Elders Council Urges NDDC to Tackle Flood in Bayelsa
The Bayelsa Elders Council has urged the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to collaborate with other development agencies and state governments to find a lasting solution to the perennial flood ravaging the Niger Delta region.
Chairman of the Council and former Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha Jonah (Rtd) made the call during an interactive meeting with the NDDC Managing Director, Dr Samuel Ogbuku, in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
He said that the Elders Council, mostly traditional rulers, had commissioned a study on how to tackle the recurrent flood in the state, noting that the report of the study was ready and waiting for implementation.
The elders Council hailed President Bola Tinubu’s retention of Dr Ogbuku as the NDDC Chief Executive Officer and called for better funding for the Commission. According to Gboribiogha Jonah, NDDC was contending with funding challenges because of outstanding debts by International Oil Companies, IOCs, and the Federal Government.
He appealed to the defaulting oil companies to meet their statutory obligations to the Commission to enable it deliver on its mandate to fast-track the development of the Niger Delta region.
Responding, the NDDC Managing Director assured the elders that the Commission was already taking measures to mitigate the effects of flood in the region, stating: “We will build camp sites in Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers states as a temporary measure while a dam would be the permanent solution.”
Ogbuku said that a consultant had been engaged to design the proposed dam, noting that it would enable the NDDC to approach development partners and the Federal Government to agree on execution and participation levels.
He observed: “The beauty of the dam scheme is that it would be a disaster-to-asset project because whereas flood is a disaster, a dam is an asset that would generate power.
Ogbuku recalled that NDDC carried out emergency repairs on the flood-ravaged sections of the East-West Road at Ahoada and Mbiama in Rivers State, as well as Patani in Delta State in 2022, noting that that intervention restored the link between Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta states.
To address the challenges of inadequate funds, the NDDC boss said that the Commission adopted the Public-Private Partnerships, PPP, model to provide alternative sources of funding for key development projects and programmes.
He noted: “We hosted a PPP summit in Lagos on April 25, with the theme: “Rewind to Rebirth” and it generated a lot of positive responses.”
Ogbuku stated that the construction of the Ogbia-Nembe Road, which was jointly funded by Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, and the NDDC remained a model of what could be achieved through the PPP arrangement.
He said further: “We have started engagements with the key stakeholders, such as the oil companies who contribute three per cent of their operational budget to the Commission; the state governments; traditional rulers; Civil Society Groups; youth organisations and Contractors.
The NDDC boss told the Elders Council that when the current management assume office, the Commission had no approved budget. “Now the budget has been passed by the National Assembly and we are ready to hit the ground running,” he declared.
Ibitoye Abosede, Ph.D.
Director, Corporate Affairs
July 30, 2023