Federal Government quango, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) announced that it would no longer put up its incoming headquarters, a 13-floor structure, for inauguration by President Muhammadu Buhari by end of the month, citing the Coronavirus pandemic as reason.
Cairo Ojougboh, acting director of projects of the commission, said they were accepting the main contractor’s excuse of its inability to import some equipment to finish up the building.
“Our new permanent headquarters of the Niger Delta Development Commission in Port Harcourt, has suffered a set-back on account of the ravaging novel Coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19, which is delaying the importation of essential components,” Ojougboh said duringn inspection of the high-rise office complex located on the Eastern By-Pass, Port Harcourt.
He said the initial deadline of March 31, 2020 for the completion of the headquarters was no longer feasible because of the delay in importing materials already paid for due to COVID-19.
“Based on the assessment of the situation, a new deadline of April 30 was now being considered. The contractor has affirmed and irrevocably so, that by the end of April, he will hand over this site; and I want to hold him liable to it. I, therefore, urge the contractor to continue and not let the Commission down,” the NDDC acting director of projects said.
Till date, the commission has yet to include the cost of the edifice, which construction began more than 20 years ago.
Ojougboh said he was satisfied with the pace of work on the project; and commended the contractors for putting in more efforts.
Ebiwene Bozimo, the project consultant, said that work had been moving at a fast pace, and that the main consultant and sub-contractors had been working around the clock, saturating the site with men and materials.
“The only challenge we are facing is in bringing in items from outside the country. However, every task that does not involve anything external is going on at the highest pace and we have promised the Commission that every task that is not connected with importation will be completed in April,” Bozimo said.
He regretted that the initial March deadline was no longer practicable because of circumstances beyond their control, but assured that the contractors would work closely with the NDDC technical team to chart the way forward.