Reps probe 20-year-old abandoned erosion control project in Bayelsa

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The House of Representatives is to investigate the abandoned 20-year-old erosion control contract for the Opokuma clan in Bayelsa state which reportedly claimed several lives and property.

This followed a motion by Hon Abonsizibe Oforji Oboku (PDP, Bayelsa) who claimed that the NDDC awarded the shoreline protection contract in Opokuma Kingdom to Dredging Atlantic Ltd in 2004 due to erosion as part of its mandate.

Hon. Oboku said that the mandates of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) would offer lasting solutions to the socio-economic difficulties of the Niger Delta Region and facilitate the rapid and sustainable development of the region.

He alleged that the company has a reputation for abandoning projects having abandoned a project awarded by the NDDC in Aiyetoro Community in Ilaje Council Area of Ondo State, after collecting a mobilization fee of N2.5 Billion, Naira out of the N6.5 Billion contract sums.

He expressed concern that the Niger Delta Development Commission’s twenty-year contract for Opokuma Clan Erosion Protection in Bayelsa State has caused erosion in ten communities including the Ayakoroama and Olobiri, resulting in loss of lives and property.

Meanwhile, in another resolution, the House has asked the Minister of Federal Capital Territory Administration prioritize FCT’s original inhabitants’ relocation to suitable locations and compensate them considering economic, social, and cultural losses.

Adopting a motion by Hon. Joshua Chinedu Obika (LP, FCT), the House also asked the Minister to transform the Department of Resettlement, Integration, and Compensation into an agency with the responsibility of resettlement, integration, and farming.

Obika said the FCT, being the administrative and political hub of Nigeria, has experienced rapid urbanization and population growth, promoting economic development, but also posing challenges like inadequate infrastructure, housing shortages, and marginalization of indigenous communities.

He said that at the start of construction works by the Shagari administration on the FCT in the 1980s, it was stated that people who would be affected by development projects would be given options to either choose to be resettled outside Abuja or remain within the FCT.

He said the Obasanjo administration attempted to resettle, integrate, and compensate indigenous communities but was confronted with the huge costs of over N100 billion, while attempts by successive administrations to compensate and integrate the original inhabitants have not yielded the desired result due to lack of proper coordination.

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