The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio has inspected ongoing projects in Cross River State, south-south Nigeria.
Some of the projects inspected are; Atimbo-Akpabuyo road, Skill Training Institute at Akpabuyo and 40 units of housing projects at Bakassi complete with internal roads and a fantastic water project as well as Calabar urban road projects, Akim I road project, Ogoja road projects, Ogoja water projects and electrification project at Biakpan.’
Others are; an ultra-modern customary court at Ibil in Ogoja, Community hall at the University of Calabar, Youth Development centre in Ogoja, Oil Palm Processing plant at Nko in Yakurr as well as an on-going procurement process for the East West Road, which will terminate in Calabar.
“The Ministry’s visit to the state is to look at ongoing projects and see where it can intervene alongside the Niger Delta Development Commission, to touch the lives of the people besides fast-tracking development in the region,” Senator Akpabio, who paid a visit to Governor Ben Ayade stated.
Niger Delta development
He said that the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to the development of the Niger Delta region.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is not playing politics with the development of the region and this is why projects are taken to the grassroots. It is in line with these the ministry remains committed to developing the region and intervening in areas that touch people’s lives,” the Minister explained.
He described the forensic audit ordered by President Buhari as a sign of courage, emphasising that government was committed to transformations in the region for the benefits of the people.
On the forensic audit, he said, “the NDDC has been a cesspool of corruption over the years and everyone knows it including the workers, and contractors. The agency deviated from its original mandate of ameliorating the sufferings of the people over the years.”
Shedding more light on alleged corruption in the agency, the Minister said; “between 2017 and 2019, 468 billion Naira was expended on emergency jobs particularly road projects that did not have gutters, 4.3 billion Naira cash grants were given to NGOs (non-governmental organisations) 90 percent of which were not registered.”
Senator Akpabio, however, assured Cross River of the ministry’s determination to collaborate in the area of agriculture to ensure that Niger Delta develops as the centre for rice production in the West African sub-region.
Governor Ben Ayade expressed appreciation to the Minister for the projects in the state, urging the ministry to increase its interventions in Cross River.
Ayade stated that he was unaware of the various ongoing projects in Cross River and urged the minister to enhance collaboration between the NDDC and the state government.
He decried the exclusion of militants in Cross River by the NDDC, who surrendered their arms in line with the Nigerian Government’s amnesty programmes and appealed to the minister to reverse the fortune of the state in the agency.