From Tony John, Port Harcourt
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, commissioned the headquarters building of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), 25 years after the groundbreaking ceremony.
He commended the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs (NDA), Godswill Akpabio, for his steadfastness in ending many years of renting by the commission.
The president, who virtually commissioned the building from the Council Chamber of the State House, said the land was acquired by the Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission in 1996, and abandoned after series of design amendments.
He said: “In 2015, as part of our administration’s cardinal objectives to kill corruption, some critical reforms were embarked upon, part of which was a holistic reform of the NDDC for greater service delivery for the people of the region.
“To achieve this, I reassigned the supervision of the NDDC to the NDA minister for administrative efficiency. Second, was the appointment of forensic auditors to review the operations of the commission from inception to 2019, and to ensure the appropriations made to the NDDC are commensurate with what is on ground.”
President Buhari urged the management to commit the amounts used for renting to more rewarding benefits.
“I commend the management and staff of the NDDC for staying the course and keying into the reform agenda of our administration. I am particularly pleased to note the cordial relationship between the NDDC and the National Assembly, and hope this relationship will be strengthened further for the benefit of the people of the Niger Delta,” the president said.
Akpabio said completion of the building signals the president’s commitment to the development of the oil producing region, and ending of activities of corrupt public officials, who also negated the connection of the offices to national grid over many years.
Akpabio urged leaders, traditional rulers and youths in the region to support President Buhari’s administration, so that it would complete most of the abandoned projects by previous administrations, which included the Second Niger Bridge.
Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, thanked the president for the completion of the building and promised the nine governors, under the NDDC, would continue to support his bold steps in development.