The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Nsima Ekere, has blamed the Public Procurement Act (PPA), for the commission inability to promptly pay compensations and settle fees of consultants, which has generated complaints from both communities and project consultants. He, however, promised to urgently address this issues of compensation for the right of way for its development projects in the Niger Delta region.

Ekere stated this during a courtesy visit by a delegation from the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), to the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt. He said the current Board and Management of the NDDC had articulated a very ambitious reform programme christened the 4-R Strategy to enable the Commission to perform optimally.

Mr. Ekere with NIESV Members

“We are now doing things differently by using the 4-R initiative to add value to the process of the Commission. Through this initiative, we have structured our processes to make them transparent. Hence, we are restructuring the balance sheet; reforming the governance protocols; restoring the Commission’s core mandate and reaffirming its commitment to doing what is right and proper.”

The NDDC boss also assured the delegation of holistic address of  all issues of outstanding payments to estate surveyors and valuers through a joint committee of the NDDC and NIESV, to be headed by the Commission’s Executive Director Projects (EDP), saying: “the issues will be treated on a case by case basis”. Ekere also noted: “The fund is always a bit low so that by the time a consultant finishes evaluation and brings a report; you find out that what is in the contract is not adequate to pay compensation.”

Mr. Ekere with NIESV Official

Also speaking at the occasion, the Chairman of Rivers state branch of the NIESV, Mr. Elliot Orupabo, decried the absence of a valuation unit to handle right-of-way acquisition and compensation. He said: “the absence of this unit is a major lacuna which the engineers in the Project Management Department have capitalized upon to vet and tamper with compensation valuation reports prepared by registered estate surveyors and valuers without recourse to the consultant.”

Orupabo highlighted the provisions of the Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Act Cap E13 LFN, which states: “Only a Registered Estate Surveyors and Valuer shall value and determine the value of property in Nigeria.” He urged the NDDC to create a valuation unit to be headed by a registered estate surveyor and valuer, to handle all issues of valuation and compensation. He advised the Commission to always ensure the engagement and mobilization of estate valuers to site after clearance.

He also noted further: “this had always been a problem to the consultant estate valuer, as the final value of compensation was often considered by the Commission as high, while the community considered the values as inadequate. “Estate valuers should be engaged early enough to go to the site before the commencement of construction work. This will enable the valuer capture all heads of chains accurately along the right of way,” he added.

The NDDC Executive Director Projects, Engr. Samuel Adjogbe and some directors of the Commission were also on hand to receive the delegation.