Niger Delta contractors plan nationwide protest over debts

From Fred Itua, Abuja

Niger Delta Indigenous Contractors Association, on Thursday, issued a five-day ultimatum to the Interim Aladministrator of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr Akwa Effiong and the minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to pay up their outstanding debts.

It said if the duo fail to geed to their demands, a nationwide protest will be organised to press home their demands next week.

Spokesman of the Association, Dressman Darlinton, warned that the Association protest will “simultaneously protest across the nine States of the Niger Delta region and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) should the Interim Administrator of the NDDC, fail to meet our demand to pay Contractors by Tuesday 15th February, 2022.”

It further called on President Muhammadu Buhari, to set up a substantive board for the Commission as soon as possible, to prevent the mismanagement of the Commission.

“The Niger Delta Indigenous Contractors Association is also calling on Mr President to please consider the request of the Olu of Warri and other prominent Niger Delta Stakeholders to as matter of urgency constitute and inaugurate a substantive board of the NDDC,” it said at a press conference in Abuja.

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It further stated: “Due to intervention by some critical stakeholders from various sectors, the protesting Contractors and Consultants of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), have decided to suspend the protest at the NDDC gate temporarily.

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“The Niger Delta Indigenous Contractors Association is also calling on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, General Muhammad Buhari, and other relevant authorities and leaders of the Niger Delta region to call on the Interim Administrator of the NDDC, Mr. Akwa Effiong to desist from using hoodlums, miscreants and thugs to intimidate, harass and assault Contractors who are protesting for their payments.

“The Niger Delta Indigenous Contractors will continue to request the NDDC to pay for services rendered creditably as competent and performing Contractors of the NDDC, while frowning at situation where Contractors will not be mobilized by the NDDC to execute projects, a situation where the Contractors will borrow money from banks at high interest rates to execute projects yet will be owed for five years and more without payment.

“The Niger Delta Contractors are in pains and describe the activities of the Interim Administrator of the NDDC, Akwa Effiong and the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio as discouraging, devilish and an act of wickedness, noting that their action does not represent what Mr President stands for.

“It is very sad that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) under the watch of Mr Akwa Effiong and the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio have turned to Akwa Ibom Nigeria Limited thereby subjecting other parts of the region and Contractors to acute penury and poverty.”

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