23rd July 2017
Benin City, Nigeria…The Africa Network for Environment & Economic Justice, ANEEJ, has saluted the NDDC for its courage in suspending 600 contracts with abandoned projects worth N200bn, together with the NDDC resolve to prosecute the defaulting banks and contractors linked to the cancelled contracts.
ANEEJ executive director, the Rev David Ugolor who made the commendation on the NDDC just after the parley which the NDDC had with members of the media said that ANEEJ is delighted with this initial outcome of the presentation of its Citizens Report Card, CRC, by the Rev Ugolor to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo when he visited Benin on a fact-finding visit in March 2017. The CRC is a thorough investigation of projects being executed by the NDDC in 6 Niger Delta States, and was carried out by ANEEJ & her partner organisation LITE Africa.
‘Beyond the suspension of these bogus contracts, the NDDC must initiate moves at publishing the names and identities of these contractors. In May 2016, Nigeria signed on to the Open Government Partnership, OGP, where we committed to a National Action Plan of access to information, citizen participation, fiscal transparency, and zero-tolerance to corruption. If the names of the contractors are published, ANEEJ verily believes that it would allow citizens to unmask the real perpetrators of abandoned contracts and help Niger Deltans to demand inclusiveness in the determination of contracts relevant to their communities’, the Rev Ugolor said.
After the blacklisting of the 600 errant contractors, ANEEJ wants the NDDC to get NGOs, stakeholders and relevant activists in the Niger Delta to be part of the procurement processes involved in the award of contracts for projects in the Niger Delta communities. Several weeks before the sanctions imposed on the 600 contractors, Minister of Niger Delta, MNDA, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani had alleged at a Federal Executive Council meeting that apart from a whopping N700billion allegedly stolen from the Ministry of Niger Delta, another N423billion appropriated for project implementation in the Niger Delta, has been misappropriated and cannot be accounted for.
‘Apart from the prosecution of the perpetrators of those unaccounted-for funds, we urge the NDDC to put the recovered funds to use in the completion of either ongoing or abandoned projects in the Niger Delta. If that gets done, ANEEJ verily believes that the much-desired transformation of the Niger Delta would be accomplished’, the Rev. Ugolor pointed out.