Nembe Se Congress has commended efforts by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to enlist partners for the construction of the Nembe-Brass Road, in Beyelsa State.
Vice chairman of the Congress, Dr. Ebinyo Young-Dede, made the commendation when he led a delegation of Nembe leaders of thought to pay a courtesy visit to the NDDC Acting Managing Director, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, at the Commission's headquarters in Port Harcourt.
He said that they were impressed by the zeal and enthusiasm shown by Mrs. Semenitari in pushing for the completion of the Ogbia-Nembe Road and the commencement of work on the Nembe-Brass section. The road to Brass, he said, was conceived in 1973 by then Rivers State military administration led by King Alfred Diette-Spiff.
Dr. Young-Dede said they were at NDDC to discuss details of making the Nembe-Brass Road project a reality, stating that benefits from such a project were enormous and were bound to stimulate development in the remotest parts of the Niger Delta region.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer said that having completed the Ogbia-Nembe Road, the next logical thing to do was to focus on the Nembe-Brass axis. She detailed the enormous efforts and contributions made by the NDDC and other stakeholders towards building the road.
Mrs. Semenitari said: “I realised the critical nature of that road, so I inspected the project and did what was necessary to get it completed. We needed to do a few things to get the project ready for commissioning. There were two difficult portions which could not be asphalted because those spots needed to stabilize. For those two areas, the contractor had to wait for the soil to stabilize because of the nature of the terrain. Eventually one of them was good to go and they have asphalted that.
“Considerable work was done by the NDDC to get that road completed. Given efforts put into the project, we also felt that there was need to work on the approach road from Ogbia. You cannot Commission such a good road when the approach to it is in bad shape. So, we approved work on the approach road and some other spurs as well, because our objective was to develop all the communities in the area.”
The NDDC boss said that the Commission was disappointed to learn that some of the communities were against the commissioning of the Ogbia-Nembe Road and expressed regrets that the unfortunate development came after arrangements had been concluded for the commissioning.
Mrs. Semenitari acknowledged the right of the communities to accept or reject projects, adding that the NDDC was there to serve the communities, adding: “We wanted to use the commissioning to draw national attention to that axis and to also help make a strong case to other development partners.” She disclosed that the Commission had already started discussions with the Bayelsa State government, Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, and other potential partners for the construction of the Nembe-Brass Road.
“It would have been a good opportunity to get the partners to understand why the Nembe-Brass road is very important to the people,” she said. “But since the communities have said that we should not commission the Ogbia-Nembe section, the prospects of making a case for the second phase may be hampered.”