27 July 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) has asked the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to publish the names of the contractors reportedly suspended by it.
In a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja, the Executive Director, ANEEJ, Rev. David Ugolor, commended the NDDC for its courage in suspending the contractors of abandoned projects worth N200 billion.
He, however, urged the Commission to go beyond the suspension and prosecute the defaulting banks and contractors linked to the cancelled contracts.
The NDDC management had recently said it had revoked more than 600 contracts and projects worth N200 billion as part of efforts to restructure its balance sheet.
The Commission said it found out that some of the contracts were either not properly awarded, or were awarded but the contractors had not yet gone to the project sites.
Ugolor said NDDC’s action confirms the findings in the initial presentation of its Citizens Report Card, CRC, issued when the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo visited Benin in March 2017 on a fact-finding visit.
The CRC is an investigative report by ANEEJ in partnership with LITE Africa on projects executed by the NDDC in the six Niger Delta states.
He recalled that in May 2016, Nigeria signed on to the Open Government Partnership, OGP, where it expressed commitment to a National Action Plan of access to information, citizen participation, fiscal transparency, and zero-tolerance to corruption.
“If the names of the contractors are published, ANEEJ believes that it would allow citizens to unmask the real perpetrators of abandoned contracts and help Niger Deltans to demand inclusiveness in the determination of contracts relevant to their communities,” he said.
“Apart from the prosecution of the perpetrators of those unaccounted-for funds, we urge the NDDC to put the recovered funds to use in the completion of either ongoing or abandoned projects in the Niger Delta.
“If that gets done, ANEEJ believes that the much-desired transformation of the Niger Delta would be accomplished’, Mr. Ugolor stated.
Mr. Ugolor asked the NDDC to get non-governmental organisations, NGOs, investors and relevant activists in the Niger Delta to be part of the procurement processes involved in the award of contracts for projects in the Niger Delta communities.
In May, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Uguru Usani Uguru, said at the end of the Federal Executive Council meeting that about N423 billion appropriated for projects implementation in the oil producing region had been misappropriated and could not be accounted for.