The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has warned contractors working for it, to brace up and discharge their obligations fully as the Commission will no longer pay for jobs that are not verified and certified.
The warning came from the NDDC Acting Managing Director, Gbene Dr Joi Nunieh, while inspecting projects, which included the multi-billion erosion control project in Bende Local Government Area of Abia State; erosion control, solar water and a health centre.
The inspection team, led by the NDDC Chief Executive Officer, included the representative of Bende Federal Constituency and member of the House Committee on NDDC, Hon Okezie Kalu; the NDDC Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Chief Ibanga Bassey Etang and other directors of the Commission.
Nunieh stressed the need to intensify the efforts of the Commission with respect to supervision and inspection to facilitate the speedy completion of on-going projects in the nine states covered by the NDDC.
She noted that the inspection was necessary to ensure that development projects in rural communities were properly executed for the benefit of the people, warning that unnecessary delays would not be tolerated.
Inspecting the erosion control works at Bende Road in Umuahia, Nunieh expressed displeasure over the slow pace of work on the project and ordered that the NDDC consultant be relieved of his duties for not being firm in dealing with the contractor.
A project brief of the erosion control, awarded in 2012, showed that it would provide massive retaining walls of 4.5 metres and 7.5 metres, spanning 200 metres. According to the scope, it would involve earth filling of about 160,000 metres.
It further showed that the project would provide reinforced concrete works, including drains, culverts and catch pits. It also includes stone pitching of the erosion site to an accessible gradient. Furthermore, the erosion works would be complemented by the reconstruction of the 1-kilometre adjoining road.
The NDDC team also inspected the Isieke-Ajatah Road being threatened by erosion in Umuahia North Local Government Area, where Nunieh said she was worried that the project appeared to have been abandoned.
At the Etiti-Ulo Road, the NDDC boss expressed shock that what she described as a “very deplorable” road was recorded as completed, when it may not have been done at all. She said that from what she had seen, she decided that the NDDC would no longer clear jobs for payment unless they were inspected.
She observed: “Too many people are asking us to pay for uncompleted projects. Going forward, we must visit project sites to see things for ourselves. We are not going to sit in the office to approve payments for jobs we cannot attest to.”
Other projects inspected by the NDDC team were the completed solar water project at Ndiwo Itumbauza in Bende, which was not functional and a similar one at Etiti Ulo, as well as a health centre in Nkalakwu.
The NDDC boss decried the poor state of the health facility and charged the Commission’s Directorate for Health and Social Services to take measures to re-activate the health centre, insisting that all abandoned projects would be revamped and completed.
Indigenes of the communities benefiting from the projects trouped out in their numbers to receive the NDDC team. They displayed placards indicating their appreciation of the efforts of the NDDC Interim Management in ensuring that rural communities were positively impacted.
The President General of Bende Development Union, Mr Anthony Njoku, said his people were full of gratitude for the various projects being executed by NDDC in their area.