Help! Insecurity drives up project costs in Niger Delta

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Project managers in the Niger Delta fear that growing insecurity could further drive project costs in the oil region. Already, the region is said to be executing infrastructural projects at 200 per cent higher than normal.

The previous culprit for cost differential was soil condition. The region is replete with swamps and even red soil areas were swampy in the past, making difficult to get strong soil for foundation bases.

At that point, the region was already executing at 200 per cent of what it was costing to construct roads. For instance, when one kilometer of road was being constructed at N10m in the 1990s, it was costing between N20m and N30m depending on the nature of the soil in that particular area.

Some areas are below sea level while some others were areas recovered from previous waterlogged areas or swamps. These days, it is estimated that such length of road (one km) goes for over N50m. This is because heaviy armed troops must be attached to construction teams in every project in the region to forestall abduction. in some instances, armed hoodlums still overpower the security attaches to cause havoc. Many expatriate engineers have either been killed or kidnapped, needing huge sums in foreign exchange to bail them out.State governments in the region have continued to cry out over the rising costs of construction projects in the region, while also standing accused of padding of costs or inefficiency.Some projects have been abandoned as a result.

State governments in the region have continued to cry out over the rising costs of construction projects in the region, while also standing accused of padding of costs or inefficiency.

Now, insecurity and inflation have joined to drive up the cost beyond rooftops. One of the development agencies burdened by this cost crisis is the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) which has charged students and youths to join in campaigning for peace and security in the Niger Delta region to reduce costs and attract foreign investors.

The executive director, projects, Samuel Adjogbe, who gave the advice on behalf of the managing director, Nsima Ekere, at the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt, stated that promoting awareness campaigns within the Niger Delta region remained a viable tool for development agencies that needed peace and security to deliver on their mandates. He added thus, “As an interventionist agency, we require a peaceful environment to carry out our duties.”

He declared: “We don’t want protests and agitations in the Niger Delta anymore. Dialogue is the way to go. We should be talking and negotiating, rather than chasing away investors. “Insecurity increases investment costs and it is based on this that the NDDC is looking at achieving a Niger Delta where investors and expatriates are confident of establishing their businesses for the overall development of the region.”

He emphasised the need to support programmes that would help to foster peace in parts of the Niger Delta, noting that the NDDC was doing its best to enhance the education of youths of the region. As part of this effort, he said that the process for the selection of the 2018 NDDC Foreign Post Graduate Scholarship programme had started.

Earlier, the National President, Niger Delta Students Union Government, Ifon Daniel Samuel, remarked that the students’ body was already planning to host a summit on peace and security in the Niger Delta. He, therefore, appealed to the NDDC to assist the NDSUG in their forthcoming convention which would incorporate discussions on critical issues affecting the region.