With the commencement of gradual relocation of offices of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) from the 167 Aba Road, Port Harcourt to the newly built multi-million naira headquarters, the end is here for the regime of spending over N200 million annually on rented property which housed the commission’s head office.
BIGPEN understands that NDDC, for the past 23 years, has been spending over N200 million annually on rented property which housed the commission’s head office.
The building of the 12 floor-storey edifice which had gulped billions of naira from NDDC had suffered delays since it was started by the defunct Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission, OMPADEC, in 1994.
Recall that Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, had last year during the inauguration of the Presidential Monitoring Committee on NDDC, regretted why the head office building started since 1996 could not be completed till date.
An indigenous firm, Rodnab Construction Company Limited which is said to be the main contractor handling the project was recently paid N3billion (Three Billion Naira) to speed up the project execution. It was not clear if that sum was part of the initial lump sum budgeted for the project. The NDDC headquarter building was awarded to Rodnab Construction Limited for N16.2billion.
The project was to be commissioned in March but later moved to April on account of the ravaging novel Coronavirus pandemic, (COVID-19), which according to the Ag. Executive Director, Projects, Dr. Cairo Ojuogboh had delayed the importation of essential components needed by the main contractors handling the project.
However, it was learnt that the commission commenced movement from its temporary site to the new edifice on Thursday.
A source said that the offices of the Managing Director and Executive Director, Projects of the NDDC effectively relocated from 167 Aba Road, Port Harcourt to the nearly completed headquarters building located at Eastern Bypass, Port Harcourt.
The Ag. Managing Director/CEO of the commission, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei and Ag. Executive Director, Projects, Dr. Cairo Ojuogboh, on Thursday resumed work at the new headquarters two weeks after the shut down of the commission for COVID-19 scare.
This marks the first stage of the phased movement of the Commission’s operations to its new headquarters barely few days after President Muhammadu Buhari, in his Democracy Day address, stated that the head office of the NDDC will be commissioned soon.
Prof. Pondei addressing journalists shortly after getting a feel of his new office said, “I want to give all the credit to Mr. President Muhammadu Buhari for directing the Honourable Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to ensure that history be made on a day like this.
“It is also important for us to acknowledge the tireless effort of our dear departed colleague, Chief Ibanga Bassey Etang, the former EDFA, who spent a lot of time here, to ensure we completed this edifice.
“I want also to give credit to everyone who has worked in the past to make this dream come true. This is a headquarters anyone should be proud of, because it provides us with a better environment to meet the core mandate that NDDC was set up to achieve,” Prof. Pondei said.
On his own part, the Executive Director, Projects (EDP), Dr. Cairo Ojougboh said; “It gladdens my heart that twenty-five years after its foundation laying ceremony, we were able to sing the National Anthem on the 12th floor of this very important headquarters. I thank God for this moment.”