By Desmond Ejibas
Port Harcourt – The Niger Delta Development Commission (NAN) says it is collaborating with the European Union to complete abandoned water projects in nine states of the Niger Delta region.
Prof. Nelson Brambaifa, NDDC’s Managing Director, disclosed this in a statement issued by the commission’s Director of Corporate Affairs, Mr Charles Odili, in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
According to the statement, Brambaifa gave the hint when he addressed a delegation from the EU-funded Niger Delta Support Programme 3 (NDSP3) on a visit to the NDDC in Port Harcourt.
Brambaifa was quoted as saying that the NDDC was passionate to institutionalise community-based management structure for the maintenance and sustainability of basic infrastructure in the region.
“We need to develop a framework to ensure community ownership of water projects in the region. This is because water is life.
“We are looking forward to strengthening the collaboration with the EU to resuscitate abandoned water infrastructure in the region,” he said.
Brambaifa said that in spite of abundance of ground water in the Niger Delta, the region still lacked access to potable drinking water due to pollution.
The NDDC boss said the region needed water project that would be sustainable to the satisfaction of inhabitants of the region.
According to him, it is one thing to organise a project like this; but another to ensure its sustainability.
“We don’t just start a water project and two months later it is vandalised.
“So, we are committed to this partnership with the EU. We will work out modalities to ensure that any water project we commission would stand the test of time.
“Also, we must find ways to safeguard our projects because it is one of our core mandates to bring sustainable development to people of the Niger Delta,” he said.
The NDDC boss also urged the EU to commit more funds to the project with focus to tackling the menace of water-borne diseases in the region.
Mr Albert Achten, Team Leader of the EU-NDSP3, said the body was ready to fast track completion of the 45 water projects in the region on or before end of May.
Achten urged NDDC to release its counterpart fund early, especially as an existing contract between EU and the Ministry of Budget and National Planning would terminate in few months.
“We enjoin our partners to push for an effective and timely implementation of the EU and NDDC-NDSP3 pilot project.
“In the last two years, synergy had been developed between the EU-funded NDSP and NDDC towards reviving 45 abandoned water schemes in the nine Niger Delta states.
“The NDSP part of the project is financed by the EU, but the logistics for some of the activities are expected to be taken care of by NDDC,” he said.