Tony John, Port Harcourt
Construction work on a 13-floor new permanent headquarters of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has suffered a setback on account of the ravaging coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), which is delaying the importation of essential components.
Speaking during an inspection of the high-rise office complex at the Eastern By-Pass, the NDDC acting Executive Director of Projects, Cairo Ojougboh, said the initial deadline of March 31, 2020, for the completion was no longer feasible because of the delay in importing materials already paid for due to COVID-19.
Ojougboh said based on the assessment of the situation, a new deadline of April 30, was now being considered.
He said: “The contractor has affirmed and irrevocably so, that by the end of April, he will hand over this site; and I want to hold him liable to it. I, therefore, urge the contractor to continue and not let the commission down.”
He expressed satisfaction with the pace of work on the project and commended the contractors for putting in more efforts.
Briefing the NDDC technical team, headed by the acting Executive Director, Projects, the Consultant, Ebiwene Bozimo, affirmed that work had been moving at a fast pace.
He said the main consultant and sub-contractors had been working round the clock, saturating the site with men and materials.
Bozimo said: “The only challenge we are facing is in bringing in items from outside the country. However, every task that does not involve anything external is going on at the highest pace and we have promised the commission that every task that is not connected with importation will be completed in April.”
He regretted that the initial March deadline was no longer practicable because of circumstances beyond their control, assuring, however, that the contractors would work closely with the NDDC technical team to chart the way forward.