The Civil Society Organisations in Akwa Ibom State have uncovered some non existent as well as substandard projects of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC in the state.
The chairman of CSOs in the state, Harry Udo who told Newsmen that the forum made the discovery during a 2019 project tracking sponsored by MacArthur Foundation and Social Action stressed that over 65 per cent of contracts awarded by NDDC in the state in the last five years were both fake and non existent.
He listed the fake projects in Akwa Ibom to include fake water project in Okosi community Okobo Local Government Area, non existent Perimeter Fencing at Model school in Ikot Oboroenyin village, Ikot Abasi council area and another road project in Urue Offong Oruko Local Government Area of the state.
He said it was a shocking revelation at Okosi community where the NDDC claimed that it has completed water project for the people but the people were found grappling with perennial water problem as they were found returning from village stream.
According to the statement, “We are just coming from an independent tracking of 2019 approved budgeted projects and programs of the Commission in Akwa Ibom State. It may interest you to note that of the 31 projects captured in the 2019 approved budget and tracked by us, about 65% of them are non-existent.
“They could not be located. Community members were not aware of such projects in their communities. And were actually shocked to learn that there was an approved project by NDDC for their Communities.
“Of the projects actually implemented over 85% of them were shoddy jobs. We saw asphalt coating that was less than an inch and there were several failed portions already.
“In instances, the project description as captured in the 2019 budget was different from what we saw on the ground. For instance, in Ikot Oborenyen in Ikot Abasi, the projection description in the budget read perimeter fencing of a model primary school but what we found was a drain constructed around an open space with no building whatsoever on it and with no sign that construction work is about to begin.
“Again, huge amount of critical funds has been spent with not much to show for it. How long would we continue allow the colossal wastage? Let’s stop the corruption in NDDC now.”
The CSOs noted that corruption has been the bane of development in Nigeria and urged benefitting communities of the interventionist agency to rise to occasion by monitoring projects in their domains.
“As I have stated before, corruption inhibits development. It undermines economic development, threatens state security and undermines democratic values. The United Nations acknowledges the threat corruption poses to development and that is why Goal 16 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was crafted to call on states to substantially reduce corruption in all its forms”, he said.
Meanwhile, efforts to reach the Public Relations Officer of NDDC was unsuccessful as his phone lines were not going through as at press time.