Following the recent approval of N16 billion by the Federal Executive Council, FEC, for the completion of permanent headquarters of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, efforts are being made to move into the new head office next year.
The NDDC Managing Director, Mr Nsima Ekere, who announced this during the 17th Anniversary and Annual Thanksgiving Service of the Commission at the Dappa Biriye corporate headquarters, assured the staff that the 2018 event will take place at the new office located at the Eastern bye-pass, Port Harcourt.
He said that the 12-floor new head office complex was one of the legacies the current NDDC Board and Management would leave behind at the end of its tenure. He expressed delight at the recent approval of funds by the Federal Executive Council for the completion of the project, which he regretted had suffered delays since it was started by the defunct Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission, OMPADEC, in 1994.
The Minister of Niger Delta, Pastor Usani Uguru, had told newsmen that the approval had become necessary because of the huge sum of money being spent on rented buildings by the commission.
“Council has given approval for the completion of the headquarters of the NDDC. This project has taken effect from the date of initiation for more than three years and the rentals for the present occupation is in the neighbourhood of N2 billion within a period of about 12 to 13 years and we find this uneconomical. And so, it is better and safer to have the headquarters building concluded at once so that the savings from the rentals can accrue to some other services.
Ekere said that the NDDC needed to thank God for the new headquarters as well as for other blessings. He declared: “We must sustain the annual thanksgiving service because we have many things that we need to be thankful to God.” He stated that efforts were being made to build human capital in the region, adding: “we have signed collaboration agreements that will help us to achieve this.”
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer noted that in the past one year, the Commission had entered into several partnerships, including the one with the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN, to help provide employment for the youths.
He said that the NDDC signed a tripartite agreement for the establishment of the first ever enterprise innovation and growth hub in Nigeria, stating that the Commission was partnering with SMEDAN and Builders Hub Impact Investment Programme, BHIIP for this purpose.
According to the NDDC Managing Director, “this is a new approach to addressing the need to train our youths. We want to turn them into entrepreneurs that will create jobs and help in checking restiveness in the Niger Delta region.
“It is very important that we do things that are sustainable. Thus, we will not relent in taking measures that will create job opportunities for our youths. Coming to demonstrate at the gates of the NDDC is no longer profitable, as we are now sticking with the policy of not negotiating with agitators, especially those that are sponsored. We need to discourage hooliganism and rascality.”
Ekere said that the Commission was also in partnership with the Nigerian Export-Import Bank, NEXIM, to set up a N5 billion development fund, where both parties would contribute N2.5 billion each. He said that the fund would be used to accelerate SMEs and Agricultural development in the region.
He stated: “The partnership with NEXIM Bank is meant to develop the agricultural sector by boosting the entire value chain from training to planting, processing and provision of funds for setting up agricultural enterprises. We want to create an export initiative in the agricultural sector to help in the diversification of the nation’s economy.”
As part of the efforts to build human capacity in the Niger Delta, Ekere said that the Commission recently met the Prime Minister of Sao Tome and Principe, to discuss tapping into their excess internet bandwidth. He observed: “Sao Tome and Principe is just 30 minutes away from Port Harcourt, so we want to tap into their excess bandwidth for the benefit of the Niger Delta people.”
The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mr Nsima Ekere, (middle) speaking during the 17th Anniversary and Annual Thanksgiving Service at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt. On his left is the NDDC Executive Director Projects, Engr. Samuel Adjogbe, while Mrs Iyingi Numbere is on his right.
Amaka Agbu, Port Harcourt.