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Niger Delta development: Minister charges NDDC to do more

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, has charged the new management of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to do more for the development of the Niger Delta region.

The Minister was speaking at the NDDC headquarters in Port-Harcourt, when he paid a working visit recently to the new management team of the Commission. He was accompanied by his Minister of State, Prof. Claudius Daramola, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Aminu Aliyu-Bisalla and other directors of the supervising ministry.

The aim of the NDDC is to establish in the Niger Delta region a strong and progressive society in which no one will have any anxiety about basic means of life and work; where poverty and illiteracy no longer exist and diseases are brought under control; and where their educational facilities provide all the children of the Niger Delta Region with best possible opportunities for the development of their potentials.

NDDC sees to the implementation of their mandate by executing relevant projects in the entire region.
Projects are conceptualized, designed and executed based on extensive consultation with locals, input from interested parties and critical analysis by experts. These projects are awarded based on their ability to give maximum impact to the local region and beyond the constraints of allotted budget. NDDC is therefore seen as a good harvest of concrete achievements as evidenced in the array of projects and programs they have embarked upon.

The NDDC has taken giant strides to facilitate the all-round development of the Niger Delta and its people, the Commission said.

Usani stated that the current NDDC management, being an interim one, was expected to do more for the people of the Niger Delta than a regular board. “We expect every functionary and staff of the commission to appreciate this fact and put up the very best efforts in the performance of their duties,” he said.

The Minister noted that, “Brief as this management may be, we are charging you to put in your best. There is a lot that can be achieved, especially as the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari continues for the next four years.”

He emphasised that the policy of the Buhari administration was that there would be nothing like abandoned projects. “That is why you can see many of the projects started 20-30 years ago, especially infrastructure are still being reviewed and executed,” he said.

He also urged the NDDC management and staff to recognise the important and special place they occupy in the development of Niger Delta and in the bigger economic picture of Nigeria.

The Minister said: “It may be too early to assess the performance of the new management team. But it is essential for us to know that the task for the management is a greater burden than it would have been if it has longer time to stay.”

He said that his ministry would continue to supervise the Commission to ensure that it performs maximally “because the performance of NDDC goes a long way to determine the forms of agitation we get from the different segments of members of Niger Delta society. I will be pleased to have a peaceful environment for the period you will be in charge of affairs in the Commission.”

Earlier in his remarks the NDDC Acting Managing Director, Prof. Nelson Brambaifa, said that in the absence of the Commission’s board of directors, the minister takes over as the supervising authority, stating: “It is only fair and wise that he comes once in a while to see how we are faring and to see whether we are following laid down procedures.”

According to him, the new management of the commission was working tirelessly to deliver on its mandate within the shortest possible time.

Prof. Brambaifa said that henceforth, payment to contractors would be made promptly without unnecessary bureaucratic bottlenecks, noting that the Commission had fine-tuned its processes and was now using a more efficient procedure in paying for projects and meeting its financial obligations.

Also speaking, the NDDC Acting Executive Director Finance and Administration, Mr. Chris Amadi, said the Commission was very much aware of the need to fast-track the development of the Niger Delta region and was appropriately taking directives from its supervising ministry.

He said, “We took up payments of contractors who have been owed for years. We made sure that those which fell under 10 million got their payments even in their homes. We are now compiling payments for 20-30million. We have also paid for the water hyacinths and some of the palliatives and interventions which the Commission set out to address the challenges of youth restiveness to ensure peace in the region.”

He said further: “We have paid major contractors to motivate them to go back to site and complete their projects. We have commitments from several of them that projects are on-going and will soon be completed.”

Amadi stated that NDDC had commenced projects inspection, starting with the new headquarters of the commission and would be embarking on major projects’ inspections across the region.

Niger Delta: “NDDC to fast-track completion of ongoing projects”

*Inspects work on new headquarters

The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has renewed its drive to fast-track the completion of its projects spread across the nine Niger Delta states, especially major projects that will transform the region significantly.

The mandates of the commission (NDDC) include the development of the oil- rich Niger Delta, the formulation of policies and guide lines for the development of the Niger Delta area, and implementation of all measures approved for the development of the Niger Delta region by the Federal Government and the States of the commission.

The NDDC Acting Managing Director, Prof. Nelson Brambaifa, set the tone for the Commission’s plans to drive development efforts while inspecting the new 12-floor permanent headquarters complex of the Commission at the Eastern Bye-Pass in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.

The Commission’s Chief Executive Officer, who inspected work on the new headquarters alongside the Acting Executive Director Projects, Engr. Dr. Samuel Adjogbe, described the project as “fantastic.”

He said: “You know that our first objective is to provide a conducive working environment for people working in NDDC. From what I have seen, my predecessors have done very well but we will improve on what they have done and with all things being equal, by the fourth quarter of this year, we might be able to call all the nine governors to come here and commission this edifice.”

Prof. Brambaifa charged NDDC contractors handling other on-going projects to take a cue from the work going on at the new headquarters, urging that they should take their jobs seriously.

The NDDC boss said that the Commission was anxious to complete the headquarters project to add value to the work of the NDDC towards meeting its mandate, adding that this was in line with the resolve of the new management of the Commission to promptly complete all ongoing projects.

Also speaking, the NDDC Acting Executive Director Projects, Engr. Dr. Samuel Adjogbe, commended the contractors for doing a good job, noting that the quality of work was high and the completion target of the last quarter of this year was achievable.

NDDC, EU to strengthen partnership on Sustainable Water Projects

The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, says it will strengthen its collaboration with the European Union, EU, through the Niger Delta Support Programme, NDSP, to resuscitate abandoned water infrastructure across the nine Niger Delta states.

According to a statement by the Commission, the NDDC Acting Managing Director, Prof. Nelson Brambaifa, stated this when a delegation from the EU-funded NDSP3 pilot project paid him a courtesy visit on Tuesday at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

He stressed the importance of institutionalising community-based management structure for the maintenance and sustainability of basic infrastructure in the Niger Delta region. He also harped on the need to develop a framework to ensure community ownership of water projects in the region.

Prof. Brambaifa commended the EU delegation for collaborating with the NDDC to ensure sustainability of water projects in the Niger Delta region, especially with the realisation that water was one of the basic needs of life.

He said, “We are looking forward to strengthening the collaboration with the EU, because water is life. We definitely need sustainable water projects because it is part of our mandate to bring potable water to the inhabitants of the Niger Delta region. It is one thing to organise a project like this, but it is another to ensure its sustainability. You don’t just start a water project and two months later you come to see that it had been vandalised.

“We are committed to this partnership with the EU to work out modalities to ensure that any water project we commission should be able to stand the test of time. We must find ways to safeguard our projects because it is one of our core mandates to bring sustainable development to the people of the Niger Delta.”

The NDDC Chief Executive Officer pledged to take the Niger Delta to the next level in line with the mantra of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

He called on the EU delegation to convince the international body to increase its financial commitment to the water project so as to help the region with safe drinking water that would address the challenges of water-borne diseases in the region.

The team leader of the NDSP, Albert Achten, told the NDDC boss that there was need to expedite action on the pilot project because its life span would terminate in May this year.

He, therefore, enjoined the partners to push for an effective and timely implementation of the EU and NDDC-NDSP3 pilot project.

Achten remarked that in the last two years a synergy had been developed between the EU-funded NDSP and the NDDC, stating that the key part of the synergy was the pilot project for reviving 45 abandoned water schemes in the nine Niger Delta states.

He recalled that the collaboration took off officially in November last year at a two-day Strategic Retreat for the Board and Management of the NDDC in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. Further to that, he said that on February 2, 2019, the NDDC demonstrated its commitment to the project by writing to the Ministry of Budget and National Planning on the programme.

According to him, the project is up and running, as two very important tasks had been completed. He, however, stressed that time was running out since the contract between the EU and the Ministry of Budget and National Planning would end in the next few months.

He said: “We solicit the continued support of the NDDC for the project, especially as it concerns the release of funds. 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 the NDDC.”

NDDC to begin construction of road in Abia

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has commenced the construction of the dilapidated Ubahu- Ihube- Okigwe expressway in Umunneochi local council of Abia State.

The 15-kilometre road being undertaken by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) with a bridge will cost about N372 million and has nine months delivery time, the Guardian reports.

However, the Chairman/Managing Director of Free Flow Construction Company Ltd, Mr. Chidiebere Udeh, the contractor handling the project firm, promised to deliver in three months if the NDDC would fulfill its contractual obligations.

He said, “I am a son of this LGA and am poised to work round the clock including Sundays to deliver the work hence I urge the Commission to do the needful in accordance with the terms of the contract. You can see our healthy equipment and personnel are on ground and the communities are giving us all the cooperation and assistance”.

The flag-off of the construction of the dilapidated Ubahu- Ihube- Okigwe expressway was by large crowd of people from Ubahu Nneato rural community and adjoining ones in Umunneochi local council.

The traditional ruler of Onuogu Ogwe, further said, “we are elated to see the turning of our dilapidated rural road linking us directly to Enugu-Okigwe – Port Harcourt expressway into a tarred one in our life time”.

President Buhari’s victory is for all Nigerians – NDDC Boss

*Says peace in Niger Delta outcome of VP Osinbajo’s intervention in region

The victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the recent presidential elections is a testimony to the overwhelming confidence of Nigerians in his capacity and commitment to rebuilding Nigeria and taking the country to the Next Level.

The Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Prof. Nelson Brambaifa, made this assertion in a congratulatory message to President Buhari after his re-election for another four-year term on February 23.

In a statement from the Commission, Prof. Brambaifa said that President Buhari has remained focused on his change agenda to strengthen governance and tackle corruption, establish food security across the nation, improve healthcare efficiency, improve national security and protect lives and property, as well as rebuild infrastructure and create jobs for all Nigerians.

The NDDC boss stated that “it was important to note that President Buhari has shown commitment towards the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region,” adding that, for the first time since its establishment, the Commission was receiving the full statutory financial contribution of the Federal Government because of President Buhari’s determination to rebuild the region.”

Prof. Brambaifa said: “It is also important to recall that it took President Buhari for the Federal Government to begin to repay over N1.8 trillion owed NDDC since its establishment, so that more funds would be available to discharge our mandate, as well as our obligations to our contractors.

“It took the decisive action of the Federal Government, under the direction of Mr. President, to help restore peace, security and social stability in the Niger Delta. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, led a region wide interaction with the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, and major stakeholders in the region and the peace we enjoy today is the result of his strategic intervention,” he added.

In November, 2016, in a move to address concerns in the region and see to its development, President Muhammadu Buhari held a meeting with Niger Delta leaders under the aegis of Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF. PANDEF made a 16-point demand to the Federal Government which was subsequently captured in the FG’s 20-point agenda to develop the region.

It would be recalled that in November 2016, President Buhari held a meeting with Niger Delta leaders under the aegis of Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF. PANDEF made a 16-point demand to the Federal Government which was subsequently captured in the FG’s 20-point agenda to develop the region. Following that meeting with elders in the region, in 2017, on behalf of the President, the VP Osinbajo undertook a tour of oil producing communities.in the region, and the Buhari administration’s Niger Delta New Vision was birthed, which focuses on the wholesome development of the region.

The statement further noted that the NDDC boss pointed out that the victory of President Buhari is a victory for all Nigerians, particularly the people of the Niger Delta region, stating that “it affirms our confidence in President Buhari’s determination to give all Nigerians a government which addresses their needs and bolsters our shared commitment to making the Niger Delta, in particular, a region which fulfills the expectations of the people.”

Prof. Brambaifa declared that the people are expectant that “the next four years will usher in a better country, under the leadership of President Buhari, which will improve their lives.” He avowed that NDDC will work even harder to facilitate regional development and improve the living conditions of the people.

He added: “We are happy to associate with you and will continue to work with you to fulfil your vision of a better country and your mission to make Nigeria and the Niger Delta a better place.

We will drive a new vision for Niger Delta – NDDC Boss

*Rivers Monarchs laud FG, NDDC on development

The Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Prof. Nelson Brambaifa, says the new dawn at the Commission is an opportunity to do things differently for the development of the Niger Delta region.

Prof. Brambaifa spoke during a reception in honour of the NDDC Acting Executive Director Finance and Administration, EDFA, Mr. Chris Amadi, at the Palace of the Chairman of Supreme Council of Ikwerre Traditional Rulers, Eze Blessing Wagor, Nye-Nwe Ali Isiokpo.

In a statement from the Commission, the NDDC Chief Executive Officer was quoted as describing the Acting Executive Director Finance and Administration as a worthy, brilliant and smart son of the Niger Delta region. “You can be sure that he would perform creditably in his new assignment,” he assured.
Responding, Amadi assured that the executive management led by Prof. Bambaifa would deliver faithfully on the mandate of the NDDC, stating that it would endeavor to enlist the support and cooperation of all stakeholders in the Niger Delta region.

The Acting EDFA stated that NDDC as a regional development agency had been undertaking development projects and programmes for the benefit of the people of the region. He added: “I can assure Ikwerre people that we will do our best within the time available to ensure that everyone got their due.”

Amadi said that the NDDC Acting Managing Director had asked him to raise the issue of vandalized power infrastructure in Isiokpo at the next executive management meeting. He assured that the light situation in Isiokpo and other Ikwerre communities would be treated with dispatch.

He said further: “We are requesting Ikwerre people to identify areas that require intervention from the NDDC as soon as possible, so as to assist us to ensure equitable distribution of infrastructural development across the region.

“The Acting MD is from Bayelsa State, the Ag. Executive Director Projects is from Delta State and I am from Rivers State. What that means is that we will ensure that no state in the region is marginalized or short changed.”

Amadi said that as the new management team came on board, it realized that there were school desks and chairs that were already delivered to the NDDC for distribution to primary and secondary schools across the region.

He added that the management directed the immediate distribution of the desks and chairs for schools in Rivers State. According to the EDFA, the first schools to benefit will be those in Akpor kingdom. “We will continue in that vein to cover other communities in Rivers State since the Commission had already distributed the items in other states in the region.” He said.

Speaking on behalf of the Isiokpo kingdom, Eze Wagor, said the appointment of Amadi as NDDC EDFA was the first real “patronage” of an Isiokpo son since 1999. For this position of trust extended to our son, he declared: “We shall reciprocate and continually show appreciation and support to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

Eze Wagor appealed to the NDDC to step up infrastructural development in the Ikwerre Local Government Area. He particularly pleaded for the rehabilitation of the vandalized electricity supply to Isiopko from the national grid, noting that “the entire area has been without power supply for more than 18 months.”

A thanksgiving service at St. John’s Anglican Church, Adanta, Isiokpo had earlier been held in honour of Amadi.

In the same vein, traditional rulers in Ikwerre, Rivers State have lauded the efforts of the Federal Government and the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, in fast-tracking the development of the Niger Delta region.

Nye-Nwe Ali Akpor, Eze Aniele Orlu-Oriebe, who spoke at a reception organised by the Akpor Kingdom in honour of Amadi, at the former Akpor Grammer School ground in Ozuoba, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, applauded the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, while commending the efforts of the NDDC as an interventionist agency.

“The NDDC has done well, so far, in delivering on its mandate of intervening to mitigate the infrastructural and other developmental challenges of the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. We encourage this current management to do more, especially for the people of Akpor kingdom,” he said.

The NDDC Acting EDFA was also received in the palace of Eze Apara Rebisi of Port Harcourt, Eze Victor Woluchem XII, who was also full of praise for the Federal Government.

Amadi noted that the NDDC was more determined to fast-track the development of all parts of the Niger Delta region, including Ikwerre communities, noting that they “have a duty and responsibility to ensure an equitable spread of projects across the Niger Delta region.”

“I am here in dual capacity as an honouree and a representative of the Acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Prof. Nelson Brambaifa. I am giving assurances that whatever is required in the area of infrastructural development would be done.”

Niger Delta: NDDC to distribute Solar-powered lamps to communities

The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, is working to ensure the provision of solar power to communities of the Niger Delta region that are not covered by the national grid.

The NDDC Managing Director, Mr. Nsima Ekere, said this when the leader of the Sustainable Energy Practitioners of Nigeria, SEPAN, Federal Ministry of Environment and Asteven Group, Dr. Magnus Onuoha, paid him a courtesy call at the NDDC headquarters in Port Hacourt.

Mr. Ekere was presented with the Green Global Champion Award which the Agency won at the recently concluded global Climate Conference, at Katowice Poland for the contributions of the NDDC to the development of the region.

According to a statement by the Commission, the NDDC boss said the Commission had over the years been involved in a lot of projects in the Green Energy sector. He said: “We believe that one of the ways of closing the gap between electricity distributions in the country is to encourage green energy initiatives in a captive supply market.”

Ekere stated that the NDDC was committed to the project and will deepen its collaboration with private sectors and organizations like Green Global Economy Initiative in providing green power to rural communities in Nigeria and the Niger Delta region in particular.

In his remarks Dr. Onuoha thanked the NDDC for ensuring that 20 per cent unconditional emissions reduction as committed to by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 was realized. He also lauded the NDDC for keying into the implementation of Nigeria’s Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement of 2015, noting that the NDDC deserved commendation for being in the Vanguard of the promotion of low carbon resources efficient Nigerian green economy.

He noted with joy the agency’s commitment to distribute 90,000 small solar lanterns to tertiary institutions in the nine states of the region at 10,000 per state, with effect from January 2019.

Onuoha explained that the distribution was expected to generate 3.5 million metric tons of carbon and would be reported by the Department of Climate Change Federal Ministry of Environment as part of Nigeria’s Nationally Determined Contribution efforts.

Niger Delta: 200 set for NDDC 2018 Post-Graduate Foreign Scholarship

The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has presented award letters to 200 graduates from the Niger Delta region for its 2018 Post-Graduate Foreign Scholarship Programme.

According to a statement by the NDDC, during a pre-departure briefing and orientation at the Hotel Presidential in Port Harcourt, the NDDC Managing Director, Mr Nsima Ekere, charged the scholars to be ambassadors of the Niger Delta region as they carry the flag of Nigeria to foreign lands.

The NDDC Managing Director, who was represented by the Director Special Duties, Dr Princewill Ekanim, said that the Foreign Post-Graduate Scholarship Programme was an important component of the Commission’s human capital development programme.

He said: “We recognise the need to bridge the huge manpower deficit in the Niger Delta region, especially in Engineering, Science and Technology, EST, the fields that drive the oil industry. Our aim is to build a pool of professionals that can compete at the global stage.”

Ekere noted that the programme which started in 2010 had so far benefited 1,904 students, mostly at the Masters’ Degree level.  He said that about 4,000 candidates applied for this year’s programme, out of which 200 were selected.

The NDDC boss said: “Our scholars over the years have made outstanding results. In 2016, one of the beneficiaries in the masters’ programme, graduated as the overall best student at the Coventry University in the United Kingdom. In 2017, another beneficiary graduated with a distinction and was the best graduating student in the department as well as the entire post-graduate programme in environmental studies.”

Ekere advised the scholarship beneficiaries to avoid distractions so as to also excel in their studies. “We are sending you out to go and study and come back to impact the Niger Delta region and the entire Nigerian system for good. That is the essence of the scholarship programme,” he emphasised.

In his opening remarks, the NDDC Director for Education, Health and Social Services, Mr. Goshua Okejoto, urged the beneficiaries to make the best use of the opportunity given to them to acquire technical expertise for the benefit of the people of the Niger Delta region.

The EHSS director, who was represented by the deputy director, Mrs. Winifred Madume, reminded the beneficiaries that they owed the Niger Delta a duty to succeed. He added: “As you go to your various schools, conduct yourselves well as we expect excellent performance in all that you do.”

Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, the best Ph.D. awardee, Miss Mary Essien, thanked the NDDC for making the selection process fair and transparent. She pledged that they would do their best to be good ambassadors for the region.

The successful graduates for the 2018 post-graduate foreign scholarship programme had gone through electronic examination conducted at the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, before a final selection interview.

NDDC commissions Oku Iboku Roads, inspects UNIUYO projects

The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has inaugurated the 5.15-kilometre Oku Iboku Internal Road Project in Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. It also inspected the road and erosion control project which it is executing at the University of Uyo.

Speaking at the commissioning of the Oku Ibokun roads and drainage, the NDDC Managing Director, Mr. Nsima Ekere, urged the benefiting communities to be grateful to the All Progressive Congress, APC, administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a statement by the NDDC, Ekere was quoted as saying that: “I am very happy with what I am seeing today in this community. Oku Iboku is one of the very prominent towns in Akwa Ibom state. It has a history and pedigree. It is not wrong that the community was not even remembered before now.

“Recall that we have had various vilifications and attacks by the government of Akwa Ibom State. They have repeatedly said that NDDC has not constructed even one kilometre of road in Akwa Ibom State.

“Earlier today, we inspected the road that links Nsasak Junction-Akon in Essien Udim Local Government Area that connects Abia State. This is a 30-kilometre road project, out of which 15 kilometres have been completed. The contractor is currently working on the bridge to link both states. I saw 15-km of solid and quality road being handled by an indigenous contractor, who is also from Akwa Ibom State.”

The NDDC boss noted that the Commission also engaged a local contractor to execute the Oku Ibokun internal roads. He expressed satisfaction with the quality, stating that it would compete with roads in any part of the world.

Ekere expressed disappointment with the attitude of some officials of the Akwa Ibom State Government whom he accused of misleading people. He said: “Somebody needs to educate some of the officials of the Akwa Ibom State Government that as responsible officers of government, they should not speak until they are sure of their facts. Again, I repeat, NDDC is not competing with any of the state governments in the region. We are just here to complement the efforts of the state governments.”

The village head of Ikot Essien, Chief Evans Enwan, commended the NDDC for building a quality road for his people. He, however, pleaded with the Commission to extend the road to Mben Inyang.

At the 1.2-kilometre University of Uyo dual carriage access road, Ekere said that NDDC took on additional responsibilities when the university authorities appealed for help to tackle the drainage challenges on the road.

The MD said: “We include the 1.4 kilometres drainage outfall to address the challenge. That way we are sure that when the road is completed it will stand the test of time. Again, a local contractor has proved his mettle here and that is why we are committed to using them so long as they are qualified and have technical and financial capacity.

“We want to empower them to improve on their capacity so that ultimately they can engage the engineering graduates from our universities to give them hands-on experience in construction projects.”

Ekere commended the UNIUYO students for maintaining peace and allowing the contractor to work without hindrance. He promised that the NDDC would put in more efforts to complete the hostel in the university.

According the MD, “the hostel has been largely completed, what is left is external works and landscaping as well as a few finishing touches to the building. The contractor will meet the NDDC Director of Project Monitoring and Supervision so that whatever needs to be done is done urgently.”

Ekere stated that the NDDC was building hostel projects in other universities, adding that they were experiencing some hitches which would soon be resolved. He said: “Most of the hostel projects were awarded many years ago and the contractors unfortunately had not delivered on them. Some of them were awarded when a bag of cement was sold for 60 Naira.

“In some of them, the scope of work has had to be reviewed and the process of getting approvals from the Bureau of Public Procurement to increase the contract sums takes time. Right now, we are in the process of reviewing them to ensure that these projects are completed. We want our students to as much as possible study in comfort. NDDC is committed to doing whatever has to be done within its capacity to ensure that we add value to the educational system in the Niger Delta.”

He assured that the NDDC hostel projects in the various universities in the Niger Delta region would be re-activated as soon as possible and the contractors would be mobilised back to site to complete them.