Managing Director of Niger Delta Basin Development Authority (NDBDA), Mr. Tonye David-West, has said the Songhai farm project has not been funded with more than N200 million since he assumed office four years ago.David-West said in Port Harcourt yesterday that it was disheartening for NDBDA staff or anybody to claim that over N1.5 billion had been embezzled from the project.He described the claim as false.
The management and staff of NDBDA are at loggerheads over the exact amount allocated for establishment of Songhai farm in Rivers, Delta and Bayelsa states.In conjunction with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the workers on Monday staged a protest at Aba/Port Harcourt road office of NDBDA over alleged embezzlement of N1.5 billion reportedly paid in three tranches of N500 million each for the establishment of Songhai farm project.
The protesters expressed sadness over what they described as poor management of the project in the three states.With placards such as ‘No Songhai No Management in NDBDA’, ‘NDBDA staff need forensic audit’ and others, the protesters barricaded the entrance to NDBDA office and barred management staff from gaining access into the premises.Chairperson of NLC, NDBDA branch, Mrs. Goodness Ifiemi, said the staff embarked on the protest because of the alleged misconduct of the management.
“Songhai farm was approved for this basin since 2017. Unfortunately, the project is nowhere to be found, even when the Federal Government has fully paid for it,” she claimed.
But David-West punctured the claims, describing the protesters as ignorant.His words, “They are ignorant of the workings of NDBDA. Since I assumed office four years ago, we have not received more than N200 million for the Songhai farm project. The project has not been funded with more than N200 million. We acquired 56 plots of land in Abalama in Degema Local Government Area Council of Rivers. We have moved to Kpo community in Tai Council of the state where we grow fish and cultivate plantain in large expense of land.”