NDDC Board Inherits N1trn Liabilities | Independent Newspapers Limited
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NDDC Board Inherits N1trn Liabilities

Posted: Jul 10, 2015 at 6:20 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Igoniko Oduma  / Yenagoa


The current Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has said that it inherited liabilities in excess of N1 trillion from the previous board.

Chairman of the NDDC Board, Bassey Ewa-Henshaw, disclosed this on Thursday when he led a delegation of the commission’s board members to pay a courtesy visit to the Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, at Government House,Yenagoa.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan inaugurated the Ewa-Henshaw NDDC Board in December 2013.

Members of the board are, the Managing Director of the Commission, Bassey Dan-Abia, Executive Director (Finance and Administration), Dr Itotenaan Ogiri, (Rivers) and Executive Director (Projects) Tuoyo Omatsuli (Delta).

Also on the board are, Turofade Oyarede (Bayelsa), Ephraim Sobere Etete (Rivers), Etim Inyang Jnr (Akwa Ibom); Adah Andeshi (Cross River) and Tom Amioku (Delta).

The other members are Samuel Nwogu (Abia), Uchegbu Kyrian (Imo), Maj.-Gen Suleiman Said (Niger, North Central) and Alhaji Abdumalik Mahmud (Bauchi, North East).

Edo and Ondo States and the North East were yet to be represented on the board.

Ewa-Henshaw said his board also inherited 7,000 projects which it had been striving to complete in the last one year.

Henshaw identified poor funding as the major challenge impeding the progress of the interventionist agency in resolving the issues of underdevelopment in the Niger Delta region.

According to him, the Federal Government had held back funds to the commission in excess of N800billion since 2001.

Henshaw listed inadequate release of budgeted funds contrary to Section 14 (2a) and (2c) of the NDDC Act as some other challenges plaguing the commission.

“The funding for NDDC remains a major challenge and obstacle to the progress that we could have made. For example, since 2001, funds held back by the Federal Government is now in excess of N800 billion under-payment,” he said.

Henshaw explained that the NDDC Act requires the Federal Government to provide 15 per cent of monies paid from the Federation Account, lamenting that the commission had never got its fair share of funding since inception.

He explained to Governor Dickson that the leadership of the NDDC was in the state to seek advice on the way forward.

The NDDC Board chairman said the commission would require support  in providing strategic interventions in the areas of power, roads, rail, education and create business opportunities for the people in the region.

In his remarks, the Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, appealed to the Federal Government to adequately fund the NDDC in conformity with the provisions of the Act establishing it.

He also urged the Federal Government to accord states in the region a special attention, especially Bayelsa, given its challenging terrain which he noted required huge funds and efforts to develop.

Dickson said the poor funding of the commission had limited its ability to execute critical infrastructure such as the airport, major roads and bridges that would impact on the well-being of the people rather than award contracts for the construction of classroom blocks.

He said; ”The Niger Delta is an endangered region, even the colonial masters before they granted independence to Nigeria, recognized the existence of this region as a special area and designated it so.

“And they were aware that the developmental challenges of this area are more than that of the challenges of most other parts of the country.

“The Niger Delta challenges are ecological and environmental and that realization should affect the release of funds by the federal authorities.

“ I think that the governors will meet to see how we can work with you to ensure that the provisions of the NDDC Act are enforced.

“The purpose of establishing the NDDC will be defeated if it is not in a position to undertake critical development projects in the Niger Delta.”