Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, yesterday said that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has collapsed, stressing that the agency has lost the capacity to deliver development to the Niger Delta people, having degenerated into a ‘cash cow for politicians.’
The governor also said that the immediate past board of the NDDC spent N10 billion during the 2019 election to stop him from being re-elected, but failed.
Wike, who spoke during a courtesy visit by NDDC interim management committee led by the Acting Managing Director, Gbene Joi Nunieh, to the Rivers State Government House, Port Harcourt, said NDDC had degenerated into a cash cow for politicians.
He said: “Those who fought for the establishment of NDDC will weep that the commission has deviated from its mandate. NDDC has collapsed. NDDC has become a cash cow for politicians.
“NDDC is now a political institution. NDDC stole our money. There was an agreement for Rivers State government and NDDC to collaborate for the construction of the Mother and Child Hospital.
“NDDC refused to pay her counterpart fund; even when N800 million was paid by the Rivers State government, NDDC only paid N400 million to the contractor and diverted N400 million. If they don’t pay our money, we will institute a legal action against NDDC to retrieve our money.”
Wike continued; “After the former board released N10 billion to remove me from office and they failed, they came here for a courtesy visit. I asked them why they refused to partner with states for the development of the Niger Delta region.”
He noted that it was Niger Delta governors that demanded the forensic audit of the NDDC because of the massive rot at the commission.
“Niger Delta governors asked for the forensic audit of the NDDC when we met with the President. We also asked for the setting up of a Board of Governors for NDDC.
“I urge the interim committee to carry out a proper audit. You will meet obstacles, but be determined to do a thorough job,” he said.
He urged the people of the Niger Delta to work in unity to develop the geo-political zone.
Wike said the appointment of officials that run the NDDC was strictly a function of the executive arm of government, adding that no other arm of government can determine who runs the NDDC.
He congratulated the acting managing director and members of the interim committee, stressing that he can never be party to any plot to remove a Rivers person from a position of responsibility.
He said despite all the funds pumped into NDDC, the commission had accumulated huge debts with no meaningful projects across the Niger Delta.
He regretted that the NDDC had also refused to patronise reputable contractors for projects.
Earlier, NDDC Acting Managing Director, Gbene Joi Nunieh, had informed the governor that the commission was determined to partner with Niger Delta governors for the development of the region.
She urged Wike to forget the past failures of NDDC and partner with the commission, and sought his assistance in the areas of health and education, saying that some cottage hospitals completed by the NDDC, had been illegally occupied.