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Buhari commissions NDDC Hostel in UniUyo

••• vows to recover all stolen funds

••• mandates statutory contributors to remit funds to Commission

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday virtually commissioned the 1050- Bed Space Ultra-Modern Hostel Complex, donated to the University of Uyo by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), with a vow "to ensure every recoverable kobo, is recovered for use in service of the people of this region and those found culpable shall face the Law."

He also mandated statutory contributors to ensure that all revenues accruing to the commission is remitted transparently saying, "I want to use the opportunity of this commissioning to direct all statutory contributors to the NDDC to remit all outstanding funds to the Commission, and to ensure this is done transparently and according to laid down procedure and process".

Speaking further, President Buhari noted, "about two months ago, the Vice- President on my behalf commissioned the Special Protections Unit Base 6 Barracks in Omagwa, Rivers State, built and donated by the Niger Delta Development Commission to the Nigeria Police Force. It was an important milestone of this administration for two reasons

"This singular intervention demonstrates that NDDC understands the importance of government’s effort at improving the lives and livelihoods of our police officers, in line with my directive that building of barracks for men and women of the police force should be done in collaboration with the Special Housing effort of the Family Home funds.

"Today, we are here, again, to commission another important project completed by the NDDC in 2021. When I directed the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs to institute a forensic audit of the Commission, after many representations by major stakeholders in the Niger Delta, I had also directed that all viable projects which had been abandoned, but which would impact positively on the lives and livelihoods of the people, be immediately revived and completed.

"This ultramodern hostel complex, built and donated to the University of Uyo by NDDC, renews our confidence that the forensic audit, which has been completed and currently being reviewed for necessary action, had achieved one of its core objectives. That objective is to rebuild the NDDC into an agency that is well equipped and better placed to facilitate sustainable regional development in a transparent and impactful way.

"Across many of our public universities and institutions of higher learning our children face accommodation challenges. While private investors are taking advantage of this gap to provide accommodation, unfortunately this often harshly tasks the resources of parents and guardians.

"This prototype university hostel consists of 1,050 bed spaces, 525 each for males and females, and is furnished to meet the needs of a university student. The complex also boasts of significant hard and soft infrastructure to ensure its sustainability and durability.

"The completion of this structure is equally in recognition of the importance government attaches to providing quality housing and improved education for all Nigerians.

"Significant part of this success story is that it could easily not have happened. The contract for this hostel was awarded as far back as 2004. It was one of many projects abandoned across the Niger Delta region, but which I directed the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to expeditiously complete and put to use.

"The Niger Delta Development Commission needs to demonstrate that it can achieve the objectives it was conceived for and make its impact felt all over the Niger Delta Region. The lives of the people of the Niger Delta could be so much better, if the funding received by this commission since its inception, in Billions of Naira over the last 20 years, have been judiciously deployed in service of the people.

"The serial abuse, lack of delivery and what had become an entrenched institutional decay, was the reason why I called for the Forensic Audit. "Therefore, going forward we shall ensure every recoverable kobo, is recovered for use in service of the people of this region and those found culpable shall face the Law.

"Consequently, I want to use the opportunity of this commissioning to direct all statutory contributors to the NDDC to remit all outstanding funds to the Commission, and to ensure this is done transparently and according to laid down procedure and process.

"On this note, it is my singular honour and privilege to commission this complex, for the accommodation of students at the University of Uyo. Let me charge you to ensure that this edifice is properly maintained, for the benefit of the current students, who are the immediate beneficiaries, as well as those who will come after. May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Thank you very much and God bless you all."

Earlier in his remarks, Minister Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio thanked the president for keeping to his promise of making the Niger Delta Region better than he met it.

According to Akpabio, " We are today commissioning one of the projects hitherto abandoned by subsequent administrations. President Buhari's commitment to bringing positive change to the Niger Delta region has led to the commissioning of abandoned projects all over the region.

"Few months ago, we commissioned the headquarters of the NDDC that was abandoned, the SPU Quarters in Port Harcourt and several others scattered across the region. By next year, we will be commissioning the power project in Ese Odo in Ilaje, Ondo State among several other projects completed across the region."

Speaking further, the former Senate Minority Leader, called on all lovers of progress as demonstrated by the resolve of the president, to rally round the president to do more for the region by giving him the needed support, saying, "we are now at the verge of commissioning the second Niger Bridge which was conceived by previous administrations but abandoned, but it has now been taken over by this administration and heading towards completion before President Buhari leaves office."

In his welcome address, Sole Administrator of the NDDC, Dr Efiong Akwa, charged the students and the institution's management to ensure that the facility is optimally maintained for longevity saying, "Let me also urge the students who will live here and use the facilities to understand the sacrifices made by all, particularly by government, to provide them with a better living abs learning environment.

"My dear students, let me call on all of you to do all that must be done to maintain this hostel complex. Own it. Make it yours. Be proud of it. Keep it well. Prove with this that you are, indeed, the promise and future of a better Niger Delta region for which the Niger Delta Development Commission was established."

Deworitshe Patricia,
D (Press & PR),
December 30, 2021

East-West Road: Federal Government to spend over half a Trillion Naira

The Section I-V of the East-West Road which span across five States (Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River) when completed would cost above half a Trillion Naira.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs (MNDA), Dr. Babayo Ardo made this known at the Stakeholders' validation workshop on “Access Management and Mitigation Action Plan” held on Monday in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital.

Dr. Babayo Ardo who was represented by the Director Housing and Urban Development Department MNDA, Town Planner (TPl) Michael Oloruntola Olufemi in his keynote address stated that the dual carriage way which is designed to function as a regional spine on the East-West axis will promote unimpeded movement of goods and passengers in the Niger Delta.

The Permanent Secretary noted that the three inter connected essential parts of the complementary programme for the East-West Road include “Access Management and Mitigation Action Plan; Corridor Development Plan and Collaboration; and Corridor Preservation Project”.

Babayo Ardo further stated that the East-West Road corridor, like most other Federal roads in Nigeria is being impacted by settlement developments in many towns and cities along it, which includes Ughelli, Patani, Port Harcourt and Eket.

According to him, “It is for this reason that the Ministry birthed the complementary programme to rally collective efforts to plan, protect and manage the road corridor to curtail the natural tendencies of settlement growths towards it. This would ensure that goals, targets and Return on Investment (ROI) envisaged from the road development are not diminished or lost.”

In order to facilitate the achievement of desired aspiration of the corridor, the Permanent Secretary urged all stakeholders to play their roles singularly and collectively while States should take pro-active steps based on the recommendations contained in the report.

Speaking further, Dr. Ardo, stated that after presenting the draft final report, the next stage is implementation of the plan and noted the need to work faster to recover lost grounds on the work programme.

Speaking on behalf of Pen Prime Consultancy Limited, the company that prepared the draft final report, Dr. Daniel Peverga Dam stated that from the findings, the East-West Road when completed would ease traffic and improve safety of the road among other benefits which will ultimately improve socio-economic development and accessibility within and outside the region.

Deworitshe Patricia,
D (Press & PR),
December 21st, 2021

Akpabio Seeks UN intervention in malaria vaccine production

The Honourable Minister, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, CON, has made a passionate appeal to the United Nations (UN) to consider giving the necessary support in the production of Malaria Vaccine to save millions of people that are dying from malaria related diseases every year in the Sub-Sahara region of Africa.

The Minister made this statement when the Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof. Tijjani Bande paid him a courtesy visit on Thursday 16th December, 2021, in his office in Abuja.

Sen. Akpabio who explained that the Sub-Sahara region of the continent has long been tagged as the ‘white man’s grave yard’ due to the devastating effect of malaria disease has been neglected for the last fifty years of medical advancement while Covid-19 have attracted so much attention.

According to the former minority leader, “healthcare delivery system is a major issue within the region and in Africa, Malaria kills millions of people every year more than Covid-19, adding that the Ministry would be very glad to partner the UN in the area of Climate change, Environmental issues, Social inclusion, Empowerment programmes and education to reduce the effect of underdevelopment occasioned by continuous oil exploration and degradation in the region”.

Sen. Akpabio further stated that Federal Government is carrying out the Ogoni clean-up with the support of the IOC’s and international community, he, therefore, appealed to the UN for intervention in other areas of the region affected by oil exploration which has experienced oil spillage.

In his response, the Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof. Tijjani Bande, OFR, stated that Nigeria is a great country and what happens in the Niger Delta region is a reflection of what happens in Nigeria as a whole. He noted that issues relating to the region are crucial and that the region should be provided with adequate health facilities, schools, empowerment programmes for youths and equally tackle environmental pollution as result of oil exploration.

He reiterated that empowering the youths is planning for the future as it gives them hope and reduced insecurity.

In his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, MNDA, Dr. Babayo Ardo informed the UN delegates that the Ministry has lived up to expectation with Sen. Akpabio at the helm of affairs through visible developmental strides such as provision of infrastructures, high impact social programmes, empowerment of youths and women.

Deworitshe Patricia
D (Press & PR)
December 16, 2021

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