NDDC: Ex-Militant Leaders Cry Out Over Delayed Contracts Payments, Bank Forfeiture Threats
Ex-Militant leaders from the nine states of the Niger Delta region have cried out to the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC IMC) over the untold hardship being experience by contractors after certified completion of works without being paid, saying some contractors are facing threats of home and other property forfeit to banks over unpaid loans.
The ex-militant leaders, made up of over 99 per cent of the first phase leaders under the Presidential Amnesty Programme and under the aegis of the Leadership, Peace and Cultural Development Initiative (LPCDI) called on the NDDC to help stop the psychological pains being inflicted on contractors and commence the payment of contractors who have completed their projects in accordance with their contractual obligations, especially the ”emergency contracts”.
The LPCDI, in a statement issued at the weekend and signed by its National President, Chief Reuben C.Wilson and Secretary, Nature Kieghe, stated that their call on the NDDC IMC is premised on the untold hardship being experienced by the contractors, who have faithfully and diligently executed their contracts but are not paid due to the on-going forensic Audit of the operations of the NDDC.
According to the ex-militant leaders, “the contractors that are mostly affected are the ones that have completed the ”emergency contracts” awarded by the Ekere Nsima administration. Most of them borrowed money from banks with their houses as collaterals to finance the execution of the ”emergency contracts ”.
“We are therefore calling on the Interim Management Committee to commence payment of such contractors to avoid banks seizing their houses used as collaterals. The unnecessary delay of their payments will have huge negative effects on the execution of NDDC projects in the future because it will certainly discourage other contractors from going the extra-mile to complete such projects, which shall occasion more abandoned and sub-standard projects in the Niger Delta Region.
“We are also calling on the members of the National Assembly not to constitute themselves as impediments to the accelerated development of the Niger Delta Region by frustrating and politicising their responsibilities toward the Niger Delta Development Commission. The NDDC is an interventionist agency designed to accelerate the development of the Niger Delta Region but findings by us have revealed that some members of the National Assembly, instead of using their oversight functions and budgetary powers to facilitate the development of the Niger Delta Region through the NDDC are using such powers to frustrate the smooth operations of the NDDC.
“We are therefore, appealing to such members of the National Assembly to desist from such unpatriotic and negative acts and use their constitutional powers to facilitate the development of the Niger Delta Region via the Niger Delta Development Commission. This is very imperative because if the development of the Niger Delta Region is not given priority attention, it’s possible that the existing fragile peace in the region may not be sustained for long.
“We all know the consequences of allowing the past to resurface. As active actors in the past and critical stakeholders of the struggle for the betterment of the Niger Delta Region, we don’t want such a repeat of the past, hence this solemn appeal to members of the National Assembly to give priority attention to the development of the Niger Delta Region in the discharge of their duties.
“We are also using this medium to call on all Niger Deltans in leadership positions both in the executive and legislature, especially at the federal level to unite and use such positions to advance the betterment of the Niger Delta Region, rather than use same to fight themselves at the detriment of the development of the region and our people. We should desist from pulling down each other with unnecessary petitions because of selfish interests. We should always put the Niger Delta Region first before our individual interests.
“We should not unwittingly contribute to the underdevelopment of our region by destroying each other for the sake of self-aggrandizement .We must always know that there are formidable forces from outside our region who are bent on keeping us in perpetual political slavery and underdevelopment. Such forces are very glad at our disunity and divisions.
“Therefore, Niger Deltans holding public offices should give priority attention to the development of the region and our people; doing so will drastically reduce the internal wrangling and the plethora of petitions from fellow Niger Deltans. We have observed that one of the major reasons, fellow Niger Deltans write petitions against our people holding public offices is the lack of commitment and passion to develop our region and our people demonstrated by such public office holders of Niger Delta extraction.
“We should henceforth, unite with a common purpose for the betterment of our region and our people. We should stop the petitions and also stop the non-challant attitude towards the plight and development of our region and people. We want to use this opportunity to thank the National Security Adviser to Mr. President for the prompt payment of the monthly stipends of beneficiaries under the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
“We highly commend you for your commitment to ensuring the prompt and efficient payment of the monthly stipends. However, we would like to appeal to you to use your good offices to grant palliatives to all the beneficiaries under the Presidential Amnesty Programme to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We hereby call on Niger Deltans and critical stakeholders to unite and assist the Niger Delta Development Commission to effectively execute its mandate to accelerate the development of the Niger Delta Region. We should not turn the Commission to a cash cow for few privileged persons across the country but ensure that it fulfils its mandate by transforming the current pathetic state of the Niger Delta Region to a modern and conducive environment for the betterment of the region and its people.
“The development of the Niger Delta Region is a task that must be done. Therefore, all critical stakeholders must show commitment and sincerity of purpose towards achieving it.
“Meanwhile, we advice the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC) to work in unison in discharging the duties and mandate by eschewing any forms of rancour that can cause disunity amongst them . Also that they should ensure they provide palliatives to the very indigent people of the riverine communities, as we are grappling with harsh economic being occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the recent appointment of Professor Gambari as Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, the ex-militant leaders felicitate with the new Chief of Staff, declaring that” we know that you shall utilize your wealth of experience to advance the discharge of your duties and the entire presidency.”