NDDC Breaks More Dev’t Frontiers, Urges IOCs To Clear Funding Backlog

NDDC MD/CEO, Samuel Ogbuku.

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has appealed to International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the region to honour their financial obligations to the Commission as new projects aimed at developing the region are capital intensive and require consistent funding.

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) of the interventionist agency, Samuel Ogbuku, who made the passionate appeal during a media tour and sensitisation engagement, said the agency was embarking on new projects that are intended to provide jobs and infrastructure to the region.

Ogbuku said the Commission was committed to the completion and commissioning of all ongoing projects across the Niger Delta region.

Addressing senior media officials through a virtual presentation at the NDDC’s region-wide media engagement, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Dr Ogbuku said that the recent inauguration of five mega projects in Abia, Edo, Ondo, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom states was a testimony of the new passion with which the Commission was delivering on its mandate.

The NDDC chief executive officer stated that President Bola Tinubu had charged the Commission to complete and commission signature projects that would impact the lives of Niger Deltans.

Ogbuku stated that the NDDC had so far inaugurated the 132/33kv electricity sub-station at Ode-Erinje in Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo State, to light up five local government areas in the state, as well as the 25.7-kilometre Ogbia-Nembe Road in Bayelsa State, which was executed in partnership with Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).

He said that the NDDC also inaugurated the 600-meter Ibeno Bridge and the 6.87-kilometre Iko-Atabrikang-Opolom-IwuoAchang Road, in Ibeno Local Government Area, of Akwa Ibom State, as well as the 9-kilometre Obehie-Oke-Ikpe Road in Ukwa West Local Government Area of Abia State.

Taking the media executives on a virtual tour of NDDC projects, the Executive Director of Projects, Sir Victor Antia, said that the Commission had constructed and rehabilitated 5,141.3 kilometres of roads through swamps and virgin forests. He added that the Commission had also built 42 bridges, thousands of hydraulic structures and 87 jetties across the Niger Delta region.

He said that the Commission had resumed its Free Healthcare Programme, which caters to the needs of rural communities, as part of the Commission’s commitment to enhance healthcare delivery to the people of the Niger Delta region.

“In the on-going free medical outreach across the nine Niger Delta states, 20,000 surgeries have been performed, while 45,000 patients have been attened to and 27,000 eye glasses distributed,” he said.

In the education sector, he highlighted the Foreign Post-Graduate Scholarship Programme of the Commission, noting that 2,323 students in the region had so far benefited from it. He added: “We have commenced the process for the 2024/2025 scholarship programme.”

Speaking earlier, the NDDC Executive Director, Corporate Services, Hon. Ifedayo Abegunde, acknowledged the contributions of the media to the growth of democracy and public accountability.

He said: “Today, NDDC is setting a landmark precedent in its engagement with the Press. This strategic engagement is in line with the new management’s mantra of Transition from Transactions to Transformation (TTT).”

Consequently, the management of NDDC has decided to transit from sectional engagement with the Press to a more elaborate and strategic engagement to solidify our partnership and strengthen our bond with the press.

“The current Governing Board and Management under the able leadership of Chiedu Ebie and Dr. Samuel Ogbuku as Chairman and Managing Director, respectively, is poised on establishing a sustainable partnership with the Press through periodic region-wide media engagement while promoting good journalism within the remit of our mandate as an interventionist agency.

“In the bid to achieve the Commission’s vision for the good people of our region, we need the press to tell our impactful stories and communicate our aspirations in the most accurate and effective way. One which has always been to see that people of the Niger Delta live a better life,” he stated.

Speaking at the media event, the President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Eze Anaba, remarked that the NDDC slogan which says: “Transiting from Transaction to Transformation,” was inspiring and forward looking.

Anaba said: “It is reassuring that the NDDC is speaking confidently about its achievements. The promise of a new dawn in NDDC is inspiring and the media will be ready to support the Commission in its efforts to transform the Niger Delta region.”

LEADERSHIP reports that the Shell Petroleum Development of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC) and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCo) paid a total of $142.5 million to NDDC last year.

Details provided by the oil major showed that the SPDC paid $112.5 million while SNEPCo remitted $30 million compared to $59.04 million by SPDC and $20.73 by SNEPCo in 2022.

The contributions came from the Shell companies on behalf of themselves and their respective partners which include the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL); TotalEnergies, EP Nigeria Limited; NAOC; and Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited.

The payment represents statutory contributions to the interventionist agency.

“Our support for NDDC is part of our aspirations for the development of the Niger Delta which has also seen a wide range of social investments, including health and education,” SPDC Director and Country Head, Corporate Relations, Igo Weli, said.

“With the continuous support of our partners, we will continue to discharge our obligations to communities through statutory payments to agencies and projects executed in partnership with stakeholders,” he stated.

Shell Companies in Nigeria have supported community development programmes in the country since the 1960s, benefitting many Nigerians.

Support for education has led to the award of more than 3,450 secondary school grants, 3,772 university grants and 1,062 cradle-to-career scholarship grants since 2016.

Another investment has seen the introduction of the Health-in-Motion programme, providing free medical services directly to communities. Over one million individuals have benefited from the programme since its inception in the early 2000s.

Also, the global Shell LiveWIRE entrepreneurship programme supported 73 businesses through training and mentorship programmes leading to 97 employment opportunities for Nigerians.

Meanwhile, the NDDC said with little funds available it has completed strategic road projects, including the Ogbia-Nembe Road: 27.5 km, 5 bridges, 7 culverts, connects 14 riverine communities, Ibeno Road & Bridge: 6 km road, 600 m bridge, links 20 communities.

It has also commissioned the Ididep Ekpenyong Ikot Etim Afaha Itiat Road, Akwa Ibom State, Ugilaimai-Ogume, Abbi Road, Delta State and Onicha-Ugbo, Idumuje-Ugboko-Ewohimi Bridge & Road, Delta State.

The Agency has also rehabilitated the Port Harcourt-Owerri Road, commissioned the Uquo-Akpautong-Odoronkit-Ntak-Inyang-Etebi Road, Esit Eket, Akwa Ibom State and repaired the Atani/Amuvi Road, Arochukwu, Abia State.

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