The Niger Delta Development Commission is concluding arrangements to commission and deliver the N24 billion Ogbia-Nembe Road, carved out of deep mangrove forest and built in partnership with Shell Petroleum Development Company.
The Acting Managing Director NDDC, Prof. Nelson Brambaifa, disclosed this at a special Niger Delta stakeholders’ interactive dinner in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The event was attended by prominent traditional rulers and stakeholders in the region as well as the Acting Executive Director Finance and Administration, Dr. Chris Amadi, and other NDDC directors.
Brambaifa said the project, covering about 29km and with spurs to 14 other communities, “will open up the whole area for renewed economic and agricultural growth”.
He said the Commission continues 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.
The NDDC boss said the Commission was 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”.
He added: “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 said 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.
The NDDC chief executive said 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 added: “We must hope that all the years, in which the Niger Delta region has 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.”
The NDDC boss assured that the Commission would continue to work with and depend on the advice of critical stakeholders in driving development in the region.
According to him, the Commission belonged to all the stakeholders.
Brambaifa stressed: “It 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.”
The Chairman of the Traditional Rulers of Oil Mineral Producing Communities of Nigeria, Obong Effiong Achianga, assured the 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.
In his own remarks, the Amayanabo of Twon-Brass, King Alfred Diete-Spiff, said the NDDC had taken the bull by the horn by inviting all the stakeholders in the region to an interactive forum.
Diete-spiff advised 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.