The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, will soon start the procurement process towards the award of contract for the shore protection and erosion control of the Odi community shoreline in Kolokuma-Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
Speaking at a reception, after inspecting the erosion ravaged part of Odi, the NDDC Managing Director, Dr Samuel Ogbuku, stated that the Commission would not relent in its drive to provide basic infrastructure in communities across the Niger Delta region.
The NDDC boss said that no effort would be spared in protecting coastal communities in the region. He declared: “In the next couple of weeks we will start the procurement process for the shore protection project. We will also provide solar street lights in the town.”
Ogbuku said that it was necessary to visit Odi town to engage with the stakeholders in the community and personally assess the challenges facing the community. “The NDDC management under my leadership believes in stakeholders’ engagement. This visit is part of that engagement. If you don’t come down to the community to see things for yourself, there is no way you can appreciate the challenges facing the people.” Speaking further, Ogbuku cautioned against politicizing development, noting that whoever brings development, it was the people who were the ultimate beneficiaries.
On the reason for his inspection visit, he said: “I received a correspondence from the Council of Chiefs of Odi town requesting that they, the Council of Chiefs wanted to visit me in Port Harcourt at the NDDC headquarters. But I decided that rather than receive the Council of Chiefs in my office, I would rather come to Odi town and see things for myself so I can have a proper perspective of the challenges.”
Speaking earlier, while welcoming the delegation from the NDDC, the Secretary of the Odi Council of Chiefs, Chief Truman Abiama, who spoke on behalf of the Amananoowei of Odi Kingdom, King Shine Andrew Apre, commended the leadership of the NDDC for choosing the option of visiting the community to inspect the erosion that was adversely affecting the community.
The traditional ruler thanked the NDDC Managing Director for showing concern for the plight of the people of his kingdom. He called on the NDDC to support Odi in promoting the course of the Ijaw nation.
He invited the NDDC to its annual Ogori Ba Uge International Festival which, he said was one of the avenues for taking the story of Odi beyond the shores of Nigeria.
In his own remarks, the Coordinator Independent Council for President Bola Tinubu in Bayelsa State, Engr. Preye Aganaba, said he was relieved to learn that the NDDC was intervening to save Odi from the ravages of erosion and landslide.
He said that the erosion was one of the many environmental challenges confronting the communities especially those along the river banks, noting that the last incident at Odi, destroyed many houses located along the bank of the River Nun which passes through the community.