One of the functions of the NDDC according to the NDDC Establishment Act 2000 is to conceive, plan, and implement in accordance with set rules and regulations, projects and programmes for the sustainable development of the Niger Delta in every imaginable field of development best suited for the region.
However, this mandate is to be carried out as an interventionist agency that will in conjunction with other tiers of government accelerate infrastructural and human development in the region.
Citizens Quest in our search for the truth today visited the Niger Delta Regional Specialist Hospital (Cardiovascular and Orthopedic) situated at the old University of Port-Harcourt Teaching Hospital site, on Hospital road in the heart of Port Harcourt City LGA and Nigeria Police Barracks Special Protection Unit-Base 6 Omagwa Along Port-Harcourt/Owerri expressway in Ikwerre LGA all in Rivers State.
These are NDDC mega projects sited in Rivers State contrary to the avalanche of accusations and challenges Gov Wike threw at Prof Nelson Brambaifa Ag. MD NDDC, Mr Tekena Flag-Amachree Rivers State NDDC representative and their team during a courtesy visit to the Brick House (Government House PH) on 24/07/2019.
In his usual rugged style, the governor challenged the Commission to name one (1) mega project done by the NDDC anywhere in Rivers State or the other Niger Delta states since the Commission’s inception nineteen (19) years ago, sixteen (16) of the People’s Democratic Party PDP was in power both at the national and State levels where the governor was a key player.
He went further to say that the only mega project that could have been was the Mother and Child Hospital, a joint project between NDDC and the State Government.
He accused the Commission of duping the State Government in the project funding to the tune of over three hundred million naira and threatened to drag the Commission to court if the money is not refunded within seven (7) days.
Despite the governor’s claims and accusations to the NDDC as per mega projects, CQ can name (3) mega projects in Rivers-State.
1. Niger Delta Regional Specialist Hospital (Cardiovascular), status 90% complete by CQ assessment.
2. Niger Delta Regional Specialist Hospital (Orthopedic), status 90%complete by CQ assessment.
3. Nigeria Police Barracks Special Protection Unit-Base 6 situated in Omagwa along Port Harcourt/Owerri expressway. Status 95% complete by CQ assessment.
The CSO of these mega hospital projects, Mr Collins who spoke with the CQ team, told us that the project has been in place since 2012. He prayed that the Commission will release funds to the contractors to mobilize back to site and complete the project.
He opined that the project when completed will create employment opportunities for the Niger Delta Youth, curb crimes and make cardio and orthopedic healthcare accessible to those who need it and are mostly taken outside the state/country in search of specialist healthcare. In addition, Chief Oby Ndukwe the visionary of CQ bemoaned the state of the abandoned facility which was totally covered in *soot* and called on the state government and all responsible stakeholders in the health and environment sector to address the source of the soot emanating from local refineries amongst other possible causes of this hazardous air pollution.
Mrs Love, a resident and petty trader also spoke to CQ and asked the agency responsible for the project to expedite action to finish the project so she can be employed to work in the hospital.
At the Police Barracks in Omagwa, a source who preferred to be anonymous told the CQ team that the project has been 95% complete since 2015 and asked the Commission to do the needful to finish and handover the project as the Nigeria Police are eager to take over the world class police facility and put it to good use.
It is also worthy of note that the presence of the Police in that area will go a long way to curb crime and guarantee the needed security for the citizens there.
The NDDC can do better in delivering sustainable development to the Niger Delta region given the enabling environment void of hostilities from state governments and stakeholders. The frequent changes in the Board and Management by the Presidency is also a limiting factor to the Commission’s performance.
“Government is a continuum and should be allowed to function as such in order to deliver maximum dividends to the populace”.