Akwa is now the biggest oil state in Nigeria and therefore the largest contributor to the revenue of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). The Commission now says it has commenced the construction of its permanent office complex for Akwa Ibom State, following the ground breaking and foundation stone laying ceremony for the project.
The NDDC Managing Director, Mr Nsima Ekere, who performed the ceremony in Uyo, said that the Commission was determined to complete all its state offices in the Niger Delta region.
He said: “The project will be completed expeditiously in line with our policy that each state office complex is completed and put to use before the end of the tenure of this current board. This will help us to channel the resources being invested on rented apartments into our core operations and mandate of providing infrastructure to improve the living conditions of the people of the region.”
Ekere said that when the current board assumed office nearly two years ago, it discovered that NDDC’s head office and state offices across the region were occupying rented buildings. He observed: “Aside from the huge amount of funds spent on these rented properties, the Commission has to contend with inadequate office accommodation for the teaming workforce and the huge work profile it has to contend with in fulfilment of its mandate.”
The NDDC boss said that the Commission found the scenario very unpleasant and immediately swung into action to reverse the ugly trend. Accordingly, he said, the current Board and Management inspected the on-going construction of the permanent headquarters complex in Port Harcourt and “this spurred the urgent actions being taken to ensure that the head office building was completed within the shortest possible time.”
Ekere said that the same urgency was driving the efforts to build state offices in the nine mandate states of the NDDC. He explained that although the contract for the construction of the Akwa Ibom State office was awarded in 2012, the issues relating to inadequate space made it necessary to seek for a new location that was more spacious.
He observed that it became necessary to redesign the building to accommodate more offices, regretting that the time needed to address the sundry issues contributed to the delays which the project had suffered.
The Managiing Director declared: “It is gratifying to note that the Akwa Ibom State Government considered our request for a new site and responded promptly and favourably by granting us these plots of land. For this understanding and cooperation of the state government, we say thank you.”