Stakeholders Demand Commencement of NDDC Project HOPE

Stakeholders Demand Commencement of NDDC Project HOPE

Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

The Forum of Youth Leaders and Stakeholders of the Niger Delta Region have demanded for the commencement of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) project HOPE, aimed at empowering the youths and attracting development to the region.

Speaking at a conference in Port Harcourt, yesterday, where they expressed dismay over the delay in commencement of the project introduced last year by the Consultant, Blessing Fubara, the group stated that detractors are allegedly determined to end the project even before its commencement. Speaking on behalf of the group, Adokiye Muyitab, noted that the project will create over 10,000 jobs across the nine states of the nation, stressing that delaying of commencement will continue to hamper development in the region.

Commending the effort of the Managing Director of the NDDC, Dr Samuel Ogbuku, in ensuring speedy recovery and development in the region, Muyitab said the process of the implementation of the project is slow.

 “This press conference is being organised by youth leaders and critical stakeholders over the issues bothering on the implementation of the HOPE Project in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)”.

According to Muyitab “We are hopeful upon the flagged-off and commissioning of the HOPE Project, that the managing director and the full management of the board in September 2023, with the mandate of creating 10,000 employment and other sustainable environment opportunities for the youths of the Niger Delta region.

“We have monitored the consultant and how he and his team have been running and implementing this project, using the online procedure that encourages merit without lobbying and it is working.

“Recently, we have observed with dismay the process of implementation is suddenly slow when various communities have already donated lands as their equity to ensure the swift execution of the whole project and executive of factories in the respective communities across the nine states of the region.”

The group said they are not comfortable with the pace in the implementation of the project, demanding “The MD and the management board to look inward and remove every obstacle in terms of management bureaucracy that may tend to delay or frustrate the smooth implementation of the whole project in line with the original blueprint as presented during the commissioning of the project.”

He said: “It is most unfortunate that at this time youths did lack the capacity to handle contract when such opportunities comes. Documentation and finance will pose a challenge that will see you lose a rare privilege of being a reputable contractor. Hence, jobs are being sold out, sublet and they run away from the young people who are supposed to be entrepreneurs in Niger Delta.”

The group further expressed the belief that the project will address all of the abnormalities and empower people in the Niger Delta region to compete amongst the best in Nigeria and abroad.

They warned that “The Niger Delta leaders and stakeholders will not sit down and watch anybody no matter how highly placed, to thwart the effort of the board and consultant to achieve the full implementation of the whole project, as we shall take up both legal and other means to see that this project and other valuable policies and programmes of the NDDC are full and implemented to the later.”

Speaking with THISDAY in an interview at the conference, Alfred Etuk, a one-time Special Adviser on Youth in NDDC, said: “This is one time that the NDDC wants to get it right. There has been the old pattern where you see the bureaucracy that will want to take over the day, trying to hamper any laudable project or activities that wants to surface in the Niger Delta region.”

Etuk added:”From what we are gathering, there are certain elements trying to stop this project, bringing in some unnecessary arguments. The project is self explanatory because had probe the consultant, we have spoken to him, followed him and seen things visibly.

“We have seen evidence of foreign partnership. NDDC MD traveled with the consultant to seal off the contract deal, but till now we don’t know what is happening, why they have not kick started the project.”

He therefore, demanded that “whoever that is trying to stop this project should stop. If you look at the nation today, our youths are peace loving people. The country with all the economic torture, people are agitating, there are alot protest everywhere, but the Niger Delta area is being calm, because we have chosen to queue into this project HOPE.

“The MD and his management team have a very good intention, but we really did not know why this project is delaying. So the youths are demanding that this thing should kick start so to create employment, it will stop restiveness in the region, brings development in the region.”

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