By Donald Ugwu
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday ordered all contractors who abandoned projects in the Niger Delta region to return to site immediately.
Osinbajo gave the order at a Stakeholders meeting for sustainable development in the Niger Delta region held in Owerri, Imo State.
Osinbajo was disturbed by the long list of projects owned by NNPC and the Niger Delta Development Commission in different parts of the state and said that such practice must stop.
Osinbajo also said that those contractors who collected money and diverted them would be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted.
“I have today directed that all contractors whose projects have been abandoned must return to site forthwith.
“They must return and I want to say that all these contracts will be investigated thoroughly.
“We will investigate every one of the contracts and any one of them found to have diverted funds we will ensure that they are prosecuted and that they are brought to justice.
“It is not acceptable for anyone to take projects that are meant to offer succour to the people.
“Especially to the people in oil production communities and to abandon them and them come back and complain that work isn’t being done,’’ he said.
According to the Acting President the Federal Government will make sure that all of those projects are completed.
“I must say that it is shocking that over the years, several NNDC projects and the Ministry of Niger Delta have been abandoned by contractors.
“A long list of abandoned projects have been presented to me; one has almost 40 abandoned projects; projects where contracts have been awarded and in some cases money paid,’’ he noted.
Accordingly, he said that those involved in the shady deals must be made to account.
He promised the people of Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta, the main oil bearing communities in the state that he would ensure that they got their due share of the oil wealth.
He promised to work with the Niger Delta Power Holding Company to ensure that the abandoned Power plant in Egbema which could produce 300 megawatts of power was completed soon.
Osinbajo also promised to present the request of the state for the conversion of the Skills acquisition centre in the area to a Niger Delta University of Science and Technology to the Federal Executive Council.
He said that the federal government had a new vision for all oil producing areas of the Niger Delta as a fresh commitment of all stakeholders to be involved in the development of the areas.
He said the federal government would partner the states, local governments, oil majors and all in the industry to facilitate the development of the region.
“Every stakeholder will be involved,’’ he assured but added that oil exploitation alone could not ensure the provision of jobs for the teeming youth.
Accordingly, he said it was the business of industrialists to develop industries especially in the petrochemical for more job creation.
He said government would build modular refineries in the region which would engage those involved in building illegal refineries and polluting the environment.
He also noted that it was the intention of the administration to site more power plants in the oil region to utilize the gas resources effectively.
Osinbajo said there was the need to attract investments in the region but stressed the need for peace and secure environment as a precondition.
“Investments have a choice; they go to where they will find security,’’ he said.
He said the future has now arrived for the oil region but said the stakeholders must address the concerns of the region by ensuring a peaceful environment.
According to him, destroying oil facilities is not the solution but rather providing the facilities and protecting them.
The Acting president urged the people to hold contractors to account, adding that all federal projects meant for the communities must come to them.
He told them that President Muhammadu Buhari took Imo as his home and had pledged that justice would be done to the people.
“Peace and Justice go together,’’ he advised while assuring the state of its fair share in the administration’s social investment programmes.