The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has donated two Toyota ambulances, a modular cold chain for the storage of vaccines and four waste disposal trucks to the Edo State Government as part of the Commission’s strategy to provide healthcare facilities for the wellbeing of Niger Delta people.
The health facilities were presented to the Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, by the NDDC Acting Managing Director, Gbene Dr Joi Nunieh, at the Government House, Benin, after a courtesy call on the governor.
Nunieh said that it was necessary for the Commission to provide for the medical needs of the people of the Niger Delta, especially as the region had to contend with the challenges of pollution from oil exploration and exploitation.
She stated: “In addition to infrastructural intervention, the NDDC has since inception intervened massively in the area of human capital development. They range from donation of power transformers, medical outreach, donation of tractors and fertilizers to boost agriculture, to various skills acquisition and training programmes.”
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer told Obaseki that the governors of the Niger Delta states would be invited to a meeting of the Niger Delta Development Advisory Committee in January 2020. According to the NDDC Act, the Advisory Committee, which shall comprise Governors of the nine member states and two other persons named by the President, is responsible for advising the Board and monitoring the Commission’s activities.
She said that the forensic audit ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari would take off in January 2020, assuring the governor that henceforth, the governors of the NDDC mandate states would see a completely different Commission that would be collaborate rather than compete with them.
Nunieh promised that the new NDDC would build synergy with the state governments that would enhance the development of the region and touch the lives of the people in the rural areas.
The NDDC boss said that from inception, the Commission had embarked on a total of 738 infrastructural projects valued at N118 Billion in Edo State, adding: “Of this, a total of 48 valued at N36.6 billion have been completed while 236 projects are on-going.
She said that the Commission had between 2016 and November 2019, intervened, in emergency basis, by embarking on a total of 208 road projects. Of this figure, 87 have been completed.
Nunieh handed over the document containing the details of all the projects in Edo State to the governor. She stated that under the emergency contract regime, contractors were expected to complete the projects within one month or forfeit such awards. She noted that the latest of those awards were in April 2019, and all contracts yet to commence were now legally voided.
She told the governor that the NDDC was starting a “Charity Begins at Home” programme that would encourage the clean-up of Niger Delta communities. “We are going to have a competition where all the communities will contest for the cleanest village in the region. The prize will be an infrastructural project that will be based on the assessed needs of the people in the community,” Nunieh explained.
The NDDC boss said that the Commission had suspended its Foreign Post Graduate Scholarship programme usually awarded to 200 candidates every year, explaining that it would be replaced with a broad-based one that would cover all the wards in the nine states of the region.
In his response, the Edo State Governor thanked the NDDC for the health facilities and congratulated Nunieh on her appointment as the Commission’s Acting Managing Director and head of the three-man Interim Management Committee.
Obaseki urged the Management Committee to work with the state government in ensuring that its projects were of high quality and standard specifications. He stressed the importance of the Advisory Committee to ensure that all stakeholders worked in harmony.
The governor said his government was ready to work with the NDDC in the construction of the Benin-Abraka Road, noting that the road was a high priority project for the state, as it would link Benin to the oil producing hub of the state.