The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is set to inaugurate the strategic N24 billion Ogbia-Nembe Road in the coastal part of Bayelsa State.
The Acting Managing Director, Prof. Nelson Brambaifa, spoke at a special Niger Delta stakeholders’ interactive dinner in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
The Ogbia-Nembe road was carved out of the deep mangrove forest and built in partnership with the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC).
The interactive dinner was attended by prominent traditional rulers and stakeholders, as well as the Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration (EDFA) of NDDC, Dr. Chris Amadi, and others.
Brambaifa said the Ogbia-Nembe road, covering about 29 kilometres, and with spurs to 14 other communities, would open up the area for renewed economic and agricultural growth. He assured the people that NDDC would continue to lay the foundation for a stronger partnership among stakeholders, to facilitate sustainable regional development that would impact positively on the people’s lives.
The NDDC chief added that the commission was committed to developing the region, built on the foundation of due process, job creation, skill acquisition and social welfare, empowerment of the people and equitable distribution of projects and programmes.
He said: “What we are working on is the immediate completion of the Polaku Bridge on East-West-Opokuma-Sabagriea Road, linking Yenagoa to Kaiama in Bayelsa State, as well as the Abbi-Emu-Unor Road and Ibusa internal roads in Delta State.
“We must hope that all the years in which the Niger Delta has been victimised and neglected are being recognised and reversed. It means that slowly, but surely, the poverty, underdevelopment, inequity and regional disregard that held sway will give way to development, prosperity, stability and peace.
“NDDC belongs to the people of the Niger Delta. We fail our people when we work alone, without collaborating with you all, at all levels.
“We cannot afford to fail. What we hold in trust is the collective aspirations of our people, and we will continue to work with you, with our youths, women, traditional institutions and our democratic institutions to make our region one that fulfils our expectations and honours our dreams.”
Chairman of the Traditional Rulers of Oil Mineral Producing Communities of Nigeria (TROMPCON) Obong Effiong Achianga assured NDDC of their support, noting that the commission needed counselling from its founding fathers.
Achianga underlined the role played by the monarchs in the birth of the Partnership for Sustainable Development (PSD) forum, which he said encouraged stakeholders’ participation in developing the Niger Delta.
The Amayanabo of Twon-Brass, King Alfred Diete-Spiff, who is the pioneer military governor of the old Rivers State, said NDDC had taken the bull by the horns by inviting stakeholders in the region to an interactive forum.
He admonished the youths to be availed of relevant training to became assets and stay away from violence and criminal activities.