The Akwa Ibom State permanent office of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is to be built within the tenure of the present board of the commission.
The Managing Director of the NDDC, Mr Nsima Ekere, announced this on Monday while inspecting the permanent site in Uyo shortly after flagging off the distribution of school desks and chairs donated by the commission to schools in the nine states of the Niger Delta region.
He pointed out that Akwa Ibom, the highest oil-producing state in the region, had benefitted substantially from the commission with a total of 1068 projects since 2002.
Of the figure, 455 are completed projects costing N67.7 billion while 318 are ongoing projects costing N34 billion and consisting of building, dredging, canalisation, electrical, education equipment, road and water projects.
According to him, 298 projects costing N71.04 billion have been approved by the board for execution in Akwa Ibom State.
Ekere said of the 72,000 school desks and 72,000 chairs meant for distribution in the region, Akwa Ibom State was getting 9,600 each of the said items.
He emphasised that the items will be distributed to the schools most in need of consultation and collaboration with the State Government.
Ekere explained that the programme, a long-standing one, was designed based on needs assessment taking into consideration the inadequate study conditions in schools across the region.
The NDDC boss promised that the commission will continue to invest massively in scholarship for postgraduate students from the Niger Delta all over the world, hinting that there might be a need by the commission to consider intervention at the undergraduate level for very gifted students.
“NDDC takes the education of our children very seriously,” he declared.
Ekere assured the people of Niger Delta that project delivery in the region will accelerate as soon as the NDDC was able to obtain the much-needed funds due to the commission.
“I hate to see abandoned projects,” he said. “That is why when we came in, we ensured that 70 percent of our funds were allocated to abandoned projects and 30 percent to ongoing projects. We will continue to pursue vigorously the recovery of all funds due to NDDC. As those funds come in, Akwa Ibom State will also benefit.”
The Commissioner representing Akwa Ibom State in the NDDC, Mr Samuel Frank, appreciated the Managing Director for paying his first official visit to the state office and lauded what he called his dynamic and enterprising leadership of the commission.
Frank stressed that the NDDC was only complementing, not competing with, the State Government with projects for the benefit of the people.
A former Leader of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Dr Etido Ibekwe, who spoke on behalf of prominent indigenes of the state present at the flag-off ceremony, said the state was blessed to have the present NDDC Managing Director that was making the state proud.
He urged the Akwa Ibom State Government to “open its arms to embrace NDDC so that at the end of the day Akwa Ibom State will benefit.”
Credit: Inemesit Ina