No fewer than 76 projects awarded to various contractors by the Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC), which were hitherto abandoned, have been completed and handed over the commission.
The Interim Administrator of the Commission, Mr. Effiong Akwa, stated this on Tuesday in Abuja, while presenting a lecture on “the Role of NDDC In National Development” during the 4th Democracy Lecture Series at the University of Abuja.
The event, which was organized by the Department of History and International Studies, drew participants from all walks of life to the Faculty of Management Science Auditorium of the main campus of the institution.
Akwa noted that the various contractors were afraid of falling into the hands of the forensic auditors, which he said forced them back to site, leading to the completion of the over 76 abandoned projects and subsequent hand over to the NDDC.
He, however, informed the gathering that the commission under his watch has been able to translate the dreams of the founding fathers, which he said is evident in the completion and commissioning of the 13 Storey building headquarters of the commission by President Muhammadu Buhari.
In his words, “Governor Wike of Rivers State called me the other day because he has been so supportive of my administration. He said that now that we’ve completed the headquarters, we should move everything from the Aba road office to cut down our expenses. I want to say that in the coming week, we should be able to handover the keys to Rivers State Government.”
“Under the current Interim Administration, we’ve donated science equipment to students, we’ve Hepatitis vaccines centres in all the states in the region just to make sure that there’s stability. Anywhere you come from, if you walk into any hospital in any of the states in Niger Delta and say that you want to take Hepatitis vaccine, it is given to you free. We’ve graduated over 200 ICT professionals, we are now facing the completion of the University of Uyo Students’ Hostel.
“Currently, we are about to complete the 1000 bed space hostel in the University of Uyo; we’ve completed the 64 flats police quarters. You can imagine all these projects being abandoned when billions of Naira had been sunk into it. We make sure that those things that were vandalized, we have put them back and are due for commissioning,” he said.
Earlier in his remarks, the Vice Chancellor, University of Abuja, Professor Abdul-Rasheed Na’allah, noted that issues of development are vital to the survival and competitiveness of Nigeria. He wondered why development has been difficult to the country saying, “a greater part of Nigeria today still complains of unavailability of portable drinking water and other basic amenities, noting, with the huge resources, the country cannot showcase anything tangible as a nation”.
Professor Na’allah further stated that the creation of NDDC was fundamental strategy to move Nigeria forward and called on the various stakeholders to join hands in developing the region, which he said will in turn, lead to the development of Nigeria and national unity.
In his remark at the occasion, Minister, Niger Delta Affairs Ministry, Senator Godswill Akpabio, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Sir Etekamba Umoren, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, for being committed to the yearnings of Niger Deltans, saying, “the recent commissioning of the NDDC headquarters and other life-touching projects are testimonies to the fact that President Buhari is committed to the development of the region”.
Highpoint of the event was the presentation of awards to deserving personalities, which included the NDDC Interim Administrator, Mr. Effiong Akwa and the Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Senator Godswill Akpabio.