ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
The Effiong Akwa-led Interim Administration of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has been commended for the screening and payment of thousands of contractors being owed outstanding debts by the commission.
A coalition of Nigerian professionals based in the United States of America, under the auspices of the Niger Delta Patriotic Alliance (NDPA), North Carolina chapter, gave the commendation in a statement on Thursday.
The group said the decision of the NDDC, through the advice of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to fulfill its promise and pay the contractors was a welcome development.
The Convener, NDPA, Dr Ebi Alex, said the payment of the contractors had saved some families in the region from over 20 years of suffering and deaths due to abandonment despite completing their jobs.
“Many of these contractors went bankrupt leaving their families in tatters, and many others have died in frustration,” the group said.
The group expressed delight that the NDDC under nine months had been able to make good its promise of paying the contractors when most of them had resigned to fate because they did not believe they would get their money again.
The NDPA said: “Many of the contractors who have been in misery and frustrated by years of unfulfilled promises by many successive management of the commission since the year 2000, were shocked and moved to tears by the fulfilled promises under Akwa.
“The interim administration in answer to the cogent observation made by Senator Akpabio and other stakeholders in the region has lifted many lives and given hope to the future.
“Despite the limited financial resources, Akwa’s policies and prompt payments to contractors upon job completion and verification has replaced tears of sorrow from the eyes of thousands of contractors with tears of joy.
“Given the monumental crowd of past and present contractors waiting to be heard at the commission, Akwa temporarily relocated from his office to a large reception hall within the commission’s headquarters. There, he attended to concerned contractors and Niger Deltans at an event which saw many persons leaving joyfully after resolving their pending issues.”
The group said the decision to verify and pay the contractors had positively affected many homes and communities in the region.