Group tackles NDDC for commissioning 11-year-old bridge in Akwa Ibom

Eket Federal Constituency Media Forum has knocked the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, for listing and inaugurating a bridge executed and completed 11 years ago in Akwa Ibom State.

Recall that the NDDC had last week inaugurated the Phase one of the 6km Iko-Atabrikang-Akata-Opulom-Ikot Inwang-Okoroutip-Iwochang road and 600m Bridge, with President Bola Tinubu represented by Senate President Godswill Akpabio.

Reacting, the group in a statement on Tuesday wondered why a project initiated in 2003 with phase one completed in 2013, was repainted in 2024 and commissioned amid fanfare as a new project “when the people were actually expecting to hear the progress of work on the second phase of the project.”

The chairman, Comrade Itoro Etti, in the statement explained that the Agency in 2013, gave a cogent excuse for the delay in the commissioning of the project, which according to it was to complete the Phase two stage of the project.

He said, “In several instances, the commission explained that the cause of the delay in commissioning the project is due to its intention to complete Phase two.

“By this, it implied that the completed portion cannot be commissioned for use until phase two is completed.

“The back and forth kept dragging on with a glimmer of hope as the second phase was eventually flagged off and work commenced, though very sluggishly in 2015. This level of development was widely reported in the media at various levels.”

The group described Akwa Ibom as the goose that lay the golden eggs in the Niger Delta, regretting why the NDDC has not returned commensurate projects to the state.

He observed that in other parts of the Niger Delta, massive projects like schools, serious roads and bridges, power projects and healthcare facilities were being executed and churned out yearly, while “old projects are repainted and inaugurated in Akwa Ibom.”

“This is irrespective of the fact that the State contributes the highest allocation to the intervention agency.

“Apart from the 600m bridge and the Hostels in UNIUYO Teaching Hospital which were embarked upon by the NDDC in 2006, we challenge NDDC to show any major project it has initiated in Akwa Ibom in the past 9 years.

“As indigenes, affected by the environmental impact of oil exploration and exploitation in our backyard, we find it rather offensive that the commission is playing politics with developmental projects for the ‘goose that lays the golden egg’.

“To avoid another scenario where NDDC embarrasses itself by going to inaugurate an already existing project, we challenge the commission to publish a list of ongoing projects under its watch.

“We fear that if it took 10 years to initiate the project and complete a small part of it and another 11 years to finally commission the completed portion, it might as well take another 20 to 30 years to fully complete the project.

“When leaders reduce the plights, hardship, and daily sufferings of the people to mere chess, then such insensitivity must be rebuked and prevented,” the group said.

It urged the agency to be sincere in projects allotted to the Federal Constituency, which it claims sits on top of 40% of oil and gas reserves of the country and deserved special treatment from the NDDC and other federal agencies.

Group tackles NDDC for commissioning 11-year-old bridge in Akwa Ibom

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