Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has accused the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) of duping his state.
Speaking when members of the House of Representatives Committee on NDDC led by its chairman, Hon (Dr.) Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Port Harcourt, on Thursday, the governor accused the agency of corruption.
He said the NDDC and the Rivers government had once agreed to collaborate on a legacy project, but the commission ended up the defrauding the state government.
“NDDC fraudulently duped us over the Mother and Child hospital. They duped us. They had an agreement with the State government to build a regional hospital called Mother and Child hospital.
“They agreed that it will be N1.7 Billion Naira and the state government was to bring N800million while they would bring N900 million. State government at that time paid N800million but NDDC mobilised the contractor with N400 million of the N800 million we brought and then abandoned the contractor and the contractor left site. And when we came on board, we said okay, we don’t want to partner with you again, give us back our N400 million , it became a problem. Politics came in,” he said.
He said governors of oil-producing states are being sidelined in the affairs of the agency.
The governor said because the governing party at the centre dictates what happens in the NDDC, the commission has been acting like a state on its own.
According to him, despite the inauguration of the NDDC advisory council last year, the federal government has ensured that the governors are not carried along in the affairs of the commission.
“Even when we were inaugurated, we were not involved in anything that happens in NDDC. Which is most unfortunate.”
“NDDC is like a state on its own without working with the State government and why is it so. It is so because the states of NDDC are controlled by the opposition party therefore there is no need to consult with them.”
The governor explained that in a bid to ensure NDDC does not embark on indiscriminate execution of projects that often distort the state developmental agenda, the Rivers State government recently obtained a court order that prohibits the commission from carrying out projects without the consent of the state government.
Wike urged the National Assembly to be resolute in its oversight function by ensuring that the NDDC stops “frittering away the resources meant for the development of the region”.
The governor said he would continually speak out for the interest of the people of Rivers.
According to him, within one year, his government awarded contracts for construction of eight flyovers and on Wednesday, approved over N16 billion for the development of “critical infrastructure” in the Rivers State University.
Leader of the delegation and chairman of the committee, Dr. Tunji- Ojo, explained that the visit was predicated on the fact that Governor Wike is a principal stakeholder in the affairs of NDDC.
He said the committee will ensure that NDDC works in synergy with “critical stakeholders” of the region.