The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has inaugurated the 5.15-kilometre Oku Iboku Internal Road Project in Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. It also inspected the road and erosion control project which it is executing at the University of Uyo.
Speaking at the commissioning of the Oku Ibokun roads and drainage, the NDDC Managing Director, Mr Nsima Ekere, urged the benefiting communities to be grateful to the All Progressive Congress, APC, administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The NDDC Managing Director was accompanied by the Commission’s Executive Director Projects, Engr (Dr) Samuel Adjogbe, FNSE, the Akwa Ibom State Representative on the NDDC Board, Dr Samuel George Frank, and other directors from the Commission.
Ekere said: “I am very happy with what I am seeing today in this community. Oku Iboku is one of the very prominent towns in Akwa Ibom state. It has a history and pedigree. It is not wrong that the community was not even remembered before now.
“Recall that we have had various vilifications and attacks by the government of Akwa Ibom State. They have repeatedly said that NDDC has not constructed even one kilometre of road in Akwa Ibom State.
“Earlier today, we inspected the road that links Nsasak Junction-Akon in Essien Udim Local Government Area that connects Abia State. This is a 30-kilometre road project, out of which 15 kilometres have been completed. The contractor is currently working on the bridge to link both states. I saw 15-km of solid and quality road being handled by an indigenous contractor, who is also from Akwa Ibom State.”
The NDDC boss noted that the Commission also engaged a local contractor to execute the Oku Ibokun internal roads. He expressed satisfaction with the quality, stating that it would compete with roads in any part of the world.
Ekere expressed disappointment with the attitude of some officials of the Akwa Ibom State Government whom he accused of misleading people. He said: “Somebody needs to educate some of the officials of the Akwa Ibom State Government that as responsible officers of government, they should not speak until they are sure of their facts. Again, I repeat, NDDC is not competing with any of the state governments in the region. We are just here to complement the efforts of the state governments.”
The village head of Ikot Essien, Chief Evans Enwan, commended the NDDC for building a quality road for his people. He, however, pleaded with the Commission to extend the road to Mben Inyang.
At the 1.2-kilometre University of Uyo dual carriage access road, Ekere said that NDDC took on additional responsibilities when the university authorities appealed for help to tackle the drainage challenges on the road.
The MD said: “We include the 1.4 kilometres drainage outfall to address the challenge. That way we are sure that when the road is completed it will stand the test of time. Again, a local contractor has proved his mettle here and that is why we are committed to using them so long as they are qualified and have technical and financial capacity.
“We want to empower them to improve on their capacity so that ultimately they can engage the engineering graduates from our universities to give them hands-on experience in construction projects.”
Ekere commended the UNIUYO students for maintaining peace and allowing the contractor to work without hindrance. He promised that the NDDC would put in more efforts to complete the hostel in the university.
According the MD, “the hostel has been largely completed, what is left is external works and landscaping as well as a few finishing touches to the building. The contractor will meet the NDDC Director of Project Monitoring and Supervision so that whatever needs to be done is done urgently.”
Ekere stated that the NDDC was building hostel projects in other universities, adding that they were experiencing some hitches which would soon be resolved. He said: “Most of the hostel projects were awarded many years ago and the contractors unfortunately had not delivered on them. Some of them were awarded when a bag of cement was sold for 60 Naira.
“In some of them, the scope of work has had to be reviewed and the process of getting approvals from the Bureau of Public Procurement to increase the contract sums takes time. Right now, we are in the process of reviewing them to ensure that these projects are completed. We want our students to as much as possible study in comfort. NDDC is committed to doing whatever has to be done within its capacity to ensure that we add value to the educational system in the Niger Delta.”
He assured that the NDDC hostel projects in the various universities in the Niger Delta region would be re-activated as soon as possible and the contractors would be mobilised back to site to complete them.