By JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Imo State Government have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), as part of a partnership to facilitate the completion of key projects in the state.
The MOU covers the dualization of Port-Harcourt-Owerri-Avu-Ada Palm-Etekwuru Road, Phase 1, Ohaji Egbema Local Government Area; emergency repairs of failed and unmotorable section of Nkwerre-Umudi-Isieke Nese Road with drainage and Nkwerre Internal Roads in Nkwerre Local Government Area, as well as the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Imerienwe-Etche Road.
At a ceremony at Government House, Owerri, the Interim Administrator of the NDDC, Dr. Efiong Akwa, said the Commission will synergise and partner with the governments of the Niger Delta to ensure the commission’s road projects are completed, stating that the Commissioncould no.longer work at cross purposes with its stakeholders.
Dr. Akwa said that the partnership was meant to ensure the completion of major road projects, especially the 24-kilometre dual carriage way linking Imo and Rivers through oil-bearing communities in both states.
He noted that due to “security challenges experienced by the expatriate contractors handling the projects” it had become imperative to work with the state government who understand the security dynamics of the areas, as well as local contractors who know the people, in order to effectively implement the projects.
The NDDC boss assured the governor that the Commission “will play its part in making the resources and manpower needed for the job available.”
The Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, who acknowledged the challenges, stated that “the lingering problems of non-accessibility and non-commissioning of multiple road projects embarked upon by NDDC for 14 years were due to environmental hazards, insecurity, youth restiveness and inability of the contractor to manage the local environment.”
Senator Uzodimma declared: “This is the reason why I approached the CEO of NDDC and requested that we work together to find a lasting solution to the problem,” and promised to support the Commission by providing competent state-based engineers, local contractors and manpower to ensure the prompt completion of the projects.”
The Governor, who lauded President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio for directing the NDDC to complete all its on-going projects, stated that the projects will bring more development to the state and communities.