Rt. Hon. Orok Otu Duke laments NDDC’s unfair treatment for Cross River State

The Commissioner representing Cross River State on the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Rt. Hon. Orok Duke, has expressed concern over the level of underdevelopment in Cross River State despite the significant funds allocated to the NDDC over the past 23 years. He emphasized the need to address this issue or face a fight.

Duke made these remarks after assuming office at the state NDDC office in Calabar, Cross Rivers State. He pointed out that the NDDC Act does not mention a production quota and is based on equality among the 9 states. He argued that Cross River State receives zero derivation funds while contributing to the development of all 9 states in the Niger Delta region.

“We have projects that are screaming for attention worth well over N15billion. What do we do? You now pile pressure on the state. The state already has scarce resources with competing demands. NDDC is an interventionist agency. Let them do their work. They should stop cheating Cross River State. The same south-south people are subjugating the other state. It is not acceptable. Out of N900billion, they restrict us to N15billion, and out of the N15billion, they say we cannot spend more than N7billion. What will N7billion do for Cross River,” Duke lamented.

Every month, 15 percent of Cross River State’s budget is deducted, 50 percent of the ecological fund is deducted, and 3 percent of IOC money is deducted and sent to the NDDC. Duke claimed that if these funds were given directly to Cross River State, it would receive more than N15 billion per year. However, routing the money through the NDDC results in less funding for the state.

Duke called for the NDDC to stop cheating Cross River State and demanded a fairer disbursement of funds. He argued that Cross River, being the only APC-controlled state in the south-south geopolitical zone, deserves the best from the NDDC to consolidate the party’s presence in the region.

Duke also criticized the poor project monitoring in the state office, which has allowed individuals and politicians to claim ownership of NDDC projects for political gain. He urged the department in charge of projects to ensure that signposts are erected at project sites to give credit to the NDDC for its work.

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