Port Harcourt — The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, says it has concluded arrangements to commission and deliver the N24billion Ogbia-Nembe Road in Bayelsa State, carved out of deep mangrove forest and built in partnership with the Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC.
Acting Managing Director of NDDC, Prof Nelson Brambaifa, disclosed this at a special Niger Delta stakeholders’ interactive dinner in Port Harcourt, said the project, covering about 29 kilometres and with spurs to 14 other communities, will open up the Bayelsa for renewed economic and agricultural growth.
Brambaifa said the Commission would continue to lay the foundation for building a stronger partnership among stakeholders, to facilitate sustainable regional development that will impact positively on the lives of the people of the Niger Delta region.
He assured that the Commission was committed to completing projects across all the states of the region, and delivering them to the people, stating that over 5,000 projects have so far been completed.
“NDDC is committed to developing the region, built on the foundation of due process, job creation, skill acquisition, and social welfare, empowerment of the people and equitable distribution of projects and programmes.
“We are also working on immediately, completing the Polaku Bridge, on East-West-Opokuma-Sabagriea Road, linking Yenegoa to Kaiama in Bayelsa State. Let me also mention the Abbi-Emu-Unor Road and Ibusa internal roads, all in Delta State.”
Brambaifa also said that the adoption of June 12 as democracy day was significant for the people of the Niger Delta region, as it showed that President Muhammadu Buhari recognized their long-running struggle for emancipation.
He assured that the Commission would continue to work with and depend on the advice of critical stakeholders in driving development in the region, explaining that the Commission belongs to all stakeholders.
“We must hope that all the years, in which the Niger Delta region have been victimized and neglected, are being recognized and reversed. It means that slowly, but surely, the poverty, underdevelopment, inequity and regional disregard that held sway will give way to development, prosperity, stability, and peace.
“NDDC belongs to the people of the Niger Delta and we fail our people when we work alone, without collaborating with you all, at all levels. And we cannot afford to fail. What we hold in trust is the collective aspirations of our people and we will continue to work with you, with our youths, with our women, with our traditional institutions, with our democratic institutions, to make our region one that fulfills our expectations and honours our dreams.”
Also, the Chairman of Traditional Rulers of Oil Mineral Producing Communities of Nigeria, TROMPCON, Dr. Effiong Achianga, assured NDDC of the support of the royal fathers, noting that the Commission needed counseling from its founding fathers.
Achianga underlined the role played by the traditional rulers in the birth of the Partnership for Sustainable Development Forum, which he observed had encouraged stakeholders’ participation in developing the Niger Delta.
For his part, the Amayanabo of Twon-Brass, King Alfred Diete-Spiff, said NDDC had taken the bull by the horn by inviting all stakeholders in the region to an interactive forum.
Spiff advised the management of NDDC that the youths of the region should be availed of relevant training to ensure that they became assets for the region to keep them away from violence.