Dickson cautions NDDC against servicing political interests

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Yenagoa  –  Gov. Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa on Tuesday in Yenagoa advised the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) against being used as platform for servicing political interests.
Dickson gave the advice during a courtesy call on him by the Acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Mrs Ibim Semenitari and leaders of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC).
According to him, the commission should be used to serve the interest of the Niger Delta people, while available resources should be channeled on projects that would affect the lives of the people.
The governor urged the NDDC to collaborate with state governments in the region to execute priority projects that would serve as a catalyst for their socio-economic development.
Dickson identified the three senatorial road projects in the state as key to creating access to the Atlantic Ocean and economic prosperity.
“While the road from Nembe to Brass alone would gulp about N100 billion, Bayelsa economy will remain stifled if there is no access to the sea where its wealth lies,” he said.
The governor commended the NDDC for the award of contracts in Bayelsa, but however, decried the number of abandoned projects in the state.
Dickson also urged the commission to shun `over-politicisation’ of its activities in the interest of the people.
“The NDDC should move away from the era of using the commission as a conduit to service the vested political interest, but rather the commission should serve the interest of the Niger Delta people.
“It should channel available resources on projects that can affect the development and prosperity of the region,” he said.
The governor also called on the Federal Government to constitute the governing and advisory boards of the commission to enable governors and stakeholders of the region make inputs on people oriented projects.
“No doubt, contracts were awarded for development projects in Bayelsa, but they were abandoned after the payment of mobilisation fees.
“So, in Bayelsa, you have a litany of abandoned projects in every community, which is not fair.’’
Earlier, the NDDC boss, Semenitari said she was in the state to assess ongoing projects and identify areas of immediate intervention.
According to her, the NDDC has awarded 28 regional projects from its inception, out of which two have been commissioned and 20 ongoing ones, while six are yet to kick off.
Semenitari explained that 658 other projects had also been awarded, covering shore protection, repair of roads, sand-filling, construction of jetties and electrification.
She said the abandoned Akenfa bridge project was awarded at the cost of N800 million, out of which 50 per cent mobilisation had been paid.
She condemned the kidnapping of an expatriate and killing of two soldiers attached to SETRACO by gunmen last week at the site of the Ogbia-Nembe road project.
Semenitari decried the incident, saying that it would stall the commissioning of the project earlier scheduled for April 29. (NAN)

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