Many coastal communities in Olero Creek, Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State came alive yesterday (Friday) as the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, inaugurated seven sections of rigid pavement roads covering almost 8 kilometres.
The projects commissioned are Tebu-Gbokoda Road, Tebu Gbokoda-Udo Road and the Udo-Ajamita Road, all in Olero Creek community. The NDDC also commissioned the 3.1-kilometre Irete Road in Sapele and Uloho Avenue Road with drainage in Ughelli.
The ceremonies were performed by an NDDC team which incuded the Managing Director, Mr Nsima Ekere, the Executive Director Projects, Engr. Samuel Adjogbe, the Delta State representative on the NDDC Board, Dr Ogaga Ifowodo, and other directors of the Commission.
Addressing the Olero Creek communities, the NDDC Chief Executive Officer said he was touched by the emotions expressed by the community leaders. He told them: “I share in your joy. When you spoke, I felt your positive emotions. Some of you have not seen vehicular traffic before today. Now, by the special grace of God, it is possible for cars to drive around in your communities.
“We came from Koko, travelling almost one hour by water to get here. On our way, I enjoyed seeing the vegetation and mangrove, but I wondered what life would be like for the people without the necessary facilities and infrastructure.”
Ekere noted that developing communities that could not be accessed by road posed enormous challenges, especially with funding and logistics. He remarked: “Bringing construction materials and equipment to site is a logistic nightmare. The terrain is so difficult that in some areas, the contractor had to excavate for as deep as four metres to remove unsuitable materials before refilling with sharp sand.
“A very serious engineering work has been done here because of the difficult terrain. That is why we feel sad when people don’t factor in the difficult challenges of terrain while talking about the cost of construction in the Niger Delta region. What we spend in building one kilometre of road in this type of community could be used to construct 10 kilometres of road in other parts of the country.”
The NDDC Managing Director, commended the Federal Government and the oil companies that are funding the Commission and urged them to continue to release funds to enable the interventionist agency to live up to its mandate of fast-tracking development in Nigeria’s oil-rich region. “We are appealing to the oil companies to please release the outstanding funds owed NDDC,” Ekere said.
He urged the communities to continue to support the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for making it possible for development projects to be executed in their areas.
A representative of the Olero Creek Community, Mr Eyde Michael, said they were excited by what the NDDC had done for them. “We have not seen much from the oil companies. That is why we remain very grateful to the NDDC,” he remarked.
Eyde appealed to the NDDC to complete other on-going projects in the area, especially the Koko-Ogheye-Escravos Road. He stated that the communities, including those in Koko, had made representations to oil companies operating in the area to partner with the NDDC to ensure the completion of the regional road that would link Delta and Ondo states.
At the commissioning of the Ireto Road in Sapele, the representative of Delta State on the NDDC Board, Dr Ogaga Ifowodo, stressed that the Commission was focusing on completing all on-going projects. “That is why we are devoting 70 per cent of the NDDC budget to the execution of projects,” he said.
Ogaga charged the Kogoro and Ojolu communities to be patient and support the Federal Government and its development agencies in the task of developing the Niger Delta.
The residents of Kogoro and Ojolu communities said in an address signed by their chairman, Mr Ejebena Mowoe that the road would help to improve security in the area, as well as boost business activities for small and medium enterprises.
Similarly, the residents of Uloho Avenue Road in Ughelli, trouped out in their numbers to express appreciation to the NDDC for reconstructing the hitherto dilapidated road.
Speaking on behalf of the residents, Chief Miller Uloho, said that with the high quality road executed by the NDDC, it was obvious that the Commission was now “a reborn agency.”
He declared: “This is a good job. I can testify that it is a well-built road.”