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Monday, July 15, 2024

NDDC urges IOCs to clear outstanding debt of more than $700 million

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The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has appealed to the International Oil Companies (IOCs) to clear debts of $700 million owed to the commission.

The Director-General of the commission, Samuel Ogbuku, made the call during a virtual media tour of the commission’s projects in the Niger Delta region and a sensitization engagement with media executives across the country.

Ogbuku, represented by the commission’s Executive Director of Projects, Victor Antai, said the debt spanned more than 24 years.

He said repaying the debt would help the commission address the enormous development challenges facing the region.

A new NDDC

He said the current board and management of the NDDC were genuinely committed to changing the poor perception of the commission in the region.

“We have launched a new NDDC that is dedicated to implementing various interventions aimed at improving and transforming the lives of the people of the Niger Delta.

“The completion and inauguration of previously abandoned legacy projects are a demonstration of our determination to build on the successes of previous NDDC boards and correct their mistakes.

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“However, for us to achieve our goal of transforming the Niger Delta, we need the support of all stakeholders, including the IOCs,” Ogbuku said.

He also said that the NDDC board had adopted a triple ‘T’ (Transition from Transaction to Transformation) strategy to upgrade its regional mandate.

“We are very committed to ensuring that this time NDDC truly makes a difference for the betterment of our people.

“The recent inauguration of five mega projects in Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Edo and Ondo states is a testament to the newfound passion with which the commission is carrying out its mandate,” he further said.

Virtual visit to NDDC projects

Guiding media executives through a virtual tour of NDDC projects, Mr. Antai said the commission constructed and rehabilitated 5,141.3 kilometers of roads across the region.

According to him, the commission also constructed 42 bridges, 87 jetties and numerous hydraulic structures in the nine NDDC states.

“NDDC has also installed 3,806.15 kilometers of distribution lines and 527 transformers; installed 56,786 solar streetlights and built and rehabilitated 678 water systems in communities in the region.

“The commission has recovered 427.16 hectares of land for development; awarded 2,323 foreign postgraduate scholarships and built and rehabilitated 924 schools and 1,571 hostel rooms.

“In terms of healthcare, the NDDC has built 142 health centers and hospitals, and equipped six of them with modern facilities; while in Agriculture we built a rice mill in Elele, Rivers, among others,” Antai said.

He expressed the commission’s intention to undertake high-value projects in the region.

He said funding constraints have prevented the commission from embarking on larger projects.

“Some of the roads include the Borokiri-Okirika road and three bridge projects that would connect Port Harcourt and Okirika Local Government Area of ​​Rivers State,” Antai said.

He listed other projects including Ka-Ataba Bridge in Rivers, Akwa Ibom-Aba Link Road, Bayelsa Airport Road linking East West Road as well as coastal protection in Sangana, Brass area of Bayelsa, among others.

He said the commission was currently in talks with Julius Berger Plc to take over some of another contractor’s road projects.

He said the commission embarked on mangrove recovery programs and the Niger Delta region as part of efforts to mitigate the debilitating impact of climate change in the area.

(YAYA)

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