Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Dr. Nsima Ekere, has stirred the hornet’s nest as he accused former President Goodluck Jonathan of poor funding of the interventionist agency during his administration, which lasted six years.
The NDDC boss said Jonathan refused to defray the huge backlog of funds meant for the commission for the development of the Niger Delta notwithstanding the fact that he hails from the region.
He spoke at a public function in Abak, Akwa Ibom State, saying President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was a complete departure from the lacklustre era of the former president as the current president was transforming the country and Niger Delta in particular.
He said: “We have done a lot for the people of Niger Delta. We have received enormous support from the President. There is no request that we sent to the President that had not been approved. But our brother, former President Jonathan, did not pay one kobo owed NDDC.
“I commend Mr. President for the enormous support to NDDC, especially his approval for the harmonisation of outstanding remittances from the Federal Ministry of Finance and release of outstanding funds due the commission for the development of the Niger Delta region.
“This year, after our written supplications to Mr. President, he approved that Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Budget and Planning should sit with NDDC to reconcile the books and agree on how much was outstanding and also agree on an acceptable payment plan.
“He did not stop at that, in the budget that had just been passed by the National Assembly, awaiting presidential assent, the Federal Government provided for N34 billion as part payment of the outstanding debts to NDDC.”
Ekere re-stated the resolve of the commission to deliver on quality projects in communities across the region, even as he shed light on why the agency was patronizing local contractors, saying they were competent and their jobs were in accordance with international standard, specification and best practices.