Amid contract controversy, the House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission has suspended hearing of N309.3 billion NDDC’s 2019 budget defence.
Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Tunji-Ojo Olubunmi at the budget defense in Abuja, told the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC that members needed to study the budget performance of the agency for 2018 before proceeding on 2019, hence, the presentation would not be entertained.
The 3-member Interim Management Committee (IMC) led by the Acting Managing Director of NDDC, Dr. Gbene Joi Nunieh in her presentation, urged the Committee to approve the budget for 2019, saying that the budget had since expired on the 31st July 2019.
In his opening address, Chairman of the House Committee lamented abandoned projects by contractors despite mobilisation, saying that such wouldn’t be condoned anymore.
He added that there were unverified projects all over the Niger Delta region under the NDDC programmes, a situation, he said needed to be confirmed before going ahead with the 2019 budget.
The Chairman said, the Committee was saddened by so many uncompleted contracts, noting that those ones would be rolled over to the next budget to avoid being abandoned.
“There are all manner of emergencies that should be declared because of ecological issues, because of the terrain. For me, it’s one of the key reason because it is the primary responsibility of government to protect lives.
“For me, we must pay attention to those emergencies. I am not against emergency projects, what I am against is the abuse of processes.
“So, if we are able to curtail excesses, definitely, Niger Delta region will be better off.
“Some of the roads in Ondo, the little impact we have are those constructed through emergencies. Ondo was a beneficiary of a process that improves the quality of life of the people and I will not be here to abuse those processes.”
The Chairman urged the NDDC management to refocus the agency rather than getting in political issues that detriment the people in the region.
Those who appeared alongside the Acting Managing Director of NDDC for the budget defence are Dr. Cairo Osogbo, Acting Executive Director (Projects), Chief Ibanga Bassey Enang, Acting Executive Director (Finance and Administration) and other Directors.