By Eunice Odigie, Benin
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has called on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to release its counterpart fund for the reconstruction of the 105.6-kilometre Benin-Abraka Road project, so as to intensify work on the project.
The completion of the project is expected to be delivered through the co-financing arrangement contained in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) entered into by the Edo State Government, the NDDC and the Edo State Oil and Gas Producing Area Development Commission (EDSOGPADEC) with a financing ratio of 25%: 50%:25% respectively.
Obaseki in a meeting with the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Tayo Alasoadura in Benin City said, “We have a contract with NDDC on the Benin-Abraka Road which has been awarded and construction has already commenced. But with almost nine months into the contract, we have not received payment of the contribution from NDDC even though we have a signed agreement of commitment from the commission.
“This road project is quite significant because it is another road connecting Edo and Delta. This is one area we want to you to look into in order to expedite construction work on the road.”
The governor continued, “We support the reorganisation that is currently taking place in the NDDC. I don’t believe that there is any other state that has been deprived like Edo in terms of resources that were allocated to it through the NDDC as previous management of the commission have admitted and apologised that in terms of allocation, they did not achieve 20 per cent allocation performance in the state.”
The governor expressed optimism that Edo State government will work better with the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs in ensuring that NDDC is no longer used as political slush fund but rather for the development of the region.
The governor added that the state government would also collaborate with the ministry in housing development and electricity supply through an initiative, which will require the involvement of Edo, Delta and Ondo states.