The Acting Executive Director of Projects, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh has assured that the Commission will resume the inspection of its projects across the Niger Delta region in spite of distractions from detractors.
Addressing newsmen in his office at the new NDDC permanent headquarters in Port Harcourt, Ojougboh said it was time to get back to the task of developing the Niger Delta region.
He declared: “We have had enough of distractions and we have decided not to be bogged down anymore. We will go about our work with renewed vigor. We are taking a special interest in the desilting projects, because, heavy rains are coming and some areas will be flooded.
“We will visit all the locations because no payments will be made until our engineers, quantity surveyors and the Project Monitoring and Supervision, PMS, have approved.”
Ojougboh stressed that the NDDC Interim Management Committee, IMC, headed by the Acting Managing Director, Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei, had only paid for verified jobs that were done over the years.
According to him, contractors now sit in their homes and get alerts. “It has never happened before. Today, you don’t need to come to NDDC to lobby for your payments. Once we verify your job performance, we will pay you because a labourer is worthy of his wages,” he said.
Speaking on legacy projects, Ojougboh expressed delight that the 29-kilometre Ogbia-Nembe Road, with spurs linking 14 different communities in Bayelsa State, would soon be commissioned. “We were there recently on a pre-commissioning visit. Once we get an approved date from the Presidency, we shall let you know,” he said.
The Executive Director Projects noted that the Ogbia-Nembe road, which cuts through the swamps with ten bridges and 99 culverts, was one of the signature projects executed by the NDDC. He regretted that the Commission could not boast of many such projects in the region.
Ojougboh said that henceforth, the NDDC would give priority to projects that would impact meaningfully on the lives of the people of the Niger Delta region. He decried a situation where the Commission was asked to include non-essential projects in its budget to satisfy selfish considerations.
He lamented: “This year alone, they put N11.5billion in the budget for the supply of desks and chairs to schools in the Niger Delta region. Where are the schools that you are going to put N11. 5billion worth of chairs and desks in the region?”