The Abalama community in Asari-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State has applauded the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, for executing a sand filling and reclamation project in the area.
Speaking during a pre-commissioning inspection by NDDC officials, the traditional ruler of Abalama, King Atikinson Big Tom Tom, noted that the NDDC had saved the community from perennial erosion and flooding.
The monarch, who spoke through the Community Secretary, Mr. Harry Forsbrey, said that the reclamation project was very important to Abalama people because it had increased their land space. He, however appealed to the NDDC to also award a shore protection contract to ensure that the reclaimed areas were not washed away over time.
Another member of the community and the contractor for the project, Chief Michael West, commended the NDDC for giving his people more land to live on, noting that the area which was previously a mangrove swamp had been sand filled.
He said that the contract, which was awarded in 2014, had been completed with the reclamation of 214, 653 square metres, as well as perimeter containment bund wall for the areas reclaimed. The project, he added, included construction of concrete line drains.
Speaking at the project site, the NDDC Director of Project Management Department, Engr. Julius Tonye-George, restated the resolve of the Commission’s Interim Administrator, Mr. Efiong Akwa, to ensure that all on-going projects across the region were completed and commissioned for the benefit of the people.
The NDDC inspection team led by Tonye-George, as the Chairman of Project Commissioning Committee, included the Director of Rivers State Office, Mr. George Ero; the Director of Community and Rural Development, Dr Prince Alazia, and project engineers.
Tonye-George said that his team was mandated to inspect on-going and completed NDDC projects spread across the nine Niger Delta states to ensure that they were handed over to the benefiting communities.
He stated that as an interventionist agency, the NDDC would endeavor to leave its footprints on communities in the NDDC mandate states, working in collaboration with the state governments.
Tonye-George expressed satisfaction with the performance of the contractor handling the Abalama reclamation project, whom he observed was an indigene of the town, noting that it would assist the community to gain more land after reclaiming what was eaten up by coastline erosion.
A statement issued by Dr Ibitoye Abosede, Director, Corporate Affairs, explained that the inspection team also visited completed internal roads and electricity project in Ogbakiri community in Emuohua Local Government Area.
The team leader described the completed projects as not only commendable but a testimony to the commitment of some local contractors to the objective of delivering quality projects to the people.
The contractor for the Ogbakiri Internal Roads, Hon. Emma Chinda, affirmed that the NDDC had transformed the community and brought it back to life after many years of communal crisis. He remarked: “There was total dilapidation of facilities, including electricity in Ogbakiri before the NDDC intervened and helped us to rebuild our town.”
Chinda thanked the NDDC Interim Administrator for ensuring proper supervision of on-going and completed projects, which, he said, had compelled contractors to sit up and deliver quality projects.