Port Harcourt — The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has charged communities in the region to assist the Commission in monitoring the execution of development projects in their localities.
Giving the charge during a courtesy visit by Isoko traditional rulers under the auspices of the Isoko Development Union Worldwide in Port Harcourt, NDDC Acting Managing Director, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, said that communities should be upfront in holding contractors to account.
Pondei assured that the Commission would from time to time be publishing the payments to contractors, so that communities can assist in verifying them to march the money spent with the project on ground.
He commended the Isoko leaders for coming to interface and support the Commission, Pondei commended the Isoko leaders for helping in monitoring the performance of NDDC contractors in their area.
“The communities should not sit back. They should monitor the projects in their areas because that is the only way to check dubious contractors who abandon projects.
“We have been bogged down by distractions by those who don’t mean well for the Niger Delta region. As at today, we don’t have an approved budget to work with and unfortunately, we are being frustrated by our own people. If we don’t have an approved budget to work with, it is the Niger Delta that will suffer.
“If the Interim Management Committee, IMC, is being told not to start any project and not to pay contractors that have worked for us, you can imagine the negative effect it would have on the lives of our people.”
Pondei noted that for NDDC to move forward, it should be executing big-ticket projects that would impact positively on the people and pay less attention to small projects.
“We should be intervening in big regional projects. A situation where many projects are put in the budget and we end up not completing a good number of them is not good for us,” he said.
The President General of Isoko Development Union Worldwide, High Chief Iduh Amadhe, commended President Buhari for ordering the forensic audit of NDDC and commended the transparency and accountability exhibited by the Commission’s IMC.
Amadhe also appealed to the NDDC to ensure the completion of the Uzere-Umeh-Patani Road which had been on-going for many years.
He noted that Isoko was the second place crude oil was discovered in commercial quantity in 1958 at Uzere, immediately after Oloibiri.
“Oil from Isoko contributes about 19 percent of the total output of the production quota from Delta State.The Isoko ethnic nation has eight oil fields, yet the wealth generated from Isoko land is being used to develop other parts of the country at our own expense and peril.”