*Says region benefited from 872 high-impact projects
Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The federal government has directed the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to follow up on the Commission’s Forensic Audit Report by publishing a compendium of projects completed in the nine states that constitute the Niger Delta region.
The compendium is to incorporate the projects, sector by sector, location by location, as well as date and cost of the contracts, to enhance accountability and transparency.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs (MNDA), Mr. Umana Okon Umana, who gave the directive in a Radio Nigeria News programme, said it was a new era of transparency and accountability in the ministry in which stakeholders would be in a position to interact with and directly contribute to the governance process in the region through feedback mechanism.
Umana recalled that the report of the forensic audit of the NDDC identified more than 13,000 projects, 50 per cent of which had been completed.
He said: “I have directed the NDDC to follow up on the Forensic Audit Report and publish a compendium of projects completed in the nine states, sector by sector, location by location, date and cost of the contracts to enhance accountability and transparency.”
He stated that the federal government invested in 872 high- impact projects across nine states of the Niger Delta region.
The minister disclosed that the projects which were at various stages of completion, included skill acquisition centres, cassava processing mills, oil processing mills, roads, bridges, and education facilities, among others.
Umana stressed that the projects cover sectors such as agriculture, empowerment, housing, environment, youths and women development.
Describing the East-West Road that traverses the Niger Delta region as the defining project of the ministry and a prime federal investment in the region, Umana said the 338 kilometre dual carriage way was 80 per cent completed.
He explained that on the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari, the road project was handed over to the Ministry of Works and Housing, which had redesigned the Eleme section in Rivers State into a six-lane super highway to accommodate heavy traffic from the industrial clusters between Eleme and the Onne portion of the road.
The minister added that his ministry had built housing estates in all the states of the region, adding that some of the houses had been allocated to end-users. According to Umana, the new housing plan in the ministry was to encourage investors to develop site-and-service schemes so that people can be incentivised to build their own houses.
His ministry, he added, would prioritise efficient allocation of resources and collaboration with other stakeholders, including state governments in the region, in the planning and monitoring of projects to avoid duplication of efforts.
Umana said the federal government was deeply concerned with environmental pollution in the Niger Delta region, and was considering recommendations from the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) on how to tackle the problems posed by illegal refining, which is a significant contributory factor to environmental pollution in the region.
Source: This Day