Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, on Tuesday, called on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to constitute without further delay a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission in accordance with its enabling Act.
He said its absence was hindering the commission’s operations.
The governor noted that the interim administrator arrangement for the NDDC was alien to the Act and unacceptable to governors of the Niger Delta, noting that the agency had not been able to meet its mandate because of the absence of a substantive board.
A statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, said the governor stated this when the NDDC Interim Administrator, Akwa Effiong, visited him in Government House, Yenagoa, on Tuesday.
Diri told the NDDC interim administrator that more than 1,700 abandoned projects of the commission were littering different parts of Bayelsa, a situation he described as unacceptable.
He listed some of the abandoned big-ticket projects to include the Angalabiri-Ebedebiri-Toru-Orua shore protection project captured in the commission’s 2020 budget, the Sabagreia-Polaku bridge as well as the Akenfa bridge among others.
He pointed out that the non-collaboration of the commission with catchment states that would advise on priority projects had led to duplication and abandonment of projects.
Describing the NDDC as an interventionist body created to fill the developmental gap in the Niger Delta, Diri said the governors had also been robbed of their advisory role, which would have enabled the board embark on people-oriented projects in the region.
While expressing his administration’s preparedness to work with the commission to foster development in the state, he said, “The NDDC has a lot of abandoned projects in Bayelsa State. From reports, we have over 1,700 projects that are dotted all over Bayelsa State. I know that is not healthy.
“I like, to at this juncture, again, appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to constitute a substantive board for the NDDC according to the Act setting it up.”
The NDDC was conceived and established as an interventionist body to fill the developmental gap. We cannot accept these policy summersaults that make our development suffer.”