From Tony John, Port Harcourt
The Interim Administrator, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Effiong Akwa, has asked youths and other stakeholders to expect the completion of more abandoned projects within the region in the New Year.
Akwa in a zoom meeting that had hundreds of stakeholders from the nine states of the Niger Delta and the Diaspora in attendance, said the NDDC under the supervision of the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, would complete and inaugurate abandoned power projects, hostels among others.
Akwa, who was represented at the meeting by his Special Adviser on Youths and Sports, Udengs Eradiri, particularly harped on the completion of the transmission substation in the Okitipupa area of Ondo State.
He said when completed, the transmission station would provide power to over 2000 communities across six local government areas of Ondo State.
Akwa at the virtual meeting, which was described by participants as commendable, said efforts would be made to finish another power transmission line in the Ikot Abasi area of Akwa Ibom State.
He said more hostels would be completed in line with the mandate given to the Commission by President Muhammadu Buhari to finish abandoned people-oriented projects and put them to use.
The NDDC boss also said the commission would make efforts to complete the abandoned hostels at the Niger Delta University (NDU), Bayelsa State.
He said the NDDC would build a replica of Lagos State’s boat terminals in the Niger Delta to facilitate maritime transport and urged the youths to get ready for sports festivals and talent hunts in the New Year.
He heaped encomiums on Buhari and Akpabio for their leadership style saying 2021 was the first time the NDDC completed and inaugurated three massive projects in a single year.
He named the completed projects as the corporate headquarters of the commission in Port Harcourt abandoned for over 20 years; office and residential complex for the police Special Protection Unit (SPU) in Omagwa, Rivers and the over 1050-bed hostel in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
Among other activities, Akwa said the commission last year engaged governors of the region; distributed yellow fever vaccines, waste disposal trucks to states; trained over 1000 in ICT; distributed science equipment, e-learning tablets and desks to secondary schools and ensured prompt payment of staff salaries.
‘This year more hostels will be completed because we are looking at projects that directly impact the lives of the people of the region. We are going to be building boat terminals in the region,’ he said.
‘It is difficult for people to go to the waterfront and have somewhere they can go and relax, buy tickets and board their boats in the Niger Delta. But if you go to Lagos, you will see boat terminals in most areas in Lagos. That kind of terminal is what we will be bringing in.
‘Soon, we should be inaugurating the power project in Ondo State that is meant to power six local government areas. There is another power project in Eket and it will be concluded.
‘During the forensic audit, it was discovered that the NDDC had a lot of equipment abandoned in the ports for years. And we have put machinery in place to get the equipment and ensure the other power projects are completed.’
Akwa called for the support of the youths and other stakeholders to enable NDDC to deliver on the mandate of President Buhari.
Most of the youths, who spoke during the meeting, commended Akwa for continually engaging them, saying the meeting was the third in a series since he took over the commission.