From Tony Osauzo, Benin 

Against the backdrop of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) owing contractors over N400 billion, the Ovie of Idjerhe Kingdom in Delta State, Monday Whiskey, Udurhie I, has called on the Federal Government to release all funds due to the commission to enable the newly inaugurated board perform.

Addressing newsmen, yesterday, the traditional ruler also called for better funding of the commission to enable it discharge its mandate, pointing out that the new board cannot perform optimally because it lacks funds.

Besides, he said the NDDC has had undue interference from the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs. 

He, therefore, urged the Federal Government to transfer the NDDC to the presidency to as it was before like the North East Commission, to make it independent of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, adding that the current NDDC board will work better under the presidency.

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The traditional ruler who disclosed there were about five NDDC-sponsored abandoned projects in his domain, said he has been speaking up against the practice of abandoning projects and urged the new NDDC Board to revisit those projects and others across the Niger Delta region. 

He also called on the Federal Government to probe NDDC past administrators in the last three years to account for over N700 billion released to the commission. 

The traditional ruler while calling on the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to relocate from Abuja to the Niger Delta region, urged it to wake up to its responsibility and ensure roads in the region are in good order. 

He also spoke on insecurity in the region and explained that traditional ruler in the area were trying their best to minimise the menace. 

On scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (fuel), the Idjerhe monarch said it was beyond “human understanding that Nigeria is producing oil and importing fuel”, adding “the country needs spiritual intervention.”