Citizens Quest For Truth Initiative is commending the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, and the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for heeding to our concerns over the recent developments in the NDDC and matters arising from our recent press releases.
This commendation is sequel to our press release of 23rd March, 2020 as well as 2nd April, 2020, in which we urged the commission to prioritize the health and safety of Niger Deltans, in the face of Covid-19.
We also commend the Minister for Niger Delta H.E. Godswill Akpabio and the Prof. Pondei led Interim Management Committee (IMC) of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) on the cheering news of the audacious bid to set up 27 Covid-19 test centers, in 27 Senatorial Districts of the region even as the President has graciously extended the tenure of the IMC from May 1 to December 31, 2020, to enable to completion of the ongoing Forensic Audit of the Commission.
It is delight to realize that the commission hearkened to our timely counsel, and promptly responded, first with cash palliatives to states, as well as youths and women groups, to the tune of over One Billion Naira. And now, coming closely, is the medical response, through the 27 test centers.
We are confident that these centers will come on stream, as soon as possible, as permanent evidence of NDDC presence, healthwise, in the 27 Senatorial District of the region. We urge that these test centers should supervised, to ensure they’re built to specification.
We are puzzled by the hypocritical attacks on the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, over the Covid19 kits procurement contracts, owing to their ignorance of the law, as reason. Section 42 of the public procurement act of 2007 as empowering the Commission to procure materials in catastrophic situations without recourse to the tenders board.
For the avoidance of doubt, the Procurement Act number 14 of 2007 section 43 (1) states inter Alia:
43–(1) A procuring entity may for the purpose of this Act, carry out an emergency procurement where;
a) the country is either seriously threatened by or actually confronted with a disaster, catastrophe, war, insurrection or Act of God
To this end, it is cheering news that the commission has acquired 54 PCR machines for massive testing of Covid19 in the Niger Delta at the rate of 2 units of PCR per Senatorial zone, as well as 27 ventilators. One for each of the 27 Senatorial districts.
To this end, we commend President Buhari who approved that the NDDC provides intervention support to complement efforts of the Federal and State governments against further spread of COVID-19 in the nine States of the Niger Delta region, in the sum of Six Billion, Two Hundred and Fifty Million Naira (N6,250,000,000.00) only.
The materials and supplies are to be done through Emergency Procurement method as provided in Sections 42(b) (c) and 43 of the Public Procurement Act, 2007.
We decry the Slashing of NDDC 2019 budget to 20%, by the various National Assembly Committees on NDDC, let by opposition party members, in a bid to frustrate the Commission and development of the Niger Delta region.
Again, we are delighted that the commission is being sanitized through the recent and long overdue redeployment of some senior staff of the commission. We believe that this bold move will give impetus to the speedy completion of the Forensic audit instituted by President Muhammadu Buhari, as well as relieve the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, as well as the IMC of undue pressure and distractions, to enable them focus on delivering on their core mandate.
We hope that the two decade siege on NDDC is over, and the commission should now have a new lease of life.
NDDC must remain COMMITTED TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
Chief Oby Ndukwe
President, Citizens Quest
30 April, 2020
Francis Udoka Ndimkoha
National Publicity Secretary