The Director of Corporate Affairs of the Commission, Mr Charles Odili, announced this in Abuja after presenting an invitation from the NDDC management to the President through Niger Delta Affairs Minister Senator Godswill Akpabio.
Odili noted that the road scheme, which cost N24 billion, cutting spurs to 14 other communities across swampy terrain, demanded 10 bridges and 99 culverts. “Swampy land to overcome. The building involved digging out four meters of clay soil and replacing it with sand to give the road a foundation, “he observed.
Significantly, he said, “the road has cut the travel time from three hours to one and a half hours to Yenagoa, the capital of the Bayelsa province.”
Odili said the excitement of the communities served by the road was unspeakable, noting: “This initiative is not only an investment flagship in the Niger Delta, it is also a model of cooperation collaboration between the Commission and the region’s multinational oil firms.”
Odili also announced that Commission scholars who are facing suffering abroad due to the non-remittance of their fees and stipends will be compensated by the end of the week, following President Buhari ‘s order.
He said the delay in remitting the payments was triggered by the Commission’s sudden death in May of Chief Ibanga Etang, the then Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration, EDFA.
Odili stated: ‘Under the financing procedure of the Commission, only the Executive Director (Finance) and the Executive Director (Projects) will sign with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, for the release of funds from the Commission’s domiciliary account.
“With Chief Etang ‘s death the remittance has to wait for a new EDFA to be named.”
Odili said further: “The Honorable Minister, Senator Akpabio, said President Buhari, who was briefed by students at the Nigerian High Commission in London about the rally, requested that all stops be pulled to pay the students by the end of this week. We are awaiting election of a new EDFA this week. They ‘d both be paying out until that’s done.
On the list of NDDC contracts managed by National Assembly members, Odili said that the one requested by Senator Akpabio was not collected by the minister but came from Commission archives.
The spokesperson for the NDDC said the list given to the National Assembly was originally collected by the Commission’s then management in 2018. He stated that there was another set of lists issued in 2017 and 2019 for emergency service contracts but these were not sent to the National Assembly.
Odili affirmed: “The Commission’s Interim Management Committee, IMC, stands by the document, which came from files already in forensic auditors’ hands. It is not a list of Akpabio but a list of the NDDC. The list is part of the amount of 8,000 records which the forensic auditors have already issued.
The NDDC Corporate Affairs Director also said influential Niger Delta indigenous people whose names were on the list should not be in fear as the Commission understood people used the names of influential people in the region to obtain contracts, adding that the ongoing forensic audit would uncover those behind the contracts.
The spokesperson said the purpose of the list was to reveal National Assembly committee chairmen who used fronts to obtain Commission contracts, some of which were never executed.
Odili noted that the list did not contain the unusual case of 250 contracts which one person allegedly signed for members of the National Assembly and which were obtained in one day.
On the forensic auditing exercise, he said it was on track and the Commission had assigned 185 media service specialists to classify the locations of each initiative identified by the forensic auditors in its accounts for clarification.
Odili urged members of the public to disregard the “avalanche of misinformation being planned by mischief-makers,” regretting that “those opposed to the IMC can bring more insinuations and allegations into the public domain.”
Charles Obi Odili
Director, Corporate Affairs
August 4, 2020.