28 June 2014, Lagos – Worried by the spread of various projects abandoned by contractors of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), leaders of repented militant groups in the Niger Delta region have vowed to constitute themselves into a monitoring team of the NDDC projects.
The repentant leaders of militant groups who accepted the federal government amnesty under the first phase arrangement expressed disappointment that some contractors who collected money for projects had either failed to execute them according to specification or abandoned the projects completely.
The former militants, under the aegis of the Leadership, Peace and Cultural Development Initiative, met in Oron Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State yesterday where they reviewed cases of abandoned NDDC projects and decided to constitute themselves into a monitoring team to call the contractors to order.
President of the group, Reuben Wilson, said at the meeting that the former freedom fighters decided to take the step because the contractors were running down the NDDC denying the Niger Delta people the right to enjoy the development initiatives of the federal government.
He said with the new movement, all contractors who fail to execute NDDC jobs should get ready to make refunds or return to site to do their job properly.
“The same way we were able to fight the federal government and force them to remember the region, that’s the same way we will go after fraudulent NDDC contractors and force them to execute every job faithfully.
“We will not use guns because we have surrendered them. But we will device our own way of peacefully compelling all NDDC contractors to do what is right,” Wilson said.
Warning all of the contractors who may have abandoned NDDC projects in any of the nine states, he disclosed that the monitoring team was compiling names and would soon publish the contractors who had failed to execute the projects after they had been paid.
“Their actions are viewed by us as an attempt to discredit the NDDC and by extension, the good efforts of President Goodluck Jonathan. They are the people who have given people the room to call the president names.
“We have come so that we can cross fertilise ideas and have a check on those who are supposed to be handling development projects for the benefit of our people. We have come to brainstorm on how we can work together with the NDDC to encourage and support them in their effort to achieve our dream of total development of the region.
“Every other month, we hear of contracts that have been awarded by the NDDC. But we are also aware that some of those contracts are either poorly executed or are not executed at all. Our duty now is to make sure that we monitor the contractors for maximum results.
“From Ondo to Rivers, from Imo to Cross River States, we shall take it upon ourselves to monitor what the contractors are doing with our common wealth passed to them by the NDDC for the execution of projects.
“Gone are the days when people would come from the North-highly placed people-who would come and collect contracts from the NDDC, collect mobilisation and walk away.
“The time has gone when people in the National Assembly who occupy top government offices in Abuja would come to the NDDC to pick up jobs and the money, only to abandon them. We will go to them and force them to return our money.
“These are the same people who will empty NDDC funds and turn back to give the people a bad name. The same people who are eating from the NDDC are the people who are painting the president, our own son, in bad light, saying that he is not working. NDDC projects will no longer be abandoned,” Wilson stressed.
Meanwhile, the NDDC has stepped up efforts to complete the new 15-floor tower which would serve as its permanent headquarters in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
Inspecting the project, the Managing Director of the commission, Mr. Bassey Dan-Abia, said the office complex would be ready by the end of the year.
He said from what he saw at the project site and the assurances given to the NDDC by the major contractors, the end of year target was realistic.
The managing director, who was accompanied on the inspection by the Executive Director Projects, Mr. Tuoyo Omatsuli, and other directors, stated that the days of indefinite contract duration was over and that no contractor working for the commission should expect to get approval for variations after delaying the completion of projects.
He called attention to the new policy thrust of the NDDC, which he said was geared towards ensuring that deadlines were adhered to strictly.
“The message we are sending out is that to do business with us, contractors must change their attitude. There must be re-positioning and re-focusing on the part of everyone to key into the domesticated transformation agenda of the new NDDC, which is that jobs must be completed on schedule,” he said.
Dan-Abia said the era of allowing indolent contractors to get away with all kinds of delay tactics were gone and gone for good.
According to him, “Everyone must sit up and key into the new ways of the new NDDC. So, you can see that the boat is moving fast and incompetent contractors will definitely be left behind.
“It will not be in line with our new policy to sit in the office, which is only a few kilometres away from the project site and not come to monitor the progress of work here. If it were possible, I want to be here, at least once every month, until the project is delivered.”
The project coordinator, Felix Darko, assured the NDDC directors that they were working according to schedule and set standards. He said that the contractors involved in the project were determined to complete the multi-storey building on time as long as funds were available.
The NDDC team also inspected the construction of a permanent
complex for the Rivers State office along Olu Obasanjo Road
in the heart of Port Harcourt. Since inception in 2,000, the interventionist agency has been operating from buildings rented from the Rivers State government.
– This Day