Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has declared that notwithstanding the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ministry under his watch has achieved milestone by completing some ongoing projects in the region.
Senator Akpabio, who assumed duty in august 2019 at the ministry made the declarations while appraising the achievements of the Ministry and unveiling new plan aimed at driving development in the Niger Delta region as mandated by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The minister added that despite the obvious paucity of funds, the Ministry has worked assiduously well to ensure the completion of the 13 and 8-storey buildings housing the Headquarters of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, which according to him will be commissioned in February subject to Presidential approval.
Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja, Senator Akpabo said, “The ministry was undertaking pre-emptive steps rather than being reactive to development concerns in the Niger Delta region.
“Therefore, the Management considered plethora of issues bordering on the region, issues of development and underdevelopment, minimizing issues of corruption in NDDC, Ogoniland Clean-up, Peace and Security, completion of East-West road, encouraging Foreign Direct investment in the region.”
The minister also emphasized on “Engaging Public Private Partnership, PPP, to complete some ongoing projects and alternatives source of funding.”
According to the Minister, “The ministry at its first management meeting held on 11th January, 2021, took a review of our activities for 2020 by reassessing the projects and programmes that we have embarked on so far, based on our budgetary provision and also evolved a work plan for this year 2021 going forward, setting timelines for ourselves.”
The former Senate Minority Leader gave the breakdown of 52 other projects in the nine Niger Delta States ready for commissioning with emphasis on the Skill Acquisition Centre, SAC, at Agadagba in Ondo State with 38 buildings, which would be handed over to Federal Polytechnic Ile Oluji, subject to Presidential approval.
The minister added that the upcoming Train 7 of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) would benefit from the Under Water Welding Facility at SAC Ibeno in Akwa Ibom State.
In his remarks, the Minister of State, MNDA, Sen. Omotayo Alasoadura pledged the determination of the Ministry to ensure that things are done differently with accountability and transparency to ensure sustainable development in the region.
Alasoadura stated further that taking into cognisance Mr. President’s interest in the development of the Niger Delta region, a monumental projects that would be attached to President Buhari’s Administration should be embarked upon and commissioned.
Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr. Babayo Ardo, who reviewed the report card of the Ministry for 2020, said the achievements of the Ministry under the Ministers were quiet tremendous, cutting across all states of the region.
Therefore, he said the essence of the press briefing is to give a run-down of MNDA achievements and projection of activities for the year, 2021.
Some completed projects lined up for commissioning according to Akpabio include, the construction of Cassava Plant Processing Plant at Usugbene Irrua, Edo State; Construction of Health Centre, Amauzari Community, Isiala Mbano, LGA, Imo State; Construction and Furnishing of Health Centre, at Odi, Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA, Bayelsa State;
Others include Land Reclamation/Erosion Control Works at Nsit Attai LGA, Akwa Ibom State; Construction of Health Centre, at Eworkpe, Emede, Isoko South LGA, Delta State; Construction of Umudike-Umueze-Umuoyere Road Project, (Phase 1) River State.
“Construction of Mini Water Works at Ikot Effiong, Effiong Village, Akasoko Clan (Idundu/Anyanganse Ward) Akpabuyo LGA, Cross River; Construction of Boreholes and Reticulation in Ndulu-Amaoba, Oboro Water Project, Ikwuano LGA, Abia State amongst others.