A coastal community in Bayelsa State, Nembe, has applauded the completion of the N24 billion Ogbia-Nembe Road built by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, which will be commissioned soon.
The applause was made by the chiefs from the area, saying it has opened entree, especially through the land, since the community began.
The Nembe chiefs on Saturday, June 22, said through the secretary of Opu Nembe Bassambiri Council of Chiefs, Chief Afrebo Okpoma,
“Before the road, we were traveling through our waterways, but since the road was completed, we now drive in with our vehicles.
“When we were travelling through the waterways, there were always these bad boys confronting the passengers and robbing them. There was this fear each time we were travelling that the bad boys may be there. But since this road was constructed, we no longer witness such ugly incidents.
“Secondly, commercial activities have increased. Our Igbo brothers, who are not good swimmers, were not coming here to trade when we were coming through the waterways, you don’t see them coming here to trade. But since the road was completed, the traders are now coming in with their goods during our market days.
“Another benefit is that our people now commute between Nembe and Yenagoa freely up to late in the evening. If you leave here by 6pm, before 7.30pm you are in Yenagoa and likewise one can travel from Yenagoa to Nembe at any time. Our secondary schools have been upgraded from grade C to B because of the road link.”
Chief Okpoma also said that initially, goods were brought in through the see which made them expensive. “Today, we pay far less than what we were paying before the road. So, it has reduced the cost of building and increased the number of buildings in our communities. New buildings are springing up daily because of the road.
“What we can say to NDDC is that if you have a child that is doing well, you have to praise the child and encourage him to do more. The NDDC can help us to open our village roads for to help reduce the problem of unemployment for our youths,” Chief Afrebo Okpoma said.
Other voices praised the development especially a regular user of the road and a native of Nembe, Dr Iti Orugbani.
He said, “You cannot compare any project to this road. The days of frequent boat mishaps are over for us. We are truly enjoying the road.
“We are very grateful to the NDDC for constructing this road. We applaud the Commission because for us there is nothing you can compare to this road.
“In the past people used to hear about boat mishap in Nembe, but these days we hardly lose lives in the waterways because most people now use the road. We no longer have to deal with the problem of encountering sea pirates.”
Fielding journalists with questions, the Acting Managing Director of the Commission, Prof Nelson Braimbaifa said the road was constructed in partnership with Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, and it spans 29 kilometres through swampy terrain with spurs to 14 other communities.
Many people however praised the work done by the NDDC and urged them to do more for the Nembe.