NDDC, Viche Resources Connect Ibeno Communities with Arch Bridge

Mary Nnah

In a heartwarming display of progress and development, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Viche Resources Limited recently linked six communities in Ibeno, Akwa Ibom State, with a 7.4-kilometer road and a 600-meter bridge. The project, which was commissioned and flagged off on May 28, is a testament to the commitment of the Federal Government to improve the lives of Nigerians in the region.

In the heart of Ibeno, Akwa Ibom State, a small community was once divided by the Qua Iboe River and mangrove. For years, the people of Iwuochang and surrounding villages struggled to access necessities like healthcare, education, and economic opportunities. The treacherous terrain made it difficult for residents to connect with the rest of the world, leaving them feeling isolated and forgotten.

But on a fateful day in May, the tide of fate changed. The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Viche Resources Limited joined forces to commission a 7.4-kilometer road and a 600-meter bridge, connecting six communities and transforming the lives of thousands.

The community was abuzz with activity, as residents from all walks of life gathered to celebrate this momentous occasion.

To underscore the great significance of the project, President Bola Tinubu scheduled a visit to Ibeno on Tuesday, May 28 as part of his official duties. He wanted to perform these assignments in person as part of his Renewed Hope Agenda to the people of the Niger Delta region in general and Akwa Ibom State in particular. However, the entire week was loaded with very many equally valuable appearances for him all over the country. The following day, May 29 marked the momentous event of transiting power back to a civilian administration.

Iwuochang community was in a festive mood; highlighting all the sounds and colours of the Ibeno people. A full display of their cultural heritage; presenting a mix-match of indigenous masquerades and troupes from other ethnic groups like Ijaw, Igbo and Annang residing in Ibeno was on showcase. 

While the event lasted, a contemporary band of musicians entertained the audience with stimulating sounds of music ranging from gospel, and highlife to afro beats.

Loading the event with a variety of entertainment content turned out to be a good decision as the patience of the crowd was tasked due to the late arrival of Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio who stood in for President Tinubu.

A former Governor of the state and former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Akpabio is familiar with the terrain and the issues at hand.

As the Number Three Citizen, it was a busy day for Akpabio, who earlier presided over a joint session of the National Assembly in Abuja, nonetheless, the honour of representing Mr. President at the commissioning and flag-off these major projects anchored by Viche Resources Limited, a subsidiary of Roudo Nigeria Limited was too much to turn down. 

The Iko-Atabrikang-Akata-Opolom-Okotoutip-Iwuochang Road/Bridge is a showpiece of the NDDC. Since its establishment in 2001, this is the biggest road/bridge it has undertaken. At the commissioning/flag-off, it would not have been wrong to assume that the NDDC had temporarily relocated its headquarters to Iwuochang as the leadership of the intervention agency, led by  Mr. Samuel Ogbuku moved its entire senior, middle and junior management staff from  Port Harcourt 600-metre to join their counterparts in Akwa Ibom State for the commissioning/flag-off.

Another proud stakeholder who came with a retinue of his team was Chief Tony Chukwu, the Chairman/CEO of Roudo, the parent company of Viche Resources Nigeria Limited, the contractor that built the 7.4 km Road and the 600 metre bridge across the Qua Iboe  River and mangrove.

In his entourage was Chief Longers Anyanwu, a longstanding associate in business and politics. Explaining why the Viche team was particularly excited, the Managing Director of Viche, Mr Chukwuma Nwachukwu recalls the challenging prospects in the beginning, “This was not supposed to be achievable It looked impossible, particularly for a Nigerian company.”

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