Umana Calls For Probe Of N200bn NDDC Contracts During Forensic Audit

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Niger-Delta-Development-Commission

The  Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Obong Umana Okon Umana has ordered the probe of N200 billion contracts awarded without due process during the regime of the former Sole Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Effiong Akwa, must account for N300 billion projects awarded against due process under his headship.

Umana gave the order during a working visit to the Commission in Port Harcourt and instructed the Acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Emmanuel Audu-Ohwavborua, to mobilise SETRACO, contractor handling the Rivers – Bayelsa session of the East-West Road to intervene on the portions collapsed by devastating 2022 floods.

The Minister told the staff to feel ashamed at the negative perceptions stakeholders and external watchers have about the NDDC where they work, just as he ordered the release of relief materials to persons ravaged by the flood in the Niger Delta.

 “The perception is that NDDC has failed. There is also the perception of widespread, endemic corruption in the commission. True or false, I don’t think it is a good story that you go somewhere and are introduced as a staff of NDDC and the first thing the person must be thinking about you is that this must be one of the corrupt ones.

“Even for your children, it is not a good story. It is in your hands to change that perception. There is a total failure. It is that failure that makes it possible for one man to sit alone in this commission and issue awards letters without due process, of N200 billion, N300 billion, under the guise of an emergency.

Umana said, “This is a clear-cut impunity we cannot tolerate. Already we are talking of indebtedness of over N3 trillion. And one man will still sit alone and issue letters of another N300 billion without following processes?

“The Acting MD is directed to give me a full report which should go to the President on this. This was without my knowledge, so I want a report; I want all of those contracts terminated immediately. No budget at the time those contracts were awarded.

“This is the reason we can’t do anything meaningful with NDDC. Why would street lights, solar lights constitute an emergency project? What is the emergency about street lights? What is so urgent about solar lights?

“And I’ve seen people bring papers to me. One person will bring 10, or 15 papers, talking about emergency repairs of failed portions of roads, 2Kms, N800 million, in Delta, Abia, in Imo States. If you’re asking for N800 million to fix two Kms of failed portions, how much are you going to use to construct the road?

“And one man holding 10 of those papers, that’s N8 billion. When 100 people are holding such papers, that’s N800 billion, almost a Trillion. This is why this commission has failed. And when the President directed that these things be looked into, those who perpetrated them started frustrating the exercise”.

The Minister went on to say “I just knew the conditions for the Forensic Audit were not conducive for that probe to be carried out, because if the perpetrators were the ones to support execution of the audit, then it wasn’t going to make any sense. Anybody who stands in the way to undermine the directive of Mr. President will be appropriately sanctioned.

“The President has further directed that those funds be dedicated to infrastructural, critical projects in the region. For those funds, a special account shall be opened. We want things to change. We would bring first-class companies to do serious projects in this region.

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