The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC has re-stated its commitment to the speedy completion of the N24.5 billion, Ogbia-Nembe Road, with a combined length of 25.7-kilometre, in Bayelsa State.
NDDC Managing Director, Mr Nsima Ekere, inspected on-going work on the road in the company of the Executive Director Projects, Samuel Adjogbe, Bayelsa State representative on the NDDC Board, Prof Nelson Brambaifa, and other directors of the commission.
Ekere said that the road, which has seven bridges and more than 50 culverts across very difficult terrain, would impact 14 communities directly and open up several others to modern development.
He expressed confidence that the project would be ready for commissioning before the end of the year. “I have been assured by the contractor that the project will be fully completed by December 10. We will come back again to ensure that the project is properly completed,” he said.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer observed that communities in the Niger Delta contribute immensely to the economic well-being of Nigeria and were, therefore, deserving of quality projects.
He said: “I am, indeed, very pleased and satisfied with the quality of work done by the contractor on this project. It is noteworthy that this world class performance was achieved despite the very difficult terrain of the Niger Delta region. The region has a very challenging terrain and that is why projects usually cost more here than in other places.
“To get this project to this level, the contractor had to remove unsuitable materials for as deep as 25 metres in some portions. The project has also seen the use of vertical drains to take away ground water to allow the road to stabilise.”
Ekere said that the Ogbia-Nembe road was a good demonstration of what could be achieved when development agencies, companies and state governments collaborate. He noted that the project was a worthy partnership between the NDDC and Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC.
He declared: “This is an example for other oil companies operating in the Niger Delta. Shell has shown that in addition to its statutory obligation to contribute to the funding of the NDDC, it is also necessary to work with the Commission on specific impactful projects. I am sure that other International Oil Companies, IOCs, will feel challenged to toe the line of Shell to provide quality infrastructure for the people of the Niger Delta.”
The NDDC Managing Director described the Ogbia-Nembe road as a model in partnership, with emphasis on quality job delivery. He affirmed that henceforth, designs for NDDC projects must be proper and complete before execution, stressing: “we must redefine our standards to globally acceptable best practice and compel our contractors to abide by them.”
Ekere commended the youth leaders in the Niger Delta for their supportive roles and appreciation of the contributions of the NDDC to the development of different parts of the region, especially Bayelsa State.
He appealed to youths in other parts of the Niger Delta to also cooperate with the NDDC to allow it to deliver on its mandate to fast-track the development of Nigeria's oil-rich region. He stated: “We don't need the kind of distractions that are coming from certain quarters. We need stability to concentrate and not be distracted by political considerations. I appeal to the politicians to please allow the Board and Management of the NDDC to work for the benefit of the people. When the time for politics comes, we shall play politics.”
Speaking during the inspection, the Chairman of Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, Central Zone, Mr. Tare Porri, urged the NDDC to focus more on projects that would impact on many people and communities, praising the wisdom in building the Ogbia-Nembe Road.
He said: “We are calling on the NDDC to work with the government and people of Bayelsa state to come up with priority projects that would benefit the collective interests of Ijaw people. We are happy that Nembe is now linked by road and we commend the NDDC for that feat.”