NDDC’s unjust project allocations – By CLIFFORD AMADI
In an advertorial published in the Daily Sun newspaper of Tuesday, July 17, 2018 vol 15 No. 3972 edition, pages 19-38, titled, “NDDC Expression of Interest”, the Niger Delta Development Commission advertised its intended projects to be procured in accordance with the Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan in the nine mandate states of the region viz: Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers State.
In the said advertorial, the NDDC requested consultants and contractors to forward their applications for the engineering design and construction of these projects with their technical and financial proposals of not less 70 and 30 points respectively. However, this is not the area of my concern.
According to the advertisement, the projects were classified according to serial number, project description and state. Under these, we have the project types of education, energy/power supply, health, roads and bridges, governance, social services and sports and water. In this direction, Imo State occupied serial number 629 to 724,showing that a total of 96 projects were allocated to the state.
Interestingly, out of the 96 projects that were allocated to Imo State, only 20 was allocated to Ohaji/Egbema LGA, which is about 21 per cent. Ohaji’s share numbered two. The two projects are as follows:
SN Location /Project Description
646 Obitti/ solar powered street light and,
716 Umuagwo-Umuekune/ 1km road
Therefore, in terms of number, even quality and value of projects allocated to Imo State, the share of Ohaji is abysmally low a paltry two per cent!
More so, the oil belt of old Awarra court area that comprises Awarra, Ikwerede, Ochia, Assah and Obile communities were unjustly excluded outright from the allocations even when some communities in Imo State got Federal Medical Centre project allocations from the intervention agency’s distribution.
Obviously, this unfair distribution defeats the NDDC’s mandate of supporting the development of oil producing communities that lack amenities such as electricity, water, roads and hospitals, all lacking in the communities mentioned above, yet they produce the oil the gives Imo State an oil producing status that qualified it to receive monthly 13 per cent derivation funds from the federation allocation.
I implore the chairman of the NDDC, Victor Ndoma Egba and the agency’s management to use to re-examine this provocative neglect and skewed distribution to Ohaji and the old Awarra Court Area communities in particular, which bears largest gas deposit in West Africa. This would enthrone equity and justice to all. Nobody achieves peace in the midst of injustice. Punch