President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday virtually commissioned the 1050- Bed Space Ultra-Modern Hostel Complex, donated to the University of Uyo by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), with a vow “to ensure every recoverable kobo, is recovered for use in service of the people of this region and those found culpable shall face the Law.”
He also mandated statutory contributors to ensure that all revenues accruing to the commission is remitted transparently saying, “I want to use the opportunity of this commissioning to direct all statutory contributors to the NDDC to remit all outstanding funds to the Commission, and to ensure this is done transparently and according to laid down procedure and process”.
Speaking further, President Buhari noted, “about two months ago, the Vice- President on my behalf commissioned the Special Protections Unit Base 6 Barracks in Omagwa, Rivers State, built and donated by the Niger Delta Development Commission to the Nigeria Police Force. It was an important milestone of this administration for two reasons
“This singular intervention demonstrates that NDDC understands the importance of government’s effort at improving the lives and livelihoods of our police officers, in line with my directive that building of barracks for men and women of the police force should be done in collaboration with the Special Housing effort of the Family Home funds.
“Today, we are here, again, to commission another important project completed by the NDDC in 2021. When I directed the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs to institute a forensic audit of the Commission, after many representations by major stakeholders in the Niger Delta, I had also directed that all viable projects which had been abandoned, but which would impact positively on the lives and livelihoods of the people, be immediately revived and completed.
“This ultramodern hostel complex, built and donated to the University of Uyo by NDDC, renews our confidence that the forensic audit, which has been completed and currently being reviewed for necessary action, had achieved one of its core objectives. That objective is to rebuild the NDDC into an agency that is well equipped and better placed to facilitate sustainable regional development in a transparent and impactful way.
“Across many of our public universities and institutions of higher learning our children face accommodation challenges. While private investors are taking advantage of this gap to provide accommodation, unfortunately this often harshly tasks the resources of parents and guardians.
“This prototype university hostel consists of 1,050 bed spaces, 525 each for males and females, and is furnished to meet the needs of a university student. The complex also boasts of significant hard and soft infrastructure to ensure its sustainability and durability.
“The completion of this structure is equally in recognition of the importance government attaches to providing quality housing and improved education for all Nigerians.
” Significant part of this success story is that it could easily not have happened. The contract for this hostel was awarded as far back as 2004. It was one of many projects abandoned across the Niger Delta region, but which I directed the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to expeditiously complete and put to use.
“The Niger Delta Development Commission needs to demonstrate that it can achieve the objectives it was conceived for and make its impact felt all over the Niger Delta Region. The lives of the people of the Niger Delta could be so much better, if the funding received by this commission since its inception, in Billions of Naira over the last 20 years, have been judiciously deployed in service of the people.
“The serial abuse, lack of delivery and what had become an entrenched institutional decay, was the reason why I called for the Forensic Audit.
“Therefore, going forward we shall ensure every recoverable kobo, is recovered for use in service of the people of this region and those found culpable shall face the Law.
” Consequently, I want to use the opportunity of this commissioning to direct all statutory contributors to the NDDC to remit all outstanding funds to the Commission, and to ensure this is done transparently and according to laid down procedure and process.
“On this note, it is my singular honour and privilege to commission this complex, for the accommodation of students at the University of Uyo.
Let me charge you to ensure that this edifice is properly maintained, for the benefit of the current students, who are the immediate beneficiaries, as well as those who will come after. May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Thank you very much and God bless you all.”
Earlier in his remarks, Minister Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio thanked the president for keeping to his promise of making the Niger Delta Region better than he met it.
According to Akpabio, ” We are today commissioning one of the projects hitherto abandoned by subsequent administrations. President Buhari’s commitment to bringing positive change to the Niger Delta region has led to the commissioning of abandoned projects all over the region.
“Few months ago, we commissioned the headquarters of the NDDC that was abandoned, the SPU Quarters in Port Harcourt and several others scattered across the region. By next year, we will be commissioning the power project in Ese Odo in Ilaje, Ondo State among several other projects completed across the region. “
Speaking further, the former Senate Minority Leader, called on all lovers of progress as demonstrated by the resolve of the president, to rally round the president to do more for the region by giving him the needed support, saying, “we are now at the verge of commissioning the second Niger Bridge which was conceived by previous administrations but abandoned, but it has now been taken over by this administration and heading towards completion before President Buhari leaves office.”
In his welcome address, Sole Administrator of the NDDC, Dr Efiong Akwa, charged the students and the institution’s management to ensure that the facility is optimally maintained for longevity saying, ” Let me also urge the students who will live here and use the facilities to understand the sacrifices made by all, particularly by government, to provide them with a better living abs learning environment.
“My dear students, let me call on all of you to do all that must be done to maintain this hostel complex. Own it. Make it yours. Be proud of it. Keep it well. Prove with this that you are, indeed, the promise and future of a better Niger Delta region for which the Niger Delta Development Commission was established.”