President Muhammadu Buhari has commissioned the headquarters of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in Port Harcourt, Rivers state capital — 25 years after commencement.
The building of the N16 billion complex started in 1996 but according to Godswill Akpabio, minister of Niger Delta affairs, the project witnessed a slow pace of work until 2019 when Buhari showed commitment to its completion.
Buhari joined the commissioning ceremony virtually from the council chamber of the state house in Abuja on Thursday.
He commended Akpabio for his “steadfastness in ending many years of renting by the commission, and the attendant profligacy”.
The president said the land was acquired by the Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC) in 1996 and was abandoned after series of design amendments.
“In 2015, as part of our administration’s cardinal objectives to kill corruption, some critical reforms were embarked upon, part of which was a holistic reform of the NDDC for greater service delivery for the people of the region,” Buhari said.
“To achieve this, I reassigned the supervision of the NDDC to the Hon. Minister of Niger Delta Affairs for administrative efficiency. Second, was the appointment of Forensic Auditors to review the operations of the Commission from inception to 2019 and to ensure that the appropriations made to the NDDC are commensurate with what is on the ground.
“I, therefore, use this opportunity to commend the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, for providing the required leadership that saw to the completion of this edifice.
“Today, we are handing over to the people of Niger Delta, a befitting head office complex for present and future use. Consequently, huge yearly rentals would now be saved and deployed to other areas of need in the region.
“I commend the management and staff of the NDDC for staying the course and keying into the Reform Agenda of our Administration. I am particularly pleased to note the cordial relationship between the NDDC and the National Assembly and hope that this relationship will be strengthened further for the benefit of the people of the Niger Delta region.”
In his remarks, Akpabio noted that the completion of the 13-floor building signals the president’s commitment to the development of the oil-producing region.
“You will be remembered by this gesture, and generations will never forget you,’’ Akpabio said.
The minister urged leaders, traditional rulers and youths in the region to support Buhari’s administration so that it would complete most of the projects abandoned by previous administrations.