The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has denied it ever built a wooden bridge for the Elebele community in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
For days running, the photo of a certain wooden bridge said to have been constructed by the interventionist agency at a cost of N2.3 billion at Elebele had been trending. But NDDC has come out to say it is nothing but “fake news.”
Posters of the image wooden bridge on the social media had claimed that contract for the project was awarded in 2018 and completed in 2020.
However, the Commission, in a statement on Thursday signed by its Charles Obi Odili, Director, Corporate Affairs, said it had no such project at Elebele. “We have gone through our records for the past 18 years and there is even no contract offer for the construction of a bridge in the community.” NDDC explained rather that in 2018, Elebele community sought the assistance of the Commission to rebuild the bridge which had collapsed, and added that the proposal was still going through its system checks and currently at the design stage. It added that it was while awaiting NDDC’s intervention that the community undertook the self-help project and built the wooden bridge. “It has no NDDC input”, NDDC emphasized, adding that “NDDC has not paid out any money for it. In clear terms, this bridge has nothing to do with NDDC.”
NDDC accused “detractors” of the Niger Delta Development Commission of being responsible for ye fake news as it linked same alleged detractors to the “false allegations and campaigns launched by these detractors of the Niger Delta Development Commission in the news and social media space and even at the recent public hearing by the National Assembly.”
The Commission said: “We urge our stakeholders to regard the post as part of the propaganda tactics of those who want the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to be scrapped to deny the people of the region, the benefit of infrastructural and economic development. The fake photograph is a follow up to the false allegations and campaigns launched by these detractors of the Niger Delta Development Commission in the news and social media space and even at the recent public hearing by the National Assembly. These forces and their spokespersons are not from the Niger Delta. They are enemies of the region. The people of the Niger Delta have lined up behind President Muhammadu Buhari’s ordered forensic audit exercise. That exercise will account for how the projects undertaken by NDDC were done and bring to account those who failed in their responsibilities to the people of the Niger Delta Region.
“The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, under its current leadership remains committed to ensuring the Commission achieves its core mandate as the interventionist agency for the Niger Delta region and its people.
“For the avoidance of doubt, NDDC has some of the best engineers in Nigeria and the quality of their work is world-class. Those in doubt should visit the 29-kilometre Ogbia-Nembe Road in Bayelsa, which cuts through the swamps with ten bridges and 99 culverts.
“The road, constructed in partnership with Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, is ready for commissioning.