and then the headquarters is also a lot, which makes it ten.
“We have already set up centres in the ten locations for verification, evaluation and documentation of all IPCs and all award letters for contracts so that we’ll know the contingent and actual liabilities of the NDDC.
“At the end of the exercise, the federal government hopes to have a bankable NDDC, where the balance sheet can go to the bank and be accepted and bring value in terms of industrialization to the region,’’ he said.
The Minister of State for Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Hajiya Ramatu Tijjani, who also spoke on the outcome of the meeting, said she presented ministerial deliverables of the FCT to the Council.
She said: “We were able to shed more light on the assignment of creation of 5,000 affordable housing units in the federal capital territory.
“This has gone a long way already because we have ensured, regulated and profiled investors already and have been able to secure land and make adequate provision for these 5,000 units.
“We have 30 hectares of land in each area council, multiply by six that will give you about 180 hectares of land.’’