Ayade to Akpabio: I’m not aware of NDDC projects in C/River

NEWS DIGEST–The Governor of Cross River State, Prof Ben Ayade, has said he was not aware that the Niger Delta Development Commission carried out projects in the state.

Ayade made this known on Friday in Calabar when the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpabio, paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House in Calabar as part of the minister’s tour of projects in the state.

Akpabio had listed some of the ongoing projects in the state to include the “Atimbo-Akpabuyo road project, Akim I road project, Ogoja road project, Ogoja water project, Calabar urban road project, Electrification project at Biakpan, Oil Palm Processing plant at Nko in Yakurr,” among others.

However, Ayade said, “I am shocked when I hear you reel out all the programmes, activities and projects ongoing in Cross River State and as the governor, I don’t know about them; I am not aware of these projects. It’s to tell you how isolated the NDDC is from the state governments. These projects are not known to us.”

Ayade, however, called on the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs for intervention projects.

He called on the ministry to partner with the state to drive the ongoing rice revolution in the state.

On his part, Akpabio explained that President Muhammadu Buhari was not playing politics with the development of the Niger Delta region.

He stated that the forensic audit ordered by the president was a courageous act and emphasized that the government was committed to righting the wrongs in the region.

Akpabio added that the NDDC had been a cesspool of corruption before the audit. He alleged that between 2017 and 2019, N468 billion was expended on emergency projects, N4.3 billion cash grants given to NGOs, 90% of which were not unregistered.

Akpabio assured the people of the state that the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs would collaborate with the state, particularly in the area of agriculture, to ensure that the Niger Delta becomes the hubof rice production in the West African sub-region.