The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has assured that it will intervene immediately to restore the failed sections of the Benin-Warri highway to reduce the sufferings of road users.
Addressing newsmen after an inspection of failed portions of the road on Tuesday, the NDDC Acting Executive Director Projects, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, stated that emergency repairs on the collapsed sections would be completed before Christmas.
Dr. Cairo Ojougboh was accompanied by the NDDC Director Project Monitoring and Supervision, Engr Dr Emmanuel Audu-Ohwavborua, the Acting Director Utilities, Infrastructural Development and Waterways, Engr Fredrick Ogbeide, and some NDDC engineers.
Ojougboh noted that the Benin-Warri Road belonged to the Federal Government and was being managed by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.
According to him, “NDDC is already in contact with the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN, on the need to intervene in rehabilitating the road.”
He said: “Christmas is coming and the traffic on the road is huge. We must make sure that our people will travel without pains during the yuletide period. We will quickly put things together and intervene properly to restore the failed portions of the road.”
Ojougboh assured that in a very short time, a competent company would be engaged by the NDDC to address the challenge at the Benin-Warri highway. He stated: “We will immediately get a competent construction company to carry out a survey and scope the project to enable us take the necessary actions. We will ensure that everything is done in accordance with international best practice.”
The NDDC Acting Executive Director Projects remarked that even though the Benin-Warri Road qualified for emergency intervention, the execution of the project must follow due process, stating: “The Interim Management Committee will follow due process and obey all relevant laws in its contractual obligations. We must work according to the dictates and directives of the Federal Government and President Muhammadu Buhari.”
Ojougboh said that the Interim Management Committee had a clear mandate to put the NDDC back on track and strengthen it to work for the rapid development of the Niger Delta region.
He stated that the NDDC would complete all abandoned projects, especially the landmark regional projects. “We are going to concentrate on these big ticket projects and complete them as soon as possible, so that Nigerians will appreciate what the NDDC is all about. We want to change the face of the NDDC for good.”
“That does not mean that the NDDC is going to go on a jamboree of emergency projects. Never! Today’s NDDC is a new entity that is fully conscious of its responsibilities to the people of the Niger Delta. We are not going to embark on new projects without addressing the ones that were awarded over the years.”
“We want to go back and complete legacy projects that were awarded many years ago. Some projects had been abandoned for the past 15 years. We will complete them. The previous practice of awarding contracts without properly funding them would no longer continue. We are here to make Niger Deltans and President Buhari proud.”
Ojougboh thanked President Buhari for giving the People of the Niger Delta the opportunity to see the light now shining in the region, noting that President Buhari had insisted that every kobo spent on any project in the Niger Delta must be properly accounted for.