ACIF warns NDDC against paying for abandoned, non-executed projects
By Gabriel Chy Alonta
Anti-Corruption and Integrity Forum (ACIF), a frontline anti-corruption watchdog has cautioned the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) led by Dr. Joi Nunieh, against paying contractors for abandoned, non-executed and shoddily completed projects in the region.
ACIF in a statement signed by it’s chairman,
Comrade Prince Kpokpogri, also called for due diligence from the two newly inaugurated committees for contract documentation and project assessment, to ensure thorough verification and inspection of all awarded projects in the Niger Delta Region.
Kpokpogri who is also the Publisher, Integrity Watchdog Magazine, expressed shock and dissatisfaction over the findings of the verification exercise instituted as a prelude to the forensic audit on orders of President Muhammadu Buhari, where it was discovered that some award letters were found to be fake; some of the companies were not registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), while some firms were registered after they had been given contracts.
He called for the authentication of all the documents submitted by contractors and consultants, stressing that the newly inaugurated committees should visit the various sites to verify contractors’ claims.
According to him, considering the trillions of Naira pumped into the Niger Delta region, it was disheartening that the development pace of the region was still insignificant.
The ACIF boss also urged the NDDC management to partner all relevant anti-corruption agencies, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) as well as organisations and persons in the fight to liberate and reposition the Niger Delta region for the desired development.
The statement reads in part, “Unions of Community Development Committees in the Niger Delta, should rise to focus and monitor projects sited in their locality. Nobody should be distracted by politicians and looters whose children are schooling and luxuriating overseas at the expense of our Commonwealth.
“Every kobo must be accounted for. No contractor should ask for one kobo payment if they don’t complete their projects. We must protect our region.
“The NDDC has become a conduit pipe for contractors and cabals. The north is fast developing owing to their dedication to the policy thrust of their development commission. Stakeholders in the Niger Delta region must stand to emulate that. We must frown at duplication of projects.
“I commend President Muhammadu Buhari, for his position on anti-corruption. Governors in the South South region must stand against the pillage of their resources by corrupt elements. All Niger Deltans must rise to protect their development.
“We will not, as an anti-corruption forum, watch, but will employ every available avenue to prosecute contractors and Niger Delta stakeholders found wanting in this anomaly”.
Kpokpogri further commended the acting managing director for bringing the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), a wing of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) into the audit process, a move, he described, as one in the right direction.
He applauded the National Assembly and Presidency for their commitments to the liberation struggle of the region, even as he urged the managing director to remain undeterred by some traducers moves to tarnish her reputation through certificate forgery allegations, which, he described as unfounded.