In its determination to fast-track the development of Nigeria’s oil-rich region, the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has put more vigour into the monitoring of its projects. This strategy was made known by the commission’s Managing Director, Sir (Barr) Bassey Dan-Abia, during his inspection tour of road projects in Akwa Ibom State. He said that there was need to intensify the efforts of the commission with respect to supervision and inspection to facilitate the speedy completion of on-going projects in the 9 states covered by the NDDC.
The inspection, took the NDDC top officials, led by the MD and the representative of Akwa Ibom State on the board of the NDDC, Engr.Etim Inyang (Jnr), to several projects which included roads in Etinam, Ibiono and Itu local government areas.
Inspecting the 15-kilometre Ikot Isong-Ikot Akpabio-Edemekpo-Ndoneyo Road, Barr.Dan-Abia expressed satisfaction with the quality of work on the completed section but regretted that the road was being threatened by erosion. He said that a ravine that has developed at a point along the road was not anticipated and was not factored into the design. He promised that appropriate action would be taken to protect the road from the threatening erosion.
Barr. Bassey Dan-Abia remarked that the Akwa Ibom State Government had raised the bar in terms of quality roads. “The NDDC cannot afford to do anything less. Although we are not competing with the state government, we will push our contractors to march the Akwa Ibom standards,” he said.
According to the Managing Director, “the new NDDC requires that we move out of the office to inspect projects. We cannot stay in the office to develop the Niger Delta. We need to regularly monitor our projects to ensure that our contractors are working according to our specifications. I need to confirm that the papers I sign in the office are true reflections of what is on the ground.”
At the 10.1-kilometre Ididep-Ikot Odiong-Ikot Ibiono Road and bridge project, Barr. Dan-Abia said that by overcoming the challenges of hills and valleys along the road, the NDDC had demonstrated its capacity as an interventionist agency. He added: “The road traverses several communities and Ibiono is one of the three of the largest local government areas in Akwa Ibom State and the road links up to the ever busy Calabar-Itu Road.”
The NDDC team also inspected the 12.4-kilometre Oko Ita-Itu-Mbak Atai-Oku Iboku Road, in Itu Local Government Area. The project consultant, Engr. Eyo Peters, said, inspite the challenges of delays in the payment of compensation to some of the property owners along the road, all other things were in place to facilitate the completion of the road in the next 4 weeks. He praised the communities in the area for cooperating with the contractor even when some of them were still waiting to receive their compensation.