The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has handed over two of its uncompleted bridge projects in Bayelsa to the state government.
The critical bridges are located at Akenfa and Polaku in Yenagoa local government area of the state.
The Polaku bridge connects communities in Yenagoa with Sabagreia in Kolokuma/Opokuma local government areas as well as provides an alternative route from the East-West road into the state capital.
It was started in 1982 by the late Melford Okilo government in Rivers State and taken over by the NDDC in year 2000. But the project had been stalled for many years.
Similarly, the Akenfa bridge project, which is across the Epie Creek, had been uncompleted for many years.
On assumption of office, the Governor Douye Diri administration approached the NDDC to take over construction of the projects due to their strategic importance to the state.
Managing Director of the NDDC, Dr Samuel Ogbuku, while handing over documents on the projects to Governor Diri during a courtesy visit to Government House, Yenagoa, on Thursday, said the commission had paid off the contractors for work done.
Ogbuku noted that the state government now had the responsibility of ensuring their completion.
“We are handing over the Akenfa and Polaku bridge projects to the Bayelsa State government for completion and for the benefit of the people. There are no encumbrances as we are not owing the contractors. So the government is free to handle the two projects,” Ogbuku said.
The commission’s boss said the delegation, which included the Bayelsa representative, Senator Denyabofa Dimaro, was in the state to formally introduce the new board to the governor and to inaugurate some projects.
While seeking collaboration with the state government to deliver impactful projects to Bayelsa and other Niger Delta states, Ogbuku said the commission is also “willing to synergise with other partners such as the World Bank, Africa Development Bank and the European Union to develop the region.”
While commending Senator Diri on his developmental strides in the state, he hinted that the NDDC was in the process of offsetting the N2 billion owed Setraco for the Ogbia-Nembe road and that President Muhammadu Buhari was expected to inaugurate it in the second week of May.
Responding, Governor Douye Diri underscored the need for the NDDC to collaborate with governors of the Niger Delta states on project execution and ensure equitable distribution of infrastructure.
“You have a lot of abandoned projects littering our state. But I’m sure you are doing a lot about them, and knowing who you are, I also believe that you have the capacity to lead the NDDC to greater heights to the admiration of people of the Niger Delta.
“Nobody is an island. Therefore, we need to collaborate for the overall development of our region and the states. So, without you even asking for support, I lend my support to you and the board of the NDDC.”
The Bayelsa helmsman however noted that the commission was yet to have a befitting permanent office in the state.
While congratulating the new board of the NDDC, Diri stated that governors of the region took the battle to the President for a substantive board, particularly after they were inaugurated as an advisory board of the NDDC.