President Muhammadu Buhari has commended the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, as well as the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs for the completion of the 1,050-bed-space ultra-modern hostel at the University of Uyo, UNIUYO, in Akwa Ibom State.
Speaking at the virtual commissioning, which he performed from the Presidential Council Chambers in Abuja, President Buhari said that the NDDC had demonstrated that it could meet the yearnings of the people of the Niger Delta region.
He said: “Let me therefore use this opportunity to commend the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, as well as the management of the NDDC, for proving that we can, as a people and as government, do what is right and proper to improve the living conditions of all Nigerians.”
“About two months ago, I commissioned the Special Protections Unit Base 6 Barracks in Omagwa, Rivers State, built and donated by the Niger Delta Development Commission to the Nigeria Police Force. It was an important milestone in the life of this administration.
“Today, we are here, again, to commission another important project completed by the NDDC in 2021. When I directed the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs to institute a forensic audit of the Commission, after many petitions from, and representations by, major stakeholders in the Niger Delta, I had also directed that all viable projects which had been abandoned, but which would provide positive impact on the lives and livelihoods of the people, were immediately revived and completed.”
President Buhari said that the hostel complex, built and donated to University of Uyo by NDDC, “renews confidence that that forensic audit, which was completed a few months ago, is achieving one of its core objectives. That objective is to rebuild NDDC into an agency that is well equipped and better placed to facilitate sustainable regional development.”
He stated that the Federal Government had invested significantly in the NDDC, stating: “We recognise that this outlay of resources must be justified. And this can be done only with verifiable projects, prudently and efficiently implemented, which will improve the living standards of the people. In the past twelve months, I have begun to see important signs that NDDC is ready to assume its statutory responsibility of addressing the needs of the people it was established to serve.”
Speaking at the occasion, the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, stated that President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region. He noted that the NDDC and Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs are involved in multiple projects to bring succor to the people of the Niger Delta region.
The Minister said: “I am indeed immensely delighted to witness yet another watershed moment in the life of the Niger Delta Development Commission. In the past eight months, beginning with the commissioning, in March, of the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, and then the Muhammadu Buhari Nigeria Police (Special Protection Unit Base 6) Barracks in Omagwa, we have achieved what seemed, not too long ago, an impossible task.”
He said further: “This complex is a metaphor of the overall transformation of the NDDC, under the direction of Mr. President, into an agency worthy of its promise and vision; an agency better equipped to discharge its mandate of facilitating the sustainable development of the Niger Delta into a region that is socially stable, politically peaceful, economically prosperous, and ecologically regenerative.”
In his welcome address, the NDDC Interim Administrator, Dr Efiong Akwa stated the 1,050-bed Students hostel was an aspect of the overall investments of the NDDC. He posited that the NDDC was committed to the development of the human resources of the Niger Delta region, hence the investment in the students’ hostel.
He noted: “Indeed, this hostel project is part of our overall investment in the human capital component of Niger Delta development, to which we are inexorably tied. Besides other infrastructural works in this university, such as the entrance and internal roads, as well as other hostel projects and interventions in institutions in all the states of the region, NDDC continues to invest in the human capacity and the post-graduate scholarship of our youths. The complete development of any society lies in developing both its physical and human infrastructures.”
Akwa declared: “This is the third time, in 2021 alone, that President Muhammadu Buhari will be commissioning an NDDC project. And for us in the Commission this is particularly significant.
“The future looks brighter for the NDDC today. There is a new spirit permeating the Commission’s affairs and how it approaches its mandate of sustainable regional development. It is a spirit, the new NDDC spirit, inspired by Mr. President and fueled by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, which compels greater enthusiasm that we can deliver on our collective promise to the Niger Delta region and our people.”
He advised the university authorities to look into procuring a professional facility administrator to manage the new hostel complex, noting that “as professionals, they would be in the best position and place to ensure that this dream, this enterprise, and this beautiful edifice endures.”
Let me also urge the students who will live here and use the facilities to understand the sacrifices made by all, particularly by government, to provide them with a better living and learning environment.
The UNIUYO Vice Chancellor, Professor Nyaudoh Ndaeyo commended the NDDC and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs for ensuring the completion of the university’s students’ hostel, noting that the project suffered from abandonment for seventeen years before the current management stepped in to remedy the situation.
He remarked: “The issue of accommodation for students in our university has been a perennial problem, particularly with the emergence of the COVID-19/Omicron variant where social and physical distancing protocols need to be enforced. You can imagine our frustration when the hostel was abandoned.”
In his goodwill message, the Chairman of the House Committee on NDDC, Hon. Olubumi Tunji-Ojo, said he was pleased to be part of commissioning of what he described as a magnificent complex.