Umana visits flooded community in Rivers State
… Outlines FG support programme for victims
The minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Umana Okon Umana, on Thursday, visited Ihuike community in Ahoada local government area of Rivers State to console with indigenes of the community who have suffered personal harm and lost their livelihoods to a devastating flood that has also cut the East-West Road in the area into two.
Umana, who was in Rivers State on a working visit to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), directed that the damaged section of the East-West Road be repaired immediately to restore unhindered flow of vehicular and pedestrian traffic and bring back normal life to the traumatised community.
The minister informed residents of the Ahoada community that the Federal Government felt their pain and that President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that in addition to what has been done already to bring relief to flood victims in the region, all relevant ministries and agencies should put up accelerated and concerted efforts to ameliorate the sufferings and provide immediate succour to flooded communities in the region.
After a tour of the flooded community, the minister visited the head office of the NDDC where he addressed management and staff of the commission on his vision for the region and the place of both the NDDC and the Ministry of the Niger Delta Affairs in achieving that vision. He told the staff of the commission that his mission was to change the widely held perception of the NDDC as a failed agency into that of an institution that is pivotal to the development of the Niger Delta region, an institution that invests in the integration of the region through interstate transport infrastructure and other regional assets.
“It is in your hand to change that perception of failure,” Umana urged the staff of the commission. “The change is in your hand.” He charged everyone in the commission to act in a manner that will reinforce the new brand image of an upright organisation that respects due process.
He said the era of frivolous projects by which billions of naira were siphoned out of the commission was over, adding that that government has drawn a line against impunity in which one man could singlehandedly award a contract of N200 billion in the NDDC without following due process requirements.
Umana directed the acting managing director of the NDDC, Engr. Emmanuel Audu-Ohwavborua, to properly brief him on all cases of contracts that did not follow due process, and equally carry out an earlier presidential directive that the commission should conduct a staff audit that would help to ascertain that it has the right caliber of staff properly deployed to ensure the achievement of its mandate. The minister warned that any attempt to undermine the conduct of the personnel audit would be sanctioned.
The minister also directed the acting managing director of the commission to prioritise staff welfare, deploying a situation in the past when non-essential expenditure on desilting was elevated above staff welfare.
He stressed that the era of impunity was over, and urged all staff in the commission to commit to a new day and a new era of professional work ethics and quality service delivery that truly adds value to the life of people in the Niger Delta.