* 2016, 2017 lists ready too
* Saves N35Bn from contracts verification exercise
* How lawmakers changed hospital projects in each state to supply of chairs
The embattled Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) may have other lists of contractors up their sleeve.
The list of contractors who worked for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is ready and could shock the nation, so declared the combatant executive director, projects, Delta-born Christian Ojougboh.
The executive director who spoke after the inauguration of a task force to complete the N16Bn headquarter building on Wednesday, August 6, 2020, also disclosed that the contracts verification exercise carried out by the Commission as preliminary work on the forensic audit yielded N35Bn savings.
He said of contractors list released so far is for 2018, saying the one for 2019 would shut up a lot of persons denying benefiting from the NDDC.
He said; “As for the list of contractors we published, that was for 2018 alone. By the time we publish that of 2019, a lot of things will come out to the open. Some persons claim they did not benefit from NDDC but we have documents linking them to those contracts. The forensic audit is unearthing a lot of things, 2016, 2017 and 2019 lists are ready. But we have decided we would not be distracted again.”
He lamented that the NDDC budget for 2019 was distorted to the detriment of regional projects, citing the example of regional hospital projects that were starved of funds. “We made provision for hospitals in all Niger Delta states as our regional projects but it was removed and replaced with supply of chairs to schools in the region,” he said.
Ojougboh said that the NDDC had written letters to the National Assembly to explain why N11.6billion budgeted for the completion of hospitals was removed and replaced with supply of chairs and desks. He asked: “Is that what we deserve in Niger Delta?”
Ojougboh said the Interim Management Committee (IMC) did not only save N35Bn for the Commission after its verified payments to contractors, but the Commission had also verified payments for N1.5 trillion for other projects.
Ojougbo, who is the chairman of the completion committee, said work on the office complex was at 98 per cent completion. He said: “As you can see, the lifts and escalators are working, the lights and the central air conditioners are functioning. You have seen the external works, so I want to tell you that what is left is the ancillary building, the windows are already in place. You have also seen the asphalts, so we are good to go.
“Nobody believed that it was possible to achieve what we have achieved. There were lots of booby-traps which made it impossible for this building to be ready before now. But we thank God for the successes we have recorded.”
Ojougboh stated that change had come to the NDDC and “things will never remain the same again.” According to him, “President Muhammadu Buhari worked for the change in NDDC and even when we leave here, other people coming in would be more careful.
As soon as these lists come to the open, more VIPs may fall out of grace. The bottom line seems to be to show that those probing the Commission more be the real looters; and that the real agenda is to stop the forensic audit.