The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has assured leaders of the Nembe Se Congress that the Commission will complete the 25.7-kilometre Ogbia-Nembe Road in November this year.
The NDDC Managing Director, Mr. Nsima Ekere, gave the assurance when a delegation of Nembe leaders of thought paid him a courtesy visit at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt.
He said that the star project executed by the NDDC and Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, was almost completed. He declared: “Our projection is that by November, the project will be fully completed and commissioned.
“The Ogbia-Nembe Road is very important to the Board and Management of the NDDC. It is key because it is the hallmark of our partnership with Shell. We must ensure that this project is completed to serve as a flagship for other collaborations.”
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer said that with the Ogbia-Nembe Road experience, the Commission had entered into several other partnerships, including the one with the Ondo State Government for the construction of the 50-kilometre Akodo-Araromi/Ibeju-Lekki Road, connecting Ondo and Lagos states.
Ekere said that the Commission had started discussions with SETRACO, the contractor for the Ogbia-Nembe Road, to resume work at the site as soon as possible. “They had complained that their major concern was the weather. They don’t want to asphalt during the rainy season. So, they are waiting for the rains to subside before remobilizing to site to complete the remaining section,” he said.
On the extension of the road from Nembe to Brass, he said that the Federal Government had shown a very serious interest in it and the NDDC was being hampered by the availability of funds. “When our funding improves, we will take on the project,” he assured.
Ekere noted that NDDC was saddled with huge liabilities and thus, efforts were being made to reduce the number of on-going projects. He added: “We have reduced the number of new projects in our budgets to enable us compete on-going ones. We have tried to prioritize them to enable us deliver on the more critical ones.”
Earlier, the Vice Chairman of the Nembe Se Congress, Dr. Ebinyo Young-Dede, told the NDDC boss that they were eagerly waiting for the completion of the Ogbia-Nembe Road and the commencement of work on the Nembe-Brass section.
Dr. Young-Dede said they were at NDDC to also discuss details of making the Nembe-Brass Road project a reality, stating that benefits from the project were enormous and were bound to stimulate development in the remotest parts of the Niger Delta region.
He stated that the congress had maintained a persistent and constructive engagement with NDDC, which resulted in the construction of the Ogbia-Nembe Road with extensions into Ogbolomabiri and Bassambiri and spurs into the various communities along its alignment.
Dr. Young-Dede noted: “The Ogbia-Nembe Road has reached an advanced state of execution and is already serving many of our communities. While we have repeatedly expressed our gratitude for the partial relief provided our people so far, we are also seriously concerned that project that was contracted over ten years ago is yet to be properly completed.”