By Dipo Olowookere
The Acting Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mrs Ibim Semenitari, has debunked claims made by the Rivers State Governor, Mr Nyesom Wike, that the Commission was not involved in the recovery of dilapidated road infrastructure in Etche local government of the state.
Mrs Semenitari stressed that not only was Mr Wike playing to the gallery, but was hiding the fact of his failure to tackle the bigger challenge of insecurity plaguing Rivers State.
The NDDC boss, who was reacting to Mr Wike’s claims on Thursday that agency had claimed undertaking the construction of the Igwuruta-Chokocho-Okehia road, said the Governor should emulate the Cross River State Governor who commended NDDC for its intervention on the Calabar-Itu Road.
“As an interventionist agency, NDDC stepped in to recover the roads between Igwuruta and Umuechem, as well internal roads in that community, and the Oil Mill-Igbo-Etche-Chokocho road, which is a critical connection between the bigger Port Harcourt market and the produce spots in Etche.
“NDDC, working under the directives of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, stepped in to arrest the deterioration in road infrastructure in Etche as to eventually boost economic activity in the area and give its inhabitants a lease of life. Checks can be made on those roads as to the veracity of NDDC’s scope and quality of intervention,” she said.
Mrs Semenitari further stated that NDDC would drive those projects to completion despite Mr Wike’s alleged attempts to possibly stall them.
“The facts which Mr Wike sought to turn head-down, are clear. NDDC is working on the Igwuruta-Umuechem, Umuechem internal roads, and the Oil Mill-Igbo-Etche-Chokocho road. Mr Wike is not happy that the Federal Government through the Commission is giving Etche people such critical intervention, and so, would prefer where the roads’ users continued in their suffering,” she said.
Mrs Semenitari added, “We are miffed that Mr Wike is yet to come to terms with the severe challenges ravaging the state. Surprisingly, rather than commit himself to true governance, Mr Wike, like that proverbial Emperor who watched while his empire burnt, plays politics with the welfare of Rivers people. We thought that the degenerating insecurity in the state should cause Mr Wike sleepless nights until there was solution. Unfortunately, Mr Wike chooses to engage in speech-making as though there was a speech contest.
“Mrs Wike is not bothered that under his watch in little over a year, Rivers State has become a killing field. Mrs Wike is not bothered that there is capital flight and mass movement of people and those corporate entities are deserting Rivers State.
“While we do not intend to engage the governor in any speech contest, NDDC will not be deterred in pursuing the overall development of every segment of the Niger Delta region. That is the mission and mandate of the Commission,” the NDDC boss averred.