NDDC on rice revolution, research and ICT  

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By Ignatius Chukwu

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) had raised huge hopes of food security in the oil region years ago with a rice revolution prospect but that dream seemed to perish as fast as it rose.

Now, the Commission under a more stable and serious-looking leadership has raised the hopes again.

The Commission has said it will revive its 180 tonnes per day Rice Mill at Elele Alimini in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State, saying it would be part of its efforts to ensure food security in the region.

The NDDC Executive Director (Projects), Victor Antai, stated this during an inspection visit to the rice mill. He described the suspension of production at the factory as disheartening.

He explained that the rice mill was established as part of NDDC’s industrialisation strategies. He expressed optimism that when it returns to full production, it would create employment opportunities for youths. 

Antai said: “I want to thank the NDDC for building the rice mill. It is a gigantic project, the biggest in the Niger Delta Region. We went into a partnership with the Elephant Group. Unfortunately, they stopped production in 2022.

“We decided to visit the facility to know why they stopped production, and to also look for the possible ways of bringing it back to production again.

“The NDDC has to meet its mandate of food security in consonance with the drive of the Managing Director who is determined to create employment for the teeming youths of the region.”

Antai said it was comforting that most of the equipment at the facility were still intact and functional.

He stated; “With the briefing from the chief engineer of this facility, all the equipment is still functioning. What is left is for us to interface with the management of Elephant Group. In no time the MD and management will take a decision on how best to handle this facility and get it up and running.

The executive director has however got hints from a staff source of the Elephant Group, Uchechi Emejuru, who lamented that the mill was running on 500 KVA, rather than 800 KVA power supply suitable for its operations.

The Executive Director emphasised the need to connect the rice mill to a dedicated power line from a power injection station to guarantee steady power supply to the facility and reduce cost of production. 

NDDC may support on training and research, ITC in NDU  

Now, the NDDC may touch things at the Niger Delta university (NDU) located in Bayelsa State.

The Vice Chancellor, a professor, Allen Agih, has solicited the cooperation and support of the Commission in training Niger Deltans in Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Agih, who made the appeal when the NDDC Executive Director (Projects), Victor Antai, visited the university in Amassoma, Bayelsa State, described human capital development, ICT and research development as veritable tools of advancing the society.

He said: “Our last visit to your office was not only to seek your intervention in terms of projects, but to come up with other areas that can advance the society. We know that NDDC has among other things constructed roads and is building a 500-bed hostel for the university. However, we need to look at other critical areas that could help identify and solve problems of production, food security, environmental challenges and health in the region “

The Vice Chancellor expressed commitment to fostering a harmonious working relationship between the NDDC and the university, while also emphasising the gains of exploring the potentials of available resources in the region.

The Vice Chancellor told the delegation that the school was already producing bottled water and bread within the campus, as an indication of its emphasis on putting skills into practice as against theory.

Responding, the NDDC Executive Director said the working visit to the institution was to get an on-the-spot assessment of the needs in the university and to determine ways of assisting the university.

He maintained that as an intervention agency, the NDDC would seek ways to assist the university in the area of training, research development and ICT.
“We have come to see and take back first-hand reports from the university. I am optimistic that something positive will come out of this visit.

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