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NDDC to resume funding of varsity hostels, specialist hospitals in N/Delta

Abandoned university hostel projects undertaken by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) across the oil region are to be revived and ultimately completed. This is to alleviate the sufferings of students who lack decent accommodation in most of the universities in the Niger Delta region.

Also, abandoned strategic hospitals in the region will see financial inflow to enable resumption of construction works and completion.

Effiong Akwa, the NDDC sole administrator, gave the assurance, weekend while inspecting the Niger Delta Region Specialist Hospital, located at Mkpat Enin local government area of Akwa Ibom State.

Most of the affected projects in the region were initiated years ago, but contractors abandoned work only to show up each time a new CEO of the NDDC barked orders. In what seems like an established trend, therefore, Akwa, the sole administrator, has ordered all contractors handling the commission’s projects to return to sites and complete the work for which they were engaged.

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He assured the commission would not go back on the regional hospital project because of its strategic importance. He promised to pay for the milestones already achieved by the contractor to ensure that the project was completed.

The sole administrator, who was accompanied by directors of the commission, also inspected the 175-room University of Uyo permanent site hostel in Uyo local government area.

Akwa directed the contractors to report to the commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, for a comprehensive evaluation of the constraints, which would assist in putting together the necessary things to ensure the realisation of various abandoned projects.

Blessing Umoh, the structural engineer for the regional hospital, described the project as a three-in-one complex that comprised Orthopaedic, Cardiovascular and Children/Maternity sections.

The contractor, Mfoniso Essien, put the completion status at 26 percent and appealed for the payment of outstanding Interim Payment Certificates (IPCs) to enable them to return to the site.

Inspecting the hostel project, Akwa stated that the NDDC was building similar hostels in other universities across the Niger Delta region. He, however, observed that a few of the projects were experiencing some hitches which would be resolved.

He regretted that the uncompleted university hostels, which were awarded many years ago, had for one reason or the other, been stalled.

The NDDC boss assured that efforts were being made to review all the obstacles and take measures to ensure that the projects were completed. He said NDDC would assist universities in the region to ensure that their students undertake their studies in comfort, stating: “We are committed to doing whatever has to be done within our capacity to ensure that we add value to the educational system in the Niger Delta.”

He assured that the few NDDC hostel projects in the various universities in the Niger Delta region that were yet to be completed would be re-activated and the contractors appropriately funded to return to site.

At the University of Uyo hostel, the sole administrator said that the NDDC was very eager to complete the project. He asked the contractor to submit his requirements for the continuation of the project, promising to ensure that he was paid for achieved milestones.

Briefing the NDDC boss, a contractor, Emeka Maduka, said the hostel project had largely been completed, leaving only external works and landscaping. He said that the project had reached 80 percent completion before it was stalled on account of funding challenges.

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