Chairman of the Governor Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Senator Victor-Ndoma-Egba, has pledged the commitment of the commission to commissioning the 25.7 kilometre Ogbia-Nembe Road before the end of the year.
He made the pledge when he led a team of the Commission’s Board and Management to pay a courtesy visit to Governor Henry Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State at Government House, Yenagoa.
Ndoma-Egba, in a statement by Director, Corporate Affairs, NDDC, Mr Ibitoye Abosede, on Friday, gave a firm assurance that the N24 billion Ogbia-Nembe Road, being executed by the NDDC and Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, would be completed as quickly as possible.
“We must finish and commission the Ogbia-Nembe Road. It is a commitment we must fulfill this year”, even as he told the governor that NDDC awarded a total of 941 projects in Bayelsa State, out of which 233, valued at N38.8 billion, had been completed and commissioned.
He said the commission was implementing an innovative 4-R strategy, adding that, as a regional interventionist agency, NDDC was conceived to drive integrated development in the region.
Noting that the commission had too many projects in its books, he said, consequently, “In the next couple of days, NDDC will cancel about N200 billion projects from our books. We need to reduce the projects we are handling to a manageable number that will make more impact.”
He said NDDC was prepared to make amends for the mistakes of the past and to achieve this, he added “we are forging a new relationship with stakeholders in the region. The new spirit of cooperation entails our not competing with the states and local governments.
“To deepen this new relationship, we have written to the President to re-activate the Advisory Committee and the Project Monitoring Committee. We need these two committees to be able to share our visions for the region and avoid duplication. We need the project monitoring committee to enable us earn the trust of our partners.”
Also speaking, Governor Dickson expressed delight at the Ogbia-Nembe Road project which he said would open up 14 communities on its stretch to economic activities and modern development, adding that his administration was ever ready to partner with the NDDC.
“We thank the Federal Government for creating different platforms, including NDDC to fast track the development of the Niger Delta which has suffered a lot of neglect in the past”, he said, advising stakeholders in the region to put in more efforts to change the negative perception of the oil-rich region.
“While we blame the Federal Government, we should also look inwards to make a difference and change the narrative in the region. Our people are dying from the hazards of oil and gas exploration and exploitation with no concrete benefits to our people.
“It is sad that young people have made our region to be branded as unsafe and not good enough for the big companies to do business. I call on all young people and our leaders to work to change the narrative of our region”, he added.