The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has assured the people of Ibeno Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom State that work on the second phase of Iko-Atabrikang-Opolom-Iwuoachang Road, an extension from the 600-metre Ibeno Bridge, will be accelerated to ensure its completion.
Speaking during the inspection of the road and bridge project, the NDDC Managing Director, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, who was accompanied by the Executive Director, Projects, Sir Victor Antai, and other directors, said that it was necessary to assess the status of the project which had suffered some setbacks.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer said that the first phase, a 6-kilometre road and 600-metre bridge across the Qua Iboe River, had been completed and would be commissioned soon.
He assured the Ibeno people that the NDDC would give them the special attention that they deserved as a major contributor to the oil wealth of the nation, noting: “This project is strategic and important to NDDC, considering that Ibeno is the operational base of ExxonMobil which is the second largest producer of crude oil in Nigeria after Shell.”
“We recognise the importance of Eket and Ibeno local governments to the Federal Government, especially as they constitute the major oil-producing hub of the state.”
Ogbuku appealed to the youths in Ibeno to be peaceful and cooperate with the contractor handling the project to ensure that the job was completed without delay. “We have to support each other to ensure a successful completion of the project,” he said.
He explained that the completed Ibeno Bridge was not commissioned because NDDC wanted to see that the road connected all the intended inland communities.
Earlier in his remarks, the Paramount Ruler of Ibeno, Dr. Effiong Bassey Achianga, appealed to the NDDC to endeavour to complete all its projects in the area for the benefit of the oil-producing communities.
The traditional ruler, who was represented by the village head of Iwuoachang Community, Chief Daniel Abia, commended the NDDC for completing the Ibeno Bridge and called for more efforts to complete the second phase of the project.
He stated; “The NDDC has made it possible for us to interact with our kith and kin in the adjoining communities. This was not possible in the past because the river stood between us.”
The former Chairman of Ibeno Local Government Council, Chief Williams Mkpa, said that people in the area were delighted that work was going to resume on the second phase of the Iko-Atabrikang-Opolom-Iwuoachang Road.
He said that the ultimate aim would be to connect communities in two Local Government Areas of Akwa Ibom State that had all this while been separated by the Qua Iboe River. “Our hope is that the road and the bridge would connect Iko, Rikang, Akata, Opolom, Ikot-Enwang, Okoroutip and Iwoachang communities with about 24 others. If that happens, it would have linked all the communities to modernity, while enhancing our socio-economic fortunes,” he said.