President Muhammadu Buhari will on Thursday inaugurate the N16 billion newly-completed office complex of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) which work started in 1996.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Godswill Akpabio, announced this while briefing newsmen in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.
Akpabio said that the building which started in 1996 witnessed slow pace of work until 2019 when President Buhari committed to its completion.
“The road to completion of the over N16 billion NDDC office edifice started when I visited the building in 2019 and learnt that the project commenced 25 years ago in 1996.
“After the visit, I briefed President Buhari and told him that we can make the building the focal achievement in his effort to reposition NDDC.
“Immediately, President Buhari graciously approved and work commenced on the building as part of his commitment and passion to the people of Niger Delta.
“The completion and inauguration of the building on Thursday shows that government can work only if it has the right determination and focus,” he said.
Akpabio said that although the building had been completed he would still meet with the Federal Executive Council to approve contract for the furnishing of the entire office space.
He berated past administration and NDDC boards who rather than focus on completion of the office building preferred to pay N300 million yearly to rent its old office.
He said that for over 15 years that NDDC’s old office was not connected to the National Grid (public electricity) but preferred to buy diesel to power its generators.
“Rather than connect the old NDDC building to the national grid, some people preferred to award contracts for supply of diesel.
“We discovered that all that was needed to connect the building to the national grid was a mere N16 million. In the finance department alone, you need 26 signatures to pay a single contractor, and sometimes it took five to six years for contractors to get their money.
“We cannot allow such to continue, and so, we are making sure that money coming into NDDC must be used to develop the Niger Delta as President Buhari directed,” he added.