Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, acting Managing Director, NDDC

By Okafor Ofiebor

The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has said it would soon release another list of defaulting high profile contractors.

It said the list in circulation was just that of 2018, saying that the list of 2019 had not been released yet and that when it is released, people would be shocked.

Acting Executive Director, Projects, NDDC, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh Ojougboh stated that change had come to the NDDC and that “things will never remain the same again.”

According to him, “President Muhammadu Buhari worked for the change in NDDC “and even when we leave here, other people coming in would be more careful.

“As for the list of contractors we published, that was for 2018 alone. By the time we publish that of 2019, a lot of things will come out to the open.

“Some persons claim they did not benefit from NDDC but we have documents linking them to those contracts. The forensic audit is unearthing a lot of things, 2016, 2017 and 2019 list are ready. But we have decided we would not be distracted again.”

He also said the Interim Management Committee, IMC, had saved N35 billion for the Commission after its verified payments to contractors.

Speaking to newsmen shortly after the inauguration of the Committee for the completion and commissioning of NDDC’s 13-floor new permanent headquarters at the Eastern By-Pass, Port Harcourt, Ojougboh said that the Commission had also verified payments for N1.5 trillion for other projects.

Ojougbo, who is the Chairman of the committee, affirmed that work on the office complex was at 98 per cent completion.

He said: “As you can see, the lifts and escalators are working, the lights and the central air conditioners are functioning. You have seen the external works, so I want to tell you that what is left is the ancillary building, the windows are already in place. You have also seen the asphalts, so we are good to go.

“Nobody believed that it was possible to achieve what we have achieved. There were lots of booby-traps which made it impossible for this building to be ready before now. But we thank God for the successes we have recorded.”

He lamented that the NDDC budget for 2019 was distorted to the detriment of regional projects, citing the example of regional hospital projects that were starved of funds.

“We made provision for hospitals in all Niger Delta states as our regional projects but it was removed and replaced with supply of chairs to schools in the region,” he said.

Ojougboh said that the NDDC had written letters to the National Assembly to explain why N11.6 billion budgeted for the completion of hospitals was removed and replaced with supply of chairs and desks.

He asked: “Is that what we deserve in Niger Delta?”