The President of the Association of Contractors of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Sylvester Tonye, has alleged that the federal government is owing its members over N2trn for projects executed in the oil-rich Niger Delta region.
Tonye who spoke at a protest held in Abuja, Thursday at the premises of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, charged the federal government to urgently inaugurate a substantive board for the NDDC to ensure smooth operations.
He said “We are not interested in the politics they play, all we want is that they bring aboard. You have an Interim Administrator who does not even come to the office in Port Harcourt. For over two months you will never see him. He is always in Abuja. We want a board that will sit and be responsible to the people, not a Sole Administrator. Senate has screened the Board already, let them bring them on.”
On the forensic audit, he said, “The forensic audit was a scam. You can’t be on my site and I’m not there and you say you are doing a forensic audit. Who does that?
Speaking on abandoned projects in Niger Delta, Chairman of the Contractors, Joe Adia, said: “there is no way you will give a project to a man, he will go-to source for funds on his own, then when he gets to a milestone, you refuse to pay him for about five years, how does he go back to that project?
“Automatically the project is abandoned because you refused to play your part as the Commission. The Federal Government does not give enough money to the Commission, but the little that comes in is embezzled, he added.
While urging the government to urgently come to their aid, he recalled that during the probe of the NDDC in the National Assembly, the evidences they presented were swept under the carpet.
He further lamented that the Interim Management that exists in the NDDC is not adding value to the Commission, “rather it is returning NDDC far beyond where we are coming from. It is killing NDDC. We are saying bring the board so that there will be equity and even distribution of representation in the region.”
“We are the victims. We are the ones that have been owed for over 10 years “We have nine states in the NDDC, but one man is heading NDDC. It’s an abnormal activity. We have given them enough time to bring the board, but since they have refused, we have come out to say the must bring the board. It’s not a matter of negotiation, they must bring the board as early as yesterday,” he added.