BY BODE GBADEBO, Abuja
The House of Representatives has said that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) must deliver on its mandate as a development-driven interventionist agency for communities in the nine oil-producing States of the Niger Delta zone.
The chairman of the House Committee on NDDC, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, who made the assertion on Friday during an oversight visit by the legislative panel to the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, added that the required legislative oversights for the actualisation of the mandate will be carried out from time to time.
He noted that aside oversight visits on the activities of the agency, required appropriations will also be provided for the commission by the National Assembly for needed project executions in the area.
According to Tunji-Ojo, the House Committee had resolved to work with the sole admadministrator of the commission and other critical stakeholders to resolve the lingering issue of abandoned projects confronting NDDC by putting required mechanisms in place to stem the ugly trend.
The House Committee admonished the management of the agency to, in line with resolution of the House of Representatives, award contracts to only contractors with required capacities on project executions.
“As a development-driven intervention body, abandoned projects shouldn’t be the results to give to the various communities or affected States but completed and societal value-adding ones,” he said.
Hon. Tunji-Ojo further asserted during the tour that the review and implementation of the Niger Delta masterplan was long overdue and, therefore, urged all critical stakeholders to jointly review and commit the NDDC masterplan to effective implementation.
He also canvassed a comprehensive amendment of the NDDC Establishment Act to rework the commission’s activities just as he suggested that only a sub-section of the NDDC Act should be amended in order to avoid public queries and make the exercise to be in compliance with global best practices to ensure better effectiveness in service delivery.
In his remarks, the sole administrator of NDDC, Effiong Okon Akwa, said the canvassed position that only contractors with capacities should be awarded contracts and the suggested reviewing of the Commission’s masterplan were good ideas.
He also supported the need to amend the NDDC Establishment Act to ensure the appointment of competent and capable Director of Projects.
Okon Awa, however, appealed to members of the House Committee on NDDC to forgive members of the Commission for previous wrongdoings even as he pleaded for a robust working relationship between members of the House Committee on NDDC and management of the commission.