By Ndubuisi Michaels
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has declared that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has collapsed, losing its capacity to deliver development to the Niger Delta.
Speaking during a Courtesy Visit by the interim management committee of NDDC to the Government House Port Harcourt on Wednesday, Governor Wike said that the NDDC has degenerated into a cash cow for politicians
“Those who fought for the establishment of NDDC will weep that the Commission has deviated from its mandate. NDDC has collapsed. NDDC has become a cash cow for politicians.
“NDDC is now a political institution. NDDC stole our money. There was an agreement for the Rivers State Government and NDDC to collaborate for the construction of the Mother and Child Hospital. NDDC refused to pay her counterpart fund. Even the N800million paid by the Rivers State Government, the NDDC only paid N400m to the contractor and diverted N400million.
“If they don’t pay our money, we will Institute a legal action against NDDC to retrieve our money”, he said.
He said the immediate past Board of the NDDC expended N10billion during the 2019 Election to stop him from getting second term, but they failed.
“After the former Board released N10billion to remove me from office and they failed, they came here for a Courtesy Visit. I asked them why they refused to partner with states for the development of the Niger Delta”, he said.
Governor Wike informed that it was Niger Delta Governors that demanded the forensic audit of the NDDC because of the massive rot at the commission.
“Niger Delta Governors asked for the forensic audit of the NDDC when we met with the President. We also asked for the setting up of the Board of Governors for NDDC.
“I urge the interim committee to carry out a proper audit. You will meet obstacles, but be determined to do a thorough job “, he said.
He urged the people of the Niger Delta to work in unity to develop the geo-political zone.
On the leadership of NDDC, Governor Wike said that appointment of officials is strictly a function of the Executive Arm of Government. He said no other arm of Government can determine who runs the NDDC.
While congratulating the Acting Managing Director of NDDC and members of the interim committee, Governor Wike said he never be party to any plot to remove a Rivers person from a position of responsibility.
He said despite all the funds pumped into NDDC, the commission has accumulated huge debts with no meaningful projects across the Niger Delta. He regretted that the NDDC has also refused to patronise reputable contractors for projects.
Earlier, the Acting Managing Director of NDDC, Gbene Joi Nunieh said that the Commission is determined to partner with Niger Delta Governors for the development of the region.
She urged the Rivers State Governor to forget the past failures of NDDC and partner with the commission.
The Acting Managing Director sought the assistance of the Governor in the areas of health and education. She said some cottage hospitals completed by the NDDC, have been illegally occupied.