MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
The Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria, (TSA), Ministry of Niger Delta, National Assembly and its other partners and stakeholders to take note and disregard a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) purportedly signed by NDDC and a United States firm for $15billion in respect of mega rail project.
In a refuttal issued on Friday, Chairman of the NDDC Board, Lauretta Onochie stated as follows:
Part II of the NDDC Act, Section 8, sub sections (a) and (e), among other provisions, specifically state inter Alia;
The Board shall have power to:-
(a)manage and supervise affairs of the Commission,…
(e)enter into such contracts as may be necessary or expedient for the discharge of its functions and ensure the efficient performance of the functions of the Commission.
And the Supplementary provision of the Act as relating to the Board (Section 4, sub-section 1) clearly retains the Seal of the Commission in the Office of the Chairman.
(b) The “US company”, Atlanta Global Resources Inc., has no expertise nor experience in any form of construction, let alone, Railway construction. This company is a Management and Export Consulting Firm is without known notable Directors.
Thus, the signing of an MOU to the tune of $15 billion(USD) with such an organisation is not only suspect but dubious.
(c) The Federal Executive Council (FEC), having recognised the importance of infrastructure in the Niger Delta region had awarded the Contract for the same project in 2021 at the sum of $11.7 billion for the construction of a Mega railway from Lagos to Sagamu, Sagamu to Ijebu-Ode, Ijebu-Ode to Ore, Ore to Benin City, Benin-City to Sapele, Sapele to Warri, Warri to Yenogoa, Yenegoa to Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt to Aba, Aba to Uyo, Uyo to Calabar, Calabar to Akamkpa and to Ikom, Obudu Ranch with branch lines from Benin-City to Agbor, Ogwashi-Uku, Asaba, Onitsha and Onitsha Bridge and then Port Harcourt to Onne Deep Sea Port.
It is shocking that after the FEC, the highest ruling body in the country, had done this, that anyone would be signing an MOU on behalf of the NDDC and the Federal Government of Nigeria for the same project in 2023 without due process nor approval by the FEC in the twilight of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
We, therefore, call on all our partners and stakeholders in this quest – CBN (TSA), The Ministry of Niger Delta, The National Assembly, Our nine States’ Governors (Advisory Board), Our Traditional rulers, Youth Population, etc., to take note.
The so-called MOU signed with Atlanta Global Resources Inc. “AGRI”, is hereby disowned by the Board and declared null and void.”