Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has urged the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to help in the management of resources for the Niger Delta states, adding that individual member states accounts should be operated to facilitate appropriation of funds for project execution.
This was as both parties met at the Edo State Government House in Benin City on Wednesday where they also agreed to join forces to repair the Benin-Abraka road in the state.
Governor Obaseki revealed that the Benin-Abraka road was of high priority and great economic benefit to the state.
“The road links Benin with Oben, a location which is the gas hub of the country. Rehabilitation of the road will also open up 25, 000 hectares of land for agricultural production”, he said.
He explained that the prior notice given to NDDC contractors in the state to stop work was not to embarrass the commission, but to understand what the contractors were doing, noting that Edo formed an integral of the Niger Delta region and the state would work with the commission to foster development of the region.
He also revealed that his administration was unhappy with some of the projects executed in the state, urging the commission to manage one major account made up of management fees paid by member states, while separate accounts should be dedicated to member states for project execution.
Meanwhile, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, who led the delegation, said that the commission had resolved to collaborate with member states in the Niger Delta to execute projects, adding that the commission’s present board was working on image redemption.
As part of plans to diversify the commission’s sustenance, he revealed that a Niger Delta Development Bank would be established and that the budget formation process for the commission would be strengthened, with governors of the member states forming an integral part of such processes.
On the commission’s activities in Edo, he said that a total of 708 projects, valued at N86. 34 billion, had been awarded in Edo since the inception of the commission. These included 233 ongoing projects, 130 yet to commence, 131 completed but not inaugurated while 173 were completed and inaugurated.