The Niger Delta Develop-ment Commission (NDDC) is set to inaugurate one of its star projects, the 600-metre bridge in Ibeno, Akwa Ibom State. To facilitate the process, NDDC Managing Director, Mr. Bassey Dan-Abia has inspected the long-span bridge across the Qua Iboe River in the company of Etim Inyang (Jnr), who is representing Akwa Ibom State on the Governing Board of the Commission.
Dan-Abia said it was the good fortune of the new NDDC Board to deliver the mega-bridge, and the 6.8-kilometre Iko-Atabrikang-Opolom-IwuoAchang Road. He expressed satisfaction with the quality of the road and the long-span bridge. “I am particularly impressed by the fact that it was done by an indigenous contractor.”
He said the road and bridge have provided a major link for several communities that were hitherto, locked up in swampy terrain. He said to get the full benefit of the mega-project, “we need to embark on the second phase which will take off a lot of load from the Eket–Ikot-Abasi Road. If it was not provided for in the 2013 budget of the Commission, we would see what can be done about it.”
The Supervising Engineer for the project, Mr. Etim Eyoette, had earlier informed Dan-Abia that the design for the second phase had been done and that work was progressing at another 36-kilometre Ikoro-Ntafra-Opolom road with eight bridges to link up the Ibeno bridge after the second phase would have been completed.
According to him, the road would shorten the distance for travellers from Ibeno to Port Harcourt as they would no longer need to pass through Eket.
A representative of the Ibeno community, Hon. Enyima Inyang, said they were delighted that the first phase of the project has been completed. He, however, appealed to the NDDC to quickly initiate action towards extending the road to other communities in the area.
Earlier, members of the Senate Committee on the Niger Delta had inspected the bridge and expressed satisfaction with the quality of job done.
Its Chairman, Senator James Manager, said it was one project which he would want President Jonathan Goodluck to open as soon as possible.
He said: “We are happy and we have seen that the communities around here are happy too. This is a landmark project and it is very unique.”
The project was executed by an indigenous engineering firm, Viche Nigeria Ltd. Its Project Engineer, Samuel Eruohi, assured the NDDC’s chief that the firm has completed its assignment and was ready to hand over the project to NDDC. The Ibeno Bridge is the longest bridge built by an indigenous contractor in the Niger Delta Region.
[Seyi Odewale, The Nation]