BUHARI COMMISSIONS NEW NDDC HEAD OFFICE COMPLEX
…As Governors Call For More Value For Niger Deltans
President Muhammadu Buhari, in the spirit of the new normal conditioned by the Coronavirus pandemic, commissioned the new Head office complex of the Niger Delta Development Commission,NDDC virtually in Abuja from the State House while the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godwill Akpabio commissioned the newly built structure physically on his behalf in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The commissioning exercise which took place at the commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, Thursday, 11 March, 2021, was attended by personalities from all walks of life.
Speaking during the Port Harcourt ceremony, President Mohammadu Buhari represented by the minister, said he was highly delighted with the completion and commissioning of the edifice, which he described as a milestone in the history of Niger Delta Region. The president recalled that the construction of the building started in 1996 during the era of Oil Mineral Producing Development Commission (OMPADEC), adding that since then the project had undergone design amendments.
According to him in 2015, as part of his administration’s cardinal objectives to reposition NDDC for the people of the region, and to achieve this, he reassigned the supervision of the Commission to Senator Godswill Akpabio for administrative efficiency to overhaul the whole operations of the commission from inception in 2019 and ensure the NDDC’s needs are commensurate with what was on the ground.
Buhari commended the Nigeria Delta Affairs minister, Senator Akpabio for providing the current effective leadership that saw to the completion of the office complex and expressed joy that his administration is today handing over to the Niger Delta people, a befitting office complex for present and future use.
The president added that the rent saved by this development, can now be saved and channeled to other areas.
He also commended the management and staff of the NDDC and members of the National Assembly for cordial working relationship.
Speaking on behalf of Niger Delta governors, Senator Hope Uzodinma of Imo State, expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government of Nigeria, for the actualization of the new NDDC headquarters, noting that it took nearly two decades to bring the project to fruition.
Uzodinma who gave credit to President Buhari for reviving the abandoned project to make it a reality, said with the commissioning of the building, NDDC will cease to waste a staggering sum of N300m paid as rent annually for the Harold Dappa Biriye House on Aba Road.
He said the establishment of NDDC was a direct response by the Federal Government to the agitations of the oil producing communities and states for the establishment of an interventionist agency that will address the issues in their areas as well as tackle prevalent infrastructural deficit.
The Imo State governor however noted that nobody can write off NDDC as a total failure since it has done its best in the prevailing circumstances.
He regretted the financial scandals that rocked the commission not too long ago and commended President Buhari for setting up a forensic audit to look through the books of the commission and for setting up an interim administration to manage its affairs pending the conclusion of the forensic audit.
Uzodinma, said with the commissioning of the new building, NDDC is expected to turn a new leaf and ensure that all its policies and programmes add value to Niger Delta people.
Supervising minister of NDDC, minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godwill Akpabio expressed gratitude to God for making the day a reality, describing it as another milestone.
He lauded President Buhari for his magnanimity in seeing to the completion of the NDDC office complex which he said started many years ago but was abandoned by past administrations.
He also appreciated Buhari for his love for Niger Delta, adding that under him the region has benefited in many ways. Akpabio assured Buhari of the continued loyalty and support of the people as he commissioned the project on the order of the president.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after the commissioning ceremony, the acting managing director of NDDC, Mr. Effiong Akwa expressed happiness that the commission has finally realized its dream.
The Ag. ED praised President Buhari and the minister for Niger Delta Affairs for their efforts in seeing to the completion of the office complex.
According to him with the commissioning, the perception about Niger Delta has changed. He explained that the 13-storey edifice took the sum of N16billion to complete since it was started about 26 years ago.
He said the complex has many modern facilities including, a banking hall, space for hospital, restaurant, event centre, among other features, which can be rented out to generate money for the commission.
The managing director also thanked their host community for their co-operation during the construction of the office complex, and urged them to maintain the peaceful relationship.