President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday described the inauguration of the new headquarters building of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as an important milestone in his administration’s effort to reposition the Commission for the overall development of the Niger Delta region.
Speaking at the virtual commissioning of the new headquarters complex at the Marine Base, Port Harcourt, President Buhari, observed that the new headquarters building was initiated by the defunct Oil Minerals Producing Areas Development Commission, OMPADEC, in 1996.
Buhari said: “In 2015, as part of my administration’s objectives, we started a holistic reform of the NDDC for greater service delivery for the people of the region. To achieve this goal, I reassigned the supervision of the NDDC to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs for administrative efficiency.
“Second, was the appointment of Forensic Auditors to review the operations of the NDDC from inception to 2019 to ensure that appropriations made to the NDDC are commensurate with what is on ground.”
The President commended the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, for providing the required leadership that saw to the completion of the office complex, noting that money spent on rent would now be saved and deployed to other areas of needs to the region.
Buhari said: “I commend the management and staff of the NDDC for staying on course and keying into the development agenda of my administration. I am particularly pleased to note the cordial relationship between the NDDC and the National Assembly and hope that this relationship will be strengthened for the benefits of the people of the Niger Delta region.”
Speaking earlier, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, said that he was the first minister to visit the new headquarters when it was under construction.
He noted that for over 15 years the old headquarters on Aba Road was not connected to the national grid and thanked the President for making it possible for this anomaly to be halted.
Akpabio declared: “The President deserves a big reward for showing love to the people of the Niger Delta. I also thank the Interim Administrator and the former Managing Directors of the NDDC for their efforts to see to the completion of the new headquarters.”
In his welcome address, the NDDC Interim Administrator, Mr Efiong Akwa, commended President Buhari, the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs and members of the defunct Interim Management Committee for a job well done.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer thanked the President for reassigning of NDDC to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, stating that the office complex stood as a monument to what Niger Delta people stood for, as “a people who are strong and resolute.”
“It is noteworthy to observe that President Buhari, in a demonstration of the remarkable political will, initiated three major policies that impacted positively on the speedy completion of this project.”
First was the re-assignment of the supervision of the NDDC to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs. Then second, was the appointment of forensic auditors to review the activities of the Commission form inception up to the year 2019. With the forensic audit exercise, it can no longer be business as usual in the Commission.
Third was the policy direction for the completion of all abandoned projects which have positive impact on the people. The completion of this edifice is, therefore, a direct consequence of Mr President’s focused policy direction.”
I specially commend the Governor of Rivers State and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs who turned Mr. President’s directive into completion of the project.
Speaking on behalf of the governors of the nine Niger Delta states, the Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinnma, expressed gratitude to President Buhari for the realisation of the new headquarters.
He said that credit must be given to President Buhari for making the project a reality, stating: “With the completion of the new headquarters, the NDDC will stop the money being wasted on rents and channel it to more productive ventures.
The governor commended President Buhari for setting up a forensic audit and appointing an Interim Administrator to manage the NDDC until the end of the forensic audit.
In his goodwill message, the Amayanabo of Twon-Brass, King Alfred Diete-Spiff, said he was pleased to be part of commissioning of what he described as a magnificent complex. “This is the right step in the right direction, we the chiefs and elders of the Niger Delta stand behind the President and the leadership of the NDDC,”