A Niger Delta-based environmental rights activist, Alagoa Morris, said on Monday that the Niger Delta Development Development Commission (NDDC), has not impacted Bayelsa State.
He scored the Commission low on projects delivery in the state, saying that it had abandoned more projects in the state than completing any of them.
Morris, Head of Bayelsa office of Environmental Rights Action (ERA), who spoke in Yenagoa, mentioned some abandoned NDDC projects as shoreline protection in Sangana, Brass; link road in Korokorosie, Southern Ijaw and water project in Okutukutu, Yenagoa.
Other abandoned projects, according to Morris, are coastal erosion projects in Odioma, Oporoma, Koluama in Southern Ijaw; nine kilometre Opume-Okoroba NDDC Road, among others.
“Initially, when they (NDDC) started, they began with classroom blocks and to provide boreholes for some communities. Unfortunately, even though we need those educational structures, which local governments could have done, we wanted the NDDC to handle bigger projects that will impact on the whole community and the people of the region in the areas of roads, health, link roads within communities.
“Link roads within communities will reduce transportation cost because water transportation is very expensive.
“In the area of health, the people deserve a better deal because oil companies operations have impacted seriously on the health of the people.
“Incidentally, we see the NDDC embarking on mobile clinics sparingly. We do not see the kind of commitment we thought would be holistic. That is why we have a lot of abandoned road projects, shoreline protection and many other projects”, Morris said.
He also lamented the failure of the agency in the area of water provision, recalling an ugly scenario whereby the agency mounted only water tanks, yet nobody had drunk from them.
According to the activist, the developments gave the impression that contractors who carried out such projects had smiled to the bank, yet the agency had done nothing to bring such errant contractors to book.
“If you go to Sangana in Akassa area of Brass LGA of Bayelsa, the community has a shoreline protection project the NDDC started some years ago and it has been abandoned. The shoreline has eaten up, people have lost their houses and the graves of their loved ones have been submerged by water.
“If you go to Korokorosie in Southern Ijaw, there is supposed to be a link road linking Azuzuama, the road has been abandoned long time ago. The contract for the road was awarded, yet up till now, not even a kilometre has been done. The contractors have absconded with mobilisation fees”, he said.
Morris said absence of strong legal team to track and prosecute contractors that abandoned projects was some of the reasons the NDDC was not living up to their mandate.
He suggested that the Federal Government should deploy the services of anti-graft agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crime Commission to help the NDDC to arrest and prosecute its errant contractors.
He advocated effective collaboration among the three levels of government to tackle the issue of coastal erosion ravaging most communities in Bayelsa, pointing out that such menace was much bigger than what any community effort could resolve.