Goodluck Jonathan on Monday placed embargo on award of new contracts in the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC until all outstanding projects are completed.
This is just as he expressed regrets that nothing on the ground showed that the huge amount of funds pumped into the commission by the Federal Government was being judiciously utilized and vowed that henceforth, both the board and management of the commission would be “clinically watched”.
Mr. Jonathan made this known at the inauguration of the new board of NDDC Board chaired by Senator Bassey Ewa-Henshaw held at Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The president also warned members of the board against in-fighting which he said marred the activities of their predecessor before they were dissolved.
According to President Jonathan, “The Niger Delta people feel that the NDDC is not really doing what they are supposed to do over the period.
“There are so many ongoing projects and a body like NDDC should not just go into a voyage of contracts procurement.
“Ongoing projects must be completed for people to benefit before new ones are awarded.
“There are just too many ongoing projects and we believe that you don’t even have enough manpower to manage the ongoing projects.
“If you aggregate the total amount of money the Federal Government has spent on this agency, it is enormous but I do not believe on ground that we have something to show very clearly”, he said.
Mr. Jonathan added that “People are so inquisitive now; society is becoming more open and of course the freedom of press laws and so on, so everybody will want to know what is happening in the NDDC and it is your responsibility to do things differently”.
In his response on behalf of other members of the board, Ewa-Henshaw said they were not unmindful of the criticisms that have trailed the performances of the commission for a number of years.
He assured that they would do their best possible to change the perception Nigerians have of NDDC.
“By adopting a fresh approach and forging a new direction and focus, we hope to create a new more positive image for the commission”, he said.
Other members of the board are the Managing Director of the Commission, Bassey Dan-Abia, Executive Director (Finance and Administration), Dr Itotenaan Ogiri, (Rivers) and Executive Director (Projects) Tuoyo Omatsuli (Delta).
Also on the board are, Turofade Oyarede (Bayelsa), Ephraim Sobere Etete (Rivers), Etim Inyang Jnr (Akwa Ibom); Adah Andeshi (Cross River) and Tom Amioku (Delta), Samuel Nwogu (Abia), Uchegbu Kyrian (Imo), Maj.-Gen Suleiman Said (Niger, North Central) and Alhaji Abdumalik Mahmud (Bauchi, North East).
Information Nigeria reports that Edo and Ondo States and the North East are yet to have nominees on the board.