The Ijaw National leader and Chairman of Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, Chief Edwin Clark, has called on the Federal Government to ensure sustainable funding of the NDDC.
Chief Clark further stated that the commission was still being owed a lot of money by the Federal Government unlike similar bodies such as the recently set up North East Development Commission.
Speaking during the commissioning of the 3.2-kilometre rigid pavement Chief Ambakederemo Road in Kiagbodo, Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State, Clark gave kudos to the NDDC Interim Administrator, Mr Efiong Akwa, whom he described the as a shining light in the Niger Delta.
The Ijaw leader, who was represented by his son, Chief Anthony Clark, remarked that NDDC was expected to be the guiding light for the social and economic development of Nigeria’s oil-rich region.
He however applauded the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, for embarking on projects and programmes that are impacting positively on the lives of the people of the Niger Delta region
He noted that the inauguration of the road, which was preceded by the flag-off of donation of education and essential science equipment in Warri, was part of remarkable achievements recorded by the Interim Administrator in his short period as the Chief Executive Officer of the NDDC.
Clark said: “As you commission this Ambakederemo Road, Kiagbodo, today, I want to assure you that we the communities of Kiagbodo, and our neighbours, will ensure that we play our part, that the road will be well protected for the good of the people.”
He said that a country where different standards exist for similar organisations was not in the collective interest of the country, stating that this was more so when the NDDC was the body responsible for the development of the Niger Delta region.
Clark stated: “A situation where the Federal Government spends so much on roads, while the East-West Road, running from Edo-Delta-Bayelsa-Rivers-Akwa Ibom and Cross River States, is not funded by the Federal Government, and thus remains deplorable, and has become death traps to users, and a waste of time and resources, as commuters go through the horrendous experience of travelling on the road is quite unacceptable.”
In his own remarks, the NDDC Interim Administrator, Mr Akwa, gave credit to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, for galvanising the Commission to deliver on its mandate.
He paid tribute to Chief Edwin Clark, whom he described as a model leader, who was always looking out for the things that would benefit the people of the Niger Delta region. According to him, the Ijaw leader was more interested in projects that would help his community, in particular, and Niger Delta at large.
Akwa commended the youths of Kiagbodo for being very peaceful and providing the enabling environment for the contractor to deliver on the road, which he noted was a link between Burutu Local Government and Ughelli council area.
The NDDC boss commended the contractor for doing a good job and equally thanked the community for appreciating the efforts of the Commission, promising that another road would soon be built in the area. He said: “Because you like good things, good things will follow you.”
Giving details of the project, the Director, NDDC Delta State Office, Engr. Dr Emmanuel Audu-Ohwavborua said that solid infrastructure was the pillar upon which any meaningful economic or social growth of any society rested, noting that the security of any community was enhanced by infrastructural development.
He observed that Kiagbodo community, before the construction of the Chief Ambakederemo Road, was prone to perennial flooding, youth restiveness occasioned by mass poverty and unemployment.
The director said: “Today, the story is different due to the conception and implementation of this very important road, and other interventions (projects and programs) by the NDDC over the years. Economic activities are on the rise, the community is now more peaceful as both young and old are now busy with increased access to their farmlands and other business places.”