The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, is all but set for the grand Commissioning of one of its star projects, the 600-metre bridge in Ibeno, Akwa Ibom State.To facilitate the process, the Managing Director of the Commission, (Barr) Bassey Dan-Abia, inspected the long-span bridge across the Qua Iboe River in the company of Engr. Etim Inyang Jnr, who represents Akwa Ibom State on the Governing Board of the Commission.
Barr. Bassey Dan- Abia said that it was the good fortune for the new NDDC board to deliver the mega-bridge, and the 6.8-kilometre Iko-Atabrikang-Opolom-IwuoAchang Road. He expressed satisfaction with the `quality of the road and the long-span bridge. “I am particularly impressed by the fact that it was done by an indigenous contractor,” .
The Managing Director noted that the road and bridge had provided a major link for several communities, that were hitherto locked up in swampy terrain. He said that to get the full benefit of the mega-project, “we need to embark on the second phase which will take off a lot of load from the Eket – Ikot-Abasi Road. If it was not provided for in the 2013 budget of the Commission, we will see what can be done about it.”
The supervising engineer for the project, Mr. Etim Eyoette, had earlier informed the Managing Director that the design for the second phase had already been done, and that work was progressing at another 36-kilometre Ikoro-Ntafra-Opolom road with 8 bridges to link up the Ibeno bridge after the second phase would have been completed. According to him, the road would shorten the distance for those travelling from Ibeno to Port Harcourt, as they would no longer need to pass through Eket.
A representative of the Ibeno community, Hon. Enyima Inyang, said that they were delighted that the first phase of the project had been completed. He, however, appealed to the NDDC to quickly initiate action towards extending the road to reach other communities in the area.
Earlier Members of the Senate Committee on the Niger Delta had inspected the bridge and expressed satisfaction with the quality of job done by the contractor. Senator James Manager, chairman of the committee said it was one project which he would want President Jonathan to Commission as soon as possible.
He said: “We, the Senators are happy and we have seen that the communities around here are happy too. This is a landmark project and it is very unique.”
The project Engr. of Viche Nigeria Ltd Engr. Samuel Eruohi, the indigenous Contractor that executed the project assured the NDDC Chief Executive Officer, that they had completed their assignment and ready to hand over the project to NDDC.
The Ibeno Bridge is the longest built by a Nigerian contractor in the Niger Delta Region.