Honour Your Funding Obligations to Niger Delta, NDDC Tells IOCs

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The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has appealed to the International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the oil-producing region to honour their financial obligations to the commission as new projects aimed at developing the region are capital- intensive and require consistent funding.

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the interventionist agency, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, made the passionate appeal during a media tour and sensitisation engagement.

Ogbuku said the commission was committed to the completion and commissioning of all ongoing projects across the Niger Delta region.

Addressing senior media officials through a virtual presentation at the NDDC’s region-wide media engagement, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Ogbuku said that the recent inauguration of five mega projects in Abia, Edo, Ondo, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom states was a testimony of the new passion with which the commission was delivering on its mandate.

The NDDC chief executive officer stated that President Bola Tinubu had charged the commission to complete and commission’s signature projects that would impact the lives of Niger Deltans.

Ogbuku stated that the NDDC had so far inaugurated the 132/33kv electricity sub-station at Ode-Erinje in Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo State, to light up five local government areas in the state, as well as the 25.7-kilometre Ogbia-Nembe Road in Bayelsa State, which was executed in partnership with Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).

He said the NDDC also inaugurated the 600-meter Ibeno Bridge and the 6.87-kilometre Iko-Atabrikang-Opolom-IwuoAchang Road, in Ibeno Local Government Area, of Akwa Ibom State, as well as the 9-kilometre Obehie-Oke-Ikpe Road in Ukwa West Local Government Area of Abia State.

Taking the media executives on a virtual tour of NDDC projects, the Executive Director of Projects, Sir Victor Antia, said that the Commission had constructed and rehabilitated 5,141.3 kilometres of roads through swamps and virgin forests. He added that the Commission had also built 42 bridges, thousands of hydraulic structures and 87 jetties across the Niger Delta region.

He said the commission had resumed its Free Healthcare Programme, which caters for the needs of rural communities, as part of the commission’s commitment to enhance healthcare delivery to the people of the region.

In the education sector, he highlighted the Foreign Post-Graduate Scholarship Programme of the commission, noting that 2,323 students in the region had so far benefited from it. He added: “We have commenced the process for the 2024/2025 scholarship programme.”

Speaking earlier, the NDDC Executive Director, Corporate Services, Hon. Ifedayo Abegunde, acknowledged the contributions of the media to the growth of democracy and public accountability.

He said: “Today, NDDC is setting a landmark precedent in its engagement with the Press. This strategic engagement is in line with the new management’s mantra of Transition from Transactions to Transformation (TTT).”

Consequently, the management of NDDC has decided to transition from sectional engagement with the Press to a more elaborate and strategic engagement to solidify our partnership and strengthen our bond with the press.

“The current Governing Board and Management under the able leadership of Chiedu Ebie and Dr. Samuel Ogbuku as Chairman and Managing Director, respectively, is poised on establishing a sustainable partnership with the Press through periodic region-wide media engagement while promoting good journalism within the remit of our mandate as an interventionist agency.

“In the bid to achieve the commission’s vision for the good people of our region, we need the press to tell our impactful stories and communicate our aspirations in the most accurate and effective way. One which has always been to see that people of the Niger Delta live a better life,” he stated.

Speaking at the media event, the President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Eze Anaba, remarked that the NDDC slogan which says: “Transiting from Transaction to Transformation,” was inspiring and forward looking.

Anaba said: “It is reassuring that the NDDC is speaking confidently about its achievements. The promise of a new dawn in NDDC is inspiring and the media will be ready to support the commission in its efforts to transform the Niger Delta region.”

Shell Petroleum Development of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC) and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCo) paid a total of $142.5 million to NDDC last year.

Details provided by the oil major showed that the SPDC paid $112.5 million while SNEPCo remitted $30 million compared to $59.04 million by SPDC and $20.73 by SNEPCo in 2022.

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