President Buhari sends nominees for NDDC board to Senate – Niger Delta Minister
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Umana Okon Umana, has confirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari has transmitted names of members of the new substantive Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to the Senate for screening.
Umana expressed delight that some of the factors impeding the operation of the commission had been sufficiently addressed by the Federal Government.
Umana said: “Some of the impending matters that impeded the performance of the commission have been dealt with. For those matters, I have presidential approval for the transmission of the 2021/2022 budget of the Commission. I also have presidential approval that recovered funds be released. The President directed that those funds should be used to fund core infrastructural projects in the region.
“I am also happy to state that some of the serious pending issues, like the absence of the NDDC Board has also been addressed and as we speak, Mr. President has transmitted the names of members of the Board to the Senate and I do know that on resumption the Senate would act on it.”
The Minister directed the Niger Delta NDDC to mobilise the contractor handling the East-West road to the sites damaged and rendered impassible by the flood.
Umana spoke on Thursday when he was led by the acting Managing Director, NDDC, Emmanuel Audu-Ohwavborua, to the Ahoada axis of the road in Rivers State, which had been completely washed away by the flood.
The Minister, who was accompanied by the directors of the commission and officials of his ministry expressed shock at the level of devastation on the road especially at Ihieke, a community in Ahoada.
Describing the condition of the road as really serious, Umana observed that there was no more movement between Bayelsa and Rivers saying urgent remedial work must be made on the road to restore access.
He said currently about 31 states were affected by the flood and noted that the Federal Government was responding adequately to the natural disaster.
He said: “The Federal Government is handling this through a concerted approach, which will involve many agencies of government including the military personnel, who are now helping by using helicopters to get to sites that are not accessible.
“What I have seen here in Ahoada, I am directing the NDDC to intervene immediately. They are already making arrangements to bring SETRACO to access what needs to be done on the road so that the road can become accessible again”.
Umana further ordered the NDDC to provide relief materials for all persons displaced by the flood in the region saying that such intervention must be comprehensive.
“When we talk about relief it is a whole package. The relief will come in various forms, materials, health support, women children among others”, he said.
Umana, who later toured the corporate headquarters of the commission, told the workers that the NDDC would be repositioned in line with the expectations of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said after discussing factors impeding the progress of the commission, he told the management and members of staff that henceforth things must be done differently.
He said: “I have informed the management and staff that moving forward we expect things to be done differently so that we can have value for the main purpose of the commission.
“We have emphasised the need for full compliance of the provisions of the Procurement Act. The lack of adherence to the Procurement Act led to some of the excesses.
“Imagine a situation where one man will award contracts with no reference to the tenders board of the commission or the tenders committee of federal executive council.
“I have made it clear that it will no longer be tolerated, those who indulge In contract meeting and award contract without due process will be held accountable.
“I have been assured by management that indeed there will be commitment, things will change. It is a new era and a new day for the commission”.