Akwa Ibom State being the highest oil-producing state in the Niger Delta region has benefited from the Niger Delta Commission (NDDC) with 1063 documented projects with additional 298 new projects approved; the Managing Director of the Commission, Mr. Nsima Ekere has insisted.
Ekere who said Akwa Ibom had benefited substantially from the commission since 2002 disclosed of plan to set up a permanent office of the NDDC in the State; and also hinted that the total cost of projects in the state was in the region of N172.74 billion
He spoke in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital 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 as well as inspection of the permanent site of the NDDC office in Uyo.
The Akwa Ibom State permanent office of the NDDC, he said was to be built within the tenure of the present board of the commission.
According to Ekere, of the 1063 projects, 455 projects costing N67.7 billion had been completed while 318 were ongoing at the cost of N34 billion, consisting of buildings, dredging, canalisation, electrical, education equipment, road and water projects.
Besides that, the Managing Director of the NDDC hinted that, 298 projects costing N71.04 billion had been approved by the board for execution in the State.
He hinted that of the 72,000 school desks and 72,000 chairs meant for distribution in the region, Akwa Ibom State will receive 9,600 each of the said items.
The NDDC boss stressed that the items would be distributed to the schools most in need in consultation and collaboration with the State Government.
Ekere explained that the programme, which was a long-standing one, was designed based on needs assessment taking into consideration the inadequate study conditions in schools across the region.
“NDDC takes the education of our children very seriously,” he declared; adding that the commission would continue to invest massively in scholarship for postgraduate students from the Niger Delta across all over the world.
To further boost the education sector, he hinted that there might be a need by the commission to consider intervention at the undergraduate level for very gifted students.
Ekere assured the people of Niger Delta that project delivery in the region would accelerate as soon as the NDDC was able to obtain the much-needed funds due the commission.
“I hate to see abandoned projects,” he said. “That is why when we came in; we ensured that 70 per cent of our funds were allocated to abandoned projects and 30 per cent to ongoing projects. We will continue to pursue vigorously the recovery of all funds due 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 at the 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.”
-BY ABAI FRANCIS