25 November 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt — The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mr. Nsima Ekere, has pledged to address the issues of the compensation for right of way for its development projects in the Niger Delta region.
Ekere gave the assurance when a delegation from the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, NIESV, paid him a courtesy visit at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer remarked that the issue of compensation had brought a lot of complaints from both communities and project consultants, blaming the problem on inadequate provisions in contracts for the payment of compensation.
“The fund is always a bit low so that by the time a consultant finishes evaluation and brings a report, you find out that what is in the contract is not adequate to pay compensation.”
He stated that the Public Procurement Act made it very cumbersome for review of contract sums and “that is one of the problems we have had in payment of compensations and settling of fees to consultants.”
The NDDC boss assured that outstanding payments to estate surveyors and valuers would be addressed holistically through a joint committee of the NDDC and NIESV, to be headed by the Commission’s Executive Director Projects EDP.
Earlier, the Chairman Rivers State Branch of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, Mr. Elliot Orupabo, lamented that some members of the NIESV, who were Consultants to the Commission, faced difficulties while performing jobs awarded to them.
Orupabo decried the absence of a valuation unit to handle right-of-way acquisition and compensation matters, stating: “the absence of this unit is a major lacuna which the engineers in the Project Management Department has capitalized upon to vet and tamper with compensation valuation reports prepared by registered estate surveyors and valuers without recourse to the consultant.”
He highlighted the provisions of the Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Act Cap E13 LFN, which states: “Only a Registered Estate Surveyors and Valuer shall value and determine the value of property in Nigeria.”
He urged the NDDC to create a valuation unit to be headed by a registered estate surveyor and valuer, to handle all issues of valuation and compensation.
Orupabo advised the Commission to always ensure the engagement and mobilization of estate valuers to site after clearance, noting that this had always been a problem to the consultant estate valuer, as the final value of compensation was often considered by the Commission as high, while the Community considered the values as inadequate.