The Government of Imo State has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to intervene and complete some road projects awarded by the NDDC in Imo State in the past but abandoned by the contractors along the line.
Performing the ceremony at New Executive Council Chamber Government House Owerri on Tuesday, April 26, 2022, Governor Hope Uzodimma expressed satisfaction entering into the pact with the NDDC and regretted that some of the roads were awarded 14 years ago.
Governor Uzodimma identified three of such roads awarded by NDDC but abandoned and which the MOU will take care of to include: Avu/Etekuru/Ohaji/Egbema road; Umudi/Nkwerre road and Imerienwe/Ngor-Okpala/Etche road.
He said the roads were awarded to foreign contractors who abandoned them, citing security reasons, youth restiveness among other reasons they have refused to come back to complete the roads.
Governor Uzodimma said his government, in partnership with NDDC, has decided to source for local contractors who understand the terrain and the environmental challenges of the roads to complete them as soon as possible so as to alleviate the suffering of the people.
The Governor said: “Abandoning those roads has added to security challenges and as soon as they are completed they will add to the economic status of the State and help to open up those areas and help the local farmers to promptly evacuate their farm products and make live more meaningful for the populace.”
He said based on the partnership with the NDDC the local contractors who are tested and trusted have already been mobilized to site and promised to support them with part of the funding and “local logistics to ensure that the enabling environment is there to encourage the contractors to work according to specifications.”
To achieve a win win situation in the pact, Governor Uzodimma assured that “there will be a joint management team of relevant engineers from NDDC and Imo State Government who will constitute a Committee of Project Management that will supervise the projects to ensure that quality and sustainable roads are delivered and guaranteed.”
The Governor added: “The supervising consultants in collaboration with the Project Management Team will be on the toes of the contractors to ensure that they deliver the roads as designed and on time too.”
He thanked NDDC management, the Minister of Niger Delta, Chief Godswill Akpabio and the President Muhammadu Buhari, for giving a nod to his request to get the roads completed in partnership with the NDDC.
Earlier, an excited Interim Administrator/Chief Executive Officer of NDDC, Dr. Effiong Akwa explained that he came with his team to meet with the Governor based on his request for a partnership that will help in the completion of NDDC roads.
Dr. Akwa said the signing of the MOU with the Government of Imo State will go a long way in facilitating the completion of the roads and commended Governor Uzodimma for the initiative.
He specifically thanked the Governor for his concern for his people, his populist-oriented programmes and landmark projects in Imo within a short period in office, noting that Governor Uzodimma has “brought a sense of fulfillment to the expectation of Imo people.”
Speaking at the site of one of the roads – Avu/Etekuru/Ohaji/Egbema road where work is progressing properly, Dr. Akwa informed that the forensic audit of NDDC was instrumental to exposing some of the abandoned projects including roads.
He then noted: “When the Governor showed interest to help NDDC and the people of Imo State to fix the roads we were excited and decided to quickly partner with the Government of Imo State.”
He however urged the people to give the contractors all the support they need to get the project delivered within record time, saying the economic benefit of the road to the people and other road users cannot be underestimated.
Dr. Akwa used the opportunity to commiserate with the State Government on the unfortunate fire incident that took the lives of many people at Abaezi in Ohaji/Egbema weekend and prayed for the repose of their souls.
Highlights of the ceremony was the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding by the State Government represented by Governor Uzodimma and the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Cosmos Iwu and the NDDC represented by the CEO, Dr. Akwa and Director Legal Services, Barr. Stephen Ighoyemu.
The Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prof Placid Njoku, the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Barr. Nnamdi Anyaehie, other Imo State top government officials and management staff of the NDDC witnessed the ceremony.