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Reps summon Emefiele, NDDC boss, others over N2trn abandoned projects in Niger Delta states

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By Gabriel Okoro, Abuja
The House of Representatives’ ad-hoc committee probing over N2 trillion sum worth abandoned projects of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) since 2000 till date has summoned the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, acting chairman, NDDC and its Directors to appear before it on Tuesday next week.
Also invited are former minister of Niger Delta and Managing Director of NDDC.
The ad-hoc committee chaired by Mr. Nicholas Ossai issued the directives on Tuesday during the one day public hearing which entails abandoned projects in the NDDC from 2000 till date, the cost of award, period of award, the state of completion and constraints as it affects NDDC.
Hon. Ossai said the directive was due to the neglect of invite issued to the aforementioned by the ad-hoc committee.
According to him, we’ll not tolerate this. The NDDC is not above the National Assembly.
“Section 89 of the constitution states that the National Assembly can procure information from any person. And since they refuse to appear, we will invoke sub section 1 (A,B &C) of the country’s constitution which entails summoning of persons involved in the probe” said Mr. Ossai.
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Shortly after declaring opened the hearing by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, a member of the committee, Hon. Yusuf Buba raised a point of order, notifying the panel of the absence of “critical stakeholders who information are needed from”. He expressed worries that the committee could do little or nothing without them.
Ossai in response explained that a communication sent in by Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Niger Delta, had in similar way blamed their inability to provide the committee with the requested information on failure of the Commission, to fully brief the ministry yet.
In his opening remarks, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, who was represented by Deputy Majority Leader, Hon. Peter Akpatason, said while the investigation was not intended to haunt anybody, “the House will frontally face any infraction found in the course of the investigation”.
On his part while declaring open the hearing, chairman of the committee, Ossai said the committee would be guided by the principle of fair hearing, adding that abandoned projects have remained great drain pipes to governs,not resources, “due to inflation of prices, when eventually they are revisited, but we will make sure there is value for money”.
At the interactive session, the Office of the Auditor General revealed that the sum of N61.4billion was collected by the companies involved as mobilization fee for the project from 2000-2015 that was later abandoned.
Stakeholder from Aiyetoro community, Ondo State, Gbenga Edema while lamenting the abandonment of some major projects in the area said N6.6billion contract was revoked without collecting of any money from the awarded company.
Other stakeholders like the Commissioner of Works, Akwa Ibom State, Ephraim Inyang-Eyem and Ogua- Olusan of Warri, Brown Mene worried that despite the huge resources injected into the commission the entire region has been  littered with abandoned and substandard projects, with state governments left to bear the burden of reconstruction which include roads, bridges, drainages among others.
The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) was established in the year 2000 to ameliorate the suffering of the people of the Niger delta over the long years of crude oil exploration and its attendant consequences of environmental degradation.

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